Monday, 19 February 2018

Kestrel

A flash of brown went past the front windows and landed on the telegraph pole next door but one. Just about got a picture with my little digital camera of the local kestrel having a rest on the access ladder things near the top of the pole.
(Husband and better camera not around.)

Apart from that excitement I have been doing nothing much all day. Cleaning, dusting a corner and re arranging the Cds and player and some books. Its wet and foggy here.

Yesterday was mild and I managed a bit of veg bed digging over - I can do about 10 feet by 5 feet patch before needing a sit down. I hope I get fitter before the spring or nothing will get grown.

I was checking our food budget (including all household cleaners, basic toiletries  and loo rolls etc)  for the last 3 months we have existed on £40 a week for the two of us. That includes all costs in getting the food to the cupboard. If we have not grown and stored it, Supermarket delivers for £1 every fortnight or I cycle or bus(free) to shops.  I spent £50 on meat and fish last week and that should last a least two weeks. I had intended we have a few more protein rich meals but when we tried to have a full chicken leg or a generous pork chop each we were both bloated and a little sick feeling. So its back to sharing just about 200gms of meat or fish per meal between us. I shall be spending a little bit more on making the meals spicy or tasty. For example I  brought a bottle of BBQ sauce for 65p and used it to spice up some bacon in a roll and then some more to marinade 200 gms pork loin  cubed. This was acutely really nice. I added nearly half of one of my giant white onions from the store as they are very sweet and soft when cooked and took up the sauce really well.

I shall up the salads too. I really need to shed some weight and get fit for summer.  Meanwhile will be encouraging husband to plant some mixed salad leaves in the poly-tunnel for some early home grown.

Our weekend treat was to have a newspaper. Mostly for the big crossword which we delight in filling in 50% without using any reference books or the WWW.  I then scour the paper for interesting stories you don't get on the news. Two struck me. One about an energy company (French owned) reporting a good drop in domestic usage of electricity in the UK. Hurrah! All those SMART meters are having an effect; especially on the power company's income. The second was about de-cluttering or spring cleaning. It was actually a hopeless article except the bit by a journalist de-cluttering his phone. How did end up with 6 betting apps? The outcome that was interesting is that he de-cluttered his mind and went out side and heard the birds singing!!!

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Hare's scream

OMG what a shock.   It was a nice afternoon so I thought I could just do a few things in the garden including cutting the long dead grass from around the autumn raspberries. My husband joined me ( he needed a break from the sports) and was cutting the canes down along side me.

As I poked the shears into a clump of long grass all of a sudden I could feel a resistance and there was a shrill screaming.  I had caught something in the shears blades.  There was a lot more screaming (me) while my husband searched the grass.

Eventually he found this.
A baby hare. He caught it and checked it and could find no damage or blood. But the poor thing just sat there for the next half an hour.

Later husband checked his nature/trail camera thing, and found that the mummy hare had been running around the fruit area of our field the previous night. I hope she comes back for it.


Thursday, 15 February 2018

Next stage of kitchen update

My poor husband has given himself chilblain's standing around in his workshop making kitchen cabinets on a concrete floor in freezing temperatures. So I have given him the week off and we have completed the next stage of the indoor work on the kitchen.

First we had to go to the tip/recycling centre.  We had a pile of stuff on the drive already so it had to go before we added more. Our neighbour had dire warnings about being restricted in taking stuff and being charged extra last time he went so we carefully took things apart and varied the load. No problems for us and we politely asked the men which bin they wanted things in. We went cross country too, to avoid some road works, and explored some villages and river crossings on the way to Kings Lynn which was pleasant as for an hour or two it was actually sunny.

Back home it only took 4 hours and 4 rubble bags to take the tiles off with a hammer and chisel as they were hardly stuck on with much. The last wall cabinet (the yellow bit) is being recycled into storage in the brick shed later.

Unfortunately yet more awful electrical installation was revealed as the sockets had been held in by the tiles. They are not seated into the walls and are hanging off. Another call to our friendly electrician today for some more remedial work.

Are you enjoying the winter Olympics? I can't understand half the activities (why would someone want to do that at high speed in the cold?) but I do enjoy the Curling!


Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Folksy seller

After a lot of urging from my children and their spouses I have decided to dip my toe into the e selling market with things I make at home often from bargain materials and up cycling things. GrandmaMakes is what I am calling myself.

