A lifestyle change took place when we moved to our smallholding in Wales, we are leaving behind the consumerism of life, growing our food, raising our meat, living our lives to the full, enjoying every day the highs and lows of country living, but not going without just doing it better.
Toys for big boys to play with, a friend in the village kindly let hubby use his little tractor for cutting down the Alpaca field, its hubby's first go at a little tractor and he loved it, he now wants a red one.
As hubby isn't very tall it suited him fine
There he goes round and round the field
Here he comes again
Hey look its a Hot Air Balloon
once the field was cut and we let the boys back out of there enclosure they frolicked around the newly cut field, Its not the best pasture land about as there is lots of nettles and thistles and it does get fairly boggy when it rains, but its not our field we have have use of it for the boys, it took some persuading to allow us to cut it. ( I have just added a new video of the Alpacas and hubby on the tractor on my video page)
We also have some good news we have a completion date yippppppppppeeeeeeeeeee it should all be happening on the 27th. 4 weeks and counting.
I am more than happy with them, they all look healthy sturdy plants and I shall plant them into containers that have other plants they will add a nice splash of colour and the bonus is the Geraniums can be overwintered easily and the Gazanias I will take some cuttings from early Autumn that can be overwintered too for next year. So with a bit of care my £1 plants will give me years of pleasures.
Now I cant wait for the Geraniums to flower to see what colour they are.
Thats all I have is a house full of boxes, I am officialy fed up of boxes, the dining room is stacked with them, the conservatory has them as well, the spare room and my work rooms, I am dreaming of boxes.
I have had a really fed up day today, its still raining, I am still packing boxes, while talking to a friend on the phone I noticed how empty the room was sounding I could hear an echo, I had to move to another room to feel comfortable.
Hubby was suppose to phone the solicitor today to get our dates and he forgot, how can you forget something that important, we have had mail arriving for the buyers, my goodness they are keen, perhpas they know something we dont know.
Thhe buyers are coming on Saturday to measure up for curtains and carpet, they will be lucky to get anything measured up as there are boxes stacked every where.
There is still so much to sort out and I feel like I am reaching the end of my teather, the removal company we had lined up cannot now fit us in for at least 6 weeks, the other one was a waste of space, how can people book removal companies so far in advance when solicitors take so long sorting things out.
We will be homless when we sell here for about a month, still dont know were we will be living, so we need to sort out about mail re-directed to hubbys business there is no were else for it to go, but the post office wont allow any mail in my name to go there as my name is not connected to the business, so I might have to set up a mail collection thinghy.
Its all becoming very stressfull and I am fed up. Alhough on a brighter note I did have a few new books arrive today off Amazon, they were 1p books
I was going to keep them until I am homless and living in a carvan but I think they will become bedtime reading, I am putting a final box together for me, it has some books, some needlework projects, knitting and crochet and a few DVD's I might just pop one of the books in there, this box is to keep me occupied while waiting to get into the house, I have picked up a few maps of the area and tourist guide books as well.
Right I am finished moaning for today suppose I better get back to those boxes.
After working out in the rain most of yesterday clearing the sheds and burning all those off cuts of wood we have kept as they might come in useful one day, we decided to take a break from packing and treat ourselves to Afternoon Tea
And very nice it was too, the local garden centre was doing afternoon tea £15 for 2, it was a lovely round off to a wet bank holiday and gave us both a chance to sit and talk.
we then had a stroll around the garden centre waiting for the rain to subside and that meant a look around the book section, they have some really interesting books in garden centres and one just fell into my basket
I love the long sleeveless jacket on the front cover and its all done in Garter stitch, it has been added to my winter knitting project list, I will have to see what wool from the shop I can use.
There is advantages to having your own craft shop, the other day my lamp that has stood beside my chair for years and given me direct light for sewing broke just like that it broke never to work again, I now have a lovely new light coming from one of my suppliers it should arrive in the shop today, I really miss not having a good light to sew by.
The two boys have had an upgrade to there living quarters, they have now had a carpet laid in there shelter, they are not pets and we are not pampering them, honest, there is a good reason for this
We are coming up to shearing time and we need there fleeces as clean as possible, I was reading a few Alpaca sites and this was recommended, take away any straw and lay down a bit of old carpet for them to lay on to keep rubbish out of there fleeces. There is a flooring supply place next to hubby's unit and they were happy to oblige hubby asked for some off cuts and was given a roll of carpet, enough to keep them going for a couple of years.
