Wednesday, 29 May 2013

spaghetti squash and using up the fridge contents

Hello Frugeller Friends
Last year my friend in Cornwall gave me a couple of Spaghetti Squash plants. they grew quite well, but I used them young as ordinary squash and before they had "spaghettied"
 I kept a couple of more mature ones throughout the winter to see if they kept well as I am interested in preserving vegetables, especially without the use of electricity (I will be doing a blog on preserving later in the year as the gluts come in the gardens) They kept well and last time I was in Cornwall I took one for my friend as her plants had failed last year. So here is the remaining squash..........

Has anyone out there in frugal/ cooking/ smallholder-Land a favourite way to cook the little beauty ?? I've Googled it (obviously) but don't feel too confident/inspired with the results so I do hope someone out there  has some ideas as I don't want to waste it !!
I have three plants started off in the greenhouse for this year in the hope that it's a winner!

Below is a picture of the contents of my fridge (milk, butter, marg not shown) it is an old fashioned one that has to be de-frosted ( not good for a non-domestic goddess like me) so I usually give it a good sprockle when I defrost it. The last week has been a little expensive and I have literally coppers left in my purse. That doesn't mean I am not solvent , it just means I have used up the money I told myself I would manage on. So it will be no spends until Sunday and we'll live on what is in the fridge.
So, as you see, lots of veg from the drawer. Some lamb bones with quite a bit of meat on them, A jug of gravy, mashed potato and cooked beans and carrots, sweet corn, cheese, a cooked thick bacon steak and a couple of cooked sausage and a pint of cheese sauce. I've also got a 2.5kg of potatoes and three loaves.
So the plan is....Day 1 -  Lunch - vegetable soup
                                      Dinner - Lamb in gravy with mashed potatoes, carrots and cabbage.
                        Day 2  - Lunch -  Cheese on Toast.
                                      Dinner - Broccoli and cauliflower cheese with potato wedges and sweetcorn
                        Day 3 -  Lunch - Vegetable Soup
                                      Dinner - bacon and sausage pasties with bubble and squeak.
There is still the makings of a coleslaw and plenty of bread and cheese left for snacks and you should see what the chickens will do with those bones !
 We have another few hectic days coming up, so it is good to have the meals planned.

Off to our local Smallholder's Association AGM tomorrow night. There will be a visit to a member's free range chicken farm first, which I am looking forward to.
Enough for now, thank you so much for reading my blog
Night night

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Visitors, Grandchildren and Prickly Pete

Hello Frugellers !
It's been nearly a week since I blogged and I hope some of you missed me !
We've been extremely busy here, both workwise and socially.
Socially, we have had lots of visitors throughout the week and have remind ourselves how important people are and that we shouldn't resent them because we are busy. Visitors make us stop and rest, they make us sit back and appreciate what we have, they ask questions that make us think of why we do things and indeed IF we should do things. In fact Visitors are ESSENTIAL. One set of visitors that was particularly welcome was young friends over from Australia. The son of dear friends of ours, he emigrated to Australia and is now married with three delightful children. They live in Melbourne and see little of the country, so it was nice to introduce them to chicks and baby rabbits and lambs.The weather was glorious then. I suspect they will be finding it cold now as we have had continuous rain and wind for the past 24hours. ( Glad the paddock is finished)
On Saturday night myself, my youngest daughter and my two granddaughters went to a (family) hen party at a friend's house. She will be having a boozy, around town hen party with her contemporaries at a later date! This is not to say that this party was alcohol free! Oh no ! EGD was on the big white phone to God later! YGD, age 7, said afterwards that she liked a girls-only party because you didn't have to wonder what the boys were thinking !
On Sunday, after a quick Lidling, we visited a canal festival at a nearby town, where the boat that our canal society has bought was having its first showing. As Adam was with us for the weekend, he came too and thoroughly enjoyed the experience and being a friendly sort enjoyed the attention he received from members of the society.
After taking Adam home on Sunday night we joined friends a few miles away for the evening.
Yesterday, Monday was GRANDCHILDREN DAY.
 In the morning we went to watch YGD in her first one day Event. She and her pony did well, coming 6th in the dressage and with clear rounds in her other two events.
In the afternoon I went with YD to help EGD clear the jungle that is the garden of her (soon to be) new home.
In the evening, again with YD ,we went to the pub that GS is working in as a barman. There had been a beer festival and he wanted us the see where he was working and his Grandad to taste some of the beers. The pub, which is in a pretty remote village is very old and has not been "improved" in any way. great place, how pubs used to be.

