Saturday 31 January 2015

Feed Yourself For 80p a Day

With all the talk on Eat Well for Less I came across this article 
Not a bad menu for the week although for me it would become boring very quickly, on the other hand if there was something I desperately needed to save for I would make the sacrifice, or if I was hard up and money was a big issue I would consider it but only after selling off everything I could.
Whenever we see these programs on TV about people struggling on benefits or living below the bread line, they always seem t have lovely homes, laptops the latest mobiles, big screen TVs they are not what I call destitute why not sell it all and feed your family is what I am always shouting at the TV. 
Anyhow that's my bit of a rant and this blog isn't the place for it.
Yesterday Pam from New Life in Wales popped over and brought me a lovely treadle sewing machine that is going to be set up in the cabin, we had a cuppa and bit of cake a good natter then I took her down the cabin where she chose some fabrics to add to her stash, Pam is a lovely lady and a font of knowledge we hope to be having some crafty sessions together and are happy for other crafters to join us.
Martin is having an enforced rest day today as he is having back problems, he did manage a few little jobs this morning then we nipped into town to collect a few things, we stopped in by the fruit and veg place so I could show him were it was and I needed some onions
I got a box of mushrooms for a £1 and settled of a bag of onions for 50p I could have got a sack of onions for £1.50 but they were smaller and I don't think we could have used them before they started sprouting.
Talking of mushrooms my oyster mushrooms are starting to grow well
They are starting to sprout from other holes in the bag now as well.
I did get some shallots in a salt brine this morning, they have been sitting there for a couple of months, I forgot all about them, then watching the Big Allotment Challenge last night and they were doing pickles jogged my memory. 
Has anyone else been watching the Allotment Challenge, I was disappointed that Leanne left last night I really liked her.
Right I must get on sausage and mash to do for dinner with some garlicky mushrooms.

Wednesday 28 January 2015

Animal Shelters

After Lambert smashed his shelter up twice in the space of 48 hours Martin moved the pig ark into his field to use if he wished to get out of the weather
Here he is inside it you can just make him out, he has taken to head butting it from the inside.
Yesterday I got a new house for the ducks 
It was made as a dog kennel and has a door on the front that fastens with a bolt, it was made for some-one who never came back and collected it so the old fella sat it outside with a for sale sign on it, I spotted it on my travels yesterday and thought it would be ideal for the ducks as they have outgrown there other house.
I have now spent two nights chasing them into it hopefully they will get the message soon.
The little blue eglu to the left is Gizmo's bachelor pad, he has never slept with the girls in the big hen house, he prefers his own house.
We have an obligation to provide our animals with adequate shelter, they then have a choice to use it or not, it comes into the same category as providing them with food and water and keeping them safe from predators.
I did get another mouse today in one of the traps but not until after it chewed a hole in a bag of feed.
I did get a comment the other day from some-one who finds it offensive that I trap mice, well its no good catching them and letting them go again, they cause so much damage, we do keep loose feed in bins so they don't get into that but its the bags of extra feed they go for, there is nothing worse than finding bags of animal feed chewed open and the contents spilling out on the floor  then Kara has herself a feast and makes herself sick, or finding your hay is spoiled by mice nesting in it making it unsuitable to use for feed. The answer is you have to wage war against the mice. There are cats about also Cassy the Jack Russel  from next door who loves to mouse. I will continue to use traps. I know I will never win but its very satisfying to find one in the trap.
It has been cold today in the wind and we have had a bit of hail and snow showers this evening, I have no plans to go for the rest of the week, although Saturday I have arranged to pick up some new chickens, weather depending.
Hope you are staying warm :-) 

