Friday, 27 March 2020

Back to basics

Well!  Who knew we would be in this situation for my next blog post?  Not us that's for sure.
I hope everyone is coping with their various situations right now.  Personally, I am home with the kids and we are almost at the end of week 2 of isolation.  I chose to pull them out of school a week before they closed and have home schooled and worked from home since then.  We are adapting, coping, winning - all of those things.  Overall this is actually a very positive experience for us all, obviously not what is going on in the outside world though.  
Ste is still going in to work with being in food production, keeping the shelves full in the farm shop for the great British public.  Over the last couple of weeks, he has been going to the supermarket as and when needed, however late this week we made the decision to stop that too.  We got the last few bits and pieces (given that's all you can get in the supermarkets now, not a bit of toilet roll to be seen!) and we now have what we need to see us through a good few weeks and anything we don't have we will do without assuming we cannot get a delivery slot.
With that said, I think it's time people started thinking about getting back to basics, in my view.  Here on the smallholding, we are already quite good with that, we cook everything from scratch, grow a lot, try to reduce waste and use leftover etc.  One thing that seems to be on the up is forging; it has seen a huge spike in interest since this outbreak.  Again, it is something we already do but with a light touch I would say.  That brings me to the pictures below.  I believe this plant to be called Jack by the hedge.  It grows here in the UK from March through to September according to my research.  When the stem is crushed it has a mild smell of garlic, which is great!  We love garlic.  The whole plant is edible and can be used raw or cooked.  I would like to make some pesto but I don't have the ingredients needed so I think it'll be fresh pasta.  I have a recipe for nettle pasta so maybe I'll add some of this or replace it with this completely?  A job for the weekend?  I really enjoy making pasta and at the moment, it looks like the only way we will have any once we use what we have in.





Other plants that are ready to use and have been all year round if I'm honest, are some herbs.  Here we have a bay tree in the middle, two sage plants on the left and a common mint on the right.  If you grow mint, it makes sense to grow it in a pot as it is (supposed to be) very invasive.  I haven't seen this myself as I managed to kill some once!  Oh and at the back are 2 blueberry bushes that I am keeping in the greenhouse as I think it will mean they will come on earlier than if they were outside.  We always run the risk of frost killing them off outside, we lost one that way last year.


Another job for this weekend, or even today actually, is taking some cuttings from the Elderberry trees we have here as I would like to get a couple growing on the river bank, along with other wild food.  We use a lot of elder flowers for drinks, adding to food and for Spring/Summer kitchen vase decoration.  We then use berries for making syrup to drink as a tonic to get through the winter.  Recently too, we learnt that chickens eat them which is a big thing for us.  We are wanting to grow as much of out own animal feed as we can.  That's something else we are learning from this whole situation right now, animal feed is harder to come by (even just from not being allowed to go out to buy it) but it is also going up in cost and we are trying to reduce costs.  We would like to be much more self reliant for animal feed.
I saw the below book on a group on Facebook the other week and checked ebay to find it available for £2 odd delivered, so I grabbed that bargain there and then.  I'm looking forward to having some down time and looking though it over the weekend.


Sticking with the war time thoughts, which is pretty much how I am feeling right now, here's a pretty picture that always fills me happiness is the sight we see opening the egg box area of the chicken coop.


One more thing I have started doing again thanks to the situation that is ongoing, is dehydrating things.  I started with apples as we had some that were past their nice point for eating fresh.  The other option would be to freeze them as stewed apple.


Finally I can't leave without giving you an updated picture of Rodney doing what he does when I am in the greenhouse sowing seeds and potting on.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Working full time and running a smallholding

A lot of the YouTube videos we watch, the books and blogs we read or the people we have spoken to think of smallholders and homesteaders as having an 'off grid' mentality.  That they want to disentangle themselves from the rat race, utility companies and live a completely self reliant life, on a hill in the middle of nowhere maybe.  While that's all fine and dandy, Steven and I have to have a realistic approach that works for us.  Would we like to be off grid, totally self reliant and mortgage free.  Yes, we'd probably like to give it a shot before we leave this planet, but we have always been realistic in that we're a little bit different!

