Monday, 8 February 2016

Not Donald Trump surely?

Hello All
Been gone for weeks I know. Life has overtaken me. I will try to get it together and am currently trying to download pics for my next blog (part III of reasons to be cheerful... don't care anymore ? can't blame you!)
In the meantime.. has Donald Trump really been nominated for a Noble  Prize?!!! or is it an early April Fools joke?
Back soon
"Appalled of Derbyshire"

Friday, 15 January 2016

More reasons to be Cheerful

Here I am again with part two of - Reasons to be Cheerful
 Where I live -  part two
Our little holding is divided into small areas. - the front garden, three vegetable plots, a fruit cum- socialising garden, the orchard and the paddock. We have two greenhouses and a good size barn and various workshops and animal and wood sheds.

Here is our back greenhouse (we have a smaller one in the front garden that I use for potting on, seeding etc) This greenhouse is made from four greenhouses that have been gifted to us over a few years. David placed each one a pane's distance from the one before and then filled in the gap with frames, thus adding an extra couple of feet  each time. This greenhouse is now quite long as you can see! We fill the beds each spring with our own compost mixed with molehills that we gather from the paddock.

We fill this greenhouse with tomatoes, with one section for cucumbers.
We grow organically and plant basil and french marigolds for pest control which has always worked well for us.
Here is our youngest granddaughter with the cucumbers that she grew from seed.

We have a small orchard. Here is a peek  from the paddock. Note the fence made from pallets, as are they all! Here we grow apples, plums and medlars. The chickens live here in the summer and range over the whole holding in the winter.
Outside the orchard we have many fruit trees around the holding, mainly apples, plums, nuts and damsons.
 We grow LOTS of damsons. Here is one of the five that are in in the front garden (more in the paddock) and the haul (with our camera-shy granddaughter again!)

After making copious amounts of jam, jelly and wine, we sell the surplus and put this money away to purchase lambs in the spring and some winter food for the hens.

 The vegetable gardens
I really am stuck to know which pics to use for this bit. I have chosen pics that aren't necessarily the prettiest, but do give some idea as to the shape etc. The first pic shows the path that divides two plots and leads to the entrance to the chicken run, which in turn leads into the orchard. The large greenhouse is to the fore of the garden on the right of the path.

This next picture is of the "paddock garden" which we have made within the paddock (yes really!!)
We dug this garden to ensure that we had three plots to rotate. This garden also has raspberries, gooseberries and goji berries and a vine( Leon Millet) that is just getting established. All the gardens have some sort of perennial plant in them, be it rhubarb, gooseberries, herbs, hops or some such.

I see that this is quite a large post and that I might be boring you so think I will close it here and cover animals in another post.
Before I close I must welcome Anne Christine Simpson and Catherine Hines on Bloglovin. A warm welcome to you both.
Back soon

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Reasons to be Cheerful

Just started to follow Gary at A Day in the Life (I found him via John Gray's blog) He has a great post on reasons to be cheerful and I thought "THAT'S what I should be doing in my next post"
I am unashamedly going to pinch his idea, firstly as a way of counteracting  my last post, but also as a way of updating my profile and re-introducing myself to my followers old and new.
Good idea eh?!
I shall recycle old blog pictures to illustrate, so to remind you.. here I am!

I have many reasons to be cheerful AND thankful
 firstly... My Family
I have a husband David (we have been married 50 years next month)  who is a great fixer, mender and maker of just about everything. The perfect smallholder husband. He is far from perfect, as am I obviously, but I'm used to him and don't fancy breaking in a newer model.
I have two daughters, both in their fourties. I won't say what they do for a living as they might be identified, which they might not like! I see the youngest daughter most days and the elder one at least once a week. We gossip, laugh a lot, dance around the kitchen and cook together amongst other things and generally get on well. We don't agree on everything but are able to say so and move on.
My eldest girl ED, is married and has a daughter (YGD) who was a latish surprise and is spoilt by us all obviously. She loves to come and stay with her grandma and grandad Chick Chick, when all thoughts of Ipads etc are forgotten as there is so much for her to do here. She has a great dad, who is used to our barmy family now!
My youngest daughter YD, who is now single, has two children, Our grandson,GS, who is 24 this year and a daughter EGD, who is 21 next week.  I'm not sure how much to say about these two as they are adults and I haven't checked with them on what I could write!
  I wont bore you with sisters, nephews,nieces in-laws, friends who are like family, godchildren, foster children and so on or you will be reading all night.
Here is David with his girls.. Our grandson was working when this was taken. He always has to work New Years Eve.

