Thursday, 18 September 2014

Enjoying the sunshine + potatoes

This spell of warm weather has been such a treat, if it went on for another two weeks I wouldn't complain. I've had a couple of hours sitting out soaking it up.

Every year we put some main-crop potatoes out on the field, some years they do well, some years not so well. Last year was poor but we still had enough to last until the beginning of this year. We wondered whether to bother with growing them, but of course we tried again.
Using the potato lifter borrowed yesterday C lifted a row this afternoon, not a good crop again, some decent sized, a lot small and some scabby.
He picked them up and said they didn't look too good. We'll have to sort through and see what's good enough to keep and what need using quickly. 2 more rows to lift tomorrow.

This morning he was away early to move the irrigation equipment again - still SO dry here, then after coming home for a coffee he was off again to take the two pigs belonging to someone in the village off to the abattoir. Last time he went, 2 years ago, the abattoir had just moved to a new site and it was chaotic- they had to wait ages. But he said this time it was much more organised, only a short wait so he was home again by 1.30. Were we paid in cash or pork?..........  Both! Cash to cover diesel and the use of the trailer and some pork - probably sausages - to come later. Yippee!

Another quiet day  for me, odd jobs and reading.
Thanks to everyone for comments yesterday
Back Tomorrow
Sue


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

A little rest and a little work.

Yet another day of odd jobs and resting in between, I'm afraid this is getting a bit monotonous. I had a phone chat with my doctor today and she said what everyone else has said.........lungs take a while to recover, 6 weeks to get back to full strength and don't push myself too hard.

Now here is a very weird thing. A neighbour was away all last week and came back Saturday having felt a bit unwell for a few days. Saturday night she called for an ambulance as she was having breathing problems and her pulse was way up ( she was a nurse many years ago so knows about these things). She has been in hospital since and guess what she has? Pneumonia! now how strange is that? except she has complications too, poor lady.

So what have we being doing today.
We popped to Saxmundham for the bank, the post office and a few things from Tesco. C has been making the greenhouse staging for his customer, moving the irrigation stuff, fetching the potato lifter from our friend and mending our neighbours small mower. I put some more pears into the freezer, picked another big bowl of autumn raspberries, read a book, sat in the sun and did a bit of cleaning.
My frugal fact of the day- Except for a couple of lemons,we've spent nothing on fruit since the 22nd of July and yet there hasn't been a day without some fresh fruit to eat - not bad I think.

Many thanks for comments yesterday to Dc, Out my window, Julee, Chickpea, Midsuffolk Meadow (hope the AGM goes well but what happened to your blogging W? :-), Karen, The reason I save, Morgan and Julie. Plus some nice comments from Jonathan Gutteridge at The Money Shed.com which seems to be a web site with ideas for working from home and earning money on line. Sorry Jonathan I won't be joining in with paid advertising on my blog!

I forgot a couple of things in yesterdays list of veg grown here namely parsnips and leeks, neither are grown to sell. We haven't started either yet but the leeks are looking very sad, like all the onion family this year, rust disease has been a big problem, just look at my Welsh onions in the herb garden.
They really shouldn't be looking like this!

Good luck to any readers in Scotland - hope you make the right decision tomorrow- whatever That is.

Back Tomorrow
Sue






Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Growing lessons learned 2014

We've been growing our own veg since 1979, sort-of growing to sell on and off for 22 years, growing seriously for selling for 3 years. Each year is different and there are always new things to try, changes to plan and the weather to cope with.

Here is the post I did about growing to make a small profit back in June and this is what actually happened in the growing season of 2014

Daffs and Alstromeria
We may well stop bothering with Daffodils to sell, they take up a whole bed for little return, although I'm not sure we will get round to digging them up this Autumn. I sold several bunches of Alstromeria  early on then they stopped growing. Must remember to cut back and feed them this autumn.

Early potatoes
We had 4 beds of early and second early potatoes in the garden and had plenty to sell and to eat. We are still eating the last of the Charlotte.

Gooseberries
A wonderful crop to sell as usual, our biggest income.

Raspberries
Again these were good, we sold lots of punnets from the summer rows and we are still eating the Autumn variety, picking a basin full every other day.