When we bought the smallholding in January 2016, we did so using a mortgage.  If you follow our blog, you will know this and it won't be a surprise.  Now mortgages these days can take you up to retirement age which you will also know we don't want to have our mortgage around our necks for that long and that we are actively working on maximising our income and minimising our outgoings which will allow us to pay it off sooner.  In order to pay this mortgage, we need to work.

Why am I telling you this?  Because we are priding ourselves on showing people that you can have a mortgage which means you need to work full time and run a smallholding effectively.  We are not joining in the chants to become off grid and to escape the rat race.  We have nothing against that but we know we are accepting of having council tax to pay, a mortgage to clear, utility bills to take care of and so on, for as long as we live in some cases.

What we do do ( :) ) is budget, see where we can reduce bills and save, look to where we can be as self reliant as we can with accepting of these decisions.  For example one of our most expensive outgoings is oil.  We could convert the Aga to solid fuel and live off our trees, but we aren't here often enough to feed it.  We could collect rain water and convert the house non drinking water to use it and buy bottled to drink but realistically, we aren't going to do that any time soon.  There has to be a balance.  So our budget each month takes our incomings, minus the absolute essential outgoings and leaves us with a balance.  How we spend that remaining balance is key.  A fair bit of it goes on insurances, for the cars, house and animals.  If we were off grid, we wouldn't have a vehicle to insure nor insure the animals is my guess, so those expenses wouldn't be there, but then nor would our incomes each month as that isn't self reliant isn it?  

So where are we self reliant, even partially?  We grow as much of our own food as we can and each year we learn and build on the previous year.  We make decisions for things we don't or can't grow ourselves.  For example, we have bananas for breakfast on the meat from we eat beef which we don't raise ourselves.  We are self reliant in chicken and lamb, pork later in the year but not beef or fish.  Again we could choose not to have both, but we don't, we pay for it as we like it and we can right now.

We pretty much run our smallholding before and after work and weekends, so if you are thinking about doing it then don't be put off if you work full time.  I can't comment on other lifestyles being able to manage a smallholding or not as we haven't lived anyhing else ourselves, but we know this one and we know it works.

Before work, we check the livestock and feed them all so they're set for the day.  Depending on what you have this can be anywhere from 10 minutes upwards.  I like to spend a little time watching the animals come out of the pens or coops for the day, seeing them go about their business, have a stretch or for the ducks, get a bath!  On a night is the same, check everything is ok, feed and water them, collect eggs, clean out, whatever needs to be done and before bed lock everything away.  It can take as much or as little time as you like, but it has to be done every day.  There's no days off in smallholding.

We plan as much as we can, plan for the best and the worst, be adaptable and also realistic.  Don't try and take on too much but absolutely do take on as much as you can.  You may find that you can take on more than you think but it depends what character you're like.  I would take on too much and Ste probably less than we could, so between us we balance perfectly most of the time!  

In the coming weeks I will do some posts on what organising looks like here and share our ideas and thoughts with a hope that people may find them helpful.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

We have Quail - new additions

What's this?  A duck egg, yes....a chicken egg, yes..... a QUAIL egg, YES!!  We have quail, and they laid an egg on day one :)  Only 1 but still - that's a positive sign.


They are funny looking things, really small too.  Very flighty but lovely to watch.  We have 6 girls and a boy which we bought from a rescue centre called Wetheriggs Animal Rescue located at Thorpe Farm Centre on the A66 near Barnard Castle.  They have some Old Spot cross pigs which are due a litter in a month, so this is where we will get them from.


Grace managed to get a close up on arrival.  Pretty cute.


This is the view inside a pen, food on the left and a drink further down.  Quail have their own type of food, so won't be on the poultry feed.  They have a mesh floor which caused us many discussions and sleepless nights, yes really.  All reseach suggested this is how to keep quail and then the muck drops through.  We were not sure about them walking on the mesh, but actually, they are just fine.


We have a dust bath for them which they love and this is where they lay their eggs!  We're going to also put some foliage in for them to hide in, now we have them, we're learning what we think they would like and of course we adapt as needed, as a smallholder you just have to.