Tuesday 27 January 2015

Bargain Fruit

Since we moved here just over 6 months ago I have been looking for a place to get decent fruit and veg at a respectable price, at last I found some-where
Chris Thomas and Son in Abergwili they are fruit and veg merchants and supply to the public as well as trade an there prices are fantastic.
 14kg of Seville oranges £5
8 bags of seedless grapes £1
Box of plums £1
I also picked up a mixed box that had 2 of these farmhouse fruit cakes and red grapes for £1
I gave the other cake and 2 bags of grapes and some plums to our neighbour I wanted her newspapers for the fire and needed a hand from C junior to lift something for me.
As well as buying fruit and veg by the box they sell it loose along with sacks of veg, they sell coal logs compost and poultry feed too.
They staff were all nice and friendly its a lovely place I am so pleased to have found it.
While I was out I did my monthly shop at Tesco, £27.05 I had planned to go next week but with snow forecast I decided to go early, I mainly needed milk, butter, yeast and sugar for marmalade.
I also popped into Charlies I needed some new kitchen scissors I also wanted another of those Kilner Jars with the tap, they still had them on offer, its fatal going into Charlies 
 2 Flowering shrubs £2.99 each
2 Fruit trees £3.99 each
Fruit bushes 3 for £5 
I have them all standing in the small poly tunnel at the moment, they have buds on them and after coming from a warm shop I think it would be too much of a shock for them outside as we have a cold spell coming.
Tomorrow I am making a trip out to collect some new chooks, they are POL our girls are getting a bit old now although they still lay the occasional egg at 6 year old I cant expect much more from them.
The rest of the day has been taking up with cleaning out chooks and ducks and the usual chores, plenty of logs have been brought in and I now have plenty of newspapers again for fire lighting, all ready for the cold spell which I think I will be spending making marmalade and doing something with the plums.

Sunday 25 January 2015

Battering Ram Lambert

In answer to yesterdays Mystery Pics, yes Janice was right, a bottle drying rack to save him trying to stack upturned bottles on the draining board, a bottle washer and yes the final photo was my Oyster mushrooms, that I started a couple of months back, they then had to be moved somewhere cold for 6 weeks then brought back in the warm, I moved them into the porch and forgot about them until last week, oops but now they seem to be going great guns.
Martin built Lambert a shelter the other day 
showing off his new shelter, he seemed to like it somewhere to get out of the rain and snow if he wanted 
Obviously not
he bashed it down 
Martin re-built it and Lambert knocked it down again, it has now been taken away and the pig arc has been put in his field if he wants to shelter he can go in there.
Got a couple of good pics of the baby alpacas today 
This is Liberty she is very quiet 
This is Imogen who we call MeMe as that is the noise she makes all the time, she is always chuntering 
I did the bird watch count this morning and 2 of the bullfinches made an appearance and several chaffinches, the rest of the day consisted of bread making and doing some more patchwork blocks.
Off to do dinner now.

Saturday 24 January 2015

A Bit Of A Mystery

Here is a few photos just for fun 
This is what I got hubby for his birthday
This is what he got from Kara
And I spotted this, this morning

Can you guess what any one these are ?
I will spill the beans on my next post :-)

Thursday 22 January 2015

Shaping Up For The Future

It was time to tackle what used to be a hedge at the bottom of the garden
It has become very overgrown over the years and was almost up to the electric cables running over head
Martin (hubby) showed me how to use the small chainsaw, I have been badgering him for weeks to let me use it, the big one scares me but I can manage the small one
yep that me wielding a new power tool 
I was wearing safety goggles
after a morning of work it looked a lot better, now hopefully it will thicken up at the bottom and fill out a bit, we can then keep it under control, the hedge is Hazelnut and Blackthorn, there are a few gaps and I will plant something in there don't know what, I did notice a few young holly seedlings now there is space for them to grow up. It will take a couple of years to shape it up to a decent hedge.
After cutting off all the brushwood, we had a nice little pile of logs that will be cut up and left to season for next winter, all the brushwood is going on a bonfire.
Its Martins birthday today we have just had scallops crispy bacon and fried potatoes for dinner last night I had dinner ready for when he got here 
 Pork Chops with Red Cabbage braised in balsamic vinegar.
I spotted this little visitor to the garden the other day and managed to get a photo today 
A handsome Bullfinch
The photos didn't come out to bad considering I took them through the window.
I have never had bullfinches in the garden before, the other day there was three of them, I hope they make an appearance when I do the bird watch count at the week end.