And what do the boys think
Oddjob is trying it out having a lay down while Nick Nak is still unsure
OK we approve of the carpet but were is breakfast
And while your at it I need some attention
I have a new hair decoration I am not sure of it what do you think
My hair is fine thank you don't even think of giving me a trim
Thanks that a lot better it didn't really suit me not my colour, and the new fringe I can see again.
Oddjob must have been really grateful for me rescuing his hair, he followed me all the way to the gate humming.
One of our local garden centres runs a gardening club, I signed up for it many it years ago, every time you shop there you get points that they convert to vouchers every 4 months, my vouchers came through yesterday I had £13 so I went off today to use them, as they are not part of a multi chain I wont get these any more when I move and the vouchers are only valid for 4 weeks.
I had a good browse around and settled for
3 Sweet Potato Plants that were on offer buy 2 get one free
Next I spotted one of James Wong's Black Tomato Plants they had them reduced to £1.99
Next was a plant for Hubby, he loves his chilli's and every year we grow a few different variety's and he is always trying to grow them as hot as possible, I spotted this one.
A Ghost Pepper that claims to be the hottest in the world scoring 1,000,000 on the Scoville heat scale, so we will see on that one, hubby was excited when he got home from work and saw the new pepper plant, it will be another to keep seeds from.
So that was my vouchers spent, as I was perusing blog world yesterday I was reading Kev's blog about the Sutton seeds offer 20 packs of James Wong seeds worth £40 for £10 that is a good saving, so they popped into the basket along with some Yam Tubers £5.45 for 5
unfortunately it didn't stop there, I was reading the Home Farmer magazine and there was another offer from Sutton's seeds with a code, 2 free Cucamelon plants you just pay for postage as I was paying postage on them I popped the 10 Guava bushes for £10 in the basket as well.
The home farmer offer is here, www.suttons.co.uk/HF514
I have just broke the news to hubby about yet more plants and I had to give him a tour of the garden to show what was coming with us, containers and pots are multiplying daily, he is being very good about it all.
I have been collecting Home Farmer magazine since issue 1 was launched many years ago, I love the variety of articles and what is achievable in your own back garden or window box, it covers everything from growing your own, chickens, livestock, cooking and crafts, I know you can view the magazine online but I do like a real magazine to curl up with on the sofa with a cup of tea, I don't part with my magazines either, I find them a great resource and often go back to older editions.
In the latest edition, there is a good interesting article on James Wong, with a couple of his recipes, Making traditional Ginger Beer and seasonal Foraging.
It was from an early edition of Home Farmer magazine that we got the instructions for building our brick oven.
My second magazine today is Country Smallholding, its not one that I buy all the time just occasionally when something catches my eye, I find the magazine at times heavy reading and it goes into too much technical detail and is not as friendly or doesn't seem to be, Although saying that perhaps they are trying to change there image, as the copy I picked up today seems a bit more on the light hearted side.
The articles that caught my eye today was using curing salts, and Perfect Fencing for the smallholder.
I will settle down this evening and have a good read of both.
Is there any magazines you pick up on a regular basis and if so why.
I am not really into herbal teas, but many years ago when I was Egypt I tried a mint tea there and loved it, since then I have tried many many different mint teas and none even came close, last year I was reading some-ones blog and he mentioned about the mint tea in Egypt and he too was so impressed with he tried and fail on many occasion to recreate it, he returned to Egypt and tracked down a recipe, I had a go and success it was the mint tea I was searching for.
Serves 4 1 litre water 1 tbsp gunpowder tea 50g sugar 50g fresh mint 1 Bring a large pan of water to a boil. Add the tea and simmer for 5 minutes on a low heat. 2 Add the sugar and mint. Stir to dissolve the sugar and make sure that the sprigs of mint are submerged. Simmer for 1 more minute. 3 Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes. 4 Strain the tea over a fresh mint sprig into drinking glasses.
(gunpowder tea is available in Tesco)
As I have a boat load of mint ready I have just made up another batch
It may not be the most handsome orange, but I grew it and it tasted great.
I have had my orange tree for 2 years and last year I watched it flower and watch the baby fruits form now I have picked and eaten my first orange straight from the tree.
There is another 3 fruits on the tree, not yet fully ripe.
The tree along with my other citrus trees are outside from late spring until autumn then they get overwintered in the greenhouse.
We have just had a major survey done on this house, the buyers had a standard one done and got there mortgage offer through, they have now decided they want a big survey done, the house isn't old, has all the certificates from being signed off after the renovations so I just couldn't understand why they wanted to spend out £1,000 on a second survey, he wasn't even here as long as the first basic survey took, and he didn't even look in the attic, it makes you wonder what the difference is between them. None as far I could see.