We are just back from the pub again (it's 11.45) and we saw PRICKLY PETE in the headlights !! We are so pleased as we haven't seen him since we let him go a few weeks back.
I was going to write something about he garden and the frugal challenge that is my fridge at the moment, but I'm K*******d so I'm off to bed and will post again tomorrow.

Love to Foggy and see you soon

Sleep tight All

Thursday, 23 May 2013

School Concert and other things

Went to YGD's school concert last night. She was a jungle animal in a musical play about man destroying the rain forest. There were rapping birds and acrobatic wild cats,many fantastical head dresses, colourful costumes and the singing and dancing was lovely. It is interesting that though the message was serious the children were joyful. YGD said " You'll like it grandma because you like trees". She has it in a nutshell!!!
( and incidentally, she looked lovely as a wild cat!)
The last planting of cabbage-like veg are in the ground now Hurrah! Last in was next year's Spring cabbage, a winter Savoy and Romanesco Cauli. This is the lime green cauli with pointy florets. The best thing about this, is that if it "blows" as caulis frequently do, the florets grow out in a sort of spur, looking a little like asparagus or purple sprouting and are still a usable vegetable. So the rabbits and chickens rarely get to see them - all for us!
 Had to dispatch the last two of last years cockerels today, I thought I had wheedled them all out and suddenly a couple of "hens" started cock-a-doodling! I was hoping to find a home for them, but only have a home for "Pigeon" a grey cock who looked like a pigeon when young (you guessed!) The yard has been a bit of a battlefield, but now they are gone all is peaceful again, with the mummy hens feeling a lot calmer with their babies in tow and just Hugh and Russel Foghorn. So into a slow cooker, with chicken stock, a couple of onions, carrots and red peppers, a tin of tomatoes and curry spices. When we are busy this weekend it will serve, with some rice, as a quick meal.
  Fishcakes for tea tonight. GDS had his in a sandwich.. and why not!?
Tomorrow I hope to find time to have a bit of a bake as we have a busy weekend ( Iv'e already said that haven't I?!)
I have done no sewing now for a couple of weeks. I'm almost hoping for prolonged rain so that I can settle down for some! I don't mean like the hail - downpour- sunshine sort of day we have been having. I mean when there is absolutely NO chance of getting anything done outside. Apart from the (several) projects I have started I also want to make a few things for EGD. She says she wants a peg bag and I have some nice strong material in a colour she likes, so I shall make her a pegbag, a few tote bags to keep in the car for shopping and a bag for putting used carrier bags in. Any other ideas frugellers?
That being said, I'm not wishing  bad weather on everyone this bank holiday weekend honest !!
Take care all

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Bargain Curtains and Cutting Grass

On Sunday I went for a nosey around EGD and her partner's (EGDB) new home-to-be. At the moment it's little more than a building site. The house is being completely renovated by the landlords who, bless them, are including the young couple in decisions re. colour, type of fitments etc. It looks exactly like "Homes under the Hammer" between the buying and the reveal..
 We measured all the windows and they decided on curtains or blinds and an idea of colour. The colour palette is mostly creams and beige ( or taupe if you like!) with splashes of cerise, blue and purple. So off home we go with our measurements and they set off again to Dunhelm Mill with YD to buy material. A couple of minutes later ED arrived with a pair of lined cream curtains from her stash. We measured them and they were exactly the right size for the back bedroom. So we phoned EGD with this news.
 Less than an hour later the shoppers returned with their BARGAINS !!! Uber-Frugeller, EGDB had foraged and sprockled through the bargain basket and found these little beauties ! Ready Made curtains for the main bedroom and the Lounge for £9-74 the lot !!!!

 So with the curtains from ED and some oatmeal calico curtains that I have found that fit the dining room/  conservatory, all they need to buy now are the blinds for the bathroom and the kitchen. Hurrah ! What a frugal day !
 As a HUGE bonus YD doesn't have to make the curtains, which gives us more time to give a little help with the jungle (garden).
 Thought you might like to see our paddock on a lovely sunny day. You can only just make out the lambs at the bottom,near the river, they are still so small. Clearly those little scraps will not eat all that grass and the dandelions, though beautiful and liked by the bees will soon blow and send "clocks" all over ours and our neighbours gardens, it will also be too long for sheep to eat soon, so D will have to cut it.Typically, he will have to leave the important job of the new fox-proof chicken house for the important job of topping the paddock! hey ho such is smallholding! It does look nice though doesn't it?

