Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Price War..Good or Bad?


Hello
I see that Asda is ramping up the price war.
In the short term this has to be good for those of us who have a limited income. But long term?
Rest assured that the price cuts will not be taken by the supermarkets, they will betaken by the farmers, growers and producers.
 Already the price war over milk has led many farmers to the brink of bankruptcy. Many have just given up as it is not sustainable as they are earning, in real terms, about £2.00 an hour. Is this what we want ?Who wants to earn £2.00 an hour to work high days and holidays, weekends evenings and early morning 365 days a year?   Have we got so obsessed with being frugal that we are now just plain selfish and mean, not caring about the impact of us grabbing yet another bargain?
Nobody is worse than I at grabbing a bargain. if you will read my last post I have even posted a picture of three really cheap products I bought the other day. - Sugar, Veggie Oxo and toothpaste (with a free toothbrush)  I know next to nothing about how or where the latter two are made and where, but I do know that half of the sugar we use is now produced in this country ..Hurrah!...but are we now squeazing these farmers to take less and less profit so that supermarkets can sell cheap, while not loosing themselves? How long will these farmers consider it worth their while ?
Will (cheap or otherwise) imports be the answer? Do we want to become dependent on other countries for products over which we have no control, either for quality, availability or price? As the world struggles to feed an ever-growing population where will it leave us if these producers realise that they need to feed their own?
 Just a few thoughts. Gosh I've really "got it on me" this week haven't I?!
Gillx

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Update on the week and a pic of the Grandson!

 Hello Fellow Frugellers
Hello to Retireewannabe on the Follower bar I have been reading you blog for a little while now I should go over there and click on too. I see I have a couple of new followers on Blog lovin, but the list of names have been juggled, so I cannot work out who they are. You are welcome non-the-less.

This is the post I started before I "went off on one" and wrote about Guns. Thank you for all the thought provoking posts, which I am determined to answer ( apart from two that seemed to miss the point)

To update you on the past week
. My nephew. P's funeral was last Thursday. What a huge turnout. The firm he worked for closed the factory and several cars and a coach all full of people he worked with attended. The room was packed to bursting, with rows of people standing. What a send off! His children read a poem together, his wife said a few words and his two brothers gave a lovely warm speech that made us laugh and cry in equal measure. We sang "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind" Which our family has at weddings and funerals alike and "O love that will not let me go" which no one  knew the tune to and had such high notes that non of us could sing. Afterwards everyone went to a local hotel and reminisced and gossiped generally. My eldest daughter and my sister's youngest son had been to the hotel in the morning and put up lots of pictures of P. around the room, which were really nice to look at.

We returned home in the late afternoon, hoping that the fox hadn't spotted we were out, put the chickens to bed and raced round to the village hall in time to help set up for the Remembrance Evening. This too was very well attended. The Mayor and Mayoress of the nearest town turned up and thanked me for inviting them. Which was nice as we didn't ! but it was good to see them and the older residents were pleased at their attendance.
 Everyone had  a nice time, staying on after the little service for tea and cakes and a look at the histories we are collecting on each person named on the memorial.
Finally, everyone left, we cleared up and went home, totally Kn******d and emotionally drained.
Good day though!

A few random pics for you now...
Can you see the visitor to our beehives? He doesn't appear to have lady friend and our cockerel keeps eyeing him up in case the pheasant is considering a cross species coupling !
 Thought I would share these bargains with you... from Poundstretcher and B&M
 18 veggie cubes for 89p from B&M and 1kg sugar and a large tube of toothpaste for 49p each.. and you get a free tooth brush as well. I bought quite a few bags of the sugar for the store cupboard and a years supply of toothpaste.
My daughter considers this the saddest pic I have shown yet!

On Sunday the family were here for tea  including GS who is usually at work .  How times change.. After nearly two years working as a barman in a small village pub, where everyone pulls their weight to make a pub run smoothly, here he is... Seeing some pots needed washing,, he rolls up his sleeves and sets to.! GS is a great individual, who for many years has struggled to see the world as others do, struggled with social occasions and struggled to work in a team.( He has more than a passing resemblance to Sheldon from the Big bang theory in many ways !) Now look at him.  We are so proud of him!!
Enough for tonight.
 Thanks to Sue  (SSS) for the heads up on the "Secrets of the Castle " Series with Ruth Goodman et al on TV tonight. I have put it on to series record. Hope it's a good one.
Night All
Gillx

Monday, 17 November 2014

Would YOU use a gun?

Hello All
 I was going to write about all sorts of frugelly things and tell you about my week, but have postponed that until tomorrow(?) as I feel inspired the talk about something different.

