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

Sunday, October 14, 2007

It was my birthday this week and also my son's so we had a family get-together for a meal. It was nice to have everybody sitting around the same table. We don't very often manage to have everybody free on the same day. Once upon a time, there were just the two of us and now the tribe is nine strong as everybody pairs off.

My breadmaking is not doing very well this term. Life is just too busy at the moment. Fortunately I've found several bargain 10p - 20p loaves so bread has not been a big expense but I do miss good, wholesome homemade bread. Maybe I can make some during halfterm and pop some loaves in the freezer if there is enough space.

The hens laid 6 eggs today, for a change. And the rabbit is moulting now too. And the cats. It all goes in the compost bins so all the hair will help aerate the soil. It is amazing how much hair comes off them, considering it is the summer coat they are losing. I expect lots from them losing the thick winter coat and that gets left in the garden for the birds to use in their nests.

Zzzzz. Time for an early night. Zzzzz.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

It has been four weeks since I was last here. I seem to have blinked and missed a fortnight somewhere along the line.

My hens' run looks like somebody has had a pillow fight in it and there are not nearly so many eggs. The bantams have laid a collective total of 3 eggs in September so that is an improvement. However, this week, I've found the remains of an eggshell THREE times in their nestbox. So some naughty bantam is having a quick eggy meal. And those eggs are mine . I had to turn down a customer last week and I expect that will not be the first time this autumn. I've done quite well over the summer and the egg money has paid for the layers pellets and corn on two occasions now.

We went to look at a smallholding at the end of August and I made sure the journey took us past a Countrywide store because I had spotted an advert saying that their layers pellets were on offer. We don't have one of those stores anywhere near us. It is a 10 mile round trip to the nearest place where I can buy hen food and as I reckon we only get 5 miles to the litre at best, I usually stock up as much as I can. My husband would only let me buy 2 bags as we had to travel back with the weight of them in the car and we still had four bags in the dry shed. I thought it was worth doing because the bags had an extra 5 Kgs of pellets for about £1 less money.

The smallholding we went to see proved to be a disappointment. Another example of estate agent jargon, skilful photography on the particulars - and our wishful thinking. My husband said that at least it was a nice day out but I find it too emotionally draining to be just a "nice day out".

The trouble is that all my extreme pennypinching for the last 6 years has left us at the point where we might be able to buy a small smallholding in need of lots of renovation - but not necessarily have anything left to do the renovation with. Further saving is required. And the right place needs to come along. Preferably before I am too old to cope with such a dramatic change in lifestyle. Extreme pennypinching needs to be taken to a new level. It is a good thing that many of the things that I do to economise are also fairly green. Like cutting down on use of washing powder, shampoo etc; thinking seriously about use of the car; producing a reasonable proportion of our own food and not buying lots of expensive, processed food at the shops. And lots more. I love it when two of my hobbyhorses dovetail like this.

Time is running away with me - I must go and run through my music for church in the morning.