Friday, 24 October 2014

Young generation quilters

Hi All
Quick one tonight.
Today our eldest granddaughter and our goddaughter came here a for a sewing afternoon. They have been working together on some quilting. Their first go at it. They are making quilts for Christmas presents. Here they are in our biggest spare room tacking layers together...
And here they are fixing my walking foot to EGD's machine. This proved a little troublesome, but they finally got it right...
I really must get going on my Christmas present making, but I am still knee deep in produce from the garden and our Civic Society Exhibition is only a week away and I still have lots of baking to do and we are nowhere near having the exhibits ready.
 I'm sure it will all work out over the next week. It has to really.

 I noticed that some of my post views come from Twitter and I have no idea how, So I joined Twitter to find out and am non the wiser!

Thank you for the kind comments about my youngest granddaughter and my parsnip(!) in my last post. I will try to get back to frugaldom  in my next one.
Back soon

Wednesday, 22 October 2014


Evening All

A special Hello to Helena on Bloglovin

Tonight I am posting purely to show off !
I have just received the latest photographs of my beautiful youngest granddaughter. It was taken seven years after this one...
This is her first meeting, age two, with a four legged friend. She had just got off this donkey after a little ride around a small field while we were on holiday (that's not me holding her obviously!)

And now, seven years later,  with her pony......
And all dressed up.......
This child and her older cousins bring us such happiness.

And a bizarrely different brag.....
Pulled today to make some spicy soup and judged to be the smallest, before pulling. Goodness knows how big the others will be ! (the rule shows inches by the way)
Not the most beautiful parsnip, but still tender and sweet despite its size. It is now in the slow cooker with onions, carrots, celeriac, cumin, paprika and stock.
End of bragging!
Back soon

Monday, 20 October 2014


Hello again
I'm really pleased to welcome Cochranegirl on the follower bar and Chris on bloglovin.

Today has been a "leftover" day.
We had roast lamb yesterday. I always cook extra vegetables, but this time there was a little lamb left over too. I put some slices in the freezer with the leftover gravy to have another day with vegetables. The rest I pared off the bones. This yielded 8 ounces of meat. I minced this with an onion, a carrot , a thin slice of squash, some mushrooms and a clove of garlic. I then cleaned the mincer out with a crust of bread and added this, a spoonful of chutney, some chopped parsley and half an egg to the mix. I rolled the mix in seasoned flour and voila! Rissoles.

 I served these up with bubble and squeak - leftover potatoes and cabbage from yesterday and a couple of scallions from the bunch my friend gave me - Marmande tomatoes from the greenhouse and some of the mushrooms picked by my daughter and granddaughter
 I wonder why we don't have these more often as they were very tasty and can be made with whatever cold meat you have to hand. When I was little we had them often.

In case you think that this frugal( tight?) woman is going to waste half an egg. I haven't. I have mixed this with some milk  and will use it tomorrow when I make some fish cougons.

 We have just got back from a talk about William Jessop, Engineer. at our Canal Society and very interesting it was too.
 Hot milk and to bed methinks

Making ready

Hello All
 Welcome to Rose and Sam on the follower bar and Julie on blog lovin. Do join in the conversations and discussions (which can get rather interesting at times as my followers are interesting people!)

Usually we let the hens our of the orchard when the gardens are finished for the summer. We empty the greenhouse and leave it open for the chickens to use a clubhouse, where they gather to dustbath and have a bit of a chin wag, especially when it rains. In the gardens, we pull up the old plants, give it a bit of a weed, firm up the netting over the brassicas and then throw compost, muck and grass cuttings over the lot and let the hens out . They scratch about and aireate the grass cutting, eating the slug eggs and other critters while activating  the compost with their droppings. This is a time that we look forward to and is part of the cycle of our smallholding. However, this year the gardens are still producing and chickens don't carry little books identifying the difference between veggies and weeds.
 The greenhouse is still producing tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers  and in the garden we still have beetroot, courgettes, corn salad, lettuce, celeriac, beans and squash as well as the winter crops of parsnips, leeks, cabbage, brussels and kale which we expect to cover against the chickens.

