Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Don't you just love a Google search?

Don't you just love Google ?
Helping to sort out YGD socks sans move and she has MANY odd socks. Obviously my first thoughts are " We can't throw these away, there must be something we could do with them" There are only so many glove puppets one can make ( Glove puppet version of El Cid perhaps) so I Googled "What to do with odd socks" and yes, there were several pages. I have marked a couple that look promising and will peruse them soon.
 My next search was for something to do with those 15 rashers of bacon left from the Sainsbury's "cooking" bacon. We shall definitiely have a few rashers grilled tonight with the left over potatoes from last night, fried, and a couple of poached eggs. But that does leave eight rashers to be inventive with. And yes there is a site answering the question   " What can I do with extra rashers of bacon?" After a quick squizz at the site I reckon my favourite so far is - stir fry until crispy and then add finely shredded cabbage, chilli and some soya sauce. I have been swayed towards this recipe somewhat because we have cabbage and chillis in the garden and soya sauce in the cupboard!

 Been studying an old (1702) map of our area today. I could look at maps all day. A friend bought the original at auction and has kindly made me a copy as he knows that our civic society archives any old papers and maps and hold an exhibition of local history each winter. It is facinating to see how sparsley populated the area was, but that the names written by buildings are familiar and can still be found within the area. In fact a couple of elderly people so named are part of our oral history project. I can't wait to show them this early map, I'm sure they will be thrilled to see their ancestors names.
A day of good garden-soaking rain after all the heat. Apparently it might turn warm again tomorrow, which is great for the children as they are on holiday. Talking of children, it is YGD 8th birthday tomorrow, so we will be going over for tea. I have made garlic bread and coleslaw to take as ED is making jackets with chilli, tuna and cheese as fillings. YGD's other grandma is making the cake ( an very nice it will be too)
Must stop procrastinating now and write some stroppy letters to council officials on behalf of the Society.
Welcome to my blog Gaz, always lovely to see a new follower.
Good Night All

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

A frugal card

Thought you might enjoy seeing this card I received from a dear friend who I know now reads my blog. He knew this would amuse me.. a frugal card! I guess he downloaded it and printed it out and it came by snail mail.. what a treat- a letter !! I have determined that I will send it back to him with the thank you boxed ticked. he'll like that.
The next picture is of our brassica patch now that it is covered against the cabbage white butterflies.
And finally here are a couple of pictures I took today of the bacon rolls (yesterday's blog) before and after cooking. I placed the bacon rolls onto some chard stalks and then surrounded them with corgettes and tomatoes. I then dribbled a parsimonious amount of olive oil over the lot and put in the oven for half an hour. While this was cooking I boiled some new lincoln potatoes.. Job  done!

That's all for now folks. Off for a shower as we have been weed clearing on the canal today in readiness for the volunteer group that are coming this weekend to do some restoration work. Big weed pulling is sweaty work!