Wednesday 21 January 2015

1 Teaspoon Of Cheese

Yes 1 teaspoon of cream cheese keeps Kara amused for ages
I put a teaspoon of cheese inside her ball
Its good exercise for that tongue of hers and helps keep her stimulated, it will take he a good half hour to get ever little bit out, she needs a good sleep after all that work.
I then have the job of washing the ball just in case she missed any bits
While she was doing this I was getting some seeds sowed 
Aubergine, Peppers Chillies and some tomatoes, these are all now tucked up in the heated propagator, I havent got electricity in the greenhouse yet so I have them sitting indoors
The postie brought my seed potatoes today
  I have set them all out to chit in trays, there is 5 different types, the cardboard is to separate the different types.
With the days lengthening the perennial flowers in the greenhouse that I have been growing are starting to put on some growth
 Its great knowing we are into a new growing year.
Next week I want to start getting some tender herbs on the go, the ground outside has now defrosted but it is far to wet to be doing anything.
Have you got started with growing this years veg yet ?

Tuesday 20 January 2015

Pioneer Women

This book was recommended by Bovey Belle over on codlinsandcream Its a hefty book and I kept it for bedtime reading, there is some lovely photos of times gone past in the book.
Those pioneer women were something else, we have such an easy life compared to them, imagine giving up your home spend months travelling to the promise land to find when you get there the only thing to build a home from is grass sods, it must have been heartbreaking.
I am full of admiration for them I don't think I could have done it.

Today seems to have been a non stop day, feeding animals, cleaning them out, poo picking in the Alpaca fields took forever as a lot of it was frozen solid and stuck to the ground so it had to be hacked up.
fetching in logs, housework sweeping up, washing the floor another thankless task no sooner done then Kara walks in and there is muddy footprints on the floor again, washing done and dinner cooked, everyone one tucked up for the night.
I am now showered  and going to settle down with a bit of stitching and watch Winterwatch :-)

Monday 19 January 2015

That Will Teach Them

Its been a dry cold day, when I went off to the craft group at 9am it was -4 when I came home at lunch time it was 0  and I don't think it rose above that all day.
Two little furry visitors must have thought they would come in from the cold for a free feed
that will teach them to go after the animal feed, they are now residing in the compost bin, 
Lambert was full of the joys of spring today
prancing around his field, he usually has a bit of a chat with Kara through the fence when we do the afternoon feed.
He is starting to get a nice looking fleece on him
well to me it looks a nice fleece and I am sure Lambert thinks he is a handsome fella.
The Alpacas fleeces are thickening up as well
The babies are almost as big as there mums now
March the babies will be separated from there mums for weaning. They don't feed very often now from there mums and are happy joining in at feed times , as mums are pregnant they need those last few months to nourish the unborn cria.
Today at lunch time I fried up some Christmas cake in butter
 and had it with some cream, it was nice and crispy on the outside and soft and gooey inside, it reminded me of clookie dumpling (Scottish fruit dumpling) that my mum used to fry up in butter.
My new laptop is now all set up, it didn't take long to do and it was really easy you just follow the on screen prompts.
Thank you for all the suggestions for my Kilner Jar, I am still undecided to what fill it with, but I am going to get another one. 
Hope you all stay nice and warm in all this cold weather.

Saturday 17 January 2015

Repairs After The Wind

Firstly thanks for all comments yesterday regarding my Curry's PC World experience, I have done a bit of research on web about this issue before I send them a strong worded e-mail of complaint and came across this from Which report on Curry's
Today was bright and sunny with a hard frost, this meant I could get the repairs done after the wind the other night.
First up was the shed, one of the flimsy perspex windows that came with the shed was shattered, 
I was unable to get any perspex when I went into town yesterday, I took the measurements and decided to put a sheet of wood in it as a temporary measure.
I used this power saw of hubby's that I came across in the barn
It was fairly easy to use once I found out how to work the safety switch.
Next up was the greenhouse
Three panes of glass had blown out but only one had broken
I found some polycarbonate in the barn and cut it down to fit
I also used silicon to give some extra hold and put the insulation all back in place, 
everything was fine in the greenhouse nothing has suffered from the cold as the insulation had fallen onto the plants giving them some protection.
While I was outside I decided to close in the post and rail fencing running along the bee hives, Kara tends to wander through there and then goes into the Alpaca field
Its a plastic netting, and not really visible from a distance
 When I was in town yesterday I popped into Charlies and bought this
Its a Kilner jar that holds 5lt and as a lovely tap on it, they were on special offer for £11.99.
don't know what will go in it yet suggestions on a postcard :-)

