Saturday, 19 September 2020

Today's bargain buys

 First thing this morning I received a text from Beckah my future daughter in law asking if I fancied meeting them for breakfast. After meeting up with them for breakfast and then a bit of a wander around Guisborough, Tony and I headed home to find a leaflet for a 'country store' in the mail box. A quick turn around and we headed out to see if the bargains were as good as the leaflet suggested.  We come home with multi purpose compost.. BOGOF. Paint for the potential new shed, a couple of new bird feeders and two bags of  'coal' briquettes for the wood burner.  Then a quick visit to our favourite farm shop to pick up a tray of eggs. These eggs are 'seconds' due to the mottling and marks on the shells.. Cost for thirty free range eggs.. £2.50. This afternoon we really do need to get the house tidied up. Emptying the garage into the conservatory and the food cupboard into bags and every available space has made the house look like a bomb hit a food factory.  

While in Guisborough I bought two bamboo toothbrushes and some bamboo cotton buds.  If we like them I will never buy a plastic toothbrush or  cotton bud again. 

I think the chickens may have said Ouch!

Tomatoes grown from collected seed. 

Friday, 18 September 2020

Lovely new boiler

 It doesn't take much to put a smile on my face. We now have a lovely new reliable boiler and it's a bit all singing and dancing.  So long as it works it can sit quietly and just get on with doing its job for the next twelve years or so.  While the men got on with fitting it I got on and have picked most of the tomatoes from the plants in the garden.The nights are very cool just lately and I don't think they would ripen any better on the plants than they will in my kitchen.  I did leave a couple of trusses on the plants just to see if they will ripen outdoors but the ones I have picked will ripen over the next few weeks and we can enjoy them in sauces and salads.  Tony has brought me three big plastic tubs that will be ideal for making more raised beds.  That's a project for the back end of the year once the hollyhocks and the sunflower have died back. It would be a crying shame to dig them out now just to create a bed that won't be used until next year.

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Even my flowers are smiling

 It's been a glorious day today and I've worked in the garden digging things up and moving things around.  It's looking really pretty but unfortunately the photos make it look really untidy... it's not. The Hollyhocks have flowered for weeks on end and look stunning in the corner of the garden.  I will be planting plenty more of them for next year. 

Happy smiling sunflower

Beautiful Hollyhock

Veggies growing under netting

My lovely sunshine coloured hedge is growing nicely

Flippin typical

I was tough and  brave (crackers more like) and took a cold shower yesterday morning. Boiled the kettle to fill a bucket with hot water as it was a 'decoke the conservatory' kind of day.  I cut all the tomatoes from the plants and put the greenery on the compost bin. Then set to and gave everything a good scrub.  At lunch time the flippin boiler decided it would work so immediately I ran myself a lovely deep bubble bath as I knew that the boiler could give up at any minute and I wouldn't be able to have another bath until it was fixed.  We still have working hot water today.  I will be glad to have a new and predictable boiler on Friday and it's made us rethink the kitchen cupboard.  It's going in the garage and we are going to have some open shelving in its place as it will be easier to access the new boiler when it needs its yearly service. A bit later today I will pop back and share some garden photo's  as it's looking really pretty at the moment,I'm staggered to discover that the strawberry plant has started to produce fruit again.  I am getting about half a dozen berries every day and they are the sweetest strawberries I have ever eaten. I wander around the garden eating them and picking pea shoots to munch. The radishes are incredible. How something can grow so quickly amazes me.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Cold shower brrrrrr

As we don't have any hot water at the moment I am having to rely on friends for showers. This morning I thought I would be brave and just have a cold shower.  I knew I would chicken out so I made sure I was well and truly soaped so that I had to rinse it all off.  Brrrrrrrr  it was flippin freezing but oh how warm the house feels now.  We're tough 'up north'  :-)   

My house looks like a warehouse at the moment as I had to empty my big kitchen cupboard so that we can take it down. Good job the only people who visit at the moment are two friends from my 'support bubble'.  Looks like even those visits will have to stop if this darn virus continues to cause problems. It is  probably an indoor day as the weather has really cooled down overnight. A bit of housework wouldn't be a bad thing though as I have been spending most of my time working in the garden just lately.  I've been given a bag of quince fruit so they will be turned into quince jelly or some such thing later today. They smell beautiful. 

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

A freebies kind of a day

 Blimey it was hot today. It almost felt like the middle of summer.  The garden was looking a bit parched and in need of a drink when I wandered through the veg plot. Radishes are almost ready to pick and they will make a nice addition to our salads. I popped over to see a friend today and admire her new extension which is currently being built. The  builders are excellent which is so nice to hear. I came away with two large bags of wooden off cuts which will give us a few days of free heat, Tony had to pop over to a neighbours and give her a hand emptying her loft. He came home with a circular saw, a mitre saw and a router. We've just opened a letter from Middlesbrough council to find two cloth facemasks. It's not often that we get so many freebies in one day. I am counting my small blessings and smiling today.  

Monday, 14 September 2020

£2500 ouchity ouch

The new boiler will be fitted on Friday but the cost made me wince a bit.  It's one of those things we take for granted and it was overdue a replacement so in fairness £2500 for something that is used on and off all day for at least ten years can't be a bad price.  Unfortunately the kitchen cupboard has to be removed because when we had the new kitchen designed and fitted three years ago they didn't take account of the fact  the boiler would at some point need replacing. Guess who will be emptying the cupboard this week.  We had just got it all nicely stocked up with tins and packets. Tony bless him didn't turn a hair and turned down my offer to pay half.  He has also offered to buy me the shed for Christmas.  He can be a real sweetheart sometimes.


The boiler died yesterday.. It's going to be expensive, nuff said.  And having just paid for the repair of the garage roof I now find myself digging into my 'New Shed' money again to pay for the heating engineer. I am feeling a bit rebellious today. I've decided that I might just as well repair  Le Crafterie as go to the expense of buying a new shed.  I read so many awful reviews on 'shed firms' last night that it's hardly worth forking out for what sounds like a load of rubbish.  The garage is full of tatty junk and could easily accommodate the garden tools.  Only the other day himself decided that the shredder could go into the new shed and free up some space in the garage... ermmmm, the shed will be 5ft by 7ft... It would house the cupboards from Le Crafterie,  the lawn mower and all the garden tools. It will also house the shredder??????? I don't think so. Where the heck will I have the space to 'potter on'.  He did offer up a  'do you want me to go halves on the shed'.... No, I'd like you to sort out the darn garage thinks I.  I think it's yet another job for me..  ho hum. 

Saturday, 12 September 2020

The syrups are made

 Next year I will buy bottles to store it in but jars will have to suffice today. I made about 450ml of rosehip syrup and about 1100ml  of elderberry syrup.  I used organic wildflower honey for both and added a couple of cloves and a piece of cinnamon to the elderberry.  Have a look on tinterweb at the cost of organic elderberry syrup. The cost is eyewatering.  We are planning on making some more through the week when we gather some more  elderberries.  The antiviral properties will do us both the world of good right through the winter months. 

Hedgerow syrups

Tony and I have just been out for a foraging walk. We've picked elderberries and rosehips and I am planning on making some soothing syrups to fight off the colds and flu bugs that will soon be appearing. . We also spotted  sloes just around the corner from our house so as soon as they have had a hint of frost we will make sloe gin for next year.  I love this time of year when the hedgerows are overflowing with fruit and nuts.