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

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I went to Tesco yesterday because we needed milk and that was the closest supermarket to where we were going.  One of the things that I bought was a 200g jar of Nescafe for work.  When I checked my email this morning, I had an email from Tesco giving a list of things to buy that would give a voucher for 10p per litre off petrol - including buying a 300g jar of Nescafe.  School wouldn't have minded me buying the bigger jar and I would have had a nice voucher for fuel. Ah well.

One nice thing that I found in Tesco: tins of mushy peas were 4p.  I didn't think that they sold anything for 4p.  I'm not very keen myself but my husband just loves mushy peas.  I've got quite a few tins of mushy peas in the cupboard now : )

More pennies in the smallholderwannabe coffers.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A few weeks ago, my daughter's garden shed was broken into.  Her bike, my granddaughter's bike and my son-in-law's bike (that he uses to get to work as well as for pleasure) were all stolen as well as a load of specialist tools.  It was a reasonably new shed and was locked and padlocked.  The insurance have paid up and they chose two new bikes - one for granddaughter and one for SIL.  My daughter decided that they could buy better quality bikes if the money from the insurance was divided between two bikes, not three.  The new bike for my granddaughter was delivered on Friday.  The delivery firm got in touch and told them that in advance.  SIL wasn't sure if he would make it home from work by the time stated and phoned them and asked that if nobody was home, could they take the bike back to the depot and he would go and collect it. Yes, they said.  So when he got back from work on Friday, the bike was just sitting in a neighbour's garden...  No card through the door, even. They unpacked the bike and put in in the new metal, very secure shed and went away for the weekend as planned.  They even took the cardboard packaging away with them and put it in a paper recycling skip that they passed. When they came back, the shed had been broken into and the new bike stolen along with pretty much everything moveable.  She never even got a quick ride on her new bike.

Obviously, somebody had seen the new bike delivered or sat in its box in the neighbour's garden, watched them go away and seized their chance.  Isn't that rotten!  Daughter and SIL don't want to go through the insurance so soon again in case their insurance goes through the roof. It is a good job that SIL's new bike was not being delivered at the same time or that would have gone too.  Their bikes were stolen a couple of years ago too, so they are now looking at ways of storing SIL's bike inside the house.  The stolen tools are hard to replace. Lots are specialist tools and have been gathered over time.  It is just not possible to walk into one shop and buy a new one of everything that is gone. They are feeling so angry and upset.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Well, we made it.  Day one of the summer holidays has finally arrived.  I have such a long list of jobs to do.  I have such a long list of jobs for my husband to do... : )

The sun is actually shining in celebration and I'm not doing anything useful at all.  I've decreed that today is a holiday from everything except that which must be done to feed us or the animals. And I'm enjoying it. That list of jobs can wait until Monday for me to start on it. After all, the jobs have been waiting quite a while already so what is another couple of days of waiting?

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Just two days left until freedom.

This has been a funny week.  The biggest cockerel from the school chicks was crowing constantly and was teaching the others to crow too.  It wasn't quite the full penetrating cockadoodledoo of the average adult male but it was getting there.  And I didn't want any more complaints from the neighbours.  The "chicks" are just ten and a half weeks old so they really shouldn't be crowing so well at this age.  I would expect them to be at this stage in 5 to 6 weeks time.  I felt obliged to call "time" on them so three of them have been eaten.  There was not much meat on them because they were so young which is a shame.  Two were made into a curry and the boys whose experiment it was, had a spoonful each this lunchtime along with some homemade flatbreads.

The whole initiative was for them to see food from the start or seed stage to being on their plate. They have grown some fruit and veg and now some chicken.  Hopefully they have some understanding of just how much effort goes into providing food for the table.

There are still two more chicks.  One might be female but I'm not sure so I've kept the smallest cockerel to keep it company until we are sure.  Then we have more decisions to make. Hopefully the smallest cockerel will wait a bit until he starts crowing. 

I feel sad about their end but they had a better life and certainly a better death than any factory-farmed animal that ends up on the supermarket shelves.  One of the cockerels went to somebody that I know who taught in Zimbabwe some years ago and married there.  The husband knows what it is like to have been hungry in the past, as do many people in Africa.  Our chick was killed and just about every possible bit was eaten - no waste but the feathers.  The feet were scraped like scraping the scales from a fish and boiled, as were all the intestines and the head.  Even the stomach tubes were washed out and cooked and eaten.  To be honest, I don't see myself going that far but I do use a lot of the insides in stuffing or in the gravy or liver pate.  I see it as being respectful to the animal whose life I have taken.  I applaud thie gentleman from Zimbabwe even though I don't want to emulate everything he does. I think that hunger has taught many people in other countries to be less squeamish and therefore less wasteful than we British.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A friend sent me this today and it made me smile:

A topical note from thoughts of angel


Wednesday, July 04, 2012

I meant to add in the last post that I'd been productive this weekend and pickled two jars of eggs.  My little bantam lays lovely eggs with a pale cream shell and very pointed at one end. - a totally different shape to the eggs the others lay. She is one of the two females that we hatched at school last year and is a lovely natured bird.  Very inquisitive and friendly. I can trust her enough to let her out for a run round the garden because I always know that she will come back to her run when the time is up. So I thought I'd do something with her eggs rather than just using them up two at a time which always feels a bit wrong after all her efforts.  Two weigh about 95 -100g so are way more than one normal egg.  I use three of them to replace two normal eggs if I am cooking/baking. My husband loves pork pie with his salad for lunch in the summer holidays and I'm not at all keen so I can have an egg now.  I do hope that I like pickled eggs : )

I used the recipe from the Simple Green Frugal Coop:

This one sounds milder than many recipes I've looked at.  I didn't like the sound of some of the highly spiced reciped that I found. It is economical to prepare because you can boil all the eggs at once and then use them as you want.  I asked on other forums (sp - should that be fora??) about keeping times once opened and the answer seemed to be months because of the vinegar.  I doubt that will be a problem, though, but it is good to know these things.

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Sunday, July 01, 2012

This week has been soooo busy.  I'm still not over my latest chest infection and need frequent breaks or I don't make it through the day.  Stairs or going anywhere quickly just take my breath away so I'm having a quiet day today to try and recoup enough energy to manage at work for another week.

My husband has run three conferences at work this week, with all sorts of big wigs from industry in for them.  Stressful!  It also means being in work very early and home very late - that means me as well as we work at the same school.  Next week he only has one of these to do but he is also taking all of year 7 from our school and from our nearest secondary school to the local university and running an activity day for them.  Our minister is on holiday so my husband took last Sunday's service, the midweek service and this morning's service too.  If he finds a quarter of an hour "free", then he has exam marking to keep on top of - both internal and external.  Allotment?  What allotment?

We brought the school chicks home on Friday.  They are 7 weeks old and not chicks any more.  They are now living in my spare converted rabbit hutch with run for the next few weeks until it is clear beyond the shadow of a doubt, how many cockerels we have.

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