Monday 24 February 2014

Bee update and meal plan

Hello All
Firstly, a big Hello to Linda at Greenhaven ( we have a lot in common) who has just popped up on the side bar as a follower.
I notice that Frugal Mummy has rejoined us. She has been having terrible problems with her blog. So if you usually follow her (or even if you don't) get on over to her blog. She can be found at  -

Talking of followers etc. I listened to Frugal Queen's latest Vimeo and she says she gets up to two thousand views a day of her blog! Simple Suffolk Smallholder tells us that she gets one thousand. I take it that this is pretty much the norm (not for me you understand). A few weeks ago I suddenly got a HUGE increase in views and after a spot of detection, realised it was because Rhonda at "Down to Earth"(Australia)  had named my blog for suggested weekend reading. After my initial pleased surprise I started to get a bit panicky! What have I got to offer all these people? Of course the post that people viewed initially, through Rhonda's link was a particularly inane offering, just one of the loads of tripe I come out with occasionally (only occaisionally?!) because I am interested in it, but probably of no interest to anyone else. I then started to worry about how to keep people's interest and then I remembered that I started this blog for me and to join in the band of frugellers and smallholders whose blogs I so enjoyed. So I relaxed again and felt relieved that thousands of people aren't waiting to read my next pearls of wisdom and just happy that just hundreds are happy to read this drivel !

This morning I tied myself to the kitchen and while a goodly load of bread was rising I prepared and planned the weeks meals, mostly out of left overs.
 I often make leftovers on purpose by boiling more potatoes and veggies than I need or making twice as much sauce . Out of the freezer I took a portion of pastry from goodness knows when and six pancakes that I had made extra last week when YGD was here overnight. (she usually asks for pancakes for breakfast) I also hiked out a piece of yellow sticker belly pork and some frozen bread crusts. In the fridge are 4 rashers of Sainsburys "cooking" bacon and I have plenty of eggs now.
 Yesterday's dinner was boiled ham -I bought two joints, one smoked and one unsmoked from Lidl @£3.99 each, with onion sauce and cheese sauce (to please everyone) After the meal I sliced up much of what was left of the ham and put it aside for sandwiches for lunch (other lunches will be eggs in various forms)
From this little lot, the evening meals for this week are -
Monday - Home made chips with savory pancakes (ham and peas in onion sauce filling) with reheated brocolli
Tuesday - Roast Belly Pork with stuffing (made from those frozen crusts, our own onions and our own dried sage and thyme) roast potatoes and reheated cauliflower and brussels.
Wednesday - Bacon and eggs and bubble and squeak
Thursday - Ham and cheese pasties with mashed potato and frozen peas.
Friday  - Fish ( line caught by D. last year) with cheese and potato croquettes, Green beans in tomato sauce (frozen last autumn - last of our french beans)
Saturday - lamb chops with mashed potato, brussels from the last few plants and fried onions.
I haven't needed to think what we will have for Sunday yet as we are going to ED's for that meal.

It's not often I do a meals break-down on the blog, but I always plan for the week in my notebook, which usually works out well. As we are pretty busy this week, I have made most of this weeks' meals already and I'm feeling pretty righteous about it!

We were given an old rotavator a few weeks ago, which D. has finally managed to get going. Yesterday and today, amidst much muttering while he got the timing right, D.has rotivated the first vegetable patch (the other two are still too wet) we are expecting some cold air at the weekend and a good frost will break up the newly turned ground. While he was doing that I weeded and mucked the first strawberry bed, which should have been cleared up last back end and never got done. I also planted some early peas in drainpipes and put in the cold frame - don't want them coming on too quickly, which will make them too leggy and not hardy enough.

