Thursday, 31 July 2014

Information on chimney sweeping + other stuff

Although C weeded the strawberry bed when he took the net off several weeks ago it was full of weeds again. So that was my job this morning, lots of runners cut off too and a few pegged down to root.

Our son came round for dinner last night which was handy as he helped C to move all the chickens up to the big shed at the top of the field. They've really gone off lay over the last two weeks so hopefully a nice clean shed and new grass will help them start laying again.

We sat out for a while this afternoon and I started reading a new library book. I've got to the end of all my fiction books with a week left to library van day and the only non-fiction book that I could get into was 'We can take it: Britain and the memory of the second world war'. It takes a look at how things were reported then and how they have been remembered and portrayed in films and books in the years since. A bit heavy going but a different slant on history.

I'm very honoured as Leigh from Five Acres and a Dream has just become a follower ( I enjoyed her book) and Kim is a new follower on Bloglovin' .

Thank you to everyone for comments yesterday, Jill at Loving the Frugal life asked about sweeping the chimneys.
 We have a set of draining rods that double up as chimney brushes with the addition of a screw on brush. C sweeps the living room chimney ( wood-burner) from the top down. He can stand on the flat roof of the dormer windows upstairs and from there it's only a short step up to the ridge.
I'm not keen on watching him up there! The living room chimney is a brick chimney lined with metal flue. We are always surprised at how little soot comes down into the woodburner - doors shut until it settles.
The Rayburn in the kitchen has a double lined flue pipe right up through the roof and this has to be done from the Rayburn upwards, so things close to the Rayburn are covered. Because we don't have a fire night and day -unless its Very cold - the metal flue expands and contracts which helps to loosen the soot. Most of the wood we burn is old scrap wood so no sap which is the thing which gums up flue pipes. When we do use tree wood we make sure it's several years old .
 In our 22 years here we have only ever bought wood a couple of times, right back at the beginning before we knew how much free wood there is around - just for the asking. We collect old pallets from a company in Leiston. When C worked for the council he used to get a lot that was cut down from around bridges that were being repaired, we have lots of dead elms around our boundary that we cut, branches from other trees sometimes come down in the wind. We have cleared up the wood from 2 old houses that were being demolished in nearby towns - several years ago now. When the extension was built 3 years ago there was wood from old window frames etc. Nothing is wasted.
Some years we get a bit low in our stored wood, but something normally turns up.

Back tomorrow
Sue



Wednesday, 30 July 2014

More free winter warmth

The lorry from the skip-hire place turned up with another load of scrap wood, we weren't expecting anymore and didn't really need anymore, but when you heat your house with wood you NEVER turn free wood away.
C was in the middle of sorting out the baler so it was me who had to shift it into the shed out of the way.

No worries about being cold this winter!

With the help of a hoe to pull the branches down, we've picked off the rest of the apricots and put them in the freezer. I gave up on trying to squash everything into one deep freeze and have put the second one on. There will be pears and plums to go in a month or two and I want to go to the cheap butchery place for some chicken wings and thigh joints ASAP.

This afternoon it was more irrigation equipment moving for C and he's taken the baler back because we are not doing the barley straw for a few weeks and we've not got room under cover for it here.

I've just realised that Friday is the 1st August, where on earth has July gone?

Back Tomorrow
Sue

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

A mouse a day!

Every day for the last week we've been sitting in the living room and noticed a mouse dashing about. Every day we've managed to catch and 'dispatch' it. Every day I've moaned as Polly brings in another one and loses it under the settee, there's one around somewhere again now. I hope we can catch it before too long... ' Dear ' little cat!

 Thank you to every one for comments about pensions yesterday it seems the consensus is that it's unlikely there will be  pensions available for anyone under 40ish. Start saving now is my advice!

The Commonwealth games have been on for almost a week and |I've not mentioned them at all, although we've watched several different things. The people who do the Triathlon are amazing and this afternoon I saw some of the mens mountain biking - ouch - those rocks they ride over must do some damage!

C is back to shifting the irrigation equipment twice a day, I'm not sure how long this will last for, it depends on the weather I guess, he also cut the grass at our neighbours and got the 24 chickens who live in the small trailer shed moved up the field. We had them on a part of the field that's not big enough to get into for haymaking, but now they can go back onto the edge of the field amongst the trees. His next job will be to sort out the electric fence ready to move the other group.

I got the apricot chutney made although I'm not sure about it as it took an age to thicken up. I'll try it with a curry next time we have one. Tonight's dinner is our once a year meal.......Aubergine, pasta and cheese bake. It's once a year because it's a bit oily and Aubergines are only used here if we've grown them. Our 8 Aubergine plants in the poly tunnel grew really tall, looked very healthy, had lots of flowers BUT only a few of the flowers set. So far there have been just 5 ready. 4 smaller ones sold but one sneaked up and became huge, without me noticing it - that's the one we are eating of course because it's too big and pale to sell.

Nothing else of note to write about today
Back Tomorrow
Sue

Monday, 28 July 2014

Clarification

I've just discovered a comment that was left by Lizzie on this post  asking why we don't have a pension. It's because we are not old enough yet! C will get one from the County Council eventually and we will both get the state pension although mine will be very basic. I think I  missed out on getting the state pension at age 60 because I was born 16 days too late! They keep moving the goalposts and I think I will get about £100 a week at age 66, it's a good thing I'm not relying on it. We know that we  won't be able to live here on our smallholding once we are unable to manage the upkeep, so that will be the time to drastically downsize and then we will have some money to live on.
The County council gave lots of people the option of early retirement a few years back but C was  3 years too young so when he stopped working  we lost his income - hence the self employment using the smallholding and doing odd jobs.

We have different weather here today, some rain, although not enough to do any good and several degrees cooler than last week.
C was out this morning as he got a call to move the irrigation equipment on the onion fields down the road in Friston. He got home with just time for a coffee before going to get oil filters from the car parts place ready for preparing the jeep for it's MOT. and then onto a doctors appointment and errands to do in Leiston.
I got on with bread baking, ironing, housework and probably the very last picking of the summer raspberries.
This afternoon stayed damp and very grey after all the sunshine recently.

We are having a quiet few days on the campsite, which means the loos and shower don't need so much cleaning. Things pick up once we get into August and then we are full up for the following weekend probably because of Aldeburgh carnival. After that we go very quiet again which is unusual. A lot of retired people seem to avoid holidaying during the school summer break but not everywhere is busy.

I've brought in some jam jars for cleaning this afternoon ready for making apricot chutney tomorrow. I'm going to use a recipe that's normally for Mangoes but I think apricots will work well and make a nice fruity chutney to go with curry.

There's an interesting sounding programme on tonight at 8pm on Channel 4. It's looking at the secrets of Aldi and Lidl's success  and how the Big 4 supermarkets are fighting back.
We have heard rumours of an Aldi or Lidl coming to Leiston but I think it's unlikely as the catchment area probably isn't big enough - one of the problems of living on the coast. They would be popular with me if they did as we can't do the 50 mile round trip to Ipswich very often.