Monday, 29 July 2013

An Ordinary Day

This time last week I was waiting to watch "Long Lost Family" which was running late. Then suddenly I looked up, the room moved, I found I was unable to stand and then started to be sick. The rest as they say is history !! So a fresh start and I AM watching Long Lost family now!
 Had a baking day today as we had no cake in the cupboard or freezer and we are expecting quite a few folk tomorrow as we hope ( thunder storms permitting!) to do some clearing on the canal. Had a trawl through the cupboards and used up dried fruits, nuts, shrivelled lemons and scrapings of marmalade. I made two date and walnut loaves, a lemon drizzle cake and a fruit and nut cake.
 The netting cage over the Brassica garden  is finally finished D. has sat in the field sewing the netting together, looking for all the world like a fisherman mending his nets ! Will take a picture tomorrow of the finished article.
 Made a fleeting visit to town today (don't know how to do it slowly) the Co-op has mature cheese on offer... buy one get two free. at £4.19 per 300g pack. that's 900g for £4.19. Not bad and as the packs are sealed I shall freeze one. Popped into Sainsbury's for cooking margarine at £3 for 2kg and also bought some "cooking" (what else?) bacon at £1.10 a kilo. I have made 8 bacon and stuffing rolls for tomorrow, which we will have with tomaotes, courgettes and potatoes. I used 4 old crusts, an onion , sage and thyme to make the stuffing, which I rolled  into a sausage shapes and then rolled in the bacon rashers. I shall cook these in the oven with the veg alongside. There are still 15 rashers of bacon left !! What to do with them hmmm......
  Just been reading the new Smallholder magazine. Apparently, IMPORTED bumble bees are being found to be bringing diseases into the country. IMPORTED ash trees have bought in Ash Dieback. Can someone explain to me why we need to import something that is indigenous to this country? Yes, I know we need extra bumble bees for crops under glass, but why can't we rear our own ? and as for Ash trees, they are very nearly a weed around here, we could EXPORT the b****rs!
 All for now folks. Had a good cry at Long Lost Family, which I really enjoyed (both the programme and the blubber)
Keep Well

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Welcome Foster dog

Here is Samson ( Sam) YD's new foster dog. Isn't he handsome? He has a lovely nature and today has met the sheep, the chickens and (not so good) Percy the parrot, who tried to attract him for a bit of nose nipping with "come on, come on, come on". Sam gave a  little  "ruff" and was led out of the room.
We are pleased to say that Sam is good with cats, as YD has three. He saw our cat, Dixie, today and showed no interest, which was good. Dixie likes well behaved dogs but not barky ones.
Sam's favourite food is carrots. (cheap and healthy treat) As Sam is 10years old he will stay with YD until  someone can offer him a "forever" home soon. Otherwise he will be long term fostered with YD (another term for forever I guess!)
Planning for a couple of big birthdays this week. YGD is 8 years old this week (any birthday is a big one when you are a little girl) and our grandson is 21 years old this week! Both my daughter and I were child brides you know - must have been !! I  have bought some silly nonsense that a girl can't live without nowadays for YGD. Grandson will get money towards a new phone that he desperately needs as his is broken.
 Spent the day in the garden again. I really need some bad weather to force me indoors to do some much needed housework.
 Out to friends tonight after Countryfile and a shower.
Until tomorrow

Saturday, 27 July 2013

My Frugal Granddaughter, Cabbages and Foster Dog

My Eldest Granddaughter has recently moved in with her boyfriend as you may have read in previous posts.
 She and her BF are really getting it together with their meal planning. A few days ago I gave her some brocolli and spring cabbage from our garden and she bought  some sausage from the local butchers (she works there so actually made them !) and some potatoes.
She cooked all the veg up at once so that after sausgage and mash with veg, BF made bubble and squeak which they had with bacon (couple of rashers left over) which still left some veg so after fetching half a dozen eggs from her grandma's chooks ( No I didn't expect her to pay for them !!) she made a frittata. She was very pleased with the result as she had never made a frittata before and has sent me pictures by facebook, which I am happy to share with you.
The first pic is before it went in the oven. In the dish is leftover cabbage, brocolli and bacon. She added a chopped onion, salt and pepper, then poured over 3 eggs with a little milk and then sprinkled a little grated cheese on top.
 Here is the finished product which they both said was yummy and very filling and they didn't need anything else to go with it.
D and I have been erecting netting over the brassics today. The whole garden needs protecting against the dreaded cabbage white butterfly, which has been out in huge numbers this weekend. The crop has had netted hoops over the plants, but the plants have outgrown the hoops now so we have built a sort of cage, which I can actually enter to tend to the plants too. We haven't quite finished it...hopefully tomorrow after this super thunder storm - well lightening storm actually as we haven't had a deal of thunder. The rain has been heavy but not damaging, just what our thirsty garden needs. My only worry is treehouse hen.. I wonder if she has enough cover?
YD fetched a new foster dog today. He is an old boy (10 years old) in desperate need of a home after a family breakdown. I think YD already loves him as he is a lovely chap who is okay with her cats and EGD's dog too. She bought him to see us today but we were visiting a friend at the time and missed them. So I guess we will see him tomorrow.
Tea today was frozen roast pork from Christmas with peas and kale from the garden and a sort of sauce made from sauted onion, courgette (garden) and tomato and thyme with some stock. That is the last of the Christmas meat and it had kept very well with no freezer burn or tainting. Mind you I had wrapped it extremely carefully.
 I am feeling much better today and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your good wishes.
Goodnight dear blogging friends