 As I reported a couple of posts ago all six hives are flying. Today we decided to feed the  two weaker hives (Nos 3 and 4), using a fairly strong syrup, ratio- two parts sugar to one part water - which will not freeze if we do get a frost. We had a worrying moment a couple of days ago with hive No 3. At least once a day I walk round the hives just to give them a look. No 3 seemed to have a very damp entrance. I told D and we left them for a day for it to dry, but the damp didn't seem to be lifting. So D, gave a much closer look and realised that the hive was leaning backward ever so slightly because the slab that the hive was sat on had sunk a little, probably because of all the rain we have had. He carefully hefted it forward and a good couple of pints of water ran out !! Those poor bees, thank goodness we realised, as it would have probably eventually proved fatal to the colony to be virtually sat in water.
We have started to put mesh floors in the hives. No 5 has one already and Godson made a couple for D. for Christmas. As soon as we have a warm enough day we will put one of the mesh floors on No 3 and one on No 4. The mesh floors are not for drainage, but as part of a system to fight the Varroa mite that has killed so many colonies world wide. However, after the experience with No 3 it is clear that mesh floors can have a secondary quality of drainage. Meanwhile D. had put a thin piece of slate under the back hive legs to straighten out the hive until we can do something a little more permanent, when we don't risk breaking the cluster of bees.

 Lastly, thank you to everybody who gave their views on the Lowry painting I blogged about in my last post. I'm  pleased to say that so far everyone who has voiced an opinion seems to think we should keep it and not sell it. This was not a foregone conclusion in Frugal land as some might think that the money could be better spent elsewhere.

That's it for now, Weaver of Grass and I have been having a bit of a chat about Foot and Mouth and how it affected her ( See her comment on my last post). I hope to continue with this subject next time to tell you how it affected us ( like Weaver) forever!

I wish you all peace

Friday 21 February 2014

Derby's Lowry

Hello Frugal Friends
I've just dropped D. and a friend off at the train station ( one mile away) They are off to the Beer Festival at the Roundhouse in Derby. This venue (where trains were turned on a huge turntable) is actually adjacent to the train station and a wonderful venue it is too. I remember as a child visiting the "Loco Works" open day  with my best friend, whose father worked in the workshops there. The turntable was working then. Later on, as an art student, I visited the Roundhouse (by now an empty, dusty building) to sketch the interesting shapes made by the beams in the ceiling. Now it is an annex for Derby College and a venue for all manner of things.
 In truth, Derby is not known for keeping it's treasures and is known by some as "Knock-it-Down Derby".   Recently, a Lowry has been bought up from the bowels of Derby museum and art gallery. It has been there since the 1946. I was born in Derby the same year, to a father who painted, went to Art College in Derby and regularly visited the Museum and Art Gallery from childhood and I had no idea we had a Lowry and a good one at that!  Apparently the painting  is one of many paintings by diverse artists, languishing in the archives. There is not room to show them all. So what to do?! I bet you know what I'm going to say next ! Yes, some people want Derby to sell the Lowry, which is worth an estimated £1 million. We could do with the money for all sorts of things,  people are starving,  care homes are closing, public buildings need renovating. There are many, many reasons to sell the painting. HOWEVER...Once the money is used it is gone and in public services one million pounds would be swallowed up in seconds! Why can't we use it to generate money?. Why can't we rotate the paintings that we have so that we can enjoy them all at at new exhibitions, which will attract more people to the city ? Why can't the painting be shown, in turns, at the museums in the smaller towns in Derbyshire, giving them a boost?
Agree or disagree ? Can we afford the "luxury" of paintings when services are stretched and the money could be used elsewhere?
     Here it is.....

It was our wedding anniversary on Thursday.... 48 years! Do you think we might make ago at it? Time will tell I am sure!

All for now. Off to bake a cake or two to feed some volunteers who are coming to work on "our" stretch of the canal tomorrow. (weather permitting!)

Welcome Jane Fearn to Blog Lovin. Hope you enjoy visiting my blog and join in when you feel like it!

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Derby Doris


Welcome  to Vada Wetzel, Sandy Humphreys, Lesley Jourden and Lucy on  Blog Lovin. Glad to have you on board.

