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

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Thinking ahead

I have had such a quiet week and I've really appreciated it.  I have got through most of the mountain of laundry.  There are quite a few things left unwashed still but there is not enough for a full load of anything.  It has been so lovely to peg the washing out and bring it in dry but this in turn has generated a mountain of ironing - and it is far too hot to be ironing.  So I'll be wearing non-iron clothes this week until I get my act together : )

Today my husband is away at a meeting in Cambridge for examiners.  That will mean about five hours of driving.  It will have been alright this morning because he left home before 6.30 and before it warmed up but I'm sure he won't enjoy the drive back this evening.  I'm celebrating my peaceful day by having porridge for my lunch.  I love porridge but my husband doesn't so I'm having it while I can.  Since it is for lunch, I've put a handful of sultanas in it and they have all plumped up nicely.  Yum!

I'm still collecting anything wooden that I find - pallets, branches, a wooden dining chair (broken) that was left out for the bin men.  I popped back into school one day this week to collect some wood that was going spare.  Some of it has already been used to mend the sides of one of the rabbit hutches.  Some will be stored for future use in repairing things and some scrappy bits will end up in the pile for the woodburner for the autumn.  We had the Health and Safety bloke come to do an inspection at school recently.  Can you believe that we were told that the Design department was storing too much wood and that they had to get rid of lots of it.  This wood is stored in a purpose built concrete store which has been made as fireproof as possible! It is our gain but I still think that it is further evidence that H&S have gone mad.

The maths department were also having a major clear out at the end of term and I have been given two boxes of absolutely ancient books which are donkeys years out of date - but perfectly fine for burning. Some of the books which had a bit of life left were passed on elsewhere. And one of the members of staff who was retiring has given me all his notes and paperwork from the last ten years of teaching and this will end up as paper "bricks" to burn next winter. Just think - one paper "brick" burnt each day over the winter means at least 200 logs that we don't have to source or cut up (or pay for).  Every little helps.  The ash from this winter has been added to the compost heap and helps to aereate our really heavy clay soil.

H&S would have forty fits at the amount of extra paper that is in my house at the moment but come back halfway through the winter and there won't be nearly so much.  Like everything else in life, it is a case of "carpe diem" and I may never have the opportunity of having so much free woodburner fodder again.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Got there!

I feel like I crawled there on my hands and knees at the end but I have actually got to the summer holidays from school.  Hurray!  Yesterday I did one load of washing and pegged it out and later brought it in and folded it but I didn't do anything else that could remotely be described as useful.  Today I feel better for the rest and hopefully tomorrow a bit better still.

On Saturday, we had the birthday party for our two small grandchildren.  My job was in the kitchen - preparing food, serving food, clearing up food...  I was so tired that when we got home again, I fell fast asleep.  I always have difficulty sleeping when it is daylight so this is very unusual for me.  I put it down to a severe case of end-of-term-itis : )


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Nearly there

Just one more day, then freedom.

Nearly there : )

All I shall be doing at work tomorrow is to finish clearing my room so that the team of cleaners can have a clear run and phoning up about some things I ordered for school which seem to have gone astray.  No kids : )

Just one more day.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Freedom beckons

I went to Asda to get my Leerdammer cheese with the coupon from the link in my previous post.  I had two coupons, one for me and one for my husband and was delighted to find that Asda had the cheese on offer at two packs for £3.  The coupons scan at the till for £2 each so I had two packs of free cheese and £1 off the rest of my shopping  : )  I like Leerdammer as a change from our usual mature cheddar.

Just this week to go and then freedom: )


Monday, July 07, 2014


There are a small number of good coupons around at the moment. I got them all from Facebook.

Free pack of Leerdammer:

Free 400g pack of Royal Canin cat food:

Free bottle of Coke Zero:  (it is on page 3)

Just thought I would share  : )


Saturday, July 05, 2014

It came

Well, it arrived.  Our son came round and helped with the donkey work of manoevering freezers in and out of the house.  We had to take the back door off to get them through the gap...

Fortunately, the meat had been stored at the bottom of the freezer and it was still rock hard so none of that has been lost.  It was the vegetable-y things that were at the top which were just starting to have a little bit of "give" in them. So the loss is nowhere as bad as it could have been and I'm so very grateful for that. We had half a cow in there and I was a bit worried especially as it is June, after all.

I'm also very pleased to have a Rainy Day fund put by.  We've had to spend money that we were not planning to spend but we don't need a loan and we won't be paying any interest on anything.

So I'm back at the computer now, just calming down with a nice cuppa, because we've weathered this little storm without too much damage. Whew!

Freezer problems

The day after I had posted the last entry, we spotted that the freezer had stopped working.  The compressor had gone.  The freezer was full to the top so it was a case of simply finding a new one that would fit into the space and could be delivered asap.  So I am sitting fidgetting at the computer waiting for a freezer to arrive.  When it comes, then we can open the old one and put the food in boxes, move the old one outside, move the new one inside and fill it up with any food still rock hard.

This is obviously going to be One of Those Years.  We've already replaced the vacuum cleaner, the fridge and the microwave this year.  The kettle is leaking and the iron is not heating up properly....  In 1998, we had to replace every electrical appliance we had and this year looks like following suit.  Mind you, most things date back to 1998 so I suppose I shouldn't really complain.

I wish this delivery would hurry up and happen.  I HATE sitting around like this because I know that if I start anything, then that is when the doorbell will ring.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Buttering him up...

One of the yellow stickered items I got at Tesco on Sunday was some cream:  four 300ml tubs of whipping cream at 11p each.  I've never made butter from whipping cream before - only from double cream - but for 44p, I was prepared to give it a go.  I was expecting a much lower yield because the percentage of butterfat is lower, but I was pleasantly surprised.  My husband begged for half a tub of cream for him to have with jam and bread.  I think he was hoping for scones made with the buttermilk but he'll have to wait for those. So I used three and a half tubs to make butter and got 550g which is now divided up into small pats and frozen.  I left one pat out of the freezer and lightly salted it for use now.  I freeze the butter unsalted because it keeps better and then just add a little salt when it is thawed.

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