Thank you to everyone for comments yesterday. I did reply to all but some of the replies have vanished into thin air - very odd. They were there and then they weren't!
Mostly we burn wood for heat. Our woodburner in the living room only needs a few bits to soon warm us up. The Rayburn in the kitchen also uses wood and anything else you like really. We get through a lot of wood every year and it's mainly free, except for buying a new chain for the chainsaw or a new chainsaw every now and again. We've got hedges and trees all around the field which we thin out and we can pick up old pallets for free from a couple of places locally.
BUT the problem with wood is that unless you are lucky to have some nice big bits of oak, you can't keep either the wood burner or the Rayburn in overnight. Which means by morning the house is cold - sometimes VERY cold. When I was younger this didn't matter but I certainly feel the cold more now I'm heading towards 60 and we started to get a few bags of coal in each winter to keep the Rayburn in on very cold nights.
Years ago every town had a coal merchant and we were able to get loose cheap coal or similar locally. When the last man retired we just bought a few bags where ever we could. Then a few months ago when our friend P brought the 9 chickens and a load of wheat over for us as he was giving up hen keeping he said he had several coal bunkers full off coal and Homefire ovals which he had got in return for work done, and as he would be moving soon he said we could buy it cheap if we went and collected.
So off we went early this morning with a big bundle of 50 paper feed sacks, 2 wheelbarrows and a shovel and our old horse box trailer.We came home a few hours later with enough coal for about 10 years! all for £200. Bargain.
This afternoon we picked the rest of the pears off the tree before the windy weather hits us tomorrow. I think I will be spending the day putting them and more apples into the freezer. We came to the conclusion that we had to turn on the second chest freezer if we wanted to keep all of this years bumper apple and pear harvest. Once we had 3 chest freezers, back in the day when we bred sheep we would have up to 8 lambs in half lamb packs in the freezer waiting to be sold. The second chest freezer hadn't been used for a year but luckily after a bit of juddering it got going and seems OK.
Morgan at Growing in the Fens did an interesting post about reading and as she put a link into to my library book picture, I thought I would put a link in to her blog!
People often say that children need to have lots of books at home to get into reading but I love books and reading and yet we had very few books at home. My Aunties would get me a book for Christmas or birthday and we had one every year at the Sunday School Anniversary as an attendance prize.There were some Enid Blyton books around but I don't remember my mum or step dad ever reading a proper book, although Mum read magazines and Mills and Boon type books when our neighbour lent them to her. She certainly never ever took us to a library. It must have been primary school that got me interested in books, I remember Swallows and Amazons and of course all the Narnia series being read to us and sometimes when the Schools Mobile Library came round we would be allowed on to choose some. The series by Will Scott about two families and their holiday adventures were my favourites and several years ago I found a copy of one in a charity book sale. I was so excited to find it and remember those stories. One year, on a visit to Hay on Wye we went to the Childrens book shop as our son was into collecting Biggles books and there I found another book that I had loved as a child. So had to buy it to relive those memories again. Just seeing them sitting on my bookshelves makes me smile.