 Where I live
I live on a two acre smallholding in beautiful Derbyshire. The north boundary is bordered by a busy A road, the west and east by neighbour's land and the north by the river Amber.
We have been here since 1981 and each day when I go outside to feed the animals I look out onto my little kingdom and feel grateful. I won't say lucky as luck has never come into it. Hard work, frugality, bloody-mindedness yes, luck. no!
 I never tire of being here, it is who we are and is appreciated and loved by many as well as us.
Here are a few pics to give you an idea. Those who know me will notice that there are no "corners of shame" as I want you to admire how beautiful Derbyshire is and believe that it our smallholding always looks like this (it doesn't)

 I am having difficulty choosing from my pics, so those above show the house and the paddock and  part of the orchard. Next time I will load some that show the vegetable patches, greenhouse, beehives etc.Next time......

What we grow
Our animal friends
What I do to keep my post-retirement brain active ......
In my next post, if I can retain your interest.
All for today.
Many many thanks for your comments on my last post.

Monday, 4 January 2016

I am a horrible person

Hello dear bloggy friends and a very happy new year to you!!
Welcome Mrs L Hughes, Snoskrad and Bloglover on Bloglovin. Great to see you here.
I feel I don't really deserve my followers as I'm such a tardy poster nowadays.
Are you all up to your knees in mud? We are, slipping and sliding everywhere. I usually work in the garden between Christmas and new year, but it has been impossible as it is so muddy and standing on wet ground has never done it any good.
While I haven't been posting I have been reading blogs, some of which have been quite thought provoking and I have been fired up with ideas for posts which have petered away to nothing overnight. I think 2016 will be my year for being lazy!

I don't know about you but I seem to be surrounded by sickness at the mo. Not just this awful coldy thing that we have all been suffering from (3 weeks and counting for most folk) but serious life changing stuff, from cancer to heart problems to allergies to depression. I don't think there is a group or family around me that is not affected by some such seriousness.
For many years I was a field Social Worker working with adults with disabilities/ life changing illnesses. I considered this to be a vocation rather than a job and, like many SWs, put in many many more hours than I was contracted to do, often taking my work home with me and working through the night with no resentment.
And here comes a dreadful admission... I think I have little left to give! I am sympathied out! I am a caring husk! If I have to sit at a party/in a pub and listen to any more conversations that are about statins and blood pressure and back ache and blood tests and scans and special foods and jabs for this and that I think I shall scream.
It's an awful admission I know and you can now hate me for the nasty person I seem to be!
Back soon with a nicer post.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Happy Christmas

The gangs arrived. So just time to wish you all a.....

Monday, 21 December 2015

Time to prep but not to stress

Hello All.
 Especially Frugal Finger a new follower on the side there and Jangray on Bloglovin.
I, like many others, have lost some followers lately, (Google prob?) but have no idea who they are.

Like yourselves, I'm sure, I am now on countdown to Christmas Day. I'm a little late with some of the preparations as I was a little unwell with a cold last week (when I was busy with other stuff too) and from Saturday, after we returned from Santa duty, David has been unwell too with a nasty cold. When David gets a cold it usually knocks him up as he has such a weak chest from his fight with cancer and heart surgery. So I have been nursing him as best I can as he is determined that he will be well enough for his last Santa duties on Wednesday when the canal boat will be pulled by a horse. Being on the boat all day has effectively lost us a days prep, so I will pull in tasks either side.