Thank you to everyone for comments yesterday.
Back Tomorrow
Sue


Sunday, 27 July 2014

Restraint at the boot sale.

After my post last Sunday with" rules to avoid having to do a carboot sale" . I had to be very good at todays visit up the road. I resisted some craft and card making paper packs quite easily as they were new prices of £5.99 a pack. I picked up and put down some notelets and Christmas cards - have enough at home already and walked past all the plants this week - and there were hundreds for sale.
So what I bought were all very useful things
 A pair of linen shorts were £1, the pie plate, colander and bun cases were 50p each and the biggest bargain was the giant roll of Lakeland cling film for £2 ( it's usually £10.99). I try to avoid using cling film as much as possible and usually store things in boxes or bowls with a plate over the top when I put them in the fridge. But sometimes cling film can be handy and I use these giant rolls in a cutter box so have one in the cupboard already. Now I have many, many years supply!

We had a hot and airless night here last night and I realised what it's been like for everyone further inland over the past week, it should be cooler after today I think.
After a restless night and  yesterdays bale shifting we had a quieter day today and just got the onions up and put to dry in the  greenhouse. Some look OK and will probably store but the ones that had gone black and mouldy all down the  stems, also had no roots - or rather the roots had rotted away. We've kept these separate to use straight away. We've been selling a couple of bunches of onions everyday and have easily covered the cost of the sets and made a good profit. We will carry on selling some in case they don't store well.

Now the hay is cut we can get the youngest batch of 60 chickens back onto the field in the big shed. They've gone off lay a bit, there may well be some red mite on the perches so it will be good to move them into a clean building and onto some fresh grass.

Thank you to everyone for comments about the hay making, I'm not really very fit but can shift a few bales although I can't lift them very high so am not much help getting them up onto the trailer. What is wonderful is that C is so fit and well, this time last year he could barely lift a bale and we had to have a lot of help getting the hay in. Thank goodness for the stents in the arteries that they were able to do at Papworth.

 I must finish by welcoming two new followers on Google - Lorraine and Captain Shagrat ( although  I'm a bit dubious about anyone with a name like that being a genuine follower ?! ). Plus Maxine on Bloglovin'.
This is post number 471 and I'm definitely doing a giveaway - books probably - for my 500th, become a Google friend follower now so that you're ready!


Back Tomorrow
Sue

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Day 6 of Haymaking and nearly finished.

Only a few spots of drizzle yesterday evening so no harm done and good and hot again today, still with a little breeze, thankfully.


 First load of hay bales from our field going into the hay shed. It's so easy when we do our field, no roping the bales onto the trailer, just pile them on and two minutes later unload. (One of the reasons for having a 4WD Jeep, we need something to pull a trailer load of bales over a bumpy field)
Here is our Very Old Tractor pulling the Not Quite So Old Baler, with the Decrepit Old Bale Sledge at the back. This machinery is about quarter of the size of newer stuff which is why we can't do the big round bales ourselves - our tractor would never manage it.

And just to prove I was there, either driving the jeep with the trailer on or helping to unload.
You wouldn't see many old farm workers in shorts and a vest top, but I find Hay gets everywhere whatever you wear, and blimey it was hot! I had the air con on in the jeep but I think that made getting out feel even hotter.
I'm wondering what the upper age limit is for old women shifting bales, I think I might be reaching it!

Our field produced exactly 150 bales. The field we rent in Saxmundham had 16 giant round bales and the field we rent just up the road had 27 big 'uns. ( There are roughly 11 or 12 small bales in a big round one)

We have to pay out for two lots of rent, plus paying for cutting and round baling, but hopefully we will make a good profit when it's all sold. C's next job is to help load and shift the round bales for the man who's bought them and then bale the barley straw we are buying in a couple of weeks time. I guess it will then be my turn to help bring them all back here and unload. Another thing to sell at a profit during the winter.
 

Thank you to everyone for comments yesterday.
Janice asked about the second home up the road. It's the next house to us on our side of the road but two fields away and is owned by a couple from London ( as are so many round here) who only come to Suffolk for weekends. When a small field came up for sale behind the house about 4 years ago they bought it so that nobody else could buy it! Then they didn't know what to do with it and asked C to cut it. C said he could either top it every now and again in which case they would have to pay him or we could make hay from it and pay them rent, that's what they decided on. Guess who got the better deal? They think country people are gullible. Ha!

Back Tomorrow
Sue

Friday, 25 July 2014

And another one bites the dust + Haymaking Day 5

I was reading a new blog called Pennywise and now it's gone, that's about the 6th that has started and stopped in just the last few months - how odd.
Thank you to Chickpea, Sue, Frugally challenged, Hilary, Julee, Mamasmercantile, Em, Jean, Rupert, Janice, Karen, A Suffolk girl and Shirley for comments yesterday.

Meanwhile here on the Simple Suffolk Smallholding we are  onto day 5 of haymaking. C went and fetched the small baler from our farmer friend W, although it actually belongs to another farmer. It's so handy having friendly people around who share machinery, in exchange we own a pasture topper which spends most of it's time down the road at the farmers being used by a few different people.
He turned our hay here and then went off to turn and row up the Saxmundham field and the field behind the second home.We saw the man who is doing the big bales for us as he went by on his way to Saxmundham.
Later C turned and rowed up the small bit over the road and got that baled. We soon loaded the bales onto the trailer and brought them back to the hay shed, that's 52 bales safely stored, by which time it was nearly 6pm.
We wondered about baling here but C looked at the weather forecast which said tomorrow will be even hotter than today so he decided to wait another day. At 7pm a bit of sea mist  rolled in, and then it started raining, b****r and double b****r!! As long as it doesn't get any heavier or last too long, hopefully it will soon dry out tomorrow.

It was an odd-job day for me as I cut some brambles that grow through one of the low spreading conifers, picked up some fallen apricots, cut off the bruised/wasp eaten bits and cooked them for  a crumble. I then discovered we had no crumble mix in the freezer so I whipped up a box full. There were some large pointy red peppers that had got damaged so they were sliced and frozen and finally I took the skins off and put the first of the huge Andine tomatoes in the freezer too. I must do a big freezer sort out this weekend, I know what's in there but it's in a right ol' muddle.

Back Tomorrow
Sue


Thursday, 24 July 2014

Gooseberry and date chutney ,haymaking day 4 and apologies

Thank you to everyone for comments yesterday, I specially liked dc and the predictive text which turned Bolthardy beetroot into Bowl Tardy, that's how I shall think of it from now on.

Apologies for misleading everyone as I made a mistake the other day because I said the giant round bales that you see on fields waiting to be picked up are called Hestons but actually it's the massive oblong ones that have that name and the big round ones? no idea what proper name they have. Just Big Round Bales. I think farmers bale different shaped bales depending on whats going to happen to them next. A lot of the straw baled here goes off on big lorries across the country to places where they don't grow as much wheat and round bales are often wrapped in plastic for silage.  I prefer the old fashioned small ones that can be picked up and moved by hand. We will do our 2 acres into small bales and they will go in the barn and be ready to sell to Kate for her goats.