Like many of you British smallholders I follow several American/Canadian Homesteaders. I love to read about the climate extremes, about living off-grid, the crops they grow and many other subjects.
 A few months ago I joined the facebook page Farm-chat Girls ( yes I KNOW I'm not a girl, but I used to be and the term "Girl" tends to be used pretty loosely on this page). Anyway, back to my point. I usually find much to relate to and agree with, but last week there was a post by a homesteader, who asked if others thought she was paranoid and overly protective because she used a gun and had fences around her property to keep people out. She had many replies from women who agreed wholeheartedly, who don't want anyone on their property at all, Don't trust the incomers from the towns, which are getting closer to them , Nor being happy about being on their own in the remote places that they have chosen to live in because they are remote and they don't like people. They tell of putting up signs saying trespassers will be shot, fix it so that the meters are read from outside the property or electronically so that even the meter man  needn't access the property.. And so on.... I stuck my head above the parapet and said that my doors and gates were open and the gates that were closed were to keep sheep in and dogs from going on the road. (and that our gas man was a good bloke and actually came into the house to read the meter) A couple replied to my comment, one of which told me that she had had a large amount of  expensive fencing stolen and so didn't feel she could trust anybody and needed to defend her property..
I didn't keep the conversation going as I didn't want to set off a major argument, but I wanted to say that shooting someone because they stole from you or trespassed on your property, seems a little extreme. ( not to mention that you would be locked up in this country if you did!)
 Not that they want me to, but I felt rather sorry for these women, who seem to live in fear, distrust and feel they don't need their fellow man. These women are all Practicing Christians. You might ask where that comes in the equation and normally for me it wouldn't, but their references to the bible, prayer, thanksgiving etc. positively litter most of the posts. Killing people is not something the God I was taught about would have been happy with. I need to honest here and say that I am no longer a Christian, nor a believer in God-who-made-all, but do accept that others do and respect this.

 What do you think ? Am I naive ? Insensitive? Plain wrong?
 I'd love to hear, while almost fearful of your answers.

Hope there are not too many typos, but am in haste and  about to go out to listen to what the leader of the Green Party has to say. She is speaking in Belper tonight.
Gillx

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Four Fruit Marmalade

Hello All, been a few days again since my last post, but I have been really busy.

Today my eldest granddaughter has been here making more presents. She is perfectly capable of  cooking and sewing independently, but likes to have company and the occasional word of encouragement.
 She has been making red onion chutney, marmalade and progressing with one of the quilts she is making. She prepared the fruit for the marmalade yesterday and left it to soak in water overnight. Using a recipe from an old recipe book of mine.
She bought the ingredients from Asda. I never go to Asda, but am very impressed with the quality of the fruit she bought - Grapefruits, oranges and lemons, all very juicy and fresh. We decide to double up the recipe to ensure she had enough for the little jars she has bought from Ikea. In truth she thought one and a half  times the recipe would be enough and I thought we should double it up.
 As she progressed with the marmalade it looked as though she was right and we might need to put a few more jars in the oven to warm and then some..!!
 Here is the recipe (not the double-up one!)
2 grapefruits
4 sweet oranges
4 lemons
1 and a half pounds cooking apples
6lbs sugar
7 pints water
Wash the fruit, cut the citrus fruits in six downwards and slice these segments thinly, discarding the pips We cut out the thick pith from the grapefruit as it would have made the marmalade bitter   (No I don't put the pips in a muslin cloth to cook with the juice !) Peel, core and chop the apples and put these in a large bowl with the other fruits and the water, cover and leave overnight.
The next day, pour all into a preserving pan and simmer until reduced by about half and the fruit is soft and tender. While this is happening, put the sugar in an  oven proof dish or bowl and put  the oven to warm. When the juice is reduced add the warm sugar. Put clean jars in the warm oven.  Boil the mixture rapidly for about 10 mins and then  keep checking to setting point. Pour the marmalade  into warmed jars and cover.
We priced the ingredients which for double the amount in the above recipe was £9.30 ( we used our own apples, so no cost there) and the yield was 24 lbs  - More than we expected!

Here is the finished product.
Enough for all the hampers she is making and lots to spare. We will look out the marmalade cake recipe tomorrow!
While she was making the marmalade and she and I were sitting either side of the table doing some hand sewing of the quilt, the chutney was bubbling away and reducing until it was nice and gloopy and then put into warmed jars.
I have been trying the odd recipe out that fellow bloggers have been sharing. I hope to tell you how I got on with these in my next post. I hope I will be posting again soon, however I have another busy week with a Remembrance Evening hosted by our Civic Society next week, which entails quite a bit of organising and running around. When this week is over I hope to get stuck into tidying up the garden and some serious Christmas present making. I am SO behind with this this year.
All for now
before I go a warm welcome to Karyn on Blog lovin
Back Soon
Gillx

Monday, 3 November 2014

Thank you

Hello Fellow Frugellers.
Firstly a big THANK YOU you for all your kind words of sympathy after my last post. The autopsy is tomorrow hopefully. As he didn't die at home, but in another city (where they were visiting his daughter at Uni) the next hurdle will be getting him home. Mind you the undertakers will take care of that and make it as stress free as possible I am sure. So we are just waiting on news so that we can move the official stuff  along for his wife and children.