Friday, 26 July 2013

MRI Clear ! Hurrah!

Just back from the results of my MRI and there is no sign of a stroke. Hurrah!. For the last few days I haven't been driving while waiting for the results.  I have realised that the quality of our life would change immeasurably if I didn't drive. In fact I don't know how we would manage. Last week I had to wait for people to be either going my way or out of theirs! Just for a bottle of milk or a birthday present or the animal food or...... I could go on !
I realised that our trips to Cornwall would happen less as I share the driving with D and drop him off at various places, making the trip go smoother and saving huge parking fees. As a (almost) non-drinker I am happy to drive when we go out, which we do often. If I didn't drive D. would have to take the pledge !
And as for shopping. I go with D. as little as possible as I like to have a dash round and he likes to take his time.
So It's back to almost normal and the independent lifstyle that I love.
( I was a bit dissapointed that the results were purely about the possible stroke and not the inner ear stuff, but I guess time will tell on that one)
I'm about to go out into the sun and do a spot of pea, blackcurrant and raspberry picking now, as I'm still on a bit of a go-slow.
Back with a more coherant post later.
Many, many thanks for your best wishes and thoughts

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Not too well

Just a quick post to keep in touch.
Well the programme I was waiting for on monday night was cancelled because of the extra long news re. the Royal baby. This turned out not to be such a loss, as within the hour of writing that blog I was taken to hospital !
 Still awaiting test results and home since last night. Now under strict instructions to rest ( ME!!??) So, I have either a) Labrynthitus b) Menieres or c) a Transistional Ischeamic Attack. Apologies to all nurses out here if the spellings are wrong.
I feel a bit fragile still, but will get back on the old blog soon

Monday, 22 July 2013

Glad I'M not in labour!