Because they are a rare occurrence  we want to put lots of apricots in the freezer but the freezer is getting rather full so I thought I would get the big bag of gooseberries out and make some chutney.

Gooseberry and Date Chutney

2lb gooseberries, topped and tailed
6oz dates, chopped
12oz chopped onions
1lb soft dark brown sugar
1tsp mustard seed
pinch cayenne
4 tsp salt
1 pint malt vinegar

Put everything into the pan and bring to the boil slowly, stirring to dissolve sugar.

 Boil gently  uncovered for approx 1 and a half hours. The gooseberries should be thoroughly pulped and the mixture should be thick and pulpy but not dry.

 This makes a lovely dark fruity chutney, I did a double batch in separate pans and then tipped them in together just before potting up.
A good way to check on a chutney being ready is to quickly pull a wooden flat edged jam  spoon across the bottom of the pan, if you get a glimpse of the metal base then probably enough liquid has been cooked off so  the chutney is thick enough to pot up.
I had to get C to take this picture as it's impossible to stir and click at the same time!
Chutney usually thickens up a bit as it cools.

Day 4 of haymaking was the same as day 3. C turning the hay on all 4 fields. He got a puncture in the small wheel of the hay turner so had to come home and fix it, but luckily he was only up the road. He says the field at Saxmundham is ready to bale tomorrow. It's on a south facing slope and gets very hot.
It will take a bit longer here at home.

Much warmer here today, not such a strong Easterly wind, in fact you could say the heat was
Intents!


Back Tomorrow
Sue












Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Haymaking Day 3

Perfect weather for getting the hay dry, with sunshine and a breeze all day. C was working here this morning, then went off on the tractor with the hay turner on the back to do Saxmundham and the bit up the road behind the second home. He then turned our bit and our neighbours. He has decided to get our farmer friend to bale the two big fields into large round bales which he will be able to load with the front tractor forks straight onto the trailer of the man who is having them. Our field and our neighbours will be done into small traditional size bales. After taking so long to pay for the hay they had last year ( they still owe us about £60) the people who keep their ponies at our neighbours will only have the hay from her field. They have too many ponies, no money and keep being turned off every bit of land they rent either because they over graze or don't pay their rent. So this year we will not have all the hassle of asking for our money and then being fobbed off with a sob story.

I spent quite a while in the kitchen doing 2 loaves of bread and a double sized batch of our  favourite tomato and herb rolls. Then a bit of weeding, housework and sorting out the stuff we brought back from the car boot sale.
 I've put most of the left over books out on the campsite information room, there's plenty of choice for reading for our visitors now although at the moment the campsite has gone very, very quiet. Only 1 tent here last night after being busy all last week. Our bookings diary still has plenty of spaces for August too.

Thank you to everyone for comments about our giant  beetroot yesterday. They are a variety called Cylindra and most of the seed companies have them for sale but I got them from DT Brown which must have been the cheapest. We grow them every year as well as the more normal round ones - like Bolthardy. Beetroot has become a staple part of our salad lunch and C has a plan for trying to have them available all year round. He tried last year but they were in the poly tunnel that was damaged in the December gales so were lost to the winter weather. He'll try again with a late sowing and then an early sowing in February which gave us beetroot in late May. We will save as many as we can in a sand box for winter. Although I don't want to think about winter yet!

Back Tomorrow
Sue



Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Haymaking Day 2

Things looked a bit worrying this morning when we had a grey misty start, but the sun came out and the hay is drying. C got the hay turner sorted and just before dinner time he turned the hay here and at our neighbours to make sure it was working properly.

We had our 5-a-day all in one meal this evening. Our home grown veggie curry had onion, courgette, green beans, potatoes and a couple of apricots thrown in just to see what they were like, a bit too sharp was the answer to that question, I won't do that again.

You know how small beetroot are in those supermarket vacuum packs, well here we don't do small beetroot, we do VERY LARGE.
The variety is Cylindria and they are on a dinner plate!

Back Tomorrow
Sue

Monday, 21 July 2014

Now we need 6 days of dry weather please

Hay making.
The weather forecast yesterday looked good for the week so C decided to cut the fields, or rather to get our farmer friend W to cut the two big fields that we rent for hay making and to cut our smaller bit of about 2 acres and an even smaller part of a paddock over at our neighbours. But our old mower broke down- terminally this time- without even getting round our neighbours acre. So W ended up doing almost everything.
Now we've seen a new forecast which says storms on Friday - oh b****r!

Yesterday evening we did a bit of fruit picking, it looked so luscious I had to take a picture.



We are coming to the end of the raspberries, I doubt we will get this many again this year. Most of the red currants have been picked and sold  and just look at those apricots.We will make the most of them as it's likely to be another 3 or 4 years before the weather is just perfect at the right time for the fruit to set to get such a good crop.
I made 8 jars of apricot jam this morning and C halved the rest of this picking and open froze them for winter. The trees are still laden. Great Joy!

Back tomorrow
Sue






Sunday, 20 July 2014

After the boot sale

Yesterday we brought downstairs all the stuff we had been collecting for the last year and a bit, looked at the weather forecast for today and decided to shove it into the jeep and nip up the road early to see what we could get rid of. It was mainly small bits of junk, odds and ends that have come from who knows where. A chest of drawers for £10 and another older tattier one for £5 were the only things we had for sale for over £1, I just like to get rid of stuff as we don't want to take it home for doing boot sales every week like so many people do.

Grand total takings of £98.20p - amazing!
I am now writing myself a note
I DO NOT WANT TO DO ANYMORE BOOT SALES FOR AT LEAST 3 YEARS.
THEREFORE :-
I MUST NOT BUY ANYTHING FROM BOOT SALES THAT I WILL ONLY KEEP FOR A WHILE.
I MUST NOT BUY RAFFLE TICKETS AS I ONLY EVER WIN THINGS I DON'T WANT.
IF I'M GIVEN SOMETHING I DON'T NEED, DONATE IT STRAIGHT TO A CHARITY SHOP.
NO MORE CROSS STITCH STUFF - EVER!

There were not many stalls there which I think worked in our favour and I only spent £2 on 4 new tea-towels, something I had been looking out for since the start of the car boot season. We took food and a flask with us of course, so we were not tempted by bacon rolls.

There are some boxes of things left over to sort through, most will go to a local charity shop, that's a job for another day. The books left can go out in the information room/library on the campsite.

I've just been out to the shed to bring in some jam jars to wash because tomorrow I'm going to use some of our bumper apricot harvest for jam. We've had the trees about 7 or 8 years and this is only the second time there has been enough for jam making. I hope to put lots in the freezer too, they are still a wee bit sharp for eating straight from the tree but if we leave them too long the wasps will find them.


Back Tomorrow
Sue

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Just a quiet Saturday

No one arriving on the campsite today and not much else happening either.

