It’s been a good Good Friday, as despite the STILL freezing east wind , the sun has shone and we have been out doing some gardening. We’ve got more potatoes out in beds that had been covered with plastic and then we have put the plastic back on for a week or two until we see some sign of them growing. I say a week or two if it stays as cold as this it may well take much longer. We planted a bed of Swift very early potatoes on 5th March and recovered but no shoots poking through yet.

Yesterday we had roast chicken for dinner as A & B came to eat with us as they often do on a Thursday. I cooked double roast potatoes, extra stuffing and bread sauce so that tonight I only need to do fresh veg and gravy, re-heat the potatoes etc in the microwave and we will have dinner done easily. The veg will be cauliflower from the garden – which is a surprise as they have sat there all winter. The caulis are tiny so one each! They are from plants from our local nursery and put in late summer. I think they should have been ready in the autumn but I guess the wet and cold delayed them until now. An early spring bonus. Brussels sprouts are all finished and just a few cabbage left. Then it is the “greens” hungry gap. I know its Good Friday and we should be having fish but never mind. The chicken is one of the last we raised ourselves last year and from now on it’s chicken from the butchers or we shall have to buy 100 day old meat breed ones instead of getting them off heat as the man who supplied them can’t get them anymore.

Him outside posed in spud planting position! Job done.Image

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A good day for egg sales, lots of passing traffic on their way to Tesco or Waitrose to stock up for Easter. Decided to put out some of todays eggs out today that I would normally put out tomorrow,then tomorrow I will put out some of tomorrows eggs that I would normally put out on Saturday.On saturday I will put out some of saturdays eggs that I would usually put out on Sunday!!! All this BECAUSE on Sunday and Monday being a Bank Hol there will be hardly any traffic so probably not all eggs will be sold. This simple life get confusing sometimes.

I read with envy all the cheap items that the lady on Life after money got from her Tesco. There are NEVER EVER savings like that around here. They might have a few odd bits on the reduced shelf, but only at half price. And Co-op stuff is only reduced by a third for a day and then sent upstairs for the staff to buy cheap- at least thats what happened when eldest daughter worked there for a while.

Him Outside has gone off to finish fitting the roof on the field shelter that he took over.  yesterday. Hopefully the job will be finished and he will be able to submit his bill. 

Weather report- wind still freezing but bit of sun again.

This is the inside of the polytunnel all ready for planting when the risk of hard frosts have gone. WHEN or IF this year I fear.




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Who wet the bed?!

Don’t you just hate it when a hot-water bottle leaks and you wake to find a wet patch in the bed. This was a new hottie and no signs of perishing or splits so the screw up stopper must have been a bit loose or not quite straight. I LOVE my hot-water bottles, and would hate to use an electric blanket and even worse would be a heated bedroom. Even have the window open a little even in the most freezing weather!

Him outside has gone of with the second HUGE field shelter he is moving for a local farmer. He has to unload and then fit the roof onto both shelters. These are for someone running a small diary who has had to move from nearby to 15 miles away.

Meanwhile I have been making his favourite cakes. FRUIT SHORTCAKE. To make a batch, rub 4oz butter into 8oz SR flour add 4oz castor sugar and 4oz currants and ann egga nd mix to it all forms a ball. Then roll out to the thickness of two pound coins one on top of each other and cut into neat rectangles, re roll the trimmings etc. Put onto a greased tray and before popping into hot oven about 150 degrees C, brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with a little castor sugar. Cook for about 8 – 12 mins, turn the tray halfway to get them all nice evenly brown.

I’ve also run some stale-ish white rolls through the liquidizer to make white breadcrumbs and put int the freezer for bread sauce etc. The rolls were cheap ones and had been in the freezer since Christmas! Waiting to be used for visitors who didn’t come as planned.

Weather report- still cold, but WE HAVE SUNSHINE! 

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Tuesday 26th Snow on ground- waiting for more?

On the radio this morning they were talking about how weather forecasts have changed since the war. The weather lady said that the 30 day outlook was for below average temps right through. My reaction was OH NO!!!!.