I told myself that this year I would do a daily blog and use it more like a diary. As you know, I haven't done any such thing, rather it's usually 3 or 4 days between blogs. I suppose that's enough anyway, considering the rubbish I come out with. I was discussing my posts with YD and she agrees that it is better to do one interesting post every few days, rather than do one each day, with many of them starting "Nothing to write about today" I read enough of those without adding to them! So what you get from me is a longish post that has a heading that doesn't always reflect the content of the post, as it is littered with other random issues!

On Sunday D's Nephew- I'll call him Horace ( you'll know why in a minute) Popped in for a cup of coffee with his wife, whom he calls Doris - NOT her real name! and his mother in law and brother in law. Horace and Doris were married  a couple of years ago and are rubbing along quite nicely.
They are planning on getting chickens for their back garden. They have decided on three, which should be just right. "Have you got an idiot's guide to keeping chickens?" ( clearly for Horace we joked) I found a small book on backyard chicken keeping that I bought from a CS years ago and also lent them my John Seymour, which is not really the best book for backyard keeping of anything, but a jolly good read and hopefully will make them think of a bigger picture re. food production.
Doris is one of my Facebook friends. A couple of weeks ago she put up on Facebook "What does porridge taste like?" D. thought she was joking (she wasn't!) Several FB friends answered with ideas and then someone mentioned Heston's snail porridge. "Who is Heston?" Doris wanted to know! I need to state here that Doris is a bright, intelligent girl, but you would be forgiven for thinking otherwise!
I was showing them my blog and D. says You'll have to put this on your blog and as she comes from Derby, you'll have to call her Derby Doris - so Derby Doris it is then.
The reason I have called D's nephew Horace is because I had an aunt and uncle called Horace and Doris (long dead) and thought they sounded like a couple of mice!!

Anyone who knows me will realise how fond I am of this couple if I lent them my John Seymour . With all it's faults, it is still one of my favourite books and will be in my top ten books that SimpleSuffolkSmallholder was posting about a few days ago.  I have nearly assembled my list (in the manner of desert island discs for books) to share. Gosh, it is so difficult to choose. Do you think that there should be some basic books that are a given as well as the ten of choice? say a faith book like the Bible or the Koran , and The Lord of the Rings and the complete works of William Shakespeare

Now of things vegetable -
  Jerusalem Artichokes -I see in the recent post by Leigh at 5 Acres and a Dream that she is fermenting her jerusalem artichokes. Now while I have many many jeruslaem artichokes and am always looking for recipes for them.. I have always been cautious about fermenting, as in sauerkraut, as I understand that if the process is not followed correctly, there is a risk of spoilage at best and contamination, that could lead to illness at worst.  What are other people's thoughts on this? Has anyone tried making Sauerkraut?
Shallots - Because I grew last year's shallots from my own "seed"  I have bought fresh seed to grow from this year. This has meant that I have quite a few shallots left. If I do not use these soon they will either sprout or dry out, so I will need to process them . I have decided that I will do a couple more jars of pickled onions, some onions a la greque and some to freeze ready for casseroles.
Carrots - Yesterday I bought a bag of carrots (approx.20kg) for £1.50. I have put half aside for the rabbits. Of the remaining half  My friend C. and I have peeled several pounds today, some were cubed and open frozen for stews and some grated for the Carrot cakes I intend making tomorrow. I gave a bag to C. to take home with her and gave a bag to YD for her dog, who loves carrots as a treat.
Onions - There are about 4kgs of onions left in a basket from last years crop. They are starting to go a bit soft now. I will peel and slice this and put them in the freezer. It is always useful to have prepared veg to dip into isn't it?
Gosh what an exciting life I live!

Today, though it wasn't too bright, it was warmer than usual. Bees were seen flying from all 6 hives ! It was lovely to see them. So far so good.