There were thunderstorms around in the early hours of the morning and we had quite a lot of rain but it was fine again by 7am and still dry now at 4 o'clock although very humid.

C has been doing all sorts of odd jobs around about and I hauled out the rest of the things still in the greenhouse and old shed. No sign of wrens in there anymore so we can start taking it down. I've also sorted through the various pots of odds and ends that were standing along the back of the house and decided what can go where. The sweet chestnut, oak and Ash saplings will go on the edge of the caravan part of the campsite. We pushed a lot of willow slips in earlier in the year and most have taken so the saplings can fill the gaps. Soon this half of the site will be as sheltered as the tent part.

We've also brought all the car boot sale stuff downstairs so that we can do a sale as soon as the weather forecast is good enough. The small spare room looks a bit bare as some of the things have been standing there since we brought them back from the car boot sale last May.

And now I must catch up on some reading as 4 of the books brought home from the library van in June are wanted by other people so I need to get them read quickly.

Thank you to everyone for comments yesterday and welcome to Sara reading via Bloglovin'.
Back Tomorrow
Sue

Friday, 18 July 2014

Friday

It's been hotter here today, wall to wall sunshine but still with a nice breeze so not the high temperatures that some parts have had. We had an hour or so sitting out with cricket on the radio for him and a book for me.

C picked all the Morello cherries that he could reach yesterday evening, the blackbirds had taken several already and many were wrinkled and small, so not a good crop this year. Today I've taken the stones out of a few and put them in the freezer. The rest went into a couple of punnets and I hopped on my bike to take them to a friend in the village who had asked for any we had spare.

Earlier this morning C went to see man about some barley straw. Now that the fields locally are being farmed by a big company they are not keen on letting us have any to make small bales. They wanted £1 a bale which is twice as much as we paid last year. So C had a think and went off to see someone else and Good News we can have some for 40p a bale as long as we bale another 50 for someone else at the same time. That's a Much better price. While he was out he took all the bottles that are recycled from the campsite to the bottle bank ( if only we had 10p for every bottle of wine/beer drunk on site we would be millionaires!) and then went to get chicken feed.

I've been clearing some of the annuals that have finished from the front border, but it soon got too warm for that job.

I haven't done an' Out For Sale Today' list for a while, so here's what went on the stand this morning.
3 cucumbers at 50p each
2 bunches of beetroot at £1 each
2 bunches of onions at 50p each
2 Bags of  Climbing green beans at £1 each
1 bag of runner beans at 50p
4 bags of various sized tomatoes at 50p each
2 bags with 2 small pointed peppers in each bag at 50p each
7 bags of potatoes at 50p each
4 punnets of redcurrants at £1 each
AND 17 boxes of 6 eggs at £1 each

Home grown/Homemade eaten today
Tomatoes, cucumbers, beetroot, lettuce and salad leaves, green beans, quiche using courgette and pepper and onion and our own eggs, chips using our own potatoes. Home made bread. Raspberries.
 We are living very well at the moment!

I did another wildlife  rescue this afternoon. Polly the cat was in the conservatory making funny little squeaking noises, with her nose under the old settee. So I went to see what she was talking about, tipped the settee up and spotted a very small frog, about an inch from nose to tail, luckily  it jumped into the corner of the conservatory and got tangled in a cobweb- I knew I'd left them there for a reason :-) so I was able to pick it up and pop it into the small sink pond. I'm sure Polly gave me a black look!

Back Tomorrow
Sue




Thursday, 17 July 2014

Rescue operation

Coming out of the back door I noticed something poking out of the spout of the watering can which was standing by the old shed door.
A very small baby wren had got itself wedged in the spout, I suppose it had fallen in the watering can and was trying to get out.
How to get it out?
I nudged it back down and then did what I always do with a blockage - Blew down the spout.
Teeny weeny wren went bump on the bottom of the can and I scooped it out gently and popped it back in the shed for it's parents to find it. There were 4 young in the nest but once they got too big they moved out and have been in the shed hopping about for the last couple of days. There may only be one left.

A lovely day here today, nice breeze keeping the heat down a few degrees and blue sky all round. C was working for his Leiston customer this morning while I had a big cleaning session - I really know how to have a fun morning in the heat!

Lots of comments yesterday about this years garden failures. It is a rare year when everything does well but on the other hand it's unusual to have complete disaster throughout the whole garden so we just carry on and it helps to grow lots of different things.  We won't starve!

Back Tomorrow
Sue

Whoops forgot to say welcome to R and Sarah who are new on Bloglovin'




Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Everything in the garden isn't rosy

Here  are this years failures
The cooking apples are scabby
Most of the onions have a nasty rotting disease








We planted these tomatoes in between beetroot which had been sown very early in the season. The beetroot were OK but the tomatoes are weedy, probably the opposite to companion planting
Some of the climbing french beans in the poly-tunnel have got something nasty
One of the cucumber plants has keeled over
Every year there's always something that goes wrong. It's a good thing we are not easily put off growing our own.

There were lots of comments after yesterdays post
Thank you to Chickpea - I've never used proper preserving sugar so I'm not sure how much pectin it has in it, perhaps someone else will know.
Elise asked if peaches added instead of pectin would work, but I'm not sure about that question either.
Also jamcake, knitbakecultivate, Dawn, Kev, Vicki , Pennywise, Pam, Bovey Belle, Outmywindow, Gill and  Amy and a special thank you to Shirley who says she loves reading my blog.

Not quite such a busy day here today, for a start is was about 10 degrees hotter than anything we've had here recently, so we squeezed in a half hour of enjoying the warmth.
C was cutting grass at our neighbours this morning and here this afternoon and I went to Leiston to use a £3 off £20 voucher for some meat. I saved 50p by noticing that they had some double length sausages on special offer. I've no idea why they sell these, you get the same weight as the 8 in a pack but 4 long ones instead. They are produced locally which is why I like them. I also got a pack of their ham off cuts and 2 decent sized chickens for £10. Chickens and sausages in the freezer, ham in the fridge. That's the first meat I've bought for a month.
I resisted the temptation of buying a copy of Grow Your Own Magazine which had a free book with it. The book was Easy Jams, Chutneys and Preserves by John and Val Harrison, which I don't have a copy of. However I do have about half a dozen other preserving books and in my recipe folder I have all the recipes I use regularly so I'm sure I can manage without one more book.

Back Tomorrow
Sue


Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Not retired...........Self Employed

It's happened again, I was putting things out on the stall this morning, when someone we know slightly, who still works for the County Council, stopped for eggs on his way to work and said how lucky C was to have got out of the council by retiring early. He is NOT retired, we have NO pension. Everyone thinks he was offered early retirement and it was a year after he finished work before one of his family realised that we were not living off a Council pension.

Anyway, now I've got that off my chest I must say thank-you to Dawn, dc, Karen, mamasmercantile, theaspiringfrugalista, hazzy, Jake'sagirl, outmywindow, Julee, Fran, Vicki, Gill, em,Kate, Pam, and knitbakecultivate for comments yesterday. Sorry I didn't get round to replying and I haven't left comments on hardly any other blogs either. More hours needed.