The only thing to do was to stay in and make bread absolutely freezing outside again. Also a quiche for dinner tonight. Very simple – thin sliced onion softened in a little butter in microwave, then when it was three-quarters done I added sweetcorn kernals and sliced peppers, both our own, both from the freezer. Grated some cheese into the bottom of a pastry case ( home made from out of the freezer- I batch bake 5 pastry cases at a time)Then eggs and milk mixed, seasoned and poured over. Cooked in the Rayburn until done. Looks delicious.

Then I ventured out into the shed to sow some chard, broad beans, cabbage and leek seeds. I’m planning for warmer weather whatever they say. When the sun shone as it did for a while, the temps in conservatory went up to 15degrees C.The tomato plants are out there but every night we bring them in to the living room, looks like we will be doing that for a while.Image

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Still cold and windy

We still have a vicious east wind and the forecast is for 2 more weeks. Thank heavens for our free wood supply. I potted up lots of the tomato plants but the greenhouse is too draughty so I’m putting them in the conservatory by day with the heater on and bringing them into the living room at night. I’ve today potted on the 6 aubergine plants and still have several tiny tomato and pepper plants to do later.Image

Popped to Tesco today for milk and bit of shopping, bank and post office. Posted my Penny Pincher letters to my friends, so glad we still keep in touch, our letters help us keep to a frugal but happy lifestyle. I was looking at the value items in Tesco and pondering on the “below the line” action group. Living on less than £1 a day for a week as so many people live on this tiny amount all the time.

Our budget is £3.30 per person per day ( and that doesn’t include eggs and the veg that we grow) We could manage on a lot less, as we did when we had three children and were paying off the mortgage, but do we really need to go back to value margerine and coffee? Back then the only fresh fruit we could afford were apples and bananas which had the effect of putting me off eating apples and loving fresh seasonal fruit – ie Huge Navel Oranges in January and nectarines in summer. Him Outside would miss his good muesli which we stretch by mixing with value bran flakes and I would miss my Fairtrade Co-op cappuccino sachets and drinking chocolate.

Ithink our budget is still way below some peoples and the £3.30 includes milk, tea,coffee, three meals a day and snacks. Sometimes when people on TV are challenged to manage on less they don’t count drinks in the equation.

Until we are forced to live on less we will stay at this amount for as long as possible.

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Snow and gales

Snow overnight and gales have blown the snow into buildings and drifts. The water onto the campsite is frozen and has been turned off. Will this weather ever end?

Our 60 new hens are inside in the hay shed, we wanted to move them out but the grass hasn’t grown and will not start growing until the temps are over 6 degrees C. They have started laying though but the weather means no passing traffic so we are not selling all our eggs. They lay tiny eggs at first which gradually get bigger during the next few months. I sell the tiny eggs at 1/2 price and some people love them and say their children think they are special eggs for children and other people won’t buy them at all, I watch them pick up the box, look inside Imageand then put them down again. Here are our eggs – left to right – a large egg from oldest hens sometimes wrinkly -we eat those. A very large eggs from the oldest hens, a normal size egg from the majority of the chickens, and a tiny egg from the new hens. Let’s hope we can get them outside soon.

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Not as much snow as other places

The east wind is absolutely freezing today but at least we havent got the huge amounts of snow that some places have. Him Outside has gone to deliver a huge field shelter to a place even nearer to the coast than we are. He was supposed to be putting it all back together but may just leave it as it will be difficult to do in this wind and icy blast.

I’m finding all the other frugal blogs that I’ve started to read during this long,long winter have been very interesting. I thought we were pretty frugal but some folk do even better. Now that Him Outside is no longer employed full time for the council and is mainly self employed we don’t have a regular sum going in to the bank each month, so I have to learn a whole new way of budgeting and shopping. I know how much we need for all the various bills but the problem is knowing how much we will need for the smallholding sometimes we have to spend i.e. buying a new hay turner, in order to earn money by making hay to sell later in the year.

Our BIG saving is on heating because all our wood is reclaimed or from the holding. Which means that we only need to use electric occasionally, for instance 1/2 hour in the morning to warm the bedroom before getting out of bed, and an hour or so with my fan heater in the craft room when I’m card making.Today with this east wind I shall keep warm with the woodburner. Very cosy.Image

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