Gosh it's hot  today  -Glad I'm not in labour!! "First babies can take 12 hours or more" REALLY??!! I was 36 hours with my first, I hope kate doesn't take that long as there are only so many ways reporters can say "She hasn't had it yet"
Storms are threatened for tonight so we have been drain clearing so that our buildings don't flood. Oooh the glamour of my life! I actually like a good thunder storm. Fortunately ours aren't as violent as those experienced in the States this year, .
  Despite the lack of rain over the last few weeks the veg gardens are now doing quite well, with peas, mange tout, spinach, salad leaves, cabbage, romanesco, brocolli, garlic, chillis and the first of the beans now ready. We have picked most of the soft fruit now, with just the last of the blackcurrants and the raspberries to come. What we are expecting is a good stone fruit harvest this year. My friend J. will come up from Cornwall to help pick, which is a tremendous help.
Having a really frugal week this week and living out of the freezer and cupboards. As we have plenty of veg coming in now, it is not as difficult as earlier in the year when I did my £1 a day challenge when I really missed fruit and vegetables. I have a homity pie in the oven as I write this, made fom some left over pastry from a bake I did last week and some left over jacket potatoes. I have used garlic and parsley from the garden and a sprinkle of cheese.  A couple of eggs in a couple of Tbs of milk poured over the filling binds it together. We will have this with Salad leaves and mange tout.
 D. has finished the new hive he has been making to house the latest swarm. He has made an excellant floor from a Solar panel packing case. " Put that on your blog !" he says, and I am glad to do so, as it illustrates how much easier it is to be frugal if you are married to a bloke who can  turn his hand to just about anything.
 We have now bartered with two swarms and have two to sell, which is a first for us!
 My Eldest Granddaughter has been here today to borrow my interenet, as she has recently moved house and can't afford the interenet yet. She and her boyfiriend are such a careful young couple  who shop around and save for everything before they buy. However today she has been distraught as she is trying to insure her car and the quotes are getting sillier and sillier. She is a lovely girl who has just finished a two year full time college course, when she also had a part time job. She also volunteers at least once a week and now has two jobs. However £4,000 per annum is a HUGE hit on her small purse and she feels very discouraged. It is hardly suprising that many young people drive around without insurance! A car is an essential around here, to enable you to get to jobs. There are no buses after tea time and those that are running during the day are not neccessarily going where you need to go!
Rant Over !!
On a lighter note here is YGD helping me to pick the last of the cherries. She is wearing my sun hat and it looks SO much better on her than me!
 And here she is cooling off in the river. I do hope she will hold these moments as memories of her times with her grandma and grandad.
 I made some strawberry and gooseberry jam with the very last of both fruits. It is rather good and made a lovely filling for the sponge cake I made for YD's birthday tea yesterday. Three jars are put away for a taste of summer in the winter.
That's about all for now Blog friends. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.
Off to read all YOUR blogs now and then I am going to settle down for a bit of mending and a good cry at   " Long Lost Family" Does anyone remember the Noel Edmunds Christmas show, when he reunited folk and suchlike? The girls and I used to cry until our eyes were puffy and I bet that they will both be blubbering away tonight !


Saturday, 20 July 2013

Entertainment postscript

Just a couple of add-ons
At the start of the day everyone was given a sheet of A4 - as you see no expense spared!- and told that at 5 o'clock there would be a paper areoplane competition. The furthest to fly received the priceless prize of being the WINNER!
As you see this was popular with all, even though I nutured a rather sexist view that only the blokes would be interested. That showed me!
I have now manged to download a couple of pics of the men's milkmaid race...

Back soon

Friday, 19 July 2013

Entertainment at our frugal Party II

That's Entertainment !!(sing along everyone!)
SO, as promised, this is what we do for entertainment at our big bash. It's fair to say that the word sophistication doesn't come into it, just good rollicking fun and games. Providing some sort of entertainment actually saves you money. How many parties have you been to and have spent most of the time grazing the buffet? Lots I bet! If there are things going on people leave the buffet table to either watch or take part I promise you.
At our "Do" we do games/ races for the children and increasingly for the adults too. Each year we seem to add a different race and upscale it for the (supposedly) grown ups. This year the races were egg (potato) and spoon, wheelbarrow, three-legged (child with adult) sack race and obstacle. Now that doesn't sound a lot but when we have several age groups and then heats and then finals it's plenty! And (whisper this) if you come first you are the ....Winner ! Oh yes! Call us old fashioned, but you actually get a sticker of your choice to wear if you win. ALL competetors get a dip in a sweet assortment ( £2.99 from the cash and carry)
Throughout the day one of my nephews, who has some Disco and microphone stuff (can't remember what you call it!) acts as compere with help from ED.
Here are a few pics of children and grown ups doing their best to be the first across the finishing line.

Looks like the three legged, Sack race, when one boy broke his toe and his mother didn't sue us!! and the fiercely fought adult potato and spoon race.
The Dad's obstacle race was the highlight of the afternoon. I am constantly amazed at how people are happy to make complete tw**s of themselves just to get a sticker. This race had to be in three heats because of the number of dads that wanted to take part. Now I understand the first lot doing it, but the second and third lot KNEW what they were letting themselves in for. The Milkmaid's Obstacle Race was as follows...
  • Pick up a bucket of water
  • Run a few yards and put on a fetching skirt (made from some union jack material left over from last year)
  • Run a few more yards and put on a fetching mop cap (ditto above)
  • Run a few more yards and put on an apron.
  • Fill a pint pot with water from the bucket, hold the pint pot of water on your head and run a few more yards.
  • Climb over a rope (still with pint pot of water)
  • Run a few yards and put on some lipstick with the help of your spouse/daughter etc.(still with pint pot of water)
  • Finishing line !!
Now I think you will agree that we have now reached new heights of sophistication. I will post a picture as soon as I get one.