Tomatoes,cucumbers, peppers and Aubergines
75 Tomato plants gave us plenty to sell for 2 and a half months, anything from 2 to 8 bags a day. The giant Andine variety  have been skinned and put in the freezer for winter. They have now slowed down to only a couple of bags a week to sell. Shirley were the best quality this year. There are still some green tomatoes which may not ripen before a hard frost in which case we will bring them in and put in a tray indoors.
Cucumbers were poor, I grew 8 plants, only 6 survived so we bought 2 from a boot sale. They should have been watered more - 2 or 3 times a day might have helped keep the disease/whatever it was away.
I didn't grow enough sweet pepper plants this year, normally they are still going well into September but there are only a few left to ripen. I've put enough in the freezer to last us all winter - hopefully and sold all the rest. Chili peppers sell slowly, about 2 bags a week, but that is enough to pay for their space. Aubergines looked good but a lot of the early flowers didn't set. We had enough to have some for our aubergine and pasta bake and more to sell. They do make something different to go out on the stall.

Courgettes
We had a dozen plants but should have watered them more, they were very prolific for a while but slowed down quickly.They ought to be still producing but have gone mildewy and more or less died.

Runner and Climbing French beans
The climbing french beans were a great success we sold many, many bags  for £1 bag. Because I had some gaps in the bed I bought another packet of seeds and these were actually better than the originals ( Isabella from DT Browns) The new sort grew longer rather than fatter, and as they are best when they are thin, were ideal. Annoyingly I have no record of what the new ones were, so have left some on the later sown tripod to dry off and use next year.
Runner beans were slow to get going but we have been selling between 2 and 8 bags full every day now for several weeks.
Today's picking of runners
 Onions
Despite buying heat treated sets we still had some problems with rust, so sold a lot straight away rather than trying to keep them. However there were still enough decent quality to hang 3 big nets of onions in the shed, they'll need checking for rot now and again but hopefully we may not need to buy any until next spring.

Squash and Pumpkins
We were beaten by the weeds as the squash were slow to get going. It looks a real mess out on the field and I'm not sure how many squash we will find later. There does look to be a good crop of pumpkins, but slow to turn orange. This time last year we had already started selling them. We do know we have 1 HUGE pumpkin and 4 more nearly as big, I have no idea what I'm going to do with these monsters. We were given the plants, so they were not planned, as I know from experience that extra large don't sell well, people like them football size for Halloween and smaller for eating.

Beetroot
Successional sowing means they are a regular part of our lunch. We sold some early on, many got too big for selling, we now have a new sowing in the poly tunnel and some in the garden to be put in a sand box for winter.
   
Brassicas
As well as growing some from seed I sent for some starter plants and we were able to sell lots of cauliflowers as well as having enough for us. Most crops are still to come of course. Plenty for us and maybe a few green and red cabbage to sell.

No Cooking apples to sell this year, but plenty of eating apples and pears. Plums and apricots have gone in the freezer.

Other crops
We have had lettuce or salad leaves available almost every day. Broad beans were not much good again, we may not grow them next year. Sweetcorn is another thing we may not bother with, simply because it's possible to buy frozen sweetcorn for next to nothing and I would probably spend less than 2 packets of seeds. We have carrots just for us and chard.

Back Tomorrow
Sue

Monday, 15 September 2014

A Warm September day

Last week C had a call from someone asking if he would be willing to help to take two pigs to the abattoir. C said yes and then remembered our horse-box trailer was still full of sacks of coal that we had bought off a friend almost a year ago. He also knew that some of the paper sacks had got damp and disintegrated so that the coal was falling out of the bottom, so he was expecting it to be a long job to empty the trailer. Thank goodness most of the sacks were still OK and he has now taken the trailer down the road so the man can feed the pigs in the trailer to get them used to going in. This, by the way is a very handy tip for anyone thinking of keeping pigs to fatten up. Pigs take a lot of shifting if there is somewhere they don't want to go! We are now wondering if we will be paid in pork or cash, I'd prefer pork!
C has been out twice today to do the irrigation equipment moving on two small fields then  again later to set it running overnight on a bigger field.
My day has been yet another day of odd jobs and resting in between including sitting out in the September warmth.

Welcome to four new people who have clicked the Bloglovin' button. I fear you have started to follow  when my posts are a bit dull, normally they full of smallholding jobs and frugal ways, I hope you will stick with it until I can get back to full health.

Back Tomorrow
Sue

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Family Get Together

Cs sister had been planning a family barbeque for the summer. But our two eldest were so busy all summer that it got round to today before everyone had a free day. Even then our Future Sons-in-law didn't make it, one busy with work stuff and the other a bit poorly.


Luckily the weather stayed fine for us to sit out the back of their lovely old farmhouse, watching the fish in the pond that was probably part of a moat when the house was first built over 400 years ago.

