Tuesday 30 August 2016

Fruit Trees

Around the edge of the garden are some established fruit trees and bushes, among some flowering shrubs and other trees.
 There are some old blackcurrant bushes, I am going to give them a heavy pruning, they did produce some fruit but not much and quality was poor.
 I have no idea what apple tree this is, last year I did do some pruning and tidied it up a bit,
 This year it has a collection of fruit on it not a vast amount but a big improvement on last year,
 There are also 2 plum trees that I did not notice last year, they don't look in great shape
 The ground beneath everything in this border is very congested with weeds and compact
 I am clearing he ground beneath them and will top dress them with some Alpaca poo, I will prune all the fruit trees and bushes and come spring will give them another feed, if there is no improvement next year then it may be time to have them out and re-plant with something else.
The fruit bushes in the fruit cage are doing OK and the orchard fruit trees I planted down at the bee hives are doing fine, next year should see the starting to fruit.

Thursday October 28th 1982
Cut up more wood from hedge in field and piled up tree rubbish ready for bonfire.
Rep called from Young's, took order and left
2x5lt Blue marking fluid
1x2.5lt Nemtrem
Should have gone to view sheep from Elgen, but after rep left it got too late and dark.

Monday 29 August 2016


I was asked if I could do a post on how I shop
On average I spend £20 a month on shopping, its not set in stone and I don't do it as a challenge and I am not into frugal shopping.
As it was we went shopping yesterday
£14.70 we had £12 in vouchers total cost £2.70
the carrots are for Sol he has one every day for lunch and the digestive biscuits are for the goats they have a couple biscuits as a thank you after milking. The peanuts are for making peanut butter, vinegar for pickles, sugar and flour is for baking, Tortilla wraps have been split down and frozen although we had some last night with duck, at some point I will start making my own.
Now to try and explain my shopping habits
We raise our own meat so we don't have to buy in that
We grow our own fruit and veg so we don't have to buy in that
We get milk from the goats. Eggs from the chickens and honey from the bees.
All that is left to buy in is basics, tea, sugar, cereal rice, pasta, flour
I bake the bread we eat it works out cheaper, I buy in bread flour in 16kg sacks approx £20, most dry goods I buy in bulk either from suppliers or wholesalers, I used to use Costco but now it Booker's, 
Rice I bought yesterday from Tesco £3.50 for 5kg were possible I will buy in large packs unbranded.
I don't buy in ready meals, jars of sauce, cake mix, fancy biscuits ice creams, jams, pickles, peanut butter, sausages, bacon, pies, burgers, or anything like that I make my own.
We eat fruit and vegetables in season, with two poly tunnels we can grow and eat fresh veg all year round.
Any surplus is frozen, canned or dehydrated.
I only usually shop in one store, I don't have the time or inclination to do price checks on line and spend time going round several shops just to save a few pence, 
I also go shopping with a list get in and out as quick as possible and make only one trip a month sometimes 2, I don't want to be wandering around shops, the more time you spend going to shops the more you buy and more inclination for impulse buys.
I cant think of anything worse than spending my time going round shops. I do buy in some dry goods through suppliers on line mostly with Amazon, 
I get free delivery and can get more unusual stock items. 
This may sound like we have very plain dull meals, but we don't, we eat exceedingly well and have the occasional take away, also if we want to buy something we will buy it, I cant grow everything and if there something we need or want like Bananas I don't deprive my self by going without.
During winter and spring we use a local fruit and veg wholesaler to buy in extra greens for the goats, crates of apples, peaches cabbages etc for £1 and if we want to eat some of it we will. 
We also forage for edible from the hedgerows and shellfish along the sea shore, 
We are only 2 years into our journey of self sufficiency, we will never be able to provide everything we want but its good fun trying and there is still plenty more to learn and try.
 for me spending less is, 
 don't go to the shops and don't buy it if you can make it.
You don't have to do without or be deprived 
Sorry I don't have a magic formula for spending less on shopping it is just a life style choice for us.


