This blog is mainly a rambling kind of diary of the transition from smallholderwannabe to smallholder.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Just one more get-up and then it is a holiday for Easter.  Yay!!  There is lots going on in our lives at the moment:

  • My husband has got lots of bits of work on the go
  • My new little hens have laid an egg each twice this week and their eggs are getting bigger
  • There are lots of seed trays around the house and new plants coming
  • My poorly cat seems to be improving and is now eating me out of house and home
  • My daughter is going into hospital tomorrow for an op which will improve her life greatly
  • My grandson came to fetch me from work yesterday and we played tig (current favourite game) round the shelves of books and my knee survived
  • We were out of bread so I made a little flat loaf of soda bread on the woodburner last night so that there would be fresh bread for breakfast.  I used my new kefir and the bread worked (and tasted) just fine.  I'm not sure that the kefir is working properly though because it tasted vile when I tried a spoonful and I love the tang of natural yoghurt. It always amazes me that bread and scones taste so good when I've made them with sour milk
  • My husband has been asked to preach on Sunday at a church 20 miles away.  I'll go with him and hopefully the weather will be nice on Sunday and we can come back through the lanes and look at green fields.  If it is nice, I might even pack a little picnic : )
  • There are lots of services at church in the coming week to celebrate Easter
  • I've been asked to knit little "chicks" to cover creme eggs for Easter again.  I knitted lots last year but they have not given me much notice this year

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Tuesday, April 08, 2014


My friend texted me to say that they have finally had a heifer calf.  I am so pleased for them as it means the continuation of the herd.  I like the idea of being able to point out the calf's mother, grandmother, greatgrandmother etc. : )

Family is important to the cows in a similar way to people. Grandmother will mind daughter's calf as well as her own to give daughter a break.  Isn't that nice!


Thursday, April 03, 2014

Mothers' Day etc

On Saturday, we went shopping to Aldi to spend our £5 off voucher, made 2 x 8 portion desserts for the evening, did the washing, went and collected a load of wood (for the woodburner) from an unwanted shed belonging to a friend of a friend, and went to an evening fund-raising meal at church.  One of our young people is doing a degree and needs funds to go on a far flung placement.  She only has her student loans so we ran a "pop-up restaurant" at £5 a head to raise some money to help her out.  It is the first meal out where I have had to pay for a very long time but we wanted to help too.

On Sunday, we were up and at church for a music rehearsal for 9 am.  Then the service and after that I popped over the road to Asda to buy myself a treat of the much advertised 1 litre bottles of Baileys for £12. Guess what!  There was a big gap on the shelves where the Baileys should have been.  I had had a long discussion with myself as to whether I could justify spending £12 on just myself for a treat - and I need not have bothered : (

Then a quick sandwich and out to my friend's farm.  They had their first lambs of this year born last Thursday and the first calf on Saturday.  Very, very cute!  Unfortunately the calf was yet another bull.  They have had all male calves for several years now and would really like some females to ensure the continuation of the little herd. They are Dexters so the calves are quite small.

And straight to my daughter's for an early dinner.  It was a multi-purpose family get-together. Within the last week, the family have had cause to celebrate one birthday, one wedding anniversary and Mothering Sunday and another birthday in two weeks.  So all of us met up at my daughter's house for a meal together.  It was a lovely warm afternoon so the children were all able to play outside.  I was quite tickled when my 20 month old granddaughter dragged me outside to play tig.  "You go" she said and ran away giggling and then waited for me to catch her and say "tig". My duff knee can cope with running after a small girl who runs away and then waits for me to catch up but running after the 4 year old was a lot harder!

It was a lovely weekend and I really enjoyed it but I have to admit that I came to work on Monday for a rest.  And anybody who knows what working in a school is like, will understand just how (un)likely that is : )

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

£5 off at Aldi

Today there is a £5 off a spend of £40 in the Daily Mirror.  I shall be acquiring my copy of the Mirror : )

I'm reading that lots of people seem to be buying two copies of the paper so that they have two vouchers because they are dated for a week hence.  So one for this week and one for next week if they go shopping a little bit earlier in the week.  I have trouble enough spending the £40 in one week let alone two weeks running!