We shall incubate the eggs and hope to raise more of our own this year.  Quail are quick to get up to breeding age (6-8 weeks) unlike chickens which are 22.  Also little fact, if you're not allowed to keep poultry in your area, you can maybe keep quail as they are game, not poultry ;)

So all in all a very successful weekend with regards to quail.  We didn't really get much else done on the smallholding as we had lots of other commitments this weekend plus we had a poorly dog and a poorly Ste!  Hopefully the latter 2 are on the mend now and we can play catch up during the week.  Time stops for no one :)

Monday, 9 March 2020

March's veg plot and seed plan

It feels like it's time for an update on what's happening in the veg plot and growing areas, with all the talk of The Food Challenge and the general ventures we are working on...so before it's too late, we best get on and grow some for when we're up and running!

I do love March, Spring is on it's way.  It kind of just pounces on your unexpectedly, even though you may have spent much of February feeling like it would never arrive.  There's so much more daylight and time to get out and get things done.  



Personally, my time starts to transition from spending lots of time in the house cooking and preparing to being outside, preparing and growing.  It's still a reasonably quiet time of year for gardeners (not so much smallholders as chicks and lambs start arriving!).  I start to notice that a coat, hat and scarf are too much when working outside, you can feel the sun on your clothes through the glass in the greenhouse, and if you are really lucky, when walking outside feeding the animals.



Yes there's still frosts and sometimes even snow, but both are very pretty and give you a (very!) fresh start for the day. 


Gone by mid morning, these mornings give way to blue skies and the need for sunglasses to drive safely on the reflective roads!  Come 6pm, there's still a short amount of daylight to be snatched before giving in to the evening. 


Before you know it, it's 8:30pm and you're thinking about the bed time routine before you get up and do it all again.  I love to see the shift in seasons and it's clear we are bang smack in the middle of the Winter to Spring shift right now.

In March, the temperatures can vary dramatically, so don't get caught out thinking there won't be a frost, which we have done before.  In fact, only last year were the fruit trees killed off when a very late May frost killed the blossom.  I really hope that doesn't happen this year.  With that in mind, I still am still sowing seeds with a view to keeping them protected in various forms until they can move on to their final spot.  I'm not just sowing the hardier seeds either, at the end of the day if we lose some, then we will have more to sow.  It's all trial and error every year.

At the moment we have stagger-sown the following since 14th February:

Red and white spring onions 
Leeks
Broad beans
Peas
Kale - different varieties
Beetroot
Salad leaves
Tomatoes (a couple of testers)
Cauliflower
Red and Green cabbage
Aubergine
Different beans
Courgettes
Turnips
Sprouts
Potatoes (currently chitting)

We are seeing these seeds come through nicely.

Radish, multi sown
 Salad leaves, tomatoes
Swiss chard, beetroot, salad leaves
Turnip, radish, sunflower, Swiss chard, beetroot, salad leaves

I will continue to stagger the seeds I am sowing to have plants at different ages, to hopefully mature at different stages.  They do sometimes tend to catch up which is nature for you and can be frustrating when you get a glut despite planning not to. This year we are hoping to not only supply ourselves with ALL of our own vegetable needs, but also to do a couple of veg boxes to sell with the eggs we are selling weekly.  Another exciting challenge!
Nothing should go to waste to be fair, even if the veg boxes don't take off, we will preserve and the chickens and pigs will have what goes over as inevitably things do.

So the seeds are in and being kept warm as needed.  The veg plot is manured/mulched and covered up to warm the soil ready for planting out.  We had the shock of our lives the other day when one of the horses managed to get through the garden gate and made her way in to the veg plot.  We fixed up the damage she did but only time will tell as to whether she has killed anything off!

In the veg garden, which is different to the veg plot, we have our polytunnel that's 4 years old now.  Highly recommended if you're looking for a cheaper one, this is 6x3m.  Over the last few weeks it has taken a bashing from the various storms and is starting to need some TLC so we have made some adjustments to it.  Where the zip is starting to come apart we have zipped it closed and adjusted the clips to be longer so we don't have to keep undoing it beyond