Sunday 28 August 2016

TV Dinner

Do you remember TV dinners from the 80's ?
Tonight we had a TV dinner but of our own making,
Crispy duck one of our own from the freezer, with spring onions and cucumber from the garden
put together in a wrap, pack of 8 from Tesco for £1, we only had 4 of them, the rest will do another day, along with some Hosin sauce.
There is enough duck left over for another couple of meals.
One of those easy meals for busy days,
We had to go shopping for a re-stock on animal feed this morning and also a Tesco shop, by the time we got back it was time for lunch, before we went out I put together a batch of dough for some Turkish flat breads.
I do them on the hotplate on the Rayburn 
 But I thought I would have a go at doing some on the cooker just to show you how easy it is to them in a dry pan you dont need a griddle plate.
 All done a nice stack of flat breads, lots have gone in the freezer and I have kept a few out for us to have with the rest of the soup tomorrow.
Another couple of pound of beefeater tomatoes have ripened in the poly tunnel, I think there might be another couple of pound in a few days then I will get them bottled together.
Martin has been getting some more concreting done in his workshop, he also went out to do some logging, I have been getting job lots of ex shop stock on eBay, at last I making head ways with it and the end is in sight.
I have been asked to do a post on my shopping habits so that will be tomorrows post.
Wednesday 27th October 1982
More clearing up of rubbish in shed, in garden.
Cut carpet and laid on landing and down the stairs.
Had letter off mother, all OK.
Went and sawed up 3 trees that had blown over on to fence,
packed the wood into the shed cleared out in the morning.

Saturday 27 August 2016

Harvesting Lemons

 Yes here in Wales I was harvesting lemons this morning, 
Just perfect for making some lemon curd with the addition of our own eggs.
 Melt the butter and sugar in a bowl over a pan of water, add the zest and juice of 4 lemons
Beat together 3 eggs and 1 extra yolk, add to the bowl stirring continually
 once it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon its ready to get into jars.
 I am really excited about this, I never thought I could be making Lemon Curd from my own lemons.

While I was in the kitchen it was time to use up more of those cucumbers.
 Chopped and de-seeded 2 cucumbers along with 4 spring onions (homegrown)
heat some olive oil add the onions and cucumbers, saute together for a few mins
Add some chopped potatoes (homegrown)
 Add some chicken stock ( made from our own home reared chicken)
Hot cucumber soup (home made), it was surprisingly tasty, as this soup can be frozen I am going to make up some more and get some in the freezer.
link to the lemon curd HERE 
link to the soup HERE

While I was in the kitchen  Martin was trying out the new ride on mower, its been a pleasant dry warm day, he got all the grass cut and did some strimming, I went down the cabin this afternoon I will update my craft blog tomorrow.

Tuesday October 26th 1982
Took SAAB to collect pick up, filled up SAAB with £10 of petrol,
went on to St Clear to see about Kew pressure washer,
Came home, had lunch, did some more clearing up,
put more bits and pieces in loft in barn.
Walked round sheep all OK.
Took form with amount of suckler cows to Agricult Offices.

Thursday 25 August 2016

Bottling Tomatoes

 The past few days tomatoes have been ripening up and every couple of days I have picked a couple of pound
 Mainly the big beefeater ones at long last.
I had to get something done with them, the small tomatoes we happily eat in salads or Martin just eats on the go.
I had a couple of pound of plum tomatoes as well that I managed to harvest before I lost them to blight.
 I want to show you how easy it is to bottle tomatoes safely without any fancy equipment.
 Firstly the tomatoes have to be skinned, dropped the tomatoes into boiling water when the skin splits drop them into cold water the skin slips off easily, I chopped up the tomatoes because they were big ones.
 This is the hot pack method, pop the tomatoes into a saucepan and cover with boiling water, simmer for 5 mins
have your jars sterilised and lids 
spoon your tomatoes into the jars leaving a head space of at least half an inch, add quarter a teaspoon of citric acid or 1tbsp of lemon juice to each jar,
 wipe the rim and put on the lids
 have a deep pan of boiling water ready, pop the jars into the pan,
make sure they are covered with water 
Boil for 40 mins, keep an eye on the water level.
 as it was a hot day, I did mine outside on my portable stove, these little gas stoves are brilliant.
once the tomatoes are done lift them out, stand the hot jars on a tea towel and leave to cool, as the cool the lids pull in creating a vacuum seal,
that's all there is to it, 
they will keep for years providing the seal isn't broken,
These tomatoes are the same as the ones you get in a tin.  
Next I have to get some french beans canned they are coming along thick and fast now
Every few days I am picking this amount, the purple ones are more productive than the green, its a shame they turn green when you cook them.
This batch I popped into the freezer
 simply just cut up into a zip lock bag and into the freezer
 I like the Ikea zip lock bags, you get two different sizes in each box
and they have a double zip seal, they are suitable for freezing, can be washed and re-used many times, and they are an excellent price.
Freezing is OK but I don't want to fill the freezer with veg harvests knowing we need the space for up and coming meat.
The next lot of beans I will be canning.
October 25th Monday 1982
Washed Calendines bottom, had breakfast.
Took pick up to have wiring sorted out, dead short to brakes?
keeps blowing fuses for horn, lights washers etc.
Wrote to mother about Molly picking up Prince.
Douglas had exhaust seen to.
Bill for pick up £33.43, Molly and Douglas left about 4-30pm.
Collected headboards for the beds.
Washed floors, swept through and brushed mats, Did ironing and washing, got tea.
John shifted more machinery from top field.
Coates phoned wanting £1.35 per bale for hay not £1 as originally agreed.