After the races it's time for any child that wants to do a turn to take to the stage. This is not a competition, just a chance to show off really... and why not?
 Here are a group of 7/8 year olds singing and dancing
And what better way to cool off on what was a very hot day that a dip in the river ?
After a break to replenish drinks etc it was time for ZUMBA !!! 70-80 men, women and children had a go at this. ( I watched.... and that Kn******d me!)
Then, as happens every year, my nephew and his friend, who used to actually do it for money, get together again to play songs we all know and love to sing a along to. We gather our chairs around the "stage" and sing and dance until midnight. As children fall asleep they are rolled into tents.
At midnight the music stops and the bonfire is lit at the bottom of the field away from houses and those who haven't crashed out already gather around the fire just to talk and chill. Perfect Day!!!
So there you are, Our entertainment for 200 people from 2o'clock until midnight that cost us £2.99 (sweets) and £6 for buckets.
 You have probably read enough by now and need to lie down an a darkened room!

Had a busy day today, sorting bees. We have had two large swarms this week and are running out of equipment to house them. So D. has been cobbling hive parts together while I have been getting frames of wax foundation ready for the little darlings.
Apart from tree house mummy, all hens and chicks are now in the Orchard.. Hurrah! Life will be so much easier.
After saying that we have had hardly any butterflies this year, we have been inundated with Cabbage Whites today.. Stand by your Brassicas Gill!
D. Has just come in from dispatching a wasp's nest that was in the boiler room of the village hall. I think he is mad to do it as, though he has all the beekeeping gear, he is allergic to wasp stings and goes into anaphalactic (is that how you spell it?) shock if stung by a wasp (not bees) We keep adrenalin in, but even so....
Good night dear blogging friends. I'm so glad to be back in blogland reading how you are all getting on

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Planning for our frugal party- part I

 I started this blog just before our Sky modem gave up the ghost last wednesday night, so I'm on catch up. I have some photos too but am struggling to load them.

This is how we have a "careful/frugal" party for 200.
When I say "We" I mean our two daughters and ourselves. We only ask people we like/love and are comfortable with. That sounds obvious, but it isn't really.
The planning starts at the LAST party.
What hardly got touched? What was popular? What will have to be bought? What can we make ourselves?
Over the years several people had asked if they could contibute to the party. Many people have a signature dish which they enjoy making.. Never say No! They really mean it. Offer to buy the ingredients for any dish someone offers to make. and ALWAYS ensure everybody knows who made what "The lemon drizzle? Yes isn't it good ? Agatha made that."
We make a rough list that notes these dishes, set up a google account that we can each access and load the list onto this account. As we purchase, make or are donated an item we note it on the list
We also set up a facebook event page, Where we invite everybody and then keep them informed on how the plans are going and what we plan to do for entertainment. This also serves for a forum for people to offer advice, ideas and help and generally wind each other up looking forward to the day!
Over  the three months before the party we -
-Buy dry and canned goods when they are on offer.
-Clear the freezers for space and ask friends if they can help with space too.
-Use a cash and carry card.
-Bulk cook whenever we can. When I say "we" here I mean YD and I, as ED doesn't do a great deal of cooking- she's good at shopping though!
-Whenever we make bread or pastry, we make extra for the party to save on fuel and time. For instance, when making cake I always do some extra sponge which I freeze to use in trifle, extra pastry is made into blind-baked quiche cases. A bag of Lidl bread flour will make two huge tear and share loaves.
-Grow what we can for salads, garnishes.
- Don't get too fancy, probably one of the favourite dishes for children is plain boiled pasta! If you have your own hens or can buy from a cash and carry, people really enjoy hard boiled eggs.

