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

Saturday, December 31, 2011

It has been a lovely week.  We went round to one daughter's house and spent the evening with that family and a few friends.  Then yesterday we all got together as a family at our other daughter's house that had been away over Christmas and exchanged presents and had a fun evening.  I do love seeing my family!

We have pottered through a few jobs this week but mainly we have been resting.  It feels like a very long time since we had a good rest.  We've even sat down and watched a few films together.  It has been months since we had enough free time to sit down and spend two hours just watching a film.  Life is just too busy with no time to stop and stare. 

The hens obviously know that it is holiday time because they have laid more eggs than usual - and most of my customers are from work so I am stockpiling eggs.  We are not even eating many ourselves because we are still eating transformed leftovers although we have now reached the end of everything that had not gone into the freezer.  The hens are having their little joke - they must have been chatting to my contrary cats : )

The freezers are absolutely full to overflowing.  Our New Year's no 1 resolution must be to eat from the freezer for a while.  We've reached the point now where if we rootle in the freezer, we can't get the things back in the exact same places in the 3D jigsaw so the door doesn't shut properly.  Not good from any point of view!  I predict that our shopping bills will be very low for January. 

I went for a walk yesterday to our local Tesco Express which is a most useless shop and I don't normally visit it.  I had a price guarantee slip for £1.24 which was up yesterday and I had not been able to get to a "proper" Tesco so I thought that even if I just bought a bottle of milk with it, that would be better than wasting it.  I didn't get milk - instead I got a loaf of seeded bread reduced to 29p and 3 x 250g blocks of cheese reduced to 45p each.  So I spent £1.64 less the £1.24 voucher = 40p.  Not a bad little haul for 40p!  I gave my son and one daughter each a block of cheese and earned lots of thanks at very little expense.  Those two offspring had each brought me a little bag of goodies in the last two weeks all with yellow stickers on.  These yellow stickers really help keep the spending down.
My son and this daughter brought the bags of yellow stickered stuff as their way of contributing to the Christmas dinner as they realise how expensive it can be to feed a celebration dinner to 10 people, especially with the mix of meateaters, vegetarians, fisheaters and allergies that we had.  My other daughter is not really into yellow stickers.  The other reason that I was so pleased with my trip to the little Tesco was that it is the furthest that I've walked in the last 5 1/2 weeks since I started with this chest infection.  I was puffing like wind broken horse (as my father used to say) when I got back but I survived.  A week ago I would not even have been able to contemplate going.  Still no voice, though.

I can hear footsteps overhead which mean that my husband has woken up at last.  He needs to catch up on his sleep because when he is really tired, his asthma is always worse.  So I'm letting him sleep until he wakes naturally all week.  It will be back to the alarm clock next week. It is breakfast time now and I'm definitely ready for it so I'll finish by wishing you

a Happy New Year - happy and healthful and prosperous!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011

My husband and I woke up and opened our stockings whilst eating warm croissants.  Then it was off to church for a great service and back home to get the pinnies on and finish getting the meal ready. 

We spent a lovely Christmas with most of our family.  One daughter and her other half had gone to stay with his family and we'll see her for New Year.  The other ten of us had a lovely day together and our grandson stole the show.  We always open presents after the meal and once he had opened the first toy, he wanted time to play with it before he opened the next. He was very sweet.

My husband cooked Christmas dinner as he always does and did a fantastic job.  Small grandson had a sausage because that is what he likes best.  The rest of us had a big variety of things because we were a real mixture of vegetarians and meat eaters with a few allergies thrown in.  We had roast chicken (homegrown!) and gammon and hazelnut loaf; roast potatoes (we cheated and bought a pack of frozen ones) and mashed potatoes (homegrown); courgettes, beansprouts, plantain, mushroom and leek stirfried together; sweet potatoes, carrots, onions (homegrown) and parsnips (homegrown) and squash (homegrown) roasted together; sprouts; mashed carrot and swede; braised red cabbage; peas and sweetcorn; parsley and onion stuffing and pork and orange stuffing; cranberry and orange sauce (homemade), apple sauce (homemade and bottled in the summer because we had run out of saucepans to make it fresh), bread sauce, chicken gravy and veggie gravy. This list is to remind me about all the vegetables when we come to think about Christmas dinner 2012.  My family like their veg!

We also had Christmas pudding and custard or cream, trifle, icecream with butterscotch sauce (homemade) and jelly for little grandson.  There was a variety of alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks and tea and coffee and crackers with silly jokes and hats.  Just in case there was a last minute hiccup in the kitchen before the meal was served, there were also a few nibbles and dips (but they only got nibbled at and were recycled for the meal at our other daughter's house on Boxing Day).

Most of us were at our other daughter's for a meal on Boxing Day together with a few friends.  This was a simple meal and welcome after the richness of the Christmas meal.  Today is a day for us to relax quietly together after all the activity of the last week.  I love spending time with my family but I've been looking forward to my husband and I just being together today with nothing in the diary and nothing that has to be done today.  There are lots of jobs on the list but they can wait until tomorrow.  I've left him to sleep until he wakes naturally and have crept away to play on the computer.  In a little while, we'll have a quiet breakfast together.

It has been a funny Christmas in a way.  The chest infection has not left yet and I get breathless with the least effort and my voice won't come back - it has been gone 5 weeks tomorrow.  As I am the lead singer at church, that makes life a bit difficult!  So I have not been able to sing any carols at all - those carol services and carols in the High Street and all the other opportunities we had at local sheltered housing etc etc were done without me.  Nobody is indispensable, I know, but it was hard to be left behind every time. Christmas Day was difficult too because those people that I have not seen for a while wanted to talk to me and I couldn't talk back to them.  I'm beginning to get a little anxious about going back to school with no voice.  If I have to try to use my voice, then it sets me back.  Anyone know any good cures?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I went into work for a couple of days after my previous post but went downhill again and have been off all week with this silly bug.  Can't sing any carols at all : (

The good news is that we have had 5 eggs laid three times now by the new hens and I think they have all laid at least one now.  This is a BIG step forward for them.  AND little Spot, the white bantam hatched at school has started laying this week and has laid on 5 of the last 7 days.  She is beating the big girls hollow : )