 Still lots of broody hens and new chicks all over the place here. Will post some pictures soon.
Just had the TV on and see that there has been a huge tornado in Oklahoma, with nearly a hundred dead. How dreadful!, my thoughts go out to my American friends.
Keep safe everyone.
Welcome Ellie, nice to see you here.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Cooking for the week

Yesterday and today I have been cooking for the next few days and some meals for the freezer.. Bulk cooking will always be cost effective, firstly because of the efficient use of fuel and secondly because ingredients work out cheaper when bought in larger amounts. Yes, I know that is an obvious statement, but sometimes we may have to remind ourselves of this. How often have we cooked just enough for one meal because we haven't got ourselves organised or are  "in a rush"- as if it took any longer !! I'm inspired to write on this subject because EGD has just called with her partner and has been discussing how they are planning to shop and cook when they move into their first home together in July (at present they are living at YD's ) YGD's partner is a careful young chap who works hard and looks after his money, saving for anything he buys and researching what is the most cost effective item to buy. They plan to shop at the weekend and cook the week's meals on Sunday, putting extra portions away in the freezer. He tried a Homity pie I had just made and really liked it. I said that perhaps they could make one for a meal and some smaller ones to take for his packed lunch. They were taken with this as a concept and are going to add this and some other suggestions to the recipes they are collecting.

The family will be here for tea tomorrow. That means about eight of us and perhaps a couple of take-aways (if the grandchildren are working, they don't like to miss out)
I plan to serve Lasagne, Foccacia, Coleslaw, steamed veg, vegetable slice (from the freezer) with Rice pudding (made in the other slow cooker) with Nelson's Eye ( a spoonful of jam!) for afters. YGD will make hot biscuits to go with the pud - she will like doing that.
I have made far more savoury mince than needed tomorrow and have frozen the rest for a chilli.

 How I make Frugal Industrial Quantities of Lasagne Mince. - Place  mince browned in oil in the slow cooker with minced red pepper, onion, celery, garlic and carrot. Add some minced soya  to make it go even further and add further protein. Don't forget to "clean out" the mincer with a couple crusts and add this - my mother always did! Then pour a large tin of chopped tomatoes (Farm Foods sell two extra large tins for £1) and a couple of pints of stock made with red Oxos over this and cook for several hours. I season the mix after an hour or two with salt and pepper and basil, but prior to this I take out a good pint of the mix and add paprika and beans for a Chilli later in the week. You could also add minced squash, swede, mushrooms etc to the vegetables if you want - it's a good way to get veggies into those who aren't too fond - just don't tell them !
This will be layered with cheese sauce and lasagna sheets (Aldi Essentials) and cooked for 40 mins at 180o

I have made 1.5kg bread dough. Halving this I have made  a large focaccia to go with the Lasagne and a large cheese bread to go with soup next week.
I made 3 pints of cheese sauce yesterday - some for the lasagne, some for a cheese onion and potato pie next week and froze some for another time (fish mornay ? cauliflower cheese ?)
I also made 1.5 lbs of shortcrust pastry for - Homity Pie, Cheese and Onion Pie and half a pound frozen for another time.
So with the ubiquitous ( here anyway!) fish and eggs and a rather tasty tandoori rabbit I made last month, the week is organised. Voila!
Tomorrow morning I am going to help YGD measure the windows at her new house. YD will make the curtains and I reckon those black-out linings that I bought in the Callington Charity shop for £2  might come in useful !
It's been a very busy day here,cooking and looking after the increasing brood of chicks and rabbits and even more planting. Oh yes and 2 lots of Minutes for the Civic Society, so I have just poured myself a not too small, tell the truth LARGE , whisky with ice.
Angelsey Allsorts asks why we have named our Buff Orpington Cockerel Hugh ? Do you know, I can't remember ! So the messages are flying around Facebook ( it's how we conference in this family) to see if anyone remembers - there is ALWAYS a reason!
 Just switched on the Television - Eurovision !! Oh No! but at least it is at the end, so I get to know the result without watching the show. Nahh ! I reckon I will turn it off and go to bed with my "medicine" and read a book.

Good Night Dear Frugal Friends and thanks for reading

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Ey Up Me Duck !