I don't have much money to invest in this speculation and set myself a target of £100 income in a year. This will equal what my husband makes selling his tomatoes at the garden gate.  I have gone for Folksy as the e selling site for crafts and home-mades. I researched Amazon, ebay, Etsy and think this is the easiest - but if any of you bloggers have feedback let me know of your experiences please!

I have put 6 items I have made and it has cost less than £1 so far to list them.  Tote bags, bakers apron, children's sun hats and toddler's sun dresses are my main things so far.

It is a good job it is too cold to be doing much else because the photos and uploads are taking me ages to do. I hope I get faster as I could have made 3 more things in the time so far!

I hope its a success even in a small way, but just in case I shall say "Thank you" nicely to the nice Government department who increased my state pension today.


Sunday, 11 February 2018

Update

Its been so cold here that it has been difficult to get motivated.  If we turning the house heating on during the day to stop it drifting down to 16 C indoors I find it difficult to justify going to my sewing cabin and putting on the expensive electric fire to try and get it up to 10 C which is just bearable.

So I have been drifting around on this and that. 

Watching the bird population. Its was so cold and ground frozen a pheasant came to find left over bird seed.
The sparrows would not come out while it was there and sat tweeting loudly in the hedge so I had to chase the pheasant off.

Our little open boat down on one of the Fen rivers is a bit smaller than the average so it struggles on the moorings supplied by the Environmental Agency.  We have buoys, some bits of board wrapped in foam, and various ropes but we really needed a small tire, like a wheelbarrow one,  to screw to the pontoon. We started spotting those tires dumped on the roadside - too big, too much steel in the walls, too far into the dyke to rescue, on a main road.  Finally as I went to get some extra milk on my bike I spotted this in the lay by 150 yards down the road.
I have always envied Life After Money's Ilona skip finds but not sure I would have her confidence. No one around when I slipped this over the handlebars and scuttled home. Next warmish, dry day my husband can hang over the pontoon edge and attach it while I hold the boat off.

I have been trying to change our meals around a bit to stave off boredom and came across this on our local CoOp shelves.

Never seen this in a tub before. For £1.50 it was a good stand by as I could make up small servings as needed.

Mostly I have been using my Xmas present of Ancestry and spending hours building a family tree. Looking at census to see where people lived and their jobs is the most interesting for me. Occasional stories present themselves.  Distant cousin of husband's went of Chicago from Kent, then had to serve in American Civil War and later owned a very large farm in Ohio. Another went to New Zealand and became a Governor of Christchurch.  My grandmother's brother went to India in 1939 as a policeman, married and had children, he brought them back to my hometown in 1947, after his wife died, and then he went back to India 6 months later and stayed there till he died aged 90.  I can see why people people become obsessed.  I fully expect not to touch it once the weather improves and I can get out gardening!  I really enjoyed the BBC4 programme on the history of a house in Liverpool recently - it was a great way to see how the house and society changed.




Friday, 2 February 2018

Wayleave surprise

It was raining and cold when a strange man knocked on our door having been seen wandering up and down the road for half an hour or so.
See that power line that crosses our front garden?  Apparently the power network company should be paying us an annual fee per year (its called wayleave or easement). He'd been sent round the UK by the power company to find people who were not getting their money. Crazy?  Spending money to spend money on something no one was asking for?

Never mind. Sign us up to get 3 years back payments!  Never been known to turn down the odd £100 for doing nothing.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Suddenly there is space..

When the electrician came the other week I had to empty the built in wardrobe/cupboard so he could take up the floorboards above the supply box. When I put the clothes back I took out 4 more things that had not been worn for a year and one bath towel that was past its best.

Suddenly there was room to see what we had on the rail and space to put the towels back easily. So 4 years of downsizing and trying to live more simply is finally paying off.  I can easily see what I have to wear for the next two seasons (easily enough for day to day wear) and PLAN clothes needed for the winter to come.

My review revealed that the stretch jersey long sleeve tops will be long gone by the autumn. I had tried buying some in the fashion superstore last summer but they were in no better condition that ones I have had for years or brought from charity shop.  I am going to have another go at sewing some.  I have found a FREE pattern on Itch to Stitch blog.
Itch to Stitch Uvita Top PDF Sewing Pattern - Free Pattern
These pdf patterns are quite easy to download. This one had 18 pages to print out and stick together to make the pattern. I am trying it out on some old TShirting material in my stash but I intend to buy some thicker jersey material - 1.5 metres needed. So should be under £8 for a good jersey top.

Kestrel

A flash of brown went past the front windows and landed on the telegraph pole next door but one. Just about got a picture with my little dig...