Monday, 27 July 2015

Card making weather

WHEN we sell the house and  IF we go off in a caravan ( Almost the title of my favourite Famous Five book), I won't have a lot of space to take card crafting stuff so as it was pouring with rain again  (We've had more than a month's worth, it can stop now - Please!) I thought I would do a bit of card making.

This is what was created on a wet Sunday and a cross stitch card finished a week or two ago.

Thanks for all the comments about Estate Agents etc after my last post. I said I wouldn't go on about the house and selling - far too boring so I really will shut up about it now until we actually sell.

Back soon

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Another viewing

We were just getting ourselves  lunch today when we noticed a car hovering on the road outside. There was nothing out for sale as it had been raining hard first thing so they were obviously looking at the house. A few minutes later the phone rang with the agents saying that someone wanted to come and view straightaway. We put them off for half an hour and I did a bit of tidying and we had a quick lunch. When they arrived they were a very posh couple older than us and it was obvious they had no idea that we had a smallholding with a campsite. NOT best pleased with the Estate agents!

What a good rain we had overnight. 2 inches in total, should have done the fruit trees a power of good.

Apologies for anyone who couldn't find this post anywhere, it got published by mistake, it wasn't due to be finished 'til next week. But as it escaped I thought I would publish it anyway!

Thanks for comments and welcome to Susan R, Jose and Mrs H who are new followers.

Back later than sooner or sooner than later.

Friday, 24 July 2015

The week flies by

Where do the days go?

Monday was hot and humid. A man with a van came to mend 2 tires on Col's tractor. They were OK on Friday when he was using it but then Saturday morning flat as pancakes.
This is what I picked first thing to go out for sale:- 4 punnets of raspberries, 1 punnet of morello cooking cherries, 4 cucumbers, 2 bunches of beetroot, 4 bags of potatoes, 1 bag of green beans, 1 bunch of onions, 1 Marrow and a small bag of cherry tomatoes - the first toms to go out this year.
On Sunday I moved everything out of the big chest freezer so I could defrost it. We've still got a smaller freezer in the shed so everything was squashed in there with 2 big bricks on the top to keep it shut. Now it's all back in the largest and the small one will go to the scrap yard with the next load of scrap.It was when Col was hauling an old bale sledge out of the nettles to add to the scrap heap that he must have run over something that punctured the tractor tyres .
We've been doing lots more tidying ready to have a barn/yard sale here on 15th August, so as well as the scrap to go, the skip load of rubbish has been taken away.
University Challenge at 8 and Only Connect at 8.30 were the only things we watched on TV. Hardly able to answer any questions - as usual. 

Tuesday, still hot and dry.
 Col went off to get chicken feed and I made 3 loaves of bread and did some weeding. Then I took a bucket of soapy water out to the caravan to give the fridge and oven a good clean. We've checked everything (except the awning and the loo) to make sure it works and the only repair needed is to the worktop cover for the sink and drainer. We spent less than half of my surprise pension payout on this caravan and we are pretty chuffed, because others similar on Ebay are well over £5,000.

Wednesday. Hot and sunny again with a nice breeze. Black skies in the evening produced about 10 spots of rain - no good at all.
 Serves me right for being pleased about the caravan bargain because today the  car went to have an odd rattle checked out and it needs a part that's going to cost us nearly £300. It's something Col can't do himself and its going to take a few days to repair.
 I biked to Saxmundham for  shopping, it was lovely weather for cycling, but hot work walking up the hill out of Saxmundham with a two loaded baskets of shopping - one on the back and one on the front. I've mentioned before that our choice of shops locally is Tesco or Waitrose. - No choice really, and I just don't understand how anyone can afford Waitrose. Take yogurt for instance. Since Col had the bladder operation and the subsequent problems that meant two spells on antibiotics, I've been buying him yogurt to help re-balance everything. Tesco everyday value 45p for 500g versus Waitrose everyday essentials £1.20 for the same amount. Wonder which I buy?
Here is a conversation that happens in our house now and again. Me" I'm trying something for dinner that we've not had before". Him looking and sounding worried "Oh Dear" ! Today it was savoury pancakes stuffed with soft cheese and courgette and chard ( in place of spinach) topped with a home made tomato sauce (the last of my last batch of pizza topping) and cheese. It was OK but needed a bit more ooomph.
Vera on TV in the evening. A new series I think, although I read the book on which this story was based last year, so it seemed very familiar.