They seem to be printing a voucher for Aldi in the last week of every month so I think (now that I've finally noticed the trend) that I shall start keeping a separate shopping list for the things that we want that are good value in Aldi.  I do have difficulty in spending £40 anywhere in one go so this will give me a head start.  I can only bring myself to buy something if it is good value because otherwise there is no point to going to buy the paper specially and getting to Aldi.  I have the same problem with the £so much off a £spend vouchers at the other supermarkets too. This provides no end of amusement for my husband. Well, isn't it nice to be useful for something ?   : )


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Busy weekends

This weekend was busy.  Next weekend will be busy and so will the one after that.  It is the housework that usually gets left undone because we have to eat and clean clothes are needed for work...  so don't come and visit before the Easter holiday, please, so that I'll have a chance to play catch-up : )

One of the things that we did on Saturday was to go to an 80th birthday luncheon party at a pub near Stratford.  It was a very pleasant afternoon. As we were the transport for another couple, we were invited back afterwards for a cup of tea because the other couple were, if you see what I mean.  I had not expected that so it ended up that the whole day had gone because it was not very local... It was my first 80th party.  I've been to lots of 50th and 60th celebrations but not been to a 70th yet.  It will come : )

We don't tend to go out for meals but our invitation was the verbal kind that is kindly meant but extremely hard to refuse without giving offence and besides, the other couple would not have been able to go if we didn't, so we bit the bullet and went. We had expected to have to pay but discovered that it was all paid for so it just cost the diesel, which helped towards my enjoyment, if I'm being honest. I know I'm a skinflint sometimes but I like our cooking and it grieves me to pay a week's housekeeping money for a meal that is usually not as good as we could have cooked for ourselves.  I decided to order the scampi meal because I like it and my husband doesn't, so I very rarely have the opportunity to eat it.  And there were four different veg served with it, so that pleased me too.

Sunday, we had church in the morning (with music rehearsals that means 9 am until almost 1 pm - so it is longer than it sounds...), a quick trip to Lidl for milk and a glance at the weekend half price specials (pork mince £1.14 for 500g - nice!) and home for a quick sandwich.  Then off with son to help him move something which took longer than expected (doesn't it always?) then a super quick omelette made with a large number of my new girls' baby eggs and back to church for a special event.

I did manage a load of washing on each day and it was really good to bring it in dry at teatime, even the towels.  Since we have the woodburner now, I put up with an airer or two in the living room with us in order to make more use of the heat and keep away from the energy guzzling tumble dryer but I really like not having the room like the proverbial Chinese laundry.

And mentioning the woodburner reminds me to say that my daughter rang up to say that a tree had come down this weekend in her neighbour's garden and she has kindly volunteered our services to clear it : )  It is not a huge tree but it is free wood nonetheless and will help towards replenishing what we have lost at school.  The garden and tree belong to a single mother who is very grateful not to have to pay to have it cleared or to have the trouble of working out how to clear it. Win win, I think.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Cathy Daniels giveaway

I've been reading Angela Almond's blog and one of the blogs that she reads has a giveaway so I thought I would mention it.  I love the items pictured on the blog because I love patchwork. When I have more time to call my own, I shall go back to patchwork because I miss it in my life.

I thought that I would copy and paste the picture from the blog but it is huge and won't let me make it smaller.  Aha, I thought - I'll copy it into a word document and make it smaller and then I can copy and paste that smaller picture here.  No, that won't work either. I'd really like to increase my blogging skills so that I can do what I want!

So here is the web address for the patchwork pottery blog:

And Ang Almond's blog is worth a read too:


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I'm cross!

Three posts in three days.  That is rather more than I normally manage.

I've mentioned before that the caretaker had given us permission to clear a fallen tree at school.  It saved him money in getting people in to clear it and benefitted us.  We had to get somebody in with an enormous and powerful petrol chainsaw to cut the trunk up into big round slices that my husband started to chop up with an axe.  The big slices were too big and heavy to move so they had to be made into smaller chunks so that we could load them into the car to bring home.  Then they get chopped into suitable size pieces to fit into the woodburner.

Well, we had big slices of wood and my husband had started the process of cutting some up and bringing it home.  Then he went down with a chest infection at the end of December and then the rain came.  He still has not got rid of the last dregs of the chest infection even though the few days in Wales helped a lot.  And where the tree had fallen was like a bog and not really firm standing for using sharp tools when it would be so easy to slip.  Besides, he just wasn't up to swinging the axe.  And when he called into school yesterday, he went to look at the wood - and it has gone.  Somebody has taken a winter's worth of wood with our name on it.  We talked to the caretaker and the other person did not have permission to take it and we did but the caretaker's main view is that the wood on his grounds has been moved and at no cost to his budget.  Grrr.  At least we've had a bit for which I'm grateful.  But.......