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

Sunday, September 27, 2009

It has been such a busy week. We've had two open day sessions at school (incl Saturday morning) on top of normal school - with massive tidy up, displays etc to be done. And I've been on a short course and out at other evening meetings with church. And we had a church members' meeting this afternoon AND it was my turn to help prepare lunch. We've just come home and I'm sitting down with a cuppa for an hour before I can face the ironing. And that has GOT to be done because we need shirts for tomorrow. Then I'll be in the land of nod super quick, if I can make it up all those stairs to the top floor.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I've seen my new grandson yesterday and today so that can't be bad. It was my daughter's birthday so we had a family gathering with lots of others as well. It is fun to see everybody and catch up on lots of happenings in everybody's lives.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ben has grown so much. He is holding his head up well now and is starting to smile although I haven't seen that yet. Poor little mite is now on infant Gaviscon because of the reflux although he is growing lots.

The new hens have been showing off and I've had 7 eggs in a day from the 7 newbies 5 times now. I've also got more potential customers than I have eggs available now. Should have gone for 8 hens when I got my new ones because the extra egg money would have definitely paid for their pension : )

I've picked all the plums I can reach from our little tree and am processing them gradually. They are only little egg plums so it takes a lot of preparation to end up with a pan full of plums to stew and then freeze. They are great in the winter with yoghurt for a pudding. They don't need a lot of sugar to sweeten them. My sweet-toothed husband says that they do but then he likes sugar on strawberries which I couldn't do because then they would be far too sweet for my taste. I could do with another freezer! I'd like to make some plum chutney and maybe some jam but this weekend is busy. I hope they last until Sunday afternoon because that will be the only time I have to make chutney.

My husband is just about coping with work now that we are in the third week of school. He is in constant low level pain but with extra shooting pains on top when he does too much - which is a regular event with him. Not nice!

My granddaughter is thoroughly enjoying her new school, which is great. The whole extended family, barring one daughter, is in education somewhere - either working or on the receiving side so everybody is busy with back-to-school things.

Holiday? What holiday?

Tesco have started charging for their fresh yeast. I don't get there very often but liked to avail myself of the fresh yeast if I did. They only charge 5p for 20g now but it is still something else to pay for and I enjoyed the "free" bit. I got some and made bread with it last time I was there and then saved a lump of the dough about the size of a small apple. This was put in a bowl and covered with water. I put a cloth over the top to keep dust and insects out and left it on the side in the kitchen. I turned the lump of dough in the water morning and evening to keep it wet and on the fourth day, it collapsed into the water and was not a "lump" any more. The next morning I made bread using this as my yeast. I stirred it up, added a small spoon of sugar and added enough warm water to make it up to the right amount of liquid for 1 1/2 lbs of flour - about 3/4 pint. This sort of bread only need to be kneaded and left to rise once. So I kneaded it well and shaped it and left it to rise in the baking tin, covered by a wet teatowel to stop the dough drying out on top. I knew this type of bread took a long time to rise but it had only just started to move by bedtime. Next morning, I got up and the loaf was looking lovely so I baked it and it was great. It has a slightly denser texture than normal yeast bread but it is a kind of sourdough so I suppose that it to be expected. BUT I forgot to keep back a lump of dough for next time, so I shall have to start again.

Apparently this method of raising bread was prevalent in Europe for hundreds of years. People didn't have Tesco and Sainsbury's and packets of dried yeast so they used whatever method of raising the bread they found easiest. It is certainly cheaper. I tried this method a few years ago and kept it going for a long time.

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