YGD has just arrived to stay the night (it is half term) So we are in for a spot of cooking /drawing/ crafting/ scrabbling and rabbit cuddling. I'm looking forward to that!
All for now
Back soonish

Friday 14 February 2014

Frugal or Tight, Mean or Green?

A LOVELY day here today.
 We were able to get quite a lot done outside. D. was working with Colin, cutting up a large stack of pallets so that they could be go undercover before the rain comes again tomorrow. As manageable lengths, they are now stacked in the workshop and the guys will be able to work on them, whatever the weather.
 I have started to clear the paddock garden. I have re-staked the last dozen brussel plants and re-covered them with netting to protect  them against pigeons and chickens. I dug up another bucket of jerusalem artichokes for the rabbits and chickens, those plants go on and on!
  I sowed some more sweet peas and the first broad bean seeds today. I've also had a go at doing some "micro greens" with some really old seed, I reckon I have nothing to lose. I confess that micro greens sounds tad poncy for us, as we tend to eat "hearty" meals that fuel us for the life we lead. However micro greens should go well in egg sandwiches don't you think?

Thanks everybody for their comments yesterday. Nice to see Tideswell Man here. If you don't know of it, Tideswell  is a beautiful village in deepest Derbyshire.
I'm glad people are enjoying the advice to women on how to "maintain" their husbands and keep them happy. If you have any similar advice do share !
That was yesterday and today, guess what ? Rain and wind!
 I'm hunkered down inside after a few unavoidable outside jobs. The guys have the field kitchen lit in the workshop (they're never going to give it to me are they?!) I'm sat at the kichen table for a spot of mending and remaking.
 Here is a picture of the pile of tasks I have set myself for the afternoon. Starting from twelve o'clock is the hand towels I am making from old bath towels for  the kitchen and outside loo. I made  half a dozen earlier in the week and these should mean I have enough. Just out of sight at one o'clock is my favourite working shirt that needs its' collar turning. At four o'c.lock is a pair of jeans given to me by ED that need the waist taking in. At six o'clock is a pile of dirty plant labels and cable ties picked up from all over the garden and greenhouses over the winter. With the aid of my sharp, curved manicure scissors I can release the thingy that  secures the ties. When I have released a bunch I tie them together and put them in the dishwasher. Similarly I clean the plant labels with a piece of green (Scotchbrite?) and put them through the dishwasher too. At seven o'clock are the plastic collars that I have made for my brassica plants. When I cleared up the paddock garden yesterday I collected all the collars I could find and these too will need washing before putting away. Lastly, at ten o'clock is the new peg bag that I have cut out to replace the one that was torn from the line and trashed by the storm the other day.
I guess this is another of those "You took a picture of what!" photos. I see it as a statement of frugality and looking after the earth by recycling, but I suppose others might see it as Tight and Mean. Mind you, I'm pretty sure that if you are reading this blog, you will understand.

Have a good weekend all, Keep safe

Tuesday 11 February 2014

More advice for wives and other stuff

Hello from Muddy Derbyshire!
Greetings to Janet on Bloglovin. Comment and introduce yourself to us , if you can.
I seem to have lost a follower,  hope I didn't insult someone out there!

I am starting with some more good advice for housewives - This time from Good Housekeeping 1960 and gives advice to women on how to maintain their husbands -
"Don't ever darn his socks with wool of a different colour. You may think no one will see inside his shoes but he, the poor man, will think that everybody can see his toes and it will give him an inferiority complex"

"If dinner is late, don't flap or worry. But do lay the table. It will fill him with pleasurable anticipation"

"The lawn needs mowing. That shelf in the kitchen demands fixing and there's a tap in the bathroom that's been dripping for weeks. Your husband just sits there, doing nothing. Don't nag him. Remember that, as someone once said: "Half a loafer is better than no breadwinner"

So there you are. I recognise so much of the advice and the attention to keeping a man happy and a household harmonious. My mother could have written this article and, in truth, some of the advice is about maintaining ANY relationship.