The basic survey took just over an hour this one a major survey took under 45 mins. I wouldn't be impressed if I was paying out that kind of money.
We hopefully will have a move date in the next week our solicitor is waiting on the contracts coming back.
It has been rain all afternoon and thunder and lightning, I did manage to get some plants up this morning and was in the process of putting straw down around the strawberries when the rain started. It dosent look like its going to clear up any time soon so I am off to play with my sewing machine.
I popped along to Tesco's to get some more of there folding crates, I bought a load last week 3 for the price of 2, they are great for packing books in, I went to the end of aisle were they still had a load of them and the big yellow card still displayed the same offer, so I popped 6 in my trolley and went off to the checkout, had a couple of other bits of shopping as well, paid the lady at the checkout and thought to myself that was more than I expected checked the receipt and yes they didn't give me the offer, went to customer services, she went off and checked came back and told me the offer had finished on Sunday and some-one hadn't take the board down, so they refunded me the money for the crates £14 and they were mine to take home, so I was a happy bunny free crates for my books and £14 back in my purse.
I was reading Kev's blog about his Guavas and here is the one I bought last year at the show I went to, it was only a tiny thing, but this spring it has put on loads of growth, I will have to look at taking some cutting.
Something else that is putting on lots of growth is a spare pumpkin plant
All the others were planted outside, but this was the weak weedy one, so I thought, I will stick him in a large pot in the greenhouse and if he survives take him with us, survive he has and he is now romping across the greenhouse floor heading for the doorway, I will have to sort out some kind of climbing frame for him I think.
I did get some self watering containers this year to try out, well there not really self watering they have a reservoir and you have to fill it once a week,
So far everything that is planted in them is doing well, I am very happy with them, I have 2 troughs, 2 tubs and 2 hanging baskets, they are made my Stewart. The baskets have a capillary wicking system and I have the tumbling tomatoes planted in them. It should make feeding the plants easy as well, If I was planning on having lots of containers they are something I would consider again.
Still no rain here and we are now starting to need it, although I have just been out and done all the watering so it will rain now.
That's how I feel today at a bit of a loose end, I was going to do a book review but the books are all packed, the garden is very basic so not a lot happening there, there is no preserving of food happening, cooking is very basic as we are eating through the freezer and cupboards, no great DIY projects.
I can update on the progress of how my Yakon tubers are growing
Yes they are growing, they will form part of my perennial vegetable garden, until then they stay in pots.
My solar powered Aquaponics is working fine and the plants are really starting to romp away now
Lettuce, Watercress and cucumbers
We are picking plenty of salad to have with our dinner
As the chives are in flower I have been adding flower heads to the salad
I was eyeing up the leeks today and the broad beans and it looks like they can be added to this weeks dinners
I have got myself a new video camera as I want to keep a video diary of the work on the new place at the moment it is on charge so tomorrow I might get a chance to play with it, I know I have a camera on my phone but I wanted a proper video camera now I have nice shiny red one. :-)
I popped into to see a friend, I last saw her last September and was told her husband had cancer, G works night shift so I wasn't sure of her shift pattern. there was a card on the front door saying I am in the garden, so I popped round the back and there she was knee deep in the pond clearing it out, she was thrilled to see me and told me that H had passed away in November, I was shocked, over a cup of tea she told me through tears that H had left some really big debts and she was left penniless to the extent there wasn't even a funeral not even a service, he had cancelled all the insurance policy's and spent the last couple of years taking out loans and credit cards and living the high life, I am sure H assumed the debts would die with him and didn't intentional leave his wife destitute, the only blessings is the house was paid for 4 years ago so at least she has the house. I so want to do something to help her but what I don't know, we both regret having not kept in touch much over the last year, there is one thing for sure I am not losing touch with my old friend again, in the past year she has lost her husband, she has been burgled twice and she was mugged of her wedding ring by a drug addict, but through all the tears she could still raise a smile.
I don't know were the week has gone but its back round to Sunday again, today we seem to achieved a lot, first on the list was walk the Alpacas before it got too hot for them, they are really feeling the heat with there big woolly coats on, we are waiting to hear from the shearers, It will be a great relief to the boys when they get stripped of all that wool. After there walk it was foot inspection time and a manicure, I do the cutting while hubby does the holding, we were all done by 10 and the temperature was already rising.