Christmas Day prep so far.....
Over the last few weeks I have done what prep I can. So far I have made and frozen the stuffing and the cheese sauce (compulsory in this house with all meals!) I have grown, processed and frozen  the apple sauce, parsnips, roast potatoes and the peas (I will pick the brussels fresh on Christmas Eve) We have a large leg of homegrown pork which I will take out of the freezer on Tuesday night along with a ham and the large turkey bought by a dear friend who joins us every Christmas day and always supplies the turkey. I am lucky enough to have a large old fridge (the beer fridge) in an outside room where I can defrost these joints slowly and safely.
From yesterday afternoon until tea time today  our ten year old granddaughter has been with us. She has helped to post the local cards and has made a sponge for the trifle which I will start tomorrow.  Most importantly, she has looked after her granddad, freeing me up to put the fifteen boxes of books back onto the shelves in the parrot's room and strip all the beds for the weekend.

Our youngest daughter and myself have already bought a goodly selection of cheese and tomorrow we will  pop to the shops for a joint of beef to roast for eating cold. Our eldest daughter has given me the money for this.

 Godson has been gifted a Christmas pudding which he has donated to the meal ( a posh Waitrose one no less) Not everyone likes Christmas pud, so YD  made and froze a treacle sponge yesterday, With the trifle that should be enough sweet stuff for the day.

 On Christmas Eve afternoon , after she has picked up the pigs in blankets, which she always buys, YD and myself will process the carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels and potatoes for mashing, boil the ham and roast the beef. We will also par-cook the pork joint to make the logistic of Christmas lunch easier.
We will then all go to a friend's early family party, pick up GSon son from work and then join some friends at a pub, before getting home at about midnight.

  Perhaps I should explain that though this might  seem excessive amounts of food to some it has to go some way ( though hopefully there will be plenty of leftovers to process)  I have just added up who will be at ours on Christmas Day and we will be 17 for Christmas Dinner with at least 14 more joining us for an Evening Buffet.
 So there you are. My Christmas prep. I have left out all the bits and bobs (pickles, bread etc) as this post is getting too long and boring.
I don't know whether I will be posting again before Christmas (I shall certainly be reading your blogs) so I will take this opportunity to wish you  a VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS and a PEACEFUL NEW YEAR.
Best Wishes to you all.
Gill x
PS If it is your first Christmas hosting don't forget the extra milk and loo paper!

Saturday, 19 December 2015

On Santa duties again

"So what have I been up to "? you ask. Or maybe you didn't but I will tell you anyway!

I have been getting Percy's room ready to receive a new carpet.Which has meant a full redecoration.
 . There is no point in putting in a new carpet (essential as the old one had shredded near the door and had become a trip hazard) without at least glossing the skirting boards and door frame, which makes the rest of the room look grimier than ever. So I have emulsioned the ceiling  and the walls and glossed the rest and on monday the carpet was fitted. Putting all the books back is going to be a nightmare.
I do all the decorating here. I always have done. As a girl I was my dad's "boy". he was disabled  and though he did most things, often on his hands and knees, there  were things he couldn't do, so I learnt how to do them, along with such skills as trimming the strip on the side of the wallpaper. Do any of you remember that?

Tuesday was our "Staff Lunch" This means that the diverse folk who meet here on Tuesdays to work on the smallholding or the derelict canal that runs through the village, will have a cracker to pull when they have their cheesy beans on toast at lunch. I have pushed the boat out and bought some mince pies too. Gosh I spoil folk don't I!? (no I didn't make them myself)
 Then I  baked and got ready for a meeting at ours on wednesday night before getting Adam's room ready for thursday. Adam is to stay with us from thursday morning until saturday night as an "Emergency placement". We have planned a few things for him to keep him relaxed and happy as things are not too good at home at the  moment.
David and I are Santa and his Elf  on the canal boat from 10.30 until 3.30 today, so ED and EGD are to take Adam to a Matlock Christmas market to keep him occupied while we are on Yuletide duties. Adam LOVES (both markets and the girls!) them so he will be a happy bunny. Once we have delivered him back home we are whizzing off to a party for a few hours. I reckon we should wear our costumes, but David thinks not. Spoilsport!
But mostly this week I have been battling MUD. Gosh it's the worst I've ever seen with no frost to make the walking and working easier. The hens are knee deep in the stuff. it is so mild here that the bees have been out which is not really what you want as they are using up stores and energy that they should be saving.
Must go now  Santa's reindeer are champing at the bit.
Back soon with Christmas plans