The family were here for tea on Sunday, as is usual for us. Everyone was STARVING and ready for their meal. However, as in the advice above, dinner was late. Did I lay the table to "fill them with pleasurable anticipation" ? Errr No. They already had that from the smell of the leg of lamb that was roasting! So, out with the Scrabble, YGD latest craze after I bought her her own set for Christmas.
Here are the G'Daughters working as a team, against grandad and ED

The hens are really fed up with this weather. Here they are trying to push their way into the kitchen, where it is warm and dry. To the fore is Hugh, our Buff Orpington Cockerel. He is a lovely bird. As you can see there are a few upcoming cockerels behind him. There are enough hens for everyone and so there is no fighting. The only time that Hugh faces up to anyone is if hens fight and then he goes between them to keep the peace. Hugh is five years old now, but still has plenty of lead left in his pencil!

I said I would put a picture up of the open fire we are going to replace with a log burner. it looks a bit grotty in the photo, doesn't it? The wood being burnt here is willow from our field. The good thing about willow is that the branches are just right for fires and so don't need splitting. (If you are reading this Ken and Pam, I have replied to your questions about our willows in the comments of my last post)
 We have had rain followed by snow today. I can see that the snow has settled on the hill above us. A friend has just called and tells us that the snow is bad in the Peak District. More rain and  very high winds expected tomorrow. Goodness knows what D. will do with the Shared Lives Guys today, with this weather!
We were suppose to be going to Looe for a spot of Sea fishing this weekend. I guess we won't be going now, but will ensure that we support the West Country when it gets back on its feet. Frugal Queen has done a good post today telling people of all the great events to be staged this year in Cornwall. She asks for people to link her post to their Facebook page etc, which I have happily done. If you want to support the West Country please go to her page and follow the links.

Just sent D. off to sharpen my filleting knives. I shall stay in and cook today as it is so foul outside. I have taken a full shoulder of lamb out of the freezer and will bone it for 1. A casserole and  2 a rolled and stuffed joint.
We had some Sainsburys "cooking" bacon last night. For £1.10 there were three, really thick bacon chops. I cooked all three and put one aside for a quiche ( case made last week and frozen)  as we now have eggs too.
All for now Frugellers
Keep safe

Saturday 8 February 2014

Growing Willow

Hello All
Firstly Hello to Liz Allsop. Really good to see you over on my sidebar.

The wind and rain woke me up in the middle of the night and I expected the river to be over its banks this morning, but so far so good, it is just high. More to come though I believe. Whatever happens our house will not flood as it is a steepish field away from the river, with much lower land either side of us. Our next door neighbour has had to bring has sheep up from his bottom field as it is waterlogged. Non of this compares with those poor folks down south.

I put a picture of our stand of willows on my last post. Many people, like us have been considering growing for fuel as the price of  fuel rises. I found my original paperwork from when I bought my willow whips back in 2003, which may be of interest.
 At the time I was buying with basketry and garden features in mind, so was looking for different colours and  lengths. The types I bought were -
 Salix Daphnoides  (Helen's Red)
Salix Purpurea  (Holland)
Salix Purpurea  (Dark Dicks)
Salix Alba x Fragilis  (Flanders Red)
Salix Triandra (White Newkind)
Salix Viminalis (Longifolia)
These were bought as cuttings from West Wales Willows. (I don't know if they are still in business)
Over the years these trees have provided a rich source of animal food for goats, sheep and rabbits. I have made bean poles, pyramids and hoops for my netting (which nearly always root over the summer!).
We have taken the branches when they have been at the size for whatever we need them for and occasionally we would pollard every other tree. Some we have left to grow thick enough for fuel.
 We are about to plant some more trees. When we were tidying up the line last back-end I cut some foot long lengths from branches about finger width and have put them into a box of soil. I will stick them in the earth by March where we want them to grow. I will surround the area with some sort of weed cover too.