Before heading off for lunch, C and our eldest went to the car boot sale. I've not been to a boot sale for weeks due to the darned pneumonia and lack of energy. Think of all the treasures I might have missed! C came home today with just a box of screws to make staging for the greenhouse for his customer. ( I wanted to hang on to the staging we had ). Our eldest came back with a gardening book and  a GIANT length of hosepipe on a reel almost too heavy to carry.
She went to have a look at the HUGE pumpkin on the field and couldn't believe the size, it's gone on Facebook with caption " growing a pumpkin to turn into a coach for my wedding!"

I'm now back resting yet again........boring.

Back Tomorrow
 Sue

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Odds and ends

Another day, another dollar............C was off before 8am moving the irrigation stuff again.They are irrigating carrot fields at the mo. I just wish he wouldn't bring so much of the  sandy, slightly muddy soil back with him every time!
We have paid the bill for cutting and baling the fields = £178. Not too bad considering we will be getting back nearly £1000 when we get paid. Then there will be some money from his Leiston customer for the greenhouse and fixing it and money for all this irrigation work. It's good when we owe nothing and can look forward to cash coming in.

We had 2 vouchers in the post the other day for £5 off a £15 spend in September and October for our local (15 miles away is local for Suffolk!) Wyevale Garden centre. There was also a buy-one-get-one- free voucher for lunch in the restaurant. So I'm getting out my Christmas book to see what other presents I need and then we can have a morning out one day next week. It was our 35th wedding anniversary on the 8th and we did nothing to celebrate so this will be a belated treat.

C has worked his way through the rest of the raspberry pruning and done more mowing on the campsite and around the garden. We have 2 tents and 3 caravans here this weekend and another booking for a caravan for next week so not quite as quiet as we thought. Emptying the bins today he found a whole cooked chicken had been chucked out, still sealed in its wrapper, I think waste from the campsite is the worst thing about running it.

I've had yet another rest day, I've read yet another book.... The collected works of A. J. Fikery by Gabrielle Zevin. According to my Book of Books I've Read, which I started in 1971 when I began work in a library this is the first book I've read by an author beginning with Z. It was a really good read. Quirky but in a good way.

 Our eldest has arrived for a quick visit, time to hear all her wedding plans for next May.

That's our day gone again

Back Tomorrow
Sue

Friday, 12 September 2014

96 snack sized boxes of Sunmaid Raisins = over 4lb

I didn't have to wait very long for a free delivery offer email to come through from Approved Foods and one of the things they had on Special-One -Day-Only was the mini snack boxes of Sun-maid Raisins. 4 packs of 12 boxes for £1, maximum 8 packs per person. So as raisins were on my shopping list ready for Christmas cakes and puds I decided to get some and then we had fun opening all the teeny boxes and tipping them into my storage jar. The only problem being that the raisins are packed in so tight that every box needs tearing to get them out...... it took ages. It was worth it because I have over 4lb for £2 - bargain! I also got biscuits for Christmas and packs of Tropical Mix that C likes with his muesli/bran-flake breakfast.

C was off early again to do the irrigation equipment moving and then after a coffee he was working at our neighbours. I decided to try a bit of weeding......the strawberry bed is a real mess, but after about 6 foot of clearing I was worn out. Yesterday we got one row of raspberries in the fruit cage cut back and again I had to go and rest for a couple of hours to recover. It seems pneumonia really does take a while to get over. I am managing to help with cleaning on the campsite.........C does the sweeping and I do the sink and toilet cleaning and tap polishing....not too strenuous.

One benefit of all this resting is that I'm really making inroads into  my big heap of library books, I loved The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith and The Blooding by James McGee but I've abandoned James Oswald. I thought the first in this relatively new series was good - a normal police crime story but now they are seriously weird, I can't be doing with demons and devils!

What about this for a handy coincidence ......Just yesterday I said how few cooking apples we'd got this year. This morning our elderly friend who looks after a Londoners second home called in to pick up his mole traps and asked if we wanted a bag of windfall cooking apples. The second-home owners had a huge orchard planted up when they bought the house but almost all their apples go to waste as they only visit about once in the Autumn. They have a shed full of apple racking which our friend lays all the good apples out on but each spring he has to throw most away because they don't use them. A Criminal waste!  He is going to bring us some more windfalls next time he passes too.

Welcome to Thereasonisave ( a new blogger), thank you for clicking the Google button.

Thank you for comments yesterday

Back Tomorrow
 Sue