 Last week I cooked a bacon joint in the slow cooker. it wasn't at all salty so I used the cooking liquid to make a lentil soup. I had made a large ratatouille too. this weekend I blitzted the remainder of this and added it to the remainder of the lentil soup and have frozen the result in individual servings in plastic pint glasses. EGD has already taken a couple away for her and her boyfriend's lunch today.

 One thing our chickens hate as much as rain is wind (it ruffles their feathers). and it looks like we are in for some doesn't it? The tail end of Hurricane Gonzalo is on it's way to us and should reach us as high winds.We always have candles and torches throughout the house and I just checked they were where we could find them as we can lose power around here when we get high winds
 D. has been clearing the barn gutters out today. Last time there was rain the ones facing the house overflowed, so up the ladder he went and found that the gutters  had been distorted by the wisteria. So a pruning job was needed and then the bracket thingys had to be adjusted. While he was having a "barny " time he checked the drains that go under the barn. All is now sorted in this corner of the smallholding and ready for winter. He will check on the other areas tomorrow.
Another job that needed doing with some urgency before any winds arrived was to move the swarm that we had we had collected and hived on the woodshed roof. We thought it might just be caught by a gust and dislodged. As we were going over to see our friends last night we planned to take it down from the roof, take it with us to our friends (four miles away) and leave  it there for a few days, returning it back to ours in the position we have made ready for it with our other hives. The hive was very heavy and it started to rain as we set up, but we persevered and got the job done. Here is a picture of the day we housed the swarm (July) Image the scene last night in the dark and the rain. D. up the ladder and me standing behind the smaller hive ready to receive the hive from him.

 Adam has been here his weekend and was in seventh heaven. Firstly  D. was cutting  and splitting some seasoned wood in the pile down the paddock and it needed ferrying to the house. Adam loves using the wheelbarrow so he has been barrowing  logs up the paddock and stacking them against the
alcove outside the lounge door. He didn't make too bad a job of stacking either. I only needed to tweak the position of a few logs when he wasn't looking.
Next , I fetched some cement from B&Q  and he was there at the car with the sacktruck before I was parked up, waiting to ferry the bags into the shed.
 The girls were here for tea yesterday. YGD was very excited as she had a present for me.... A huge bag of mushrooms! They were growing in a field at the stables where she keeps her pony and she and her mother had spent half an hour picking. Apparently they had not made a dent in the crop which was mammoth. Here is the mushroom party sorting out the bounty. Adam looks a little bemused doesn't he?

 We fried the really open ones and steamed the less open ones and put them all down  in the freezer. The just opened ones we have put on racks to dry and the button ones I have put in a paper  bag in the fridge to eat during the week. I'm not a great fan of mushrooms but can eat then when they are included in dishes like lasagna, D. on the other hand loves them in any way and out Eldest Granddaughter is a fan too, so they are very welcome.
 I made the baked apples that I mentioned couple of posts ago for pud.
With help from YGD I made a pound of shortcrust pastry and put in the fridge. We peeled and cored 8 large Jonogold apples
We then made a mixture of currants, sultanas cherries and brown sugar,  and a mixture of chopped hazel nuts and honey. We rolled out the pastry and cut eight circles round around a side plate and placed an apple in the middle of each round,  We put the fillings in the hole with a knob of butter on top and gathered the pastry up around the apple. We then turned the apples over so that the join was underneath and placed them on a floured dish . YGD cut a couple of leaves for each apple from the pastry scraps and placed these on top and sprinkled a little brown sugar on top.   They turned out very well and we served them with custard.
Enough for now. Bit of a random post today.
Back soon
Keep safe all

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Wood, munchings and apples

 Hello and welcome to Dani fro  Eco footprint South Africa and easy Stitcher on the follower bar and another follower on Blog lovin. I can't work out who you are.