Wednesday 24 August 2016


Its time I did an update on the new herbs that were sown last month
These are all tender herbs and I want to see if I can keep them going through winter in the poly tunnel, they are to be planted among the citrus trees.
 Cinnamon Basil, although the cinnamon taste is not too overpowering, it does smell very much of cinnamon.
 Stevia not doing to well. It was old seeds need to pick up some new ones.
 The tray of salad leaves are coming on great now ready for picking
 Some more young plants ready for planting out.

Basil has done very well in the poly tunnel I have been getting some dehydrated to use through winter as well as using it fresh
 One of my favourite ways of using it, a handful of leaves, some pine nuts garlic clove and a splash of olive oil
 Blitzed up together
 and used to dress some pasta, its a bit like Pesto but without the Parmesan, very quick and easy I had this lot with some smoked salmon and salad.
A few new herbs to try
I was told about this one and managed to get some seeds to try, Acmella Spilanthes Oleracea, otherwise know as the Toothache plant, the flower buds and leaves when chewed numb the mouth, they can also be dried this is one for my medicinal plants beds, it is a hardy annual.
 German chamomile
 Bolt resistant Coriander, 
I will be starting these seeds in the spring, I am compiling lists of seeds for next year, is anyone else starting on next years lists.

Sunday October 24th 1982
Up at 9 o'clock,  weather not very nice, checked sheep and counted them, John fixed up many curtain tracks, Bathroom, two bedrooms and landing. 
Made more bread, sponge and chocolate cornflake cakes.
Celandines foot beginning to go down, Kittens getting braver but not ventured outside yet.
Had a lovely chicken dinner in the evening and a bottle of Tesco's Liebfraumilch very nice £1.99 

Saturday 20 August 2016

Pickles And A Cake

Yesterday I didn't get much done at all, this virus decided it wasn't yet ready to go, apart from doing the usual chores I didn't feel like coping with anything else.
Today however I feel fine again apart from a hacking cough.
A morning was spent in the kitchen
 I did a couple of jars of the refrigerator pickle, using up some of cucumbers a few chilies and some garlic along with dill.
 I did plan to get some baking done yesterday, did it today instead,
I made a Marmalade Loaf Cake, Link HERE I used one of the jars of marmalade I made last year.
 I also did the usual loaf of bread, we tried a slice of the Marmalade loaf with a cup of tea while it was still warm, it was lovely and moist.
We had to take a trip out over the mountain
 All the heather is in flower and looks stunning
We were off out to pick up a new ride on mower
I spotted it for sale last week its 3 years old but was only used a few times as the owner took ill and passed away, its in immaculate condition, the handbook was with it along with the receipt of purchase, we got it for a third of the price, our old one has been having a few problems it was time for a change.

Saturday 23rd October 1982
Went to the Market and arrived home about 4 o'clock.
Mr Coats had been and removed more items, sleepers, RSJ's etc and the anvil.
Douglas bought a set of drawer's in Woolworth's. 
First frost of the year, 
Sheep all O.K. needed moving into fresh fields, 
Jessie cut her front pad.
Clocks went back one hour.