After a bacon roll for breakfast with the last pack of our home cured bacon, we made a start on the out house storage area or otherwise know as hubby's brewery, its were we keep the upright freezer and the second fridge, it also houses all his barrels and home brew stuff, boxes of jars and sacks of spuds.
We gave it a good sorting out and hubby packed up all his stuff and took it down to the storage unit out of the way along with a load of stuff from the garage.
At this point it was time for me to hit the shade the sun was really doing its best, so I sat down with some embroidery samples for the Stitch and Bitch group at the shop, in fact its a Mystery Christmas Sampler that they will start next month as there monthly project only they wont know what the completed sampler will look like until November I have to work in advance and Christmas workshops usually start to kick off in June. I am also working on there monthly project that will run from January to September next year.
Once things started to cool down again I set about the mammoth task of watering everything in pots and noticed
The first of the tomato plants in flower, these are hanging basket toms.
The fruit is swelling on the Strawberries so I must get some straw down to keep them clean
Watering all the pots took a good couple of hours and I went through one water barrel, when we move I want some IBC tanks for water catchment, the barrels just don't hold enough.
Well that about sums up my day, time to get back to more embroidery.
This week end is the 6th Anniversary of the passing of mum, she had Alzheimer's but it was cancer that took her, he Alzheimer's was at the stage were she could no longer communicate, we were not aware she was unwell until 2 months before she passed away, we made the decision not lightly that she was just to be kept comfortable and no medical intervention to extend her life.
Last week end when I was clearing the attic there was all of mums things still there in store, so my sister came over today to go through it all with me, there was a big storage box of photos, from when mum was in the army 1951 getting inspected the the Queens mum up to her last final few months, newspaper cuttings of many of the charity fundraisers she did, certificates and awards.
There have been moments of laughter and moments of tears, a real trip down memory lane, she was only 72 and I often wonder what she would think to me having my own shop, I think she would have loved it right up her street, what would be her thoughts on our move to Wales and having a smallholding, again she would be there backing me all the way as she did something very similar when she turned 62, sold up everything and bought a farmhouse in Cornwall.
Mum was a social butterfly and loved being involved in everything.
When the opportunity arises we love to cook out doors, we built a brick oven just for this purpose
sorry the sun was in the wrong place when I took the picture, this was our our first attempt of building a brick oven, we designed it with big storage cupboards underneath
we usually store charcoal and wood underneath
we have over the years collected cooking pots
we use the cast iron dutch ovens
we have used the outdoor cooking area in all weathers
We have cooked all sorts on it as well
Baked Fish in salt
One Pot meals
We will defiantly build one again with a few alterations, we will make the opening to the oven slightly larger and we will position the chimney more to the front so the heat does not escape straight up the chimney.
We do have a tripod as well for the dutch ovens so we plan to build a fire pit at the next place as well.
A pack of sausages dug out from the back of the freezer was tonight's dinner, as it is a lovely pleasant evening we thought we would light the outdoor fire for cooking and dig out the Dutch Oven
So we chopped up a few potatoes, red pepper, mushrooms onions and garlic into the Dutch Oven with the sausages a drizzle of olive oil seasoning
after browning added some water popped on the lid, after about 10 mins added some baked beans moved it to a cooler part of the fire to finish cooking
It was delicious served with bread and butter.
Cooking outdoors is something we both enjoy and do throughout the year, it was one of the reasons we built a brick oven outside, and its something we plan to rebuild at the next place. We have even been out in the snow cooking its great fun.
10 Random Facts
Reading some of the blogs out there today some of you were listing 10 random facts so I thought I would add mine.
When I was five I fell out of the upstairs bedroom window, I now have a fear of heights.
I first got married at 16 divorced at 21 remarried at 22 divorced at 24 I am now happily married for the third time and we are just coming up to our 24th Anniversary.
I hate having long hair it gets in the way but I also hate going to the hairdressers so hence I live with my long hair.
I don't eat cheese, I have had some really bad reactions to cheese its the rennet in it, so I have not eaten cheese since I was a little child.
I was born in Scotland, and brought in Wales I used to speak fluent welsh with a Scottish accent.
I don't own a single designer label of anything.
I am always the designated driver when we go out as I don't like alcohol
We moved around nearly every year when I was a child, this had a sever affect on my education and the ability to make friends. I do enjoy my own company
I hate shopping but I own a shop, I can think of nothing worse to do with my spare time than shopping.
I like to play the guitar although not very well and I like to paint pictures in watercolour.