Weaver asked for an explanation re. the Christmas Pudding Slice that I made last week. I posted about it after Christmas 2012 too. In brief, Make some sweet pastry, Line a tray with half, then place sliced, cooked Christmas Pudding on top of this and cover with the second half of the pastry. If wanted you can "glue" the slices together with honey or jam. Sprinkle the top with a little sugar, prick with a fork and cook @180 for about twenty five minutes. When cool cut into whatever size pieces you prefer.
I didn't take a picture this year, but will use the one from last year!

I finally manged to buy the sweet pea seed. I was going to buy them from Wilkos but never went that way, so last night I bought three packets from Lidl. The price was 29p per packet, which promised 10 plants from the seed. I put some kitchen roll on a tray, moistened it and set about placing the sweet pea seed on the paper to get them started. Each packet had over thirty seeds in, which is going to work out at a penny a plant. Bargain!
Another bargain bought yesterday was this shoe polish from the petrol station. We always buy leather shoes and look after them, which is why we often wear shoes and boots that are 10 years old. I  have no idea why they are selling these tins cheaply, surely they don't "Go off" if they are not opened.

Whoops! Don't know how to turn this round now it is loaded!

A final pic is another Summer one to remind us of what is coming...honest!

Bye for now Frugellers

Thursday 6 February 2014

Preserved lemon recipe, Firewood, Potatoes and Dogs

Hello Folks!
I have been  having problems with Google over the last couple of days. YD has helped me (again)and  even had to re-install it at one time. I have struggled to perform some functions (?!) but I think all is well now. If I have deleted you or not answered you, I apologise, but I am now back to "normal".
I offered my recipe for Preserved lemons. Weaver says that Tesco often have unwaxed lemons( as do Lidl) so here is my recipe -   PRESERVED LEMONS -
To each 500ml jar -
10 unwaxed Lemons
3 bay leaves
20 Whole Peppercorns
1 tablesspoon Coriander seeds
half a dozen cloves
 Cut 5 lemons into 8 lengthways and remove the pips
Squeeze the other lemons and reserve the juice.
 In a sterilised jar -
Layer the lemons with the spices and salt (about a tablespoon of salt per layer) until there is about an inch of space at the top of the jar.
Push a couple of bay leaves down the side of the jar
Fill the jar with the lemon juice
Keep for at least a month under the stairs. ( I am using lemons 3 years after preserving them)

Had a bit of a baking day yesterday. It started because a friend had done a spot of welding for us and asked for a carrot cake as payment! Apart from 2 carrot cakes I made a tray of Christmas pudding slice with a spare Christmas pudding we were given, two cheese, potato and bacon pies, a couple of quiche cases and an apple sponge pudding.
We have now acquired most of the seeds we need for this year. Just have to get our potato seed now. For the last couple of years we have been planting Sarpo potatoes. These are suppose to be blight-resistant and this has been our experience so far. here is a photograph I took in 2012 when we had a bad blight year.To the fore you can see  Pentland ? potatoes affected by blight and to the rear are the Sarpo Miras, not affected.
  I still haven't finished my mending pile. I think D. is deliberately throwing himself at nails and tugging at buttons!
 Yesterday I mended three sweat tops, replaced several buttons, sewed up several seams and inserted a (reclaimed) zip. One more zip to go and the pile is finished.
I have undone the slippers I was knitting as they were clearly not going to be big enough. I shall have to start again.
We are still researching log burners to replace the open fire. we are not into much of a rush as we estimate that we will need a good couple of weeks to do the job, because we have to remodel the fireplace and insert the back boiler. We cannot be without the fire in the winter so will not start to replace until the spring at the earliest.
Ken at "An English Homestead" is researching planting trees for fuel. We have a row of willows we planted a few years ago. They make good burning, as well as basketry, garden structures and animal food. With the price of electricity and gas going up and up we have decided that we will grow more willows. I cut some whips last back end and I will be pushing these in as soon as the ground dries up a bit (not too dry) I also have some Ash whips to plant, which, as you know, burns green as well as brown.
Here is most of my current willow row.
One final picture.
 I thought you might like to see the dogs in our life. We no longer have a dog, but we don't really need one as one or another of the owners of these fine fellows are at our house most days.
The bigger black lab Jed, belongs to our elder daughter.
 The smaller black Lab Sam, belongs to our younger daughter.
The yellow Lab Coda, belongs to our eldest granddaughter and
The Springer Spaniel Rufus, belongs to our Goddaughter.