This post will be of a lighter nature than the previous ones. and quite right too you might say. I think I might resurrect the subject of Child Labour another day when I'm up to it!.

We had most of this week planned but, as ever, it was not to be.
The central heating broke down. (pump ) The house is on total disarray while carpets have been rolled back and floor board lifted to get to the blasted thing. While doing this D. thought it was time that he replaced the three way valve that had been "iffy" for some time. All this has entailed me running from sewing room to cellar to corridor and back again.shouting "YES" or "NO" to questions and pushing buttons on request. Such Larks! Anyway all fixed now. I guess the most difficult bit was getting the parts, but D. ever-inventive sorted that out.
  We were offered two lots ( and I mean lots) of logs between a foot and six foot long and very thick, which we have collected in the rain and the dark as they had to be taken that day. Thank goodness for our trusty Berlingo. We were then told that there were some chippings for us if we took them away within three hours ( Berlingo and trailer this time) The trailer, which is not small was filled and two tonne bags of chippings were strapped on top of those.
The chippings are for the "Bee garden" at the bottom of the front garden, which we are making easier to maintain and access. Winter is the perfect time to do this when the bees aren't active. Mind you they have been flying in between the showers as it is not particularly cold and there is quite a lot of ivy flower around.
 It has been a good apple year for us this year, with the exception of the Russett. The Jonogold in particular has given a huge crop of very large eating apples.

 I have been looking at recipes for baked apples which don't involve dried fruits as half the family don't like raisins etc. Next time they are all here I shall bake some with dried fruit and some with ...Rolos!! Good idea eh? not mine. I googled it. If you have a favourite recipe for baked apples ( I will bake them in pastry) please share.
 Here is the crop from our oldest tree, which is proably 15 years old
I bucket of wormy ones had already been given to the chickens.
And here is the crop from the youngest tree (5 years), minus half a bucket still to be picked.
The green apples to the left are Bramleys.  I also put a vase of flowers there for you to see. These are the flowers of Jerusalem Artichoke. The stems were over ten foot high with these little beauties right at the top. You can see they are  sunflower family.

As mentioned before we are still getting lots of veggies from the garden
Here is our evening meal on Monday.
Stuffed marrow on a bed of vegetables and tomatoes with jacket potatoes. I used a little minced lamb with the stuffing of minced onion, squash, carrot and bread.
Last night we had jacket pots again  with a ratatouille thingy, roasted Crown Prince Squash and grated cheese. ( I didn't grow the cheese)
Well that's enough bragging for now.
Off to barrow and spread munchings.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Beyond their means

 Hello  Frugellers
And Welcome  to Deb and the Pensive Pensioner on the follower bar and Jane on bloglovin

I take the Independent on Sunday each week. The finance section usually does a "Health Check" on someone who wants advice to sort out their finances, usually for a particular reason, such as saving for a house, world tour, children etc.
This weeks "patient" was a woman who wanted to clear her debts and focus on being able to provide financial support for her family. This 46 year old single mum with two dependent children  ( aged 20 and 16) earning £18,000 p.a owed £14,000 personal bank loan; £6,000 overdraft; £7.000 credit card and £1,500 on a post office card. The cards were both on 0% deals, due to end  on March 2015. She bought her house in 2001 for £42,000 on a repayment mortgage which she had remortgaged to get some work done., her outstanding loan now standing at £77,000 Unsurprisingly she has no savings to fall back on.
The reason for the health check.. "Once I have paid off my mortgage, I'd then like to help my children take their first steps on the property ladder"
How does this woman sleep at night? What circles does she move in that have inspired her to believe she is in a position to help her children to get on the property ladder and what example is he setting these young people anyway? If she concentrates on just paying  off her cards/overdraft, cutting up her cards and living very frugally, it will be well over  ten years before she is out of debt, when her children will be over 30.
I've been thinking about this woman ever since I read the article yesterday.
Am I in a minority believing that children should be taught the value of money and encouraged to pay their own way as much as possible. If they are in full-time education there are always paper rounds etc. ( e.g my youngest granddaughter used to do washing up in a local resteraunt when she was 14 to make a bit of money, my eldest did a paper round from 14 to age 17 when she started work)
 Just before I retired I asked a colleague why she wasn't retiring yet as she was older than I? She told me that she wouldn't be able to retire for another four years as she was paying her grandchildren's university fees so that they had no debt when they qualified. Her worry was that she was not made redundant before this date. I'm trying to imagine my daughters "allowing" me to work beyond retirement age because of their children.
I know it's horses for courses and some of you might think I'm harsh and judgemental but I'd still like to hear your views anyway

