Being frugal/thrifty ( I must consult a dictionary to see the difference) was thrust upon us when I decided to try to avoid having to go back to work after having our eldest. Later we choose to save for a smallholding rather than having holidays abroad/new clothes/new kitchens/new cars and gadgets. Now as we trundle towards retirement age having a back up of some savings and no debt makes things so much easier.
So, to catch up with what's been happening here recently.
On Friday I decided to use some of the basil from the poly-tunnel to make a batch of pesto. I don't use pine nuts as they are too expensive but swap for cheaper walnuts and I also don't put Parmesan in! So really I don't actually make pesto - just something similar.
Col doesn't like it but I love it mixed in with a plate of spaghetti and topped with some grated cheddar it makes a lovely lunch. I've never before thought about preserving for longer than a month or so (which is easy by just covering with a layer of olive oil in the jar) but I had such good seed germination, have more plants than usual and want to make more. So good old Google to the rescue and I found the idea of freezing in bun cases, then taking off the cases and wrapping each portion in cling film before storing them in a bag - sorted!
Just to show how we fall from the frugal-ness path sometimes............ We had a day out on Saturday visiting friends in Essex and WASTED £4!! on the way. We decided to go early and have a look around the charity shops in Sudbury, which is a town in south west Suffolk that we pass through if we go cross-country to Finchingfield. After going round a few shops we both decided we needed a coffee and I hadn't even thought about taking a flask (Tut!) so there it was, £4 gone that we needn't have spent.
In the Sudbury charity shops I found a hardback copy of Lamentation by C.J.Sansom for just £1 (published in Oct 2014 for £20!) and a lovely Royal Horticultural Society Address book also £1. I have had my old address book for 35 years, it has all 6 of our addresses in the front and is almost full up under the ' Cs' with all three of our children moving house so often. I shall enjoy filling in the new address book which has beautiful botanical drawings all through it. I've added Lamentation to the shelves beside Sansom's other 5 books in the Shardlake series. If ever I'm short of reading matter in the future, this series will be high on my list to re-read as they are all huge.
Speaking of reading (as I often do!) I have started reading my way through that ginormous pile of library books, choosing the Angela Thirkell - Wild Strawberries as my first. Originally written in 1934 it is part of her Barsetshire series and although featuring the upper classes of that period, before WWII changed so many things, it is still amusing and an easy read. I hope Virago (or another publisher) go on to republish more of her books as many haven't been in print for years.
Sunday was such a grey gloomy day. Our son and fiancee had stayed overnight after going to their 3rd wedding in 4 weeks( he was best man at this one). They both looked and sounded really tired. R's job takes her driving around the country and M's job involves driving around East Anglia and often working weekends. I would love to have given them both a gift of a week off work next week. Our son was able to help shift a few things that I couldn't manage ( Col is still being ultra careful of lifting after the horrible hospital stay) and we now have a clear space in one shed to pile up the garden equipment that we want to take with us.
It was grey and chilly and damp enough Sunday evening to light the woodburner.
Monday and the sun had a bit of warmth although we still have NE winds coming down off the North Sea. Col decided to start loading the big trailer with all the various bits of scrap that we seem to have collected again. He used the tractor front bucket for the heavy bits.
I had to make bread as we were almost out and did the ironing and hoovering in between. Because we hadn't picked strawberries for a couple of days there was a lovely big basin full and most went in the freezer ready for Gooseberry and Strawberry jam. Col says I have to make enough jam and chutney this year to last us 2 or 3 years! until we can establish a garden somewhere else. Sounds as if I will be busy. I unintentionally started gooseberry picking when Col noticed a branch heavy with gooseberries had broken off one of the bushes, he picked all the goosegogs off and I topped and tailed - that's the first 2lb into the freezer.
Two blogs I read were making elderflower cordial which is very delicious but has SO much sugar in it . It's one of those things that sounds a good idea from the Self Sufficiency angle but if your normal thirst quenchers are water and a cup of tea is it really cost effective? Elderflowers may be free but the sugar and lemons certainly are not, unless you've got a sugar plantation and a lemon tree of course!Hey hey! This gives me a chance to mention another post-wot-I-wrote-earlier. Cost Effective Self Sufficiency or Self Sufficiency at any cost? There I was in June last year being all preachy again!
Today, Tuesday and after a cloudy start the sun is shining. Col was away early to take the load of scrap metal. He forgot to take his passport for photo ID so they couldn't pay him but as we have our sons old car still here waiting to be scrapped he will collect the cheque then. We decided to start selling potatoes and gooseberries today and dug and picked some to put out. The blackboard sign stands out the front for everyone to see but after having so few eggs to sell for the last few months, I'm worried that people will have got out of the habit of looking at the stall.
I clicked on the Bloglovin' button to see my new followers, and welcome to Lee, Sherri and Jackie but then up comes just 'Bloglover ', which seems to be a way of following with just a number instead of a name and only links to the Bloglovin' blog page - Huh? I don't really get Bloglovin'. Tell me techi people out there........... if I delete the option of following by Bloglovin' will you be able to follow by Google, so I can add more little pictures to the collection instead of random numbers?
I might be a bit busy over the next two or three weeks, with tennis on TV, a couple of hundred punnets of gooseberries to pick, cross stitching while I watch the tennis and making jam to save putting things in the freezer and HOPEFULLY showing people round the house. The Agents emailed the draft brochure so we are almost up for sale. Col is going to be taking an old friend to hospital and back for some treatment several times over the next 3 weeks too ( how do they think an 83 year old can do the 50 mile round trip every day for 12 days when hospital transport is non-existent?)
So if I'm not around much that will be why.