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

Thursday, June 16, 2016

This and that

We seem to have been doing lots of extra things recently and I haven't got around to blogging about them.  We have been looking after our youngest granddaughter as our dil has got a temporary job for this term. I really look forward to her coming and having a good excuse to play : )

One evening we went out to our friend's farm and helped with shearing the sheep. He only keeps eight ewes now and a ram so an evening was enough time. I'm sure the sheep were cold that first night but were pleased not to be wearing all that wool in those hot days last week.

I made lemonade (cordial) and elderflower champagne and posted the recipes for those.

My husband had a birthday and we had a bbq at my daughter's house as it was half term. That was fun. I do enjoy a family get-together.

We went away for three days. My husband had two days of meetings in Cambridge so I went too as it costs the same for a room and travel for two as for one.  It is a lovely place with so many really old colleges and churches. And I can't believe how many bikes there are in Cambridge. And I passed so many bike shops too. It is big business there for bikes.  The only problem was the humidity which made walking not as pleasant as it could have been. I love walking along the river and watching the rowers. There are so many pieces of green there which are not allowed to be built on and were covered with groups of young people chatting. this visit. Some are municipal parks now and some others are common land but it is so nice to see so much green inside a town.

My items gone total has crept up a little bit and I have another bag of things waiting to go.  It is much harder work this year and my natural inclination is to hold on to things "just in case". The trouble is that I find it hard to part with things especially when they have memories attached but still, some things have made it out the door even if I am way behind in my schedule.

191 items gone

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Elderflower champagne

I managed to pick some elderflowers last week before the weather turned to rain. I've got some in the freezer to make gooseberry and elderflower jam and some to make elderflower cordial and I made some elderflower champagne with the rest. Lovely! And so easy, too. I use some Milton to sterilise the lemonade bottles before filling them.

Elderflower champagne

8 pints cold water

1 1/2 lbs sugar

1 lemon, sliced

3 tabsps cider vinegar

8 flowerheads

Put all ingredients in a large container and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Cover container to keep dust out.

Stir each day for a week or until there is a yeasty smell, when it is ready to drink.

Put in lemonade bottles and store in fridge.

184 items gone


Monday, June 06, 2016


I happened upon some yellowstickered lemons this week - 4 lemons in a pack for 8p : )
So I decided to make some lemonade. I haven't made any for years. I used to make it when the children were small if I found lemons on offer. The lemons this week were lovely plump ones and unwaxed too. I love this hot or cold. Today was a hot day and I had this cold but diluted with sparkling water rather than tap water. It definitely hit the spot this afternoon.

This is my recipe that I was given years ago. As I had 4 lemons, I made 80% of the quantity:


5 lemons
4 pints boiling water
3 lbs sugar
2 ozs citric acid

Grate the lemon rind into a large saucepan.
Cut off as much pith as possible from the lemons, cut them into quarters and blitz in the food processor.
Add blitzed lemon and the other ingredients to the saucepan and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Leave to cool.
When cool, bottle and store in the fridge.

Lemonade is a slight misnomer as it needs to be diluted. If there is space in the freezer, you could always put the lemonade into small bottles and get one out of the freezer at a time. Or make a half quantity.

I find that 2 tablespoons is about right for a half pint mug of water and I like it both hot and cold. It is also nice diluted with sparkling water.

I'm not sure how long it will keep in the fridge as it is so long since I made it but it is at least 3 weeks. When the kids were all home, keeping it was not a problem!

181 items gone

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Monday, May 23, 2016

: )

A chap sitting near me today had this on the front of his t-shirt and it made me smile.

What do we want?

A cure for obesity.

When do we want it?

After dinner!

168 items gone


Monday, May 16, 2016

A longer episode...

Since I wrote the last post, our (admittedly very elderly) tv in our bedroom has stopped working. My husband is usually very good at tinkering with things and persuading them to work again but he has failed dismally with this list of things. I foresee lots of money being spent. I NEED a vacuum cleaner.

165 items gone

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Bit of an episode

I posted recently asking for recommendations because my vacuum cleaner had died.  I'd still be happy to receive some recommendations because the number received has been very low. Please, pretty please : )

The thing is that we are having a bit of an episode with things dying.  Since the vacuum cleaner hung up its hose and brushes, the printer stopped working, my mouse stopped working and now the tablet has stopped working.  The vacuum cleaner was three months out of warranty, the printer is three weeks out of warranty, the mouse is five months out of warranty and the tablet has four weeks left on its warranty. None of these items was a bottom of the range model and I feel that they should have lasted much longer.  I feel planned obsolescence at work here and my pocket is suffering


165 items gone

Saturday, May 07, 2016


My youngest granddaughter is 20 months old and very capable at lots of things now. This picture was taken this weekend and I thought it was lovely. She always looks so pleased to see us. When she is older, she is going to have beautifully curly hair and so is her big sister who is 3 1/2.

I wanted the other photo but can't work out how to put it in this post. This one is nice, though.

165 items gone


Recommendations please

My vacuum cleaner has died. I am singularly unimpressed as it was just three months out of warranty and it will cost the price of a reasonable machine to repair but with only 12 months warranty on the repair. Fortunately my friend down the road "inherited" an extra vacuum cleaner when helping to clear out a relative's house after a bereavement so I am able to borrow a cleaner until I get a new one.

I've decided that despite my wish to be a bit greener and repair things, it would probably be cost effective just to bite the bullet and buy a new one. So my question is: what vacuum cleaners do you recommend? I've had recommendation for Panasonic and Dyson so far. Dysons cost mega money and I am reluctant to spend that much but if I could get 10-12 years out of it, I might be tempted. But I am still bothered by that huge price tag. I need one that is not too heavy because of a dodgy wrist.

So, recommendations please.

165 items gone