 "Ey up me duck"!  - that is Derbyshire for "Hello" - honest !                                                                                                                                                                    I'm having a very DERBYSHIRE Day today. For my friends from across the seas, Derbyshire is in the heart of England and very beautiful it is too. We have much to be proud of , some well known and some not so well known, as with our very own breed of chicken  The "Derbyshire Redcap" This is an endangered breed and some might say rightly so for something that looks as though it carries it's brain outside it's skull!! We have three DR hens at present and are hoping to get a new cockerel soon (old one popped his clogs at a good age) as, though they put up with the amorous antics of a Black Maran (Russell) and a Buff Orpington (Hugh) I'm sure they would prefer someone who is of their Culture, with whom they can have lovely Derbyshire children.
 This particular hen is climbing the hay loft steps, hoping to find a place to lay eggs that I haven't sussed. It's part of the game they play with me ! She looks a little cross that she has been found out!

Something else that Derbyshire is famous for is that the famous "Bouncing Bomb" ( have you seen "The Dam Busters" ?) was tested at Ladybower Reservoir in the Derbyshire Hills. The bombs were carried by Lancaster Bombers. Today was the 70th Anniversary of this and the only remaining air-worthy Lancaster Bomber flew over our house today on its way to Ladybower where it would be met by two other WWII aircraft. in homage to this event. We knew what is was as the sound of a Lancaster is so unique and can be felt in your chest. We ran outside to see it fly past, but unfortunately I didn't have time to get my camera. I'm not too fond of aircraft or of flying for that matter, but there is something about this particular plane that makes me emotional.
Enough of this Gill, pull yourself together!
I think I might pursue the Derbyshire theme more another day.
Lovely tea tonight- Cheese, onion and potato pie with a winter stirfry of onions, carrot, cabbage, swede, garlic and celery. Followed by Rhubarb and Custard. Oh yes, we know how to live !!

I'm off to bed to read now. Will decide which book to read when I get there. I usually have at least four books on the go by my bed.
Thanks ever so much for bearing with me and reading my blog.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013


Hello Frugellers
What have you done to the weather?! Here spring had sprung and small creatures were gambolling in the field or scratching in the garden under the watchful eye of their mother. Then what happens? Ever watched Peter Kay and his skit about the dinner ladies ?  "EVERYBODY IN.. IT'S SPITTING!!" Mother hens are screeching to their tiny, fluffy offspring, racing for cover, while trying to keep their brood together. Chaos!

 Here's a picture of our cat Dixie enjoying the sun (before it rained obviously) surrounded (not all in picture) by mother hens and chicks. This cat incidently is a KILLER. She brings in rabbits, moorhens, moles etc you name it, she catches and eats it. However she knows that the chicks mustn't be touched. The one and only time she chased some chicks she had a gardening glove thrown at her and a furious shout and she got the message. Sorry about the shadow, I'm no David Bailey.

I've been planting like mad over the last couple of days, knowing the rain was on its' way and appreciating that nothing waters plants in better than rain, I have tried to steal a march on it. So, everything that isn't frost-sensitive is now in the garden. I shall plant the beans, corn, squashes etc after the first of June.

Went to buy a walking foot on Monday for my quilting...HOW MUCH !? Came away shaking my head and muttering to myself that surely I could get it cheaper elsewhere. The guy in the shop was extremely helpful, giving me good advice and I said I would think about it. I went home and looked it up on the net, where I could get it quite a bit cheaper. However, I reckon I ought to go back and support a man who knows what he is talking about and is probably struggling to keep his brilliant shop open. SO I'm going back there next week to buy my walking foot, after I've sold my body and taken a few bottles back (that shows my age) !!
That's all for now, back Soon

Friday, 10 May 2013

Tree House Hen, a lamb shower and Early Rhubarb

Feeling somewhat punch drunk this morning after last night's Civic Society AGM. It was really busy and well attended and there was lots to see and do. Today (tonight actually) I shall try to pull it together into minutes of the AGM and then minutes of the ordinary meeting/social that followed. Our newly elected County Councillor made an appearance to meet us (and we him) and was asked some interesting questions by society members. Good night, but I was ready for my bed last night!
Well I wrote that this morning and I haven't even started the minutes and unlikely to now!! Hey Ho  maybe tomorrow.
The day has been busy, mostly faffing around with mums and chicks. A surprise hatching as been from a hen we found hidden in the tree house last Sunday  YGD had asked if we could play a ball game and I knew that I had put a large bucket of bats and balls into a small shed that is not easily accessible. Out the other end of this shed is a "secret" way into a tree house that is covered in ivy and damsons.  Because it is not longer safe to use we have never mentioned it to YGD who is much younger than the other grandchildren. So she found out about it and was very excited that we had a "Secret Tree House". When we peeped in ( not safe to climb into) there was a black hen hunkered down in the far corner. So each day since then I have checked her out to see if all is well. Today when I looked the hen was on the ground in the small shed with two tiny chicks. Clearly the early hatchers had fallen out the tree and mother had followed. In the tree house there are 10 more (now cold) eggs. So two it is then ! The other hens with chicks have all ventured out today, so it has been chaos. The tally so far... 2 black hens with two chicks between them ! Two red hens with 5 chicks between them, Mummy Buff with 3 chicks  and now Tree House Hen with two. There are still six hens sitting in various strange places in the two major houses. Watch this space !!