Another busy day today as I made a double sized batch of Stretched Strawberry Jam. It's stretched by adding 1lb of gooseberries to each 2lb of strawberries. Strawberries on their own don't make a jam that sets so the gooseberries help and because of the way it's made you can't see or taste the gooseberries and I also chuck in a sachet of powdered pectin too.

Strawberry and Gooseberry Jam
2lb Strawberries, fresh or frozen
1lb gooseberries , ditto
3lb sugar
Half sachet of pectin

The night before. Put Strawberries in a bowl and cover with sugar. If the strawberries are fresh stand the bowl in the fridge, if they are frozen leave it out but cover with a clean cloth or cling film.
If using frozen gooseberries get them out of the freezer.

Next day put the gooseberries in a saucepan with  a very small amount of water ( just enough to stop them catching on the pan). Bring to boil gently and cook slowly until the are mushy. I usually mash them with a potato masher once they are soft.

Put the strawberries and sugar mix in a jam pan and bring to the boil slowly, stirring well until the sugar has dissolved. Then cook gently until the strawberries are soft. Tip the gooseberries in, mix everything together and bring to the boil. Add the powdered pectin and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and test a spoonful for set on a plate that's been in the freezer. The jam should wrinkle when you push it gently with your finger. If it doesn't, cook for another couple of minutes although the pectin should make it set after 4 minutes.
Leave to stand for a few minutes, skim off scum and stir so the strawberries don't rise.
Pot into jars that have been in a hot oven to sterilise.

My double sized batch made nearly 10 jars of jam.

I had just got to the last stage of making the jam when the phone rang 4 times and 3 were campsite enquiries. Tonight we have 1 caravan, 4  motor-homes and 2 tents on site which is quite unusual for a midweek night.

C has been fixing the new plywood floor onto his big trailer base. The wood was free and rescued from a place where it was about to be chucked out and then this afternoon we had a skip load of old wood emptied out by the wood shed. Also free.That means more free heat for the winter.

Welcome to Maria and Karan who have clicked the bloglovin' button.

Back Tomorrow
Sue

Monday, 14 July 2014

But what do you DO all day?

But what do you DO all day
Someone said this to me once.
They couldn't imagine not getting up and going out to work. They had no idea what someone could do at home to fill those long hours between 9 and 5. HA!

Here's what I did today
6.45 Up and outside to put the eggs out for sale on the stall, let the chickens  out from their 3 sheds, top up 3 lots of water and collect eggs that have been laid early. C having his breakfast and washing up.
Come back via garden to open poly-tunnel doors, cut cucumbers and courgettes for selling.
By which time it's 7.15. Pick climbing French beans and bag up + tomatoes which C has picked, courgettes, cucumbers, and put out on the stall along with bunches of beetroot and onions which C has pulled and tied up. Bag up the best of the potatoes dug up by C and put those out too.
Around 7.45 by then. Feed the cat. Do the wiping up and tidy kitchen .
Mix up 3 batches of bread dough and put them to rise. C has gone to work at our neighbours at 8am.

Outside to pick raspberries, the ones in the fruit cage are still  too wet to get amongst them to pick after yesterdays rain  so I just do the row in the garden. None are good enough to sell so I sort through them putting them into bowls for lunch, Cs dinner desert and a few for his breakfast muesli. Some are OK except for one little black bit so it's a fiddly job and I'm reminded of Elizabeth West in Garden in the Hills doing the same thing.

 Scrape some of the scabby  potatoes that we can't sell ready to cook up a few for C to have cold for lunch with his salad.
9 O'clock time for a coffee and my breakfast,and a bit of Sudoku puzzling.  C comes back from Neighbours as the battery has gone flat on the hedge cutter again. He goes back to our neighbours after a cuppa  to use the other hedge cutter for a while.
 Dash out to get some mint to go in with potatoes and decide to get a few flowers in too,

  postman arrives while I'm outside - mostly junk mail.
Bread has done first rise so I shape it to 10 rolls and 2 loaves and put to rise again.

Just after 10.30am Delivery from AF ( they had bread flour at 50p a bag so I stocked up on 4 months supply and a years supply of Tea bags and several bags of skimmed milk powder) unpacked and put away. Also a lucky box of 7 various packs of cake mixes for £1. Decided to whip up one of the cake mixes.
Popped cup cakes into cook while the oven is heating up for the bread along with a some chicken thigh joints which will do us for dinner and for sandwiches during the week.
Wash up the bread making stuff.

Cakes out to cool and oven turned up a bit for bread. Bread rolls in first.
Check what's sold on the stand, tidy up egg boxes someone has left. Pull up a few weeds from the shingle out the front on my way back in.
Bread rolls out and bread in.

11.30ish Clean the campsite loos and shower while the bread is in the oven. C is back from our neighbours and does the dustbins.
Bread  and chicken joints out of oven

12.15ish we get some lunch and sit down for an hour

By quarter past one I've seen enough of the news so I pack the cooled bread rolls away then out round the field for egg collecting, checking the water, putting fresh hay in any of the nest boxes. C is washing up and I wipe up when I come in. C is working in the garden and on his trailer all afternoon.

Then I remember I haven't picked the other raspberries so out to pick them and there's enough for 2 punnets to put out for sale.

Sort all the eggs,clean them - lots of muddy ones after yesterdays rain, box up.

Get things ready for preparing rest of dinner tonight, pack the cooled bread, tidy up the kitchen

By which time it's heading towards 3ish time for a cuppa, a sit down and Countdown on TV.

Sweep up around the kitchen and hoover up in the living room

Water and bathroom are both nice and warm from sunshine so jump in for a quick shower.
Clean up the bathroom
Go and say hello to campers who've arrived on site, they've been coming every other year or so for the last 20 years so we know them quite well.

Sort out several jam jars ready for tomorrow, make sure they've all got lids to fit.
Get strawberries and gooseberries out of freezer.

6 15ish Dinnertime.
Just about to eat when cyclist with tent arrives for one night and the motor-home for one night also arrives - nice surprise.  1 caravan, 2 motor-homes and 2 tents on site tonight.

C washing up while I wipe up, tidy up kitchen.
Feed the cat
Outside to water all the poly-tunnels and bring in a bunch of un-sold beetroot

I've also
 Picked up the money that's come through the letterbox for stuff sold about 3 times. (Total of £14 for eggs and £16 for vegetables and fruit.)
Told Polly the cat off twice for sitting outside the old shed door and worrying mummy and daddy wren.
Been bitten by something while picking the raspberries
and done my back exercises.

By which time it's nearly 7.30. Better do this blog!

Then it's reading time

Oh, so that's what I do all day!

Back Tomorrow
Sue


Sunday, 13 July 2014

Sunshine, showers and a shed.

We've seen the sun again today interspersed with some really heavy rain and some smaller showers. The water butts keep filling up for watering in the poly-tunnels and we've not needed to do the outside beds for a couple of weeks.

