Monday, 9 June 2014

Mondays catch up

Goodness me, there were  23 comments on the Cost Effective Self Sufficiency post. Thank you to everyone for reading and commenting. It's interesting to find other people who have had a go at various ways to be more self sufficient. For so many years we thought we were odd!, now it seems we were not the only ones :-)

On Saturday morning we had decided to take a trip to a car boot sale that's only held once a month from May to September. The weather was a bit iffy and we had some thunder early but we thought we would go and have a look anyway. Unfortunately the uncertain weather had put off lots of people so the sale was smaller than usual. All I bought were 5 packets of seeds for £1 the lot.
2 of the packs were runner beans which we have put out straight away to replace a whole bed that have been eaten by mice ( I guess, as there is no sign of any beans anywhere under the ground). We will be short of beans for selling if this new sowing doesn't grow. Next year I shall have to put the whole lot into trays inside. I did 5 big seed trays full this year which is enough to fill one bed. The one bed planted out are looking really sad with yellowing leaves, as are the climbing French beans.
This year seems to be a constant battle with disease and pests in so many areas. We have an invasion of huge black aphids on our big Christmas Tree, these are producing lots of sticky excretions which I think is called Honeydew and it has attracted every bee and wasp for miles. As this tree is right next to our sitting out patio it's all a bit off putting. Our neighbour said it's a good thing she no longer keeps bees as they will swarm to any tree where this happens.

Our son and girlfriend were here overnight on Saturday after going to yet another wedding of one of his school friends. He has kept in touch with so many of the lads he was at school with and being a popular fella has been invited to what seems like dozens of weddings. Next year he will be a best man to his best school friend just two weeks before his Sister gets married, busy boy!
Our youngest daughter  and her bloke came round to join us  for a family lunch on Sunday and, having picked more than 4lb of strawberries, of course we had enough strawbs and ice cream for 6 people ( plus some to spare for us for today and a couple of small punnets out for sale). The children were reminiscing about the years here when we grew even more strawberries than now, and how after about 3 weeks having them every day they would begin to go right off them. I love it when they talk about things I've long forgotten.

We ( mainly C actually) got some bits of weeding done early Sunday morning, we are slowly catching up on that never ending task. We've run out of space for planting out the sweetcorn and leeks until  the first potato bed has been cleared. 

Did anyone else watch the mens Tennis Final from Paris? It was a good match I thought, although I was a bit worried about Rafa  who looked just about all in due to the heat. Probably a good thing Andy Murray didn't get through to the final, with his fair Scottish skin he would have been frazzled.

 Today C has been doing some more work on the shed, it's coming along nicely and I have been
The roof is half plastic and half metal sheets over felt.
  catching up on housework and having a go at Elderflower Jelly which was one of the recipes in the Home Farmer magazine that I picked up last week ( also on someones blog recently but not sure who - apologies, let me know and I'll edit and link you in here). The Elderflowers had been soaking in water since Friday. I hadn't got special jam sugar but I did have sachets of pectin, which I thought would do the same job. But maybe not! Even though I boiled for several minutes after adding the pectin the blinkin' stuff still didn't look like setting. So I potted it up anyway to see if cooling it would work. Mmm, No it didn't!
Then I had a choice, I could pretend that I meant to make Elderflower Syrup which I think will be lovely with some lemonade added or poured over ice cream. Or I could tip it back into a pan, bring it back to the boil and add more pectin.
I tipped most backed into a pan, brought it back to the boil added half a sachet of pectin and then waited for it to reach setting point, which it seemed to do ( tested on a cold plate). So I poured it all back into the jars and guess what............it still didn't set. I give up!

In between everything else I've been picking gooseberries, just a slow start this year because although they are huge I'm still not at all sure they are really ripe enough. So I pick about 4 punnets full and put them on the stall without putting out my blackboard sign with GOOSEBERRIES writ large. (Once I do that the cars stop to buy so many that I have to pick all day to keep up).
 12 punnets sold today at £1.50 each, plus 4 bags of potatoes at 50p, 3 bunches of flowers at £1 each, 2 small pointed cabbages at 30p each and a couple of small calabrese heads in a bag for 50p. Not forgetting 16 boxes of 6 eggs at £1 each.

I caught a few minutes of tennis from Queens Club - the build up to Wimbledon had begun.

Back Tomorrow
Sue

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