I could go on and I have probably forgotten lots, but I reckon you in frugal land could probably teach us a thing or two.

Entertainment is important for a party which is held over a longish period of time. We have a large number of children to our festival, many of them camping ( with their parents of course!)
We also like to put on some entertainment for the grown ups too.
I'll cover entertainment in my next post. (hopefully, I will be able to put some pictures up here)
That's all for now as I must organise and write up the agenda for tomorrow's Civic Society members meeting.
Isn't it HOT here ?!
Hello Never too Old, welcome to my blog... good to meet you!
back soon

Back on the olde interweb

Back with internet connection after 6 days without as the modem broke down! I have needed counselling ! Back soon with updates

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Festival Weekend -Pallets and recycling

Back in harness with the old blog. I'll give an overview of the last few days to get you up to date (hope you are interested!)
Just before the party we realised that we now had no supers left for the bees if they were needed and with the weather set good we thought we ought to put this right. Below is my oldest friend J. When I say oldest, I mean I have known her the longest - we met when I was two and she was two and a half ( I never let her forget she is older than me) We stay with her when we go to Cornwall and she frequently stays with us and helps on the smallholding. J. loves organising and cleaning bee frames - each to his own - don't knock it, it suits me! So here she is getting ready to put the wax foundation in the old frames she has cleaned.
 So Saturday morning arrives and the last minute faffing needs doing, but there is plenty of time, when the phone rings. It's our nephew who has some broken PALLETS! Do we want then for our party bonfire later on?
 How can we refuse !? I'll be there in half an hour he says, so we gather the troops from the field, give everyone gloves and gather at the gate. At least we don't have to fetch these as he will deliver.
 Below is a picture of the second drop. Notice that the broken pallets are in those nice boxes that I have lined and am growing carrots in. Six more of these were dropped off, which we put on trolleys and took as far as the garage base.

 Here is a picture of the boxes sown with carrot seed earlier this year
 The broken pallets were loaded onto the trailer to be taken down the field to the fire,but we couldn't bear to burn the boxes. However they were rather in the way, until GDson had a brainwave - Why not put the recycling bags, boxes etc. in the pallet boxes to make them sturdier and more manageable?
So that's what we did. I wish I had take a picture at the time when they were neat and tidy. However, here is a pic taken Sunday morning, when all the containers are full.  It took J. and I over two hours to get this lot ready to take to the recycling centre!!
That's all for now. Part two will follow soon when I shall discuss how a party for 200 people doesn't have to cost a fortune.
Still hot here in Derbyshire. It is suppose to be cooling for a couple of days then getting hotter again.
Ooooh yes! I forgot - we picked ( well J. did) 24 punnets of gooseberries for sale, so we didn't do too bad in the end for the little green beauties.
Welcome Lynda. Glad to see you here!
Back soon with part two

Friday, 5 July 2013

Getting Ready for the Family Frestival

Good Morning  Frugal Friends !!
What a lovely day.
Been a bit busy this week getting ready for our family festival tomorrow. There are already 21 tents in our field and lots more to come over ther next 24 hours.
Most of the food is cooked, just need to make a couple more tear and share loaves (recipe to follow) a large Pavlova, Chocolate Trifle and industrial quantitiies of cheese straws and that will be the baking done.
D. is about to set off to collect the the barrel of beer he keeps in his workshop. Not all the time that is.. just this weekend!
I just have to finish off the props for the races and it's then the big tidy up and gazebo erecting. Then tonight the family will all stay and we will sit round the brazier on the river bank and chill with a few glasses, getting our stremgth up for tomorrow.
 Will put up some pics next week.
On the smallholding front, have finally put my signs out for gooseberries for sale. The last of the hens is now esconced in the orchard so that I can uncover my precious chicken attracting plants. Of the two remaining broody's still sitting in the barn, one is definitely having that "Something is happening under me" shuffle.
 Yesterday EGD and I supered the swarm that we collected a few weeks ago. The weather is certainly suiting the bees this year so far.
Off to put some dough on to ris.
Back soon
Thanks for reading this rather scrappy post