Friday, 10 October 2014

You get what you pay for?

Just back from town.
 My first port of call was the shoe shop.
 A few days ago I went to Clarkes for my bi-annual shoes. The choice wasn't brilliant but I did find some that looked sturdy enough and at £55 the amount I would normally pay for my best going to town/ pub shoes. I have always thought that you get what you pay for with shoes and unless I get lucky at the charity shop I am happy to pay for shoes that last. I asked the guy in the shop why they didn't make shoes that could be cobbled any more. He looked at me in a pitying sort of way and said that cobbling was expensive. I replied that it was not as expensive as a new pair of shoes and that I like to mend and keep things going as long as possible and did not like the throwaway society I was forced to live in. ANYWAY off I set with my new shoes, which I expect to last for two years if I look after them. I polish our shoes each Sunday and do the odd stitching job and generally nuture them.
 On Wednesday I wore them for the first time to the Memories afternoon at our village hall which is 50 yards away. It rained while we in the hall and when I got home and took my shoes off my socks were wet along the outer front left foot!
  I took my shoes and receipt back to Clarkes. I explained that I had worn the shoes for first time and walked on 50 yards of wet pavement and had wet socks.
 "Well they are not waterproof you know" he informed me
 " I didn't jump up and down in puddles, I just walked along the pavement" I told him
  "Shoes will let wet in" he imparted " These shoes I am wearing now (pointing) if I walk around in the wet for a few hours, I find my socks get wet"
 "And if you wear them for 2 minutes"? I asked " I suggest you get your shoes from a reputable shoe shop" I advised
 "Sometimes its the way they are"
"I have spent £55 on shoes to keep my feet warm and dry. That is the purpose of shoes, This is England. It WILL rain. maybe I should go to live in Spain to ensure my feet will be dry"(getting a trifle sarcastic now)
. Would you like your money back or a replacement?" he asked as though doing me a favour.
 He then told me how his children often come in with wet shoes/ feet and he has to put newspaper in them to dry them. The inference being that maybe this is what I ought to have done rather than complain.
 "As I need shoes, not being the sort of person to buy something I don't need, I will try a replacement" I replied.
 So I looked at the shoes and found another pair that fit. These shoes are not made by Clarkes, but then neither were  the first pair, they were £10 cheaper, hopefully not £10 less waterproof, We shall see... watch this space!

 My next port of call was the printers to get  a copy of a wonderful large photograph that was bought to the Memories afternoon. I finally found somewhere to park, walked back to the printers to find that they were closed and a notice telling me that to provide a good service they would now open from  8.30 until 12.30 Monday to Friday. So back on Monday morning then. Terrific!

 A quick whizz around Lidl went pretty well and an even quicker whizz into Sainsburys to buy "One Particular Thing" for ED's birthday next Tuesday went according to plan too.
 I then dropped some pamphlets off at a  Society Committee members house for posting and my round trip was complete.
 Time for a cup of tea methinks, but before I settle down I will collect the eggs. D.had been pressure washing the barn (chickens) and I slipped and crashed into the wall banging the arm that I had had my Pneumonia jab in this morning and bending my thumbnail back in a rather grotesque fashion. It is a now a very pretty colour and I am feeling a little shaken.
 So here I sit in the safety of the room that houses my laptop amid the comfort of my bloggy world and I plan on staying for some time yet!
All for now