Friday, 29 April 2016

Forgot the start date

Just realised I've forgotten to mark the 3rd anniversary of this blog.
I started it early April 2013 as a diary of our self-sufficient life on a 5 acre Suffolk Smallholding.
We had lived there since 1992 and for most of that time Col worked as a bridge inspector/supervisor for the County Council and I stayed home, milked goats, watched sheep, fed chickens, collected eggs, looked after the campsite and grew and sold fruit and veg. We had already cut down on animals before 2013 because of bureaucracy and lack of time. The most goats we had at one time after spring kidding was 8 and one year after lambing we had 14 sheep!  In March 2012 we decided we could earn enough from the smallholding and campsite and Col left full time work. We added a shower to the campsite and increased our growing-to-sell so that with a few days a month council work  and a day a week odd-jobbing we lived quite comfortably for a year and a half.
Then came Cols heart problems which made us cut down the workload and decide a move might be a good idea, followed by the Non Hodgkins diagnosis - when to live nearer the hospital became essential.

So here we are in town and the blog is completely different to when I started, luckily blog friends and relatives are still reading - thank you everyone.

People keep asking us if we miss the smallholding - well yes..............and no. We've not really had a chance to miss it properly yet and I certainly don't miss all the wood hauling, ash clearing, kindling chopping and fire-lighting/tending that I had to do, mostly by myself, all through this last winter. And I definitely don't miss the DUST! if you've not heated your house entirely with wood and coal you really don't know the meaning of the word!
I quite like the anonymity of town and the proximity of shops and all the other things we need. It's good to be able to walk everywhere and I can go out walking early morning without getting strange looks - which is what happened when I walked on the roads near the smallholding at 7am!

Anyway, enough looking backwards.

My sister and brother-in-law are finally moving back into Suffolk next Tuesday - May 3rd . They've had even more hassles in their chain than we did (their first date was mid March!) and if they hadn't exchanged by this weekend the owners of the house they are buying were going to take it off the market, thank heavens it all got sorted in time. I had completely forgotten that my sister could knit, she's not done much for a while, but she brought over a couple of little jumpers she'd made for our eldest's "bump" and has already started something for our youngest's. Then I remembered amongst my craft stuff I had a tube of buttons for babies. I bought them years ago from a car boot sale thinking they would do for card making but  the Post Office introduced the 'letter thickness thing', so they have been in a drawer ever since. Some are shaped like flowers, teddies or ducks and others have little pictures on, now my sister is all set for cardigan making and I'll  find some wool for her from charity shops too -should keep her busy - after they've unpacked and planted up their garden!

I'm just awaiting delivery of a wardrobe and hoping they'll be able to get it in the house and Col is up at hospital having a couple of bags of rejuvenating blood. We should be out for a meal with all our children and their OH's on Sunday.

Back after the weekend
Hope you all have a good one.


Tuesday, 26 April 2016

New Favourite Pasta sauce

When we decided to move into town we knew we wouldn't be able to grow much food this year but I thought I could take advantage of the cheap veg offers in Aldi and Asda. The first week I shopped at Asda they had a selection of things for 39p(I think) but next time that offer had disappeared.There's been no sign of their wonky veg boxes either. Aldi's weekly offer is 6 different things for 59p each but if you look at their other veg some is less than 59p anyway. No help at all. But across the road from Aldi is a old fashioned greengrocers and they have a board out the front with special offers at 29p each!
Which brings me onto my title, because with the board announcing Aubergines for 29p I had to make this

Aubergine and Tomato Pasta Sauce.( 3 Large portions or 4 normal)
1 Aubergine chunked
1 Onion - chopped
1 tin of plum tomatoes
Good squirt of Tomato Puree
2 teaspoons brown sugar
A little hot water
Black Pepper

Soften the onion in a little sunflower/rapeseed/olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the aubergine and cook and stir for a few minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes, squirt the tomato puree into the empty can add third/half a tin of hot water, swish around and add to the pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar and mix in, cover and turn down the heat and leave to cook for about 15 - 20 minutes stirring regularly. Add the ground black pepper and serve with pasta (preferably tagliatelle).You could grate a little strong cheese over the top for extra calories and have some crusty bread or my Tomato and Herb rolls to mop up the juices.

Col's taste-buds and appetite haven't been too bad after this last chemo session ( So Far!) and he really enjoyed this. What he is suffering with is a really awful cold and cough and I've had it too but not quite so bad and everywhere you go around about there seems to be people coughing. He was up at hospital today for the regular blood test and review and most of the results were OK but the doctor doubled his antibiotic dose which he has to take for a week starting 5 days after chemo. He is going back for another blood test on Thursday and a blood infusion on Friday.
We both need to get well by the weekend as our eldest and husband are in Suffolk - their first visit since before Christmas. I have a nice bag of pressies for "bump" and after seeing the jumble sale treasures on my post the other day she said she thought "bump" was going to enjoy visiting Nana Sue and Grandad Colin.
I also want it to warm up a bit as our son had the idea that we might all go and visit the family beach hut and it's been so B***** cold yesterday and today that the idea doesn't seem very appealing!

Big Suffolk welcome to 2 new followers - Jennifer and Judy, hope you enjoy reading.
Thanks to everyone for comments last time

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Saturday, 23 April 2016

Nana Sue (to be) went..................... a jumble sale.

She walked down the road and round the corner and paid 20p to get into the Scout hall.
Then she spent £6 and came home with all these treasures

And Grandad Colin (to be) said "where the heck are we going to put them? we've only got a teeny bungalow".
But it was OK because most will be given away to the two mums (to be). Except for that brilliant Fisher Price bouncer chair, with a kicky/fiddly play thing attached and that lovely wooden caterpillar and the books which will have to stay here for small visitors (and the one grown up chick lit book).

 What bargains!

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PS. The beach hut was a bit more than £6! but a lot less than Southwold or the South Coast and I can't think of a better way for us to spend time while Col is getting better. The sound of the sea is very restorative I reckon and what a brilliant place it will be for our future grandchildren.