Monday, 1 July 2013

Fish eating hens

Here are the hens converging on their "fishy bits" (What no chips?!) They will peck away until just the bones are left and as clean as a whistle. These I will carefully dispose of as they can be very sharp. The fish takes very little to cook, just a pint of water from the kettle poured onto the bits and five minutes heating on the gas will suffice as the fish carries on cooking if the lid is left on until cold. I noticed that the jackdaws and the crows are sitting in the trees waiting for me to leave so I hung around for a bit, using this time to fish some of the duck weed out of the pond, which is to the right of this picture.
  Below is a picture of one side of the paddock, all nicely cut and ready for the party at the weekend. I'm not sure if you can make it out but the edge of the paddock is left rough and is lined with trees. We planted these trees over the last thirty years. They all indeginous and have a purpose either for ourselves or the wildlife and collectively they are a joy.
I'm not sure if I have said before but we use no chemicals whatsoever on our smallholding, so the wildlife that visit us and of course our bees are safe.
Tonight we had leftovers for tea (surely not!) Some of yesterdays vegetables covered in the remaining onion sauce and topped with mashed potatoes and a sprinkle of cheese. We had this with some of the cold ham. I also had a few pickled onions with mine, because I fancied them !! It's a good job I'm over a certain age or D. would be worried about me having weird food fancies!
Shara asks how I make onion sauce. Here it is and I know Shara is comfortable with iffy amounts!
Finely chop a large onion and cook gently in a couple of tablespoons of margarine or butter. When soft, add a couple of tablespoons of flour. Cook for a minute before gradually adding milk until the required thickness is reached. Season to taste. As you can see this a really a basic roux.
 I'm going to try for an early night tonight and it is already 10.30, so I will love you and leave you.

More fish and getting ready

Back from Cornwall. Actually we got back at one o'clock on Sunday morning, but have really busy since then.
D. bought back 21lb fish, which has made 7lb fish fillets for the freezer. As usual the bones, skin, heads etc. have been cooked in a large saucepan for the chickens. There were also some bits and pieces which I have poached and will make a fish pie made with some left over mashed potatoes and vegetables from yesterday's tea.
 Yesterday started with me saying hello to the chickens and rabbits before attacking the fish. That took me to late morning when the first Festival Fairy arrived (ED really) Each year before our family party a few stalwarts come to help get the place ready. This means a bit of a tidy up ( well quite a lot really) and a make-safe as smallholdings tend not to be the safest places on earth. As the day wore on and more FFs arrived we got quite a bit of work done and much planning/organising. "Shall we group those tents together?", "Shall we ask so-and-so to help with...", "Have we enough paracetemols for sunday?"
 After tea,(boiled ham, onion sauce, mashed potatoes and lots of different vegetables, followed by apple crumble) we had a last quick conference before they all went home and after a quick shower D. and I went to see some friends a few miles away for the evening. In bed by midnight.
 Today will see me weeding as the chick weed is a foot high in places and tidying the gardens a little more. I'm still organising hens and chicks, They are all over the place and I am running out of places to put them. I think I may sell a few. So if anyone in the midlands wants hens with chicks at foot, give me a shout!
 I also need to get my punnets out (sounds a bit rude that!) for the goosegogs. The bushes in the paddock garden are doing  quite well, which is good news after the goosegog disaster in the fruit garden, so I reckon it is worth me putting a sign out.
 Will also take a few pics today to liven the next post up
Back soon