Thursday, 4 September 2014

It's far too long since I did a proper diary post so this is very long.

What with one thing and another it's AGES since I did a normal 'what's been happening here' post.

So here we go, a catch up on a week on the Simple Suffolk Smallholding

C has been taking care of everything and picking up all my jobs as well as his own while I've been out of action for nearly 3 weeks. Once the straw was baled he hasn't had to work anywhere else except at our neighbours so is keeping on top of the regular work here.

 The campsite is still fairly busy, mostly motor-homes at this time of year calling in for just 1 or 2 nights. Although we do have one of our regulars coming for a fortnight very soon and we have one night next week with all 5 caravan/motor-home spaces taken.

I've been helping in the mornings with the packing and labeling of all the veg while C has been doing all the picking. Things are slowing down now and yesterday we had out for sale
5 bags of runner beans at 50p a bag
1 bunch of beetroot at £1
4 bags of tomatoes at 50p a bag
1 red pointy pepper at 50p
1 big bag of chili peppers at 50p
1 small bag of chili peppers at 25p
1 bag of courgettes at 50p
1 marrow at 50p
1 large cabbage at 75p

The runner beans which were slow to get going are now doing really well and selling well too.Not surprisingly at that price. I forgot to look on My Supermarket comparison site to see how much Mr Ts supermarket had them priced up at and we just sold them at the same price as always - 50p for about 500g. It was only when I shuffled round Tescos yesterday ( C pushing the trolley) that we discovered they are £1 for 255g! - about 6 beans! No wonder they are flying off our stall.

We still have plenty to eat from the garden, apart from all the above we've got lettuce, carrots, autumn raspberries,potatoes, onions and the last of the climbing French beans. Sweetcorn are a bit slow, I pulled back a bit of the green covering to see what they were like and the kernels  are still a bit pale and small. Swedes are at last fattening up- nearly tennis ball instead of golf ball.

For a couple of weeks we put lots of plums out for sale and C did lots for the freezer too. When I got back from hospital he said I had better go and look in the chest freezer in the shed to see if we had enough plums. The answer to that was YES, enough to last 'til plum time next year ! So the rest are being picked and cooked up for us to eat every day, as the quality now is not really good enough to sell. He has also sliced up lots of red peppers and frozen them and I managed to do another couple of bags yesterday.

I am very disappointed by the look of our two Bramley apple trees, I thought we had a half decent crop on the youngest of the two but they've just not grown any bigger and a lot have gone scabby and cracked. The eating apple trees are all OK - none quite ready yet, but hopefully there will be some to store for winter. C has been picking off any wasp-damaged pears and windfalls and cooking them up. I want to put lots in the freezer once they are a wee bit riper and I've got my energy back.

I grew lots of pumpkin plants and filled up the area and then we were given a few Giant Pumpkin plants, so they went onto the muck heap. C said a couple of weeks ago had I seen how big one of them was but I didn't get to see it until today. Good Grief ! How will we shift that? It will have to be rolled onto a pallet, tied on and lifted with the tractor forks. We will have to offer delivery as no-one will get it in a car - if anyone wants to buy it - it could be hollowed out and have room for a child to climb inside!
Here it is with a watering can on top for comparison AND there are another 4 almost as big. 

Coming back through the garden after my 'long' walk up the field, I noticed how a couple of beetroot had gone mad, they are too big to fit in a pan for cooking and would take hours. Although maybe OK for roasting if they are not too tough. The garden is looking in a bit of a mess as we've not had time(him) or energy(me) to do any tidying and weeding.

What about on the frugal/financial front?
Well you know lots of people are doing a 'spend less September'? Our September will be more like a 's*d the budget September!'

The freezer was getting very low in meat then on the way home last Saturday, we saw a sign not far from us saying 'Lamb £6 kg'. It's nearly 5 years since we kept sheep and since then we've eaten very little lamb but I decided to go for a half lamb as a delicious treat to see us through the winter. So on Monday C went and picked up £54 worth of lamb. ( 2x half leg, 2x half shoulder, 4x 4 chops, a large pack of mince and offal). We've tried the chops and they were gorgeous, nothing like the tough tiny things you get from a supermarket but just like our home raised lamb that we had got used to for 15 years.
Next spend was yesterday when C assisted me with the monthly shop. A couple of things we buy ( de-caff coffee and Anchor spread) were reduced so we did a big stock up on those and ended up by spending £80.
Next week we will have a trip out while we get chicken feed and call in at a butchery place that does cheap chicken wings/thighs, as I've none left in the freezer at all. Then as soon as I have more energy we will be off to Mr S's supermarket in Ipswich to stock up on cheap cooking bacon,fish and some minced beef. Then into town to go to The Grape Tree for dried fruit in preparation for Chr****as! Apologies for mentioning the C word in September!

How will we afford all this big spend? We've been nowhere except Saxmundham supermarket, Leiston doctors or Ipswich hospital for nearly a month. No car boots, no charity shops, no Amazon, no Ebay, no spending except on the necessary stuff, so there was money left in my purse at the end of August and we have earned enough from the campsite, egg sales, veg sales and C's odd jobbing to cover all our needs until next April, so all is well. We only owe money to one farmer for the hay cutting and we have nearly £1000 owed to us for hay and straw.

Another job I was able to do today was to sort out my 'shabby-chic' step ladder by the new shed with all my plants on.  They were sadly neglected so I re-potted, fed and watered the few bits still alive, chucked the annual trailing plants that have flowered all summer and replaced them with my trailing pansy plants and the polyanthus ( bought cheap from a leaflet a month or so ago). My step ladder is not so shabby now. I have still to pot up all the rest of the polyanthus sometime, ready to sell when they start flowering. C took his petrol chainsaw up the field to make a start on cutting up the dead elms that he took down a few weeks ago, only to find a bit had broken- the button that pushes the petrol through - I think he said. So change of plan and he was able to start to fit the proper water butts and downpipes on the shed instead.

Although he can manage hoovering, washing up and a bit of cooking, C isn't very good at noticing what other household jobs need doing. The kitchen and hall floors desperately need washing and there is a mile high pile of ironing to do, as far as I know he has never ironed a thing in all his 57 years! So, as I'm beginning to feel so much better I'll hope to make a start on it tomorrow.

All the local swallows decided to use the wires near the house to gather while chatting about their long flight, this was handy as we could count them. The most seen was 51, that was on Tuesday -a  sign that Autumn is here.

Just one more update- Polly, our not-as-small-as-she-was black cat, is still bringing in at least 1 mouse a day sometimes two or even more. There must be hundreds of the darn things out there in the garden.

Finally, don't forget, if you would like a chance to own the 8 self-sufficiency books that are my 500th post giveaway you need to leave a comment on last Mondays post before I look at my computer tomorrow morning. C will draw a name and I'll announce in tomorrows post( which is also library day-Hip hip hooray)

Thanks to everyone for comments yesterday and welcome to new followers on Google friends and Bloglovin'.

Back Tomorrow


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