Thursday. Really cold overnight, I hope the tent campers on the campsite kept warm. We had some sunshine but quite a lot of cloud too.
 Today I mixed up a big batch of crumble topping to go in the freezer and made 6 boxes of pizza topping too.
This is very simple to make using about a pound of onions, finely chopped and softened in a little sunflower oil. Then half a tube of tomato puree squeezed in and stirred around. Next 2 tins of cheapest plum tomatoes without the juice - I save it to use for cheap tomato soup. Chop up the tomatoes, add pepper and cook everything for a few minutes to thicken.
Another home grown veggie meal for dinner using the first of the aubergines from the poly tunnel.
  Aubergine and pasta bake.

I've added the recipe to the separate recipe page. We only eat this once or twice a year when we have aubergines available as it is quite oily. I then made 6 sausage rolls (using 200g of sausage meat and ¼ of a pack of puff pastry) to shove in the oven at the same time ready for dinner tomorrow and Saturday lunch.
Col was doing some repairs to the lid of the nest box on the chicken shed we are selling and working at our neighbours.
Not a single thing on TV in the evening so it was back to Jo Wiley on radio 2.

I had an email with a voucher for half price delivery from Approved Foods. I've not ordered anything for a while so I had a look to see what they'd got in stock. They still have the lovely malted wheat flour in big 16kg sacks and have reduced the price even more but I do think some of their prices have gone up since they were featured on the TV programme. I dithered a bit and put things in the basket and took them out again.Had another look, checked prices on My supermarket site and eventually put in an order for some of the branded products we buy like Yorkshire Teabags, Heinz tomato ketchup and Blue Dragon stir fry sauce. We've tried cheap tea bags but with our hard water Yorkshire are the only ones that taste good and we use so little tomato sauce that we decided we might as well have something decent. The Blue Dragon sauces were 4 for a £1 - quite a saving. I also got some tortilla wraps, custard powder, Jacobs biscuits for cheese and de-indentified table salt at 5 x 1kg for £1. Think I might give three of these to the children. Cols treat was Liquorice Allsorts and my treat was De-identified Cappuccino dusting at 500g for 75p. That should last ages on my morning Frothy Coffee.

So here we are round to Friday. The first runner beans are out for sale today. I looked on My Supermarket again to check prices and the cheapest were £4.75Kg - Good Grief, and how weird is this -  you can actually buy them ready sliced. Surely they would dry up and look awful? I guess someone must buy them. We are forecast to get some rain today which would be useful, hope it doesn't miss us again. Col is doing more work on the trailer in the workshop and I don't know what I'm doing yet although I have picked redcurrants, raspberries, cucumbers, onions and beetroot to sell and washed the hall floor.
Our homemade and homegrown food eaten today will be raspberries, tayberries, salad leaves, beetroot, cucumber, tomatoes,potatoes, green beans,  the sausage rolls made yesterday, bread, jam for Col and a apple and blackberry crumble with fruit from the freezer. The bought food eaten today will be porridge, milk, coffee, tea, cheese, yogurt, butter, a couple of biscuits and peanut butter for me.

Before I forget, welcome to more followers - Simple Living and Chris - hope you enjoy my diary.

Back sometime soon

Sunday, 19 July 2015

We have somewhere to live whatever happens

Welcome to Sue, Ariel and Frugal Cookie who are new followers.

When or IF we find someone to buy this smallholding ( still only 3 viewings in the first month) we can avoid an onward chain as we've been and bought a caravan. We risked E-bay to get an older one secondhand  at a good price and it's come with loads of extras which you don't get if buy from a caravan dealer. Yesterday we traveled up to Bourne in Lincolnshire  - a lovely cross country journey over the Fens - to collect it, and it towed home well.
Col parked it on our campsite to try the electrics and they all work OK, just need to try out the awning, the gas and heating, give the fridge and oven a good clean and repair a couple of small things that are damaged inside but for a 'van 17 years old it's in remarkably good condition. It even came with a winter cover and a breathable groundsheet for the awning, neither of which we have ever had with any of the caravans we've owned before.
It also means we might even get a holiday in the autumn which would be a treat. We had a week in a cottage in March which was our first holiday for 3 years but at over £300 for the week  (and cottages are even more expensive to rent in summer, it isn't a cheap way for a break.). A week on a small campsite can be under £100 including electric.
And the chance of a Gap Year to visit the places we've never been could be a reality! By the way I've added another couple of things to My List of places to visit. As well as Hay-on-Wye which I remembered  before, there is Flag Fen in Cambridgeshire where they discovered a Bronze Age causeway. We saw the sign when we were that way yesterday and we've not been there and we also want to go to the town in Yorkshire ( I think) where they have the Brass band competition where bands move round the town playing in different places. I'm not sure where it is but someone will tell me I'm sure.

Right, I'm now going to watch the 4th and hopefully last set in the Davis Cup tennis and finish my cross stitch picture that will go in another 'fridge magnet.

Almost forgot to say many thanks for the lovely comments about handmade crafts on the last post.

Back in a few days