Friday 16 January 2015

A Day Of Technology

Today is the day I spent out on a new laptop
I have been giving some thought to a new laptop for some time, the one I have is starting to have a few quirks, so before it dies on me and I end up in tears I decided to buy a new one.
I did a bit of research before I went and the one that took my fancy was in Curry's PC World, it was £399
I went into Curry's hung about waiting for some assistance and felt I was being ignored, I don't suppose it helped I was in my scruffs although I might add I didn't have my wellies on, I think I looked like a lost soul who had just come in to warm up, standing there waving I caught the eye of an assistant, the look he gave me confirmed what I had thought, I told him what I was looking for he then steered me away to the clearance section and tried to sell me a £199 laptop, I was most instant that I wanted the £399 one, eventually he relented and took me over to it asked if I was looking for terms, no cash his response "really" I was very indignant and should have left at that point, I did ask if I got a free bag as in Wales you have to pay for all bags, he half snorted and asked "would you like us to set it up for you it costs £35" no thank you I can manage that myself, he then replied you will need to purchase a 36mgb memory stick and we will load the set up on to it for you to set it up, I couldn't believe it he went on and explained that no matter what laptop I purchased it would be the same, I then pointed out that he had just lost a sale and I would go to Tesco instead, he did say why do you think Gates is so rich.
 I also handed back to him the external back up drive and WiFi range booster I had also intended on buying.
Tesco was the next stop, very nice man not judgemental in anyway, helped me choose the laptop to suit my needs it cost £349 so I saved £50 I didn't need to spend out any extra for set up systems, I also purchased the other bits I was wanting
 1TB of external storage and 
the range extender, that i want to use in the cabin, I can get a signal there but not a strong one.
My old laptop will be taken down the cabin and used there.
I am going to move all my files off the old lap top onto the storage device so if the lap top dies I wont loose everything.
While I was out I picked up some more animal feed but couldnt get any perspex to repair the shed wind or greenhouse that got damaged the other day in all the wind, so Martin will ahve to pick some up at his end and tomorrow I will do a tempory repair.
Tonight I might see about setting up the new lap top or then again it might get done over the week end.

Wednesday 14 January 2015

Weather Predictions and Hanging and Hiding

Thank you for all your comments yesterday, they are much appreciated, 
It was bright crisp snowy morn, the day started off with blue sky although cold, I remembered my gloves this time when out feeding the animals, we had some more snow overnight and Kara had a good romp through it all this morning.
I popped round to C senior for a morning to see if she needed a hand with anything and had a cuppa, now C senior is full of lots of interesting facts and this morning she was telling me about keeping a record of the weather for the first 12 days of January and this will predict the weather for the forthcoming year.
I have looked this up on the web and there is quite a lot of info it, each day will represent the month of the year, for example Jan 4th is April, if it was unseasonable warm then April will be a unseasonably warm month and so on, I will have to rely on C senior to tell me what the predictions say as I didn't keep a record but she has.
I do find folklore very interesting. If I remember I am going to do this next year.
I got dinner cooking early so it was done out of the way
All I had to do was heat it up
As the oven is still hot I have just put some rice pudding in
A bit of warming comfort food ready for tomorrow.
I did get some pictures hung up 
We have a lot of odd pictures and I have decided to hang them in the stairwell, these 3 have been sitting about for a couple of months, there are more I just need to find the boxes they are in.
I went down the cabin for a few hours and got a couple of cards made, then later this afternoon I played with Kara, i have taught her play hide and seek, I take her into a room and tell her to sit and wait then I hide one of her biscuits in another room and then tell her to go find, she runs around with her nose doing overtime and her tail going ten to the dozen, it doesn't take her long to find it, no matter were I put them, she then waits for me to hide another one.
The weather has now changed we are in for a windy night and heavy rain, so I am off to re-fill the log baskets before it gets too bad.