On a much lighter note another big THANK YOU to the Weaver of Grass who posted some fabric to the "young quilters" that I wrote about on October (24th) They are absolutely delighted with them. It was so kind of her.

 Hope you like my new header picture, just a little premature, weather-wise I know. It is of our house, taken from the front  (bee) garden not last winter but the one before. I wonder if it will look like this again this winter?
 
  Off to tidy the kitchen table for the Civic Society Committee meeting.
Back Soon
And thank you again
Gillx

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Good and bad news

Hello All
Sorry about the mess that is my blog. have tried to put a new header picture on and everything has gone wonky and I haven't had time to work out what has gone wrong.
The last couple of days have been frantic
The Exhibition this weekend has gone really well, with a good turn out, lots of interest and participation in the walks. representatives of  other groups wanting to be partners with us. Tea and cakes went well and made a bit of money for the society.

 Well that's the good news.

 All this has been overshadowed by the sudden death of my dear nephew. My sister's middle son, aged 47, died in bed on friday morning at his wife's side. Totally unexpected and we are all in shock. My sister's boys and my two daughters have always been extremely close. As children they ran as a pack and continue to be close and care about each other in their fourties. I feel for my sister and can't imagine how she must feel. All I can do is be there for her, her daughter in law, her sons and her grandchildren and of course for my girls who are incredibly upset.

 Enough for now
Back soon
Gillx

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Burgery

Hello Each
And Welcome Laurie on the follower bar and Jeanne and ?  on Blog lovin to Derbyshire Fugality!
Today I've gone all burgery. i.e Thinking about burgers.
Picking beans today I was checking how my butter beans are doing. They have been a little late coming, as have all my green beans.
The first pic shows the butter beans "Fagiolo di Spagna". The beans are filling up but not really drying yet and we are now worried that the frost may get them first. It is no use picking them too soon as they will not dry. All would not be lost if I had to pick them early as I would get large flagolet. However, I don't really want flagolet I want a dried bean that will keep throughout the winter and beyond, giving me next years seed too. I grow another white bean for drying too. This is Emergo ( Czar and Moonlight also give white beans) which is a white flowered runner bean (Czar and moonlight also give good white beans). These can be used as a runners (as indeed can the butter bean) but it also makes a passable dried white bean too.

On the right of the next picture are ready dried beans - Emergo to the right and butter bean top left. (smaller pod) To the left of the pic is a butter bean that will be used as a flagolet. As you see the Emergo have more, smaller beans.
Both are perfectly acceptable. So what to do with the beans? This brings us back to the start of this post....
Butter bean burgers.
Soak a couple of handfuls of dried beans overnight and then cook (without salt at this stage) in the slow cooker or on a low heat until just soft. Drain and chop coarsly and place into a bowl.
Saute a chopped onion and a clove of garlic in oil. add to the beans
Then add an egg
a couple of ounces of grated cheese
Breadcrumbs made from a stale slice of bread.
salt and pepper
Mix all together and form into burgers. You may want to roll them in flour or coat in breadcrumbs, but I don't.
Fry these in a (very) little oil.
This is a basic recipe. you might want to perk it up a bit with some chopped fresh chilli or any spice of your choosing. You can leave out the cheese too if you wish. If you haven't any dried beans use a standard tin of Butter beans.
Lentil Burgers
I gave the recipe for these last year, but don't know how to direct you to the recipe so I will repeat it here.
Cook 6 ounces of orange lentils in a pint of stock, made from 2 veg stock cubes. When they are soft drain them, squeazing as much water out as you can and place the lentils into a bowl.
Finely chop an onion, a carrot and a sick of celery and add to the lentils.
Add 2 ounces of porridge oats, garlic salt and salt and pepper. Mix and shape into four burgers.
Fry in a (very) little oil.
As with the butter bean burgers you can add extra spices to suit.
We tend to eat these burgers in the winter from our stocks, but they are also a great addition to a BBQ.
D. and I spun and jarred  the last of this years honey yesterday. What a good year it has been.
Lots of random misshapen veg in the slow cooker morphing into a chutney today, so things are starting to come together for winter.
I must now "Step Away From the Computer" and get some more work done on the boards for the weekend's Civic Society Exhibition. Lots to do still. It should be good though.
Gillx