Back Soon with another random blog dear frugellers

Monday 3 February 2014

Verification, Housewifery and Better Weather

I was complaining about the verification fiddler to YD , "You do know you have it on your blog don't you mother"?   Eeeer no! So I guess those of you who have seen me moaning about it have wondered about my duel standards. Well, YD has helped me to get rid of the thing and we will see if I am inundated with spam. I don't think I'm a big enough blogger to be of interest to anybody though.

I'm so pleased that people found the good advice that I shared in my last post useful. It would seem that neatness is not a quality common amongst fellow bloggers!. Perhaps we should strive to be neater. Why is this not a resolution as important as paying off the mortgage early, or a sealed pot challenge or living on 50 pence a day or finding 100 things to do with and empty yoghurt pot? Hmm food for thought.
In the spirit of one who knows her place I have searched for other ways to improve my housewifery and have some more gems to share over the next few posts.

The last three days have been dry and mostly sunny. I was able to go into the gardens to see what there was to have with yesterday's meat and potato pie and tonight's lamb taginy-type casserole and if there was anything to tempt some very bored rabbits. While picking some perpetual spinach I was surprised at the size of last year's beetroot that were sown alongside the spinach. I pulled a couple and found that there were some small root hairs showing, a sure sign that they will start growing again, when they will become tough as they flower and go to seed. I pulled up half of the row, cooked them and find that they are still quite tender. I will pull the rest up tomorrow and pickle them. The rabbits were happy with the outside of the brussels and some jerusalem artichokes that are still growing like weeds in the three veg plots.
With regard to the veg to go with meals I found Brussels, Brussel tops, Spinach and black kale.
Tonight's meal was a home grown affair. .. Home grown lamb casseroled with lamb stock, whole shallots, (soaked) borlotti beans and  frozen tomato passata. At he last few minutes before serving I added a little shredded spinach. To make this more "tagini" I added some pickled sliced lemons at the start of cooking.. I pickled these lemons a couple of years ago and they are still wonderfully unctuous, though their colour is now very drab. If you ever come across some reasonably priced unwaxed lemons I would recommend pickling some in salt. I made three jars and gave one away as a gift.. I will share my recipe is anyone is interested. I served the casserole with a few of the last pink fir apple potatoes and some brussel tops.
 Here is another summer picture to cheer us all. The golden rod is always covered in hoverflies and honey bees.

Need to leave blogland now and get on with some Civic Society stuff.
I believe we have another storm on the way.
Keep Warm

Sunday 2 February 2014

Advice for those that sew

Hello All  -   and especially to new follower Carla.
And also to you quilters and sewers, or is it sowers? which is pleasanter than sounding like a conduit for foul water! You know who you are (and if the cap fits)
Just in case you haven't seen this in social-site-land I thought I would share this good advice for any good, dutiful wives that might be reading this blog.
Those who know me will realise that this is my mantra for living. Rarely am I seen mucking out the chickens without my make-up. On returning to the house after turning the compost heap I like to freshen up with a dab of powder to my nose. It is important to me that I look "neatly put together" as I would so hate to upset my dear husband's sensibilities or indeed drive him away! You should see me dash to take out my curlers before putting on my crisp apron and warming his slippers.


A friend bought me a "Good Housekeeping" Annual for 1960 which has some good advice too...There is an article entitled "The Care and Maintenance of Husbands"  which I really must study to ensure that I "maintain" the husband that I have had for 48 years this month. I'm sure you all have some good (retro!) advice to share. I'd love to hear it !