 Here is our new shed, finished except for water butts and some proper down-pipe fixings. The shabby chic (aka OLD) wooden ladder with various flowers in containers has been standing outside the old shed for several weeks before I moved it over here and the flowers are starting to fade and finish. I'm thinking of planting them up with some trailing pansies or something similar for winter. I've got a glass fishing float hanging up and the horseshoe is fixed over the door for luck, my hag stones threaded onto a wire are hung to keep away the witches! I've just discovered you can buy stones with holes in on ebay! You only have to walk along the beach at Aldeburgh to find some. Amazing what people will sell/buy.


Back Tomorrow
Sue

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Alarm calls

For a very small bird the Wren is incredibly LOUD ( info here for readers from elsewhere). We have a pair feeding 4 young in a nest in the old shed by the back door. We also have more with a nest somewhere else in the garden, and at least one more pair somewhere near the chicken shed at the top of the field. They get very agitated at everything and even at nothing, so at the moment we are being deafened by alarm calls " TECK, TECK, TECK, they shout continuously. Our cat spends her time outside trying to find a way into the shed, where we have wedged the door open with just room for the wrens to get in and out but even when she's not outside the wrens are still annoyed at something. It's interesting to hear them to start with but after 3 days  with hardly a break in their shouting I shall be quite glad when their young have fledged and flown.

I've been very lucky and another giveaway arrived in the post today. This was a very old book dating from 1908, called The School of Health. It's fascinating and surprising, as even then, the Author Alfred B Olsen MD, was advising that people give up smoking as it was bad for their health. Thank you to KATE. I shall enjoy reading it.
I'm feeling slightly guilty as I think that's the 3rd giveaway I've won in just over a year of Blogging. I think I shall have to do a giveaway when I get to a significant  blogging point like my 500th post which should be in about 40 something days.

Also in the post was the summer issue of Craft Creations Magazine and Yippee Do! I have a card featured in the Readers Gallery, I hope they are still giving away a £10 voucher for featured cards, then I shall have fun choosing some more card supplies from their catalogue.

After  so many gloomy days we had sunshine At Last this afternoon so I hopped on my bike and went down to the village for the  Bowls Club Fete. Unfortunately there were only 2 stalls, a raffle and the tea stall, so I came home again!

Many thanks to Gill at Frugal in Derbyshire who explained how I should cook the trout.  There was more info in Hugh Fearnley Whittingstalls - A cook on the wild side, which I think was the book that went with the first TV series he ever appeared in. It turned out to be quite tasty..... I mean the Trout, not Hugh FW!

Back tomorrow
Sue

Friday, 11 July 2014

Library books again

The weather here is still awful...... grey and misty. Thankfully the temperatures have gone up a few degrees and after some really heavy rain last night the wind has dropped. The forecast for next week doesn't look much better, still no chance of haymaking yet and Sundays forecast of showers in the morning will probably mean we won't get to the car-boot sale either. We could also do with a few days of decent weather to get some weeding done, the leeks are embarrassingly full of weeds and the strawberry bed which C sorted out only three weeks ago needs doing again.

Somehow 4 weeks have whizzed by and it was time for me to bike down to the village to collect my books from the library van. Most are ones I've ordered but while the library lady was sorting them out I had a quick look at the shelves and found another 3 books and I  had 11 at home from last month- still unread. This means I have a grand total of 21 books here - whoops I'm  only supposed to have 20. Goodness knows where I will find time to read them before the van is around again in August.




Before the library van came I had time to make some Marrow and Ginger Jam.....just 3 jars this time, I might do some more later in the year but only if we don't have enough of all the other sorts I make.

Tonight we were given a trout, caught by one of the campers staying on our site at a fishery place a few miles away. Now I know how to skin and gut a rabbit, I've prepared several turkeys and dozens of chickens for the oven, plus lots of pheasants, partridges and even woodcock, but I had never before gutted a fish because we've never been people who went fishing  from land or sea, no patience for all that sitting about! So I turned to the bookshelves and very oddly couldn't find any pictures to show me what to do. You Tube to the rescue. Now I need to find out how to cook it.

So many comments yesterday, thank you to everyone.
Back Tomorrow
Sue


Thursday, 10 July 2014

It's not about the money

A couple of years ago a small campsite like ours opened in Leiston. Then early last spring when all the men were working at Sizewell Power Station they took in more than their allowance of 5 caravans and let them stay for more than their allowed 3 weeks. This upset a neighbour, who had been against their campsite opening right from the start. Which is when some of the men came to stay here on our site. We found it a handy income but a bit of a hassle as the men didn't know when they were moving to work at another power station and often went off for the weekend without telling us, leaving their caravans on site - also something that is not really allowed.
The campsite in Leiston decided they could make more money if they changed to a Listed site which allows more caravans and they don't have to be members of the Camping and Caravanning Club either.  A few months ago we had phone calls from Sizewell workers wanting to stay here, but after last year we decided we wouldn't allow any more to come and suggested the site in Leiston which is where they went. But they are not allowed to stay there for more than 60 days, so last night we had a phone call from the campsite owner asking if we could take in a couple of caravans for a while.
They couldn't understand when we said No. Especially as they are charging the men more than we charge here and we could have charged them the same higher amount. We decided we are busy enough with proper holiday visitors and we didn't need all that fiddling about with men coming and going and not knowing what they are doing.

We lost a family group booking for a 70th Birthday this weekend because when the number of people wanting to come increased, I refused to let more than 5 caravans onto the site. The man told me I was turning down more than £350. They cancelled their booking and went elsewhere to a site willing to take a bigger group. I was left with just one caravan booked in. As it happens we had phone calls during the week and will have 5 caravans/motorhomes here anyway.

Some one we know who we thought was a friend told me last year that the only reason I was friendly towards the campsite visitors was because they were paying me!

Some people don't seem to understand that everything is not about money.

Thank you everyone for comments yesterday

Back Tomorrow
Sue

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Are you sure it's July?

The weather here today is not how July should be, we have really strong winds and quite chilly with it plus grey skies that look as if rain will fall any minute.
Nothing of interest has happened here today, even the red currants haven't sold.

Many thanks to everyone for yesterdays comments.
(To Countryside tales - the egg boxes are stored in the small spare room, which is also full of things waiting to be sold at a car boot sale if ever we get a fine Sunday again.)

Back Tomorrow
Sue

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Being a tourist in Suffolk

We heard about an exhibition
It was being held here in Mid Suffolk so we thought we would have a few hours out to go and have a look. As usual we went via two other places, first to drop the water colour ( bought from a car boot sale a few weeks ago) in to our friend P for framing and secondly to pick up another big lot of new egg boxes -1800 - should last us a while!
The exhibition was a bit of a let down, a few Laura Ashley dresses, some 70s crockery, a few seed packets, some posters and photos of various fairs held in Suffolk back in the late 70s. Rougham Tree fair was the one we went to - very hippy! The  John Seymour Complete book of Self Sufficiency book had been turned into a large display and a few bits about other people who had moved from London to Suffolk. We could have done better ourselves! We had a look around the rest of the museum as we'd not been there for about 18 years but not a lot had changed. 
We  bumped into one of the volunteers there who we knew from our time living in Mid Suffolk and caught up on news of his sons who were at primary school with our eldest two children, which was interesting.
Lunch was a pack-up taken with us, of course!
I had a quick dash round a few charity shops in Stowmarket while C had a snooze in the jeep and then we came home again.
The jobs to be done were waiting for us- egg collecting and boxing up and cleaning the campsite facilities, and welcoming a motor home that had arrived while we were out .
Back to normal.

