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

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I have had to use the tumble dryer. i've been fighting using it and it has only been on a small number of times in 2010 when I was desperate to dry stuff. After hanging the clothes around the house for three days, they were still really wet and as I was worried about them getting that dreadful been-wet-for-far-too-long smell, I gave in and finished them off in the tumbler. As it was Saturday yesterday and we were in all afternoon and evening, we had the gas fire on in the living room for the second time this year. After we got in from Saturday school and ate lunch, I was sat preparing windfall apples for bottling and was cold so we succumbed to the fire. We had it on for seven hours and the temperature rose from 9'C to 15'C in that time. I did another load of washing and hung it round the living room overnight and it might dry without the tumbler again.

The bills were so awful last winter that I am determined not to use gas/electricity if I can possibly avoid it. Our gas bill for Dec 09 - Feb 10 was bigger than the combined gas/elec bill at my daughter's house - and they have the heating on all the time. The thing is, we tried really hard not to overuse the heating or the gas fire last winter and were cold a lot of the time. And it is miserable to feel cold but the bills were still high even if we were cold. If I have a high bill, I want it to be because we were warm.

I bottled 6 jars of apple yesterday and there is more apple to be done today. At least the kitchen is warm! We have an extra service at church this afternoon and we have been asked to help with the music so there won't be a lot of time for apple-ing but some needs done. I sit with several containers in front of me and distribute nice apple for cooking, nice peel and cores, and grotty bits for compost (wormery) accordingly. If I just have time to prepare a bit of apple, then the rabbits win out with the peel and cores. If there is a reasonable amount, then I boil it up and strain it through the jelly bag. The apple pulp remaining in the jelly bag gets pushed through a sieve and the resulting sieved apple gets added back in to the next lot of apple to be bottled. The hens get what is left over after the pulp is sieved. So generous of me! If I had an apple tree, I doubt that I would be quite so careful but I only got my hands on a few bags of windfalls.

The hens are not liking the colder weather at all and are not laying so many eggs. Even the new hens, born about last Christmas-time, are down to laying an average of 3 eggs a day from the 7 of them. Really, with them being young, I'd be expecting 6 eggs most days. I reckon some blame must go to the limited light in the garden because of all the trees overhanging from the neighbours on all 3 sides. I know I've written before about not being able to grow anything edible in the garden because the trees cut out so much light as well as taking all the goodness from the soil. I do reckon they are interfering with the laying habits of my hens too. Poor things must be thinking that it is dusk all day. I've also had to apologise to 3 regular customers this week because there were no eggs left for them.

Got to go and get ready to go back out to church again. It feels like there has been no let up this weekend at all as I must get some apples done when I get back in. I'm sure I'd be bored if I'd nothing to do but just occasionally I'd like the opportunity to find that out for myself!


  • At 8:13 AM, Blogger Frugal Life UK said…

    If you can get a small oil filled electric radiator, like the one I have in one of my pictures, they use next to no energy and you can have it on 'tick over' it keeps the place dry. I put it on in the large dining room and dry my washing on racks, it smells lovely. Always lovely to read your blog Jo.


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