One of the (still not too good) lambs has been scouring and because she hadn't been docked by the farmer we bough her from is in a very  messy state. The main worry with this is that the flies are attracted to this and can lay eggs that hatch into maggots that literally eat the flesh. This condition is called Strike and is very distressing. So yesterday EGD and I bought her in and gave her a shower in the bathroom. I have been bringing them in at night because we have a fox problem, but last night I also put the heat lamp on to ensure that she dried. To be honest I put the heat lamp on tonight too, as the weather is so wet at the moment and they need all the help they can get.

Here is a picture of some of my first (forced) rhubarb, this is lovely and pink and tender. I cover half of my rhubarb with compost bins as they start to push through the ground and the exclusion of light creates this lovely stuff, which is a different animal from the other rhubarb to come. I have sufficient to sell, so I shall put a sign out at the gate tomorrow. It all helps!

Looks like the weather isn't too good this weekend. Still plenty I can to. There lots of pricking out to do in the green house . I need to do a bake (Adam is here and he loves to bake too) and I might even find some time for a bit of sewing. There is also an ENORMOUS pile of ironing, but I can't say I fancy that !

 Bye for now Frugal Friends and thanks for reading my ramblings.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Hope for the future

Afternoon Frugellers
Yesterday I decided that there was hope for the future when we supported young people who are dear to us to live frugal and self sufficient lives.

The first pic is of EGD and her boyfriend (EGDB!)  loading a wardrobe they had just bought second hand, along with 2 bedside tables and a chest of drawers. They will soon be moving into their first home and have been sourcing some very good deals to furnish and equip it. So many of their contemporaries want new and matching and perfect and "ideal homes" immediately and paid for by credit card. This young couple have saved and paid cash for everything. They have happily accepted stuff that family and friends have offered, even if it doesn't match perfectly. "It'll do to start us off won't it"?

The next pic, which looks remarkably like the old Persil advert! is of D going through Gdson's newly acquired hive (Remember Gdson ? - he of the Ox Hearts and rotivator!). He bought this hive from someone who was bereaved of the person who kept the bees. They hadn't been touched for over two years and he was unsure of what he might find. So he asked his Uncle D, who has kept bees for over 40 years to go through them with him. Looking on is Gdson's father, who is very keen on the bees, which is fortunate as they are being kept in his garden!
Gdson has taken patterns from the old dilapidated hive and, with his dad, is merrily making new parts. He has made extras and reckons that he will sell some to pay for his expenditure. Nice one!

I'm a bit busy at the mo. getting the garden planted and seeded and also preparing for our Civic Society's AGM tomorrow night. As the secretary much falls to me. So it's agendas and reports and visitors and refreshments to sort. Off to the printer...

Bye for now, thanks for reading
Welcome  Francesca !

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Countdown to our Festival, Pea Planting and the Button Tin

    Back from another fishing trip to Cornwall ! Not a great catch again, but I have put 6 good size fillets of pollack in the freezer this morning.We don't go again until 7th June so I shall concentrate on the gardens now while the weather is favourable.
    I expect the family for tea today, so I bought a ham from the butchers in Callington, very reasonably priced at £6.99 and will easily feed us all, with lots of veg and a cheese sauce AND an onion sauce ( have to please everybody) ED is bringing a cheesecake and I shall make a steamed ( in microwave for 5 mins) sponge for those that like a hot pud.
    I now have 6 hens sitting and four lots of chicks born, not big broods, just twos and threes, but enough to keep us replenished and maybe even sell a few later when we see if they are girls or boys! The lambs continue to do poorly, so they are still on three bottles a day to help them along.
I expect YGD will want to help in the garden this afternoon when she gets here. her choice of jobs will be, mucking out rabbits, making cement for her grandad or planting bean seed in pots.
 ED and YD will be starting to de-thistle the paddock as we are now on countdown  (8 weeks) to our FAMILY FESTIVAL!!! This is a party that started some years ago and has grown and grown. People started to bring a tent so that they could have a drink and one year when it rained and rained ( no NOT last year!) and there were a dozen tents in the paddock, someone said "it's getting like Glastonbury" and that seems to have stuck, so it is now called "The Festival" We have games and races, there is usually a river challenge and family members sing and  play on the stage (a floor made of pallets) while the rest of us dance the night away. last year we also had Zumba, which we are definitely having again this year. As a child falls asleep it is rolled into a tent and all are safe. Last year 220 people came and  there were 35 tents and we had to borrow our neighbour's field for the cars, so we need to ensure as much of our paddock is fit for camping/ dancing/ races as possible. Hence the de-thistling today while the plants are small.

