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

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everybody a Merry Christmas : )

Friday, December 14, 2012

My Happiness Revolution post.

Thank you Astra:

I can't believe that it is almost 3 months since I posted my last list.  Oops.

  1. I'm nearly well again and have survived my first week back at school.  Health is something we take so much for granted until we lose it, either temporarily or longer term.  I appreciate the feeling of strength returning : )
  2. Still on health - my daughter-in-law is recovered from her operation and my little granddaughter is thriving again after all the little hiccups and problems when her mum was in and out of hospital like she was on a piece of elastic : )
  3. It is nearly Christmas - the time when we celebrate Jesus' birth here on earth 2000+ years ago.  I enjoy sharing that celebration with friends and family.  I'm usually very involved with the music at church but I can't sing reliably yet although I'm hoping that I'll manage some carols this year  : )
  4. It is nearly Christmas so nearly at the holiday from work - yay!   : )
  5. I'm well behind on all my Christmas planning but I've written most of the cards that have to be posted.  And I've made some marmalade to give to friends and some Limoncello for my family.  I'm so pleased that I've managed to produce some things myself despite a few setbacks along the way : )
  6. My husband has been away for a few days at examiner meetings and he's coming back tonight. Yay and triple yay!!!  : )
  7. When Lidl had a mini oven for sale a few weeks back, we bought one.  It seems like it will be very useful.  I've read about various people who use one including  Frugal Queen at It costs about 20p per hour to run rather than 50-75p per hour for the gas oven.  We do a good line in one pot meals on the hob but it would be nice to have the occasional meal cooked in the oven.  At those prices, it won't be too long before the oven has paid for itself (£29.95) and we'll be into savings : )
  8. It is not my turn to cook Christmas dinner.  This feels slightly mean of me but I'm struggling back to normality and school doesn't finish until 21 December.  I'm going to find it hard enough to sort out what I have left to do without having to clean and polish the house and prepare food for 13 people.  I love having the family round at ours but this year, I'm pleased that it is my daughter's turn : )
  9. I love that I have made so many blogfriends.  I like reading and enjoying and learning from the blogs of like minded people and some of them come here and read my blog too.  The internet can be a wonderful source of learning and enjoyment.  Twenty years ago, who would have thought it? : )
  10. All in all, 2012 has been a good year and I'm happy to have been through it : )


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Here I am back at work this week.  It is hard going and I now travel around with a bottle of cough syrup in my bag.  I am a big fan of Simple Linctus as it seems to soothe any sort of cough enough to get you off to sleep at night.  Last winter, it was under £1 for a bottle.  This winter it costs £1.79.  That is a pretty hefty increase!!  It is still cheaper than all the big brands and it does the job for me so I am sticking with it.  Boots do their own brand but it is sugarfree and I really don't like the taste.  Lloyds do a sugar-full version as well as a sugarfree one for diabetics and this is one place where sugarfull gets my vote.  My pharmacist friend used to recommend pholcodeine linctus and that was absolutely brilliant - until they stopped making it...

I 've just made some marmalade so that I can give some of that to friends at Christmas as I haven't made any jam this year.  My husband was given some citrus fruit at work last week - limes, lemons and a grapefruit.  It was the Christingle service at church and as I didn't feel up to going (I'd have had to be there throughout the music rehearsal as well as the service as my husband was still playing so at church for at least 3 1/2 hours) my husband brought his back and one for me to make as well as a left over one for our grandson to make (which he didn't want to do in the end) so 3 extra oranges.  Before I went down with this bug, I'd bought some lemons when they were on offer at Lidl to make some Limoncello for my daughters' Christmas stockings and I'd set that steeping.  The Limoncello uses the peels but not the flesh from 10 lemons so I had that to add as well. I cooked the fruit and the peel on one day in the pressure cooker and the next day I boiled it up with the sugar in two batches.  I was making up the recipe a bit as I went along and decided that I would add a tin of Mamade to make sure it set.  I ended up with 19.5 lbs and a bit in a ramekin extra.  It is soooo tasty and I'm pleased that I was able to make good use of the fruit we were given as well as the left over lemon flesh.  I know that there will be enough left, after presents, to do us for quite a large part of 2013 so my husband is very happy.  And it cost just under 30p per lb. I'm pleased with the price but with all the fruit that I was given I'd expected the cost to be a bit lower.  It probably would have been if I'd not turned chicken and added the tin of Mamade from the cupboard.

My Christmas job tonight is to bottle the Limoncello.  I've been planning this since the spring when I found the recipe and have been saving any small bottles that I came across.  However, my husband has helpfully hidden the lids from most of the bottles and can't remember where he put them.....  I'm not just sure what thoughts were in his head when he moved them as he probably intended it as a helpful gesture.  But.....

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Sunday, December 02, 2012

I've been ailing again so I'm all behind with everybody's blogs. It is quite daunting to see just how much everybody has written in the last ten days - and this feels quite strange when reading these same blogs is something I normally enjoy very much.

I went out to see my hens yesterday for the first time in a week.  I was pleased to see that some of the hens who were moulting have started to grow a few feathers back.  Just as well considering how cold the weather has turned. Between the moulting/feather growing and the cold weather, we haven't had many eggs but since I've been off work and unable to deliver to some of my customers anyway, that has worked out alright.

How did it get to be 2 December already?  I'm sure that it was early October last week : )

Losing last weekend and this weekend from my present making is throwing my Christmas preparations into chaos.  I certainly won't be back at work in the next 2-3 days so I shall have to try and get a schedule planned. My brain is not in good working order so I don't want to try to do too much in case I mess things up entirely.

The best laid plans of mice, men and me......