 Back Soon

Saturday 1 February 2014

Flood Alert

Hello Frugellers

Along with Cro and Sue I'm posting summer pictures to cheer myself up (and maybe you) Actually the first photo is nearer to a spring picture as it is of last year's lambs outside the orchard. You can tell it is spring to summer as the hens are shut in the orchard, so that they cannot dig up, peck at and generally ruin the vegetables in the gardens.

It's seed time. Don't you just love it!
Have finally got some Shirley seed. I bought them from Simply Seeds and they were by far the cheapest. As a bonus, it says that there are 10 seeds to the packet and so far there has been 12 to each packet!
I realise that I have no sweet pea seed ( I was sure I had) so I shall be off to Wilkos soon for their Giant Waved SPs. They have a buy two and get one free offer too. I have saved our own Broad Bean seed which I will start planting over the next few days. I used to plant them over winter, but found that the plants weren't as sturdy as I would like come spring, which of course might have been the way I planted them, who knows?!
The snap dragon seed are in, the variety I have sown should make good cut flowers.

Food wise we are still doing well eating from the freezer. Last night we had pollack (caught last year) in breadcrumbs made from two rather stale HM cobs. I made some HM chips and mushy peas from our own dried peas (rather proud of this). I had saved a small portion of the white sauce from thursday's cheese pie and added some frozen parsley to it to complete the meal.
 Went with D. to Sainsburys yesterday for some stewing beef for a pie tomorrow. There was quite a lot of yellow sticker meat, so we bought a joint of belly pork, which I will roast next week. I think I might cut some of the fat out to go into a rabbit loaf (rabbit can be dry). We also bought a nice little ham joint which I put in the slow cooker for a ham and pea soup OR ham potato and cabbage casserole. I haven't decided.
 Adam will be here tonight so I have made a chicken (cockerel) pie, which he loves. As he is watching his weight I will serve it with lots of vegetables and no potatoes.

I'm not doing too well with the sewing projects at the moment and really do need to get my a*** in gear. I was reading Mean Queen's blog earlier and she was talking about the scrap rug she is making. When I was young I only ever remember rugs being made this way. We would sit at the kitchen table pegging a rug and discussing the memories inspired by each piece of fabric. MQ stated that she thought she might have some time on the rug, which reminded me of my dad saying to my mother "Do you fancy half an hour on the rug love?" (wink wink) I never caught on for many years!

This wouldn't be an English blog without some mention of the weather. Our favourite subject. However, I reckon everybody has something to say about it at the moment. As it seems across the blogging world that I inhabit we are either in drought or flood, high temperatures or Arctic Blast.
Here in GB we have rain (really? in GB? surely not!). When feeding the chickens this morning I noticed that the river was up a bit and I thought I would take a picture to correspond to the pic I had chosen to put on today's blog of the field in summer. I came up to the house to load the pics and the phone rang " Hello, is that Gill ? It's Radio Derby here" So I'm thinking is this about Civic Society stuff or Frugal Stuff. ? " I wonder if you can tell us how the flooding is affecting you?" It transpires that the Environment Agency has put out an alert for our little part of the River. I emailed him the pic and promised to contact friends who lived downstream at another  part of the river that the alert had actually mentioned. So after checking with them, I emailed their phone number. Reporters still keep ringing from Radio and television. But it doesn't matter who asks, I can't make the river flood any more than it is doing ( It has been MUCH worse in the past). We are told that there is more rain to come tonight, which might make a difference.
Here is the field today

The second pic is taken to the right of the first.
And here is the field early last summer from a similar place to the first picture.

I think that is all for today as I need to put the chickens to bed before we go for Adam.
Before I go I must wish The Vintage Kitten and Leigh from 5 acres and a  Dream a very warm welcome to my side bar as followers and to Phyllis on Blog Lovin   I'm so pleased that you have found something of interest here.
Until next time

Insurance saving