Back Tomorrow
Sue


Monday, 7 July 2014

Tree Link up + Forgotten little red jewels.

It's the 7th of the month so time for linking up with Loose and Leafy for following a tree through the year.
My tree is our Horse Chestnut, not the one with white flowers but a

Ruby Horse Chestnut tree is a particularly choice clone of a hybrid horse chestnut, resulting from a cross between the European horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) with white flowers and an eastern North American native (the shrubby Aesculus pavia) with red ones. It is a better landscape plant than either of its parents and should be planted more widely. 'Briotii' originated in 1858 from seed grown at the Trianon in France

The flowers are long gone and  have started to grow into the cases that hold the conkers. There are never as many as there would be on the common Horse Chestnut.

 We are not really sure how old the tree is, maybe 50 years?, this give some idea of height compared to  a  6 foot fence.
With the branches coming right down to the ground, under the tree is shady, here's a closer look at the trunk texture.

And what are the forgotten little red jewels?
 Redcurrants!
I'm  sure I've not mentioned them before. Did I sell any last year? I can't remember. I know I put lots of bags in the freezer because several are still there. But this year our 6 bushes are loaded with  little bunches hanging down, and now most are ready to pick and sell. So I went on the supermarket comparison site to find a price and none of the supermarkets had any for sale. We could corner the market!
I  picked several and decided to sell them in the 250g punnets at £1 a punnet, which is probably cheap but they are not as useful as raspberries and I would rather sell them for £1 than NOT sell them for £2.


 I popped the blackboard out and before long the first four punnets had gone. So I picked some more and they soon sold too. Maybe £1 was cheap!
In between all this, 2 loaves and some bread rolls were made and C was laying the small paver stones outside the new shed door.
Before all the above we had picked and packed all the other things that were ready to sell today. Look what happens when you have two wet mornings and forget to harvest the courgettes!
Back tomorrow
Sue

Sunday, 6 July 2014

NOT the driest part of the Country

We've probably been the wettest part of the country today, the cloud has sat over the edge of the coast and rained on us for hours, sometimes drizzle, sometimes light showers and also sometimes chucking it down. It didn't clear away until after 3 o'clock.
But plenty to do indoors - like watching sport on TV!, where the sun was shining. I feel sorry for anyone who doesn't like any sport at all with Le Tour de France in Yorkshire, Wimbledon Mens tennis final and Formula 1 from Silverstone. We had a look at all of them, proper armchair sportiness!

Before all the sport started I got the material, bought last week at the car boot sale, made into a cover for my food mixer, I used double thickness as it's quite a thin cotton. There is enough left to make another cover and some pot-holders or pot-stands. I've got some heat-proof wadding so that's a job for another day.
I think it should have been a bit bigger and it's a pity about the "ears", but it will do the job.( I'm an impatient and not very good sewer. Takes me 10 minutes to remember how to thread the machine!)

 With it being so wet today and no sun to heat the water by the solar thingy we had to light the Rayburn, but it only takes some rubbish, a few of the off cuts from shed building and a couple of logs to warm enough for showers and washing up. I wondered if  C would do some wood cutting in the wood shed while it was wet but we have Swallows nesting in there so it would get them into a real tizzy. A wren nesting in my old garden shed is the reason we can't start demolishing it for a few more weeks. It's good to know we are providing a home for so many feathered friends.

Welcome to two new followers in the Google pictures on the right. Josh and Dani. Dani has a blog called Eco Footprint which I'm looking forward to having a longer look at ASAP. Also welcome to David who is reading via Bloglovin'.

Back Tomorrow
Sue

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Re-discovering plans for living off the land

When I was looking through old diaries to do THIS POST a week or so ago, I came across a list of ideas I had made in 2010, under the heading of Something To Sell Everyday Of The Year.
 At that time we had just decided not to move to Wales but to stay here and build a new kitchen extension. We had plans that C would be able to give up full time work sometime in the next few years if we could increase what we did here.
 I thought I would share what I wrote then and what we actually do now.

           2010 idea                                                            2014  Actuality
Eggs = All year                                                      Our best plan, steadily increasing
                                                                               number of hens to            
                                                                                  produce a good income year.
                                                                                  round.
                                                                             
 Kindling = Nov - March                                        We don't have enough wood to
                                                                              do this now and didn't sell enough
                                                                               to   make it worthwhile in 2011/12
                                                                            

Daffodils = March/April                                        We have one bed of daffs but this
                                                                             only makes us about £10 a year and
                                                                               ties up the bed all year so we
                                                                               plan to give up on them soon

Herbs= April/May                                                  When I had a large herb garden
                                                                               I could pot up seedlings and take
                                                                               cuttings and grow from seed but 
                                                                               the income was small for the work
                                                                                 and space needed. So this has                                                                                                                   dropped apart from
                                                                               pots of parsley.

Cabbage= February/March                                    We never did do this as too much space is needed

Gooseberries= June/July                                        I grew more bushes from cuttings and this provides
                                                                                a really good income.

Broad Beans= June/July                                        We just grow one bed and sell a few.

New Potatoes= June/July                                      We grow 4 beds - they sell quickly.

Courgettes= June/July/August                              12 plants each year give us plenty to sell

Cucumbers= Jun/Jul/Aug/Sept                             8 plants give 2 to 4 to sell each day but not often
                                                                              carrying on into September.

Tomatoes=Jun/Jul/Aug/Sept                                Best seller. It was worth investing in another
                                                                               poly-tunnel to grow more.

Runner Beans= Aug/Sept                                    2 beds but starting to sell in July. These are good
                                                                              sellers too.

Squash = Sept/Oct                                                I've increased the number of plants each year as
                                                                              they sell better now than they did. We can grow
                                                                               out on the field so have room for them. They carry
                                                                             on into November if we have enough.
Cooking Apples= Oct/Nov                                 Not to be relied on, some years good, some not.

 Pumpkins = October/Nov.                                  They sell slowly once Halloween has passed. Useful
                                                                             for income late in the year.

Chutney = Nov/December                                  I discovered that I didn't like making chutney enough
                                                                            to make dozens to sell! I tried for one year.

Bay branches/Holly/Teasels =Dec                      We've never had enough to do this. I tried spraying
                                                                            teasels with gold spray one year, but they didn't sell.