Most of my seeding has been done in pots and trays in the greenhouse and now is the time to get some plants in the garden and free up space in the greenhouse for staring the bean plants off. So today I have begun to plant the pea crop. Perhaps you remember when I used Child Labour to start off the peas in guttering ? Below is a pic of those sprutted plants going into the garden. I wet the soil in the guttering, undid the gaffer tape from one end and slid the mini-plants into a trough made with a hoe. After watering in well I covered with a netted cloche to keep off as many critters as possible!.

 On a different subject, my padded jacket finally gave up the ghost today and is beyond mending even for me! So I have made polishing cloths ( friends will snigger at that as I don't do a great deal of polishing!) with the larger pieces. There is also quite a haul of buttons,which minded me of how important a Button Tin is. Below is a picture of my button tin. This haul is the cumulation of 47 years of marriage and the addition of my mother's button tin. In the jars ( sorry about the quality of the photo) are different colours seperated out, red, blue and green and a jar of toggles and leather or wooden buttons. This sorting was done by Adam (shared lives) on a cold day and he spent hours doing it, loving a job that made sense to him and was useful to me. In the middle you can see the buttons I took off my jacket today. in latter years I have started to thread all sets of buttons as I take them off, which saves sorting through the tin at a later date. Over the years the children, grandchildren and foster children have had hours of interest and fun with the button tin and I can't remember when I last bought a button.  I am sure many of you can think of games, crafts and educational tasks that can be done with the Button Tin.

 Another lovely day here in deepest Derbyshire, must go now.
I wish you all peace

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Damsons and Container gardening

Hello All !
A LOVELY day today. The sun shone again and I dried three more lines full of washing. The bees were happy and flying and visiting the damsons, sloes and plums. It looks like we will get a good crop this year from the stone fruit.  Last year was dire with only  few pounds of fruit. Damsons, in particular, are very valuable to us. Apart from the jam and wine that I make we sell damsons from the gate, we get regular customers year after year who buy something that is not always available in the shops.. The money from these sales pay for the sugar for our preserving and hay and straw for the animals in winter, so when we have a crop failure we feel it pretty hard.  However, I am always mindful that for us this is unfortunate, but at least it is our way of life and not our total living. For farmers it is catastrophic when a crop fails and the adverse weather over the last few years has hit them hard.
Below is a picture of one of our trees against a lovely blue sky  today. You can't see the bees but they are there!

Good news on the hen front ! Mummy Buff has a couple of chicks under her today and her body language tells me that there may be more to come. In another box 2 hens have been sitting in tandem for the last 3 weeks and today have been proudly sharing 2 chicks ! there are more eggs in the nest but between them they have been kicking these eggs around while fussing over the chicks, so we'll see if anything comes of those eggs ( unlikely I reckon!) Two other hens are due any day now and another four have started sitting this week. If any more go broody I shall have no eggs to eat or sell !
The frugal Graduate (what an admirable young woman) has been discussing container gardening. I thought you might like to see my containers. These are made from the boxes that those blocks that drives are made from ( you know what I mean?!) these are lined with black plastic and filled with sieved compost from our huge heap and mole hills. The old window frames fit rather well on top for a sort of cold frame effect. In the two to the left ( I wish we had creosoted those ) are carrots, the first one sown in rows the second broadcast, to see which works out best. the height of the sides of the container should deter the carrot root fly. The third one is sown with parsnips and I haven't put anything in the fourth yet... to be decided.
Been printing out our Civic Society Newsletter to day which I finally got round to writing!, which goes to 400 households in our area. the biggest fag is the back to back printing of 4 sides and then the stapling and folding, thank goodness for a good friend who came for lunch and helped with this. Tomorrow I shall post about a hundred and other society members will do the rest. Later we're off to ED's for tea.

Sleep well dear frugellers !