 There was no mention, back in 2010 of peppers,French Climbing beans and raspberries. We only had room for peppers to sell once we got the third poly-tunnel up.
Raspberries became a big seller because we replaced some old blackcurrant bushes with raspberries, they are very popular and a really good income through July.
Our first try at French Climbing beans was only a few years ago, but this year we have a whole bed and they should be a good income before the runner beans.

It's interesting to see how our plans  changed over the four years between thinking about making a living off the land and actually doing it.
The campsite too has also played a big part in allowing us to make an income from our smallholding. We had to spend on shower and new toilets but have already got our investment back by having more visitors.

Thanks for comments yesterday
Back Tomorrow
Sue                            

                                                                             

Friday, 4 July 2014

What a beautiful day

The sun has shone here all day from 4am onwards, we've had a breeze to keep things comfortable, so a perfect day, and apologies for gloating about the hottest day of the year so far when most of the country has been wet- sorry!

C was working at our neighbours this morning and I got started on weeding the newish flower border at the front and side of the house. The ground is like concrete out there. It took me a couple of hours to go all along the front of the border and then all along the back - with a break in between for breakfast of course.

I couldn't decide what to have for dinner tonight.
We've had too much pastry this week in the form of sausage rolls and bacon and egg pie although it was a good way of stretching half a pound of sausage meat and half a pound of bacon for 2 dinners and  4 days lunches. Then I remembered the 1 potion of spaggi-bol sauce that I've been moving about in the freezer for a few weeks. That's C sorted and then I could have something he doesn't like - home made pesto - with my spaghetti.
Basil from the poly-tunnel, parsley from outside, no nuts except a bag of mixed which had already had the walnuts taken out of it, so I used the almonds from the mix instead, no Parmesan, so a bit of cheddar, no garlic so  a little garlic salt and a little olive oil. Whizzed to a lovely green gooeyness and stirred into the hot spaghetti - very YUM.

The usual campsite and egg jobs were done and then I settled down for an afternoon of Mens semi final tennis. As expected both youngsters were knocked out. A good final to look forward to on Sunday.

Would you like a look at how the tomatoes in the poly tunnels are ripening?
These are Shirley, the best  normal shaped tomatoes for growing in a poly-tunnel

Agro, these should be bigger according to the seed catalogue. They are are plum tomato

Andine Cornue, can be as big as a pepper, difficult to germinate, a pain to grow, not many on each plant, but they taste wonderful. Almost no seeds, very thin skinned, worth the hassle.

Britain's Breakfast, A lemon shaped tomato, first time we've tried these.Look at all these flowers on the trusses, unfortunately they are not setting at all well.

Favorita, a good sized cherry tomato, early to ripen. We've not grown these before but will grow them again.They are the ones we've been eating for the last week or two.
San Marzano Plum tomatoes, the best for chutney making
And finally, I'll leave you with another picture puzzle. What's This?
Here's a clue:- I don't know why we've still got this as we can no longer afford the thing that it's meant to be eaten with!

The weather is looking changeable for the next few days with showers after heavier rain tomorrow morning so no chance of getting the paving stones down in front to the shed and probably no car boot sale Sunday morning.

Welcome to Teresa and Judy who have just clicked the Bloglovin button

Back tomorrow
Sue

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Catch up Monday to Thursday

I've neglected to write about what's been happening here since last Sunday, better put that right.

Monday
A fine day, with cloud coming in now and again off the sea. 
It was bread making morning, 2 loaves and 10 rolls done. I also made some sausage rolls for dinner and lunches, 2 pastry cases to pop in the freezer and a pie base and top ready for Wednesday. C was working at our neighbours, hedge trimming and strimming. One caravan arrived on site and a couple  camping decided to stay on until the end of the week.

Tuesday
An early start putting stuff out for sale and then we had a morning out doing lots of errands. Starting by returning a pair of glasses left here by a friend at the weekend, then to B & Q for some bits of guttering and ridge for the shed. We also picked up some cheap grow bags ready for putting the new strawberry plants in. We want to try them up off the ground in the poly - tunnel. While we were there we bought a new shower for the campsite, the other one is still OK at the moment but when you think of the number of people who use it there is a possibility that one day it will break down. We thought if we got one exactly the same while they still had them it would be an easy job to swap them when/if it goes wrong.  It is debatable if tying up £60 on an electric shower that may not be needed is a good idea. But to run up to Ipswich specially would cost us.
 Next stop Asda for cheap Diesel and a few bits from the supermarket that we can't get cheap locally.
On to Framlingham for chicken feed and finally home via the bank and Tescos in Saxmundham. It always seems a good idea doing everything at once but it's a bit tiring.

After lunch I started gooseberry picking again, the rain last week has done the bushes a lot of good so the small fruit  are now big enough to sell.
One caravan arrived on the campsite  for a weeks stay.

Wednesday
Another fine day, wind was a bit chilly though - straight off the sea.
After picking and packing and putting out for sale raspberries, potatoes, courgettes, beetroot and broad beans we both tackled some weeding. The onion and bean beds now look a lot better.
C then decided to get started on the "porch" over the shed door. He carried on in the afternoon after delivering 20 bales of last years hay to Kate-who-bought-my-goats. I prepared a bacon,egg and tomato pie for dinner and then started on gooseberry picking again. In between I also watched Andy Murray get knocked out of Wimbledon - I don't know what was the matter with him but he didn't seem to be playing well.
1 motor-home arrived on site for a 2 night stay.

Today
Even warmer today now the wind has gone round away for the East. As usual we started by putting everything out for sale. There were even enough green beans to put one bag out ( I checked the supermarket comparison site and discovered that it costs 50p more to buy your beans trimmed. How long does it take to top and tail green beans - 2 minutes? How lazy/stupid are some people?)  plus 3 punnets of raspberries,
(We really did the right thing a few years ago, when we took out some old blackcurrant bushes and replaced them with 2 rows of raspberry canes.)
  1 bunch of beetroot, 4 cucumbers, 4 bags of potatoes, 2 bags of broad beans and 1 bag of courgettes. Plus 2 punnets of gooseberries as soon as I had a chance to pick them.

Yesterday we had just finished weeding when a friend popped round to collect eggs, I was saying how so many leaves irritated my arms and I would have to find some gloves that covered more before weeding the courgettes, which are really scratchy. She said she'd got some I could have and dropped them round later, so today I weeded the courgettes and emerged scratch free.

 A home grown veggie curry was prepared for dinner and I mixed up a batch of onion bhaji mix so we could have bhajis with the curry. The joy of making a meal for the cost of a spoonful of flour and a spoonful of curry powder, half a mug of rice and a few spices- Brilliant!
C was doing some more to the shed porch extension thingy, I'll put a picture up when it's done.

1 motor-home arrived  for 5 nights. Almost everyone staying has at least 1 dog, so I hope they don't all start each other off in a barking competition. 

Wecome to Sanny a new follower on Google and to Michelle on Bloglovin' and thank you to everyone for yesterdays comments about books and reading. It's good to get new ideas for reading from others who are joining  in the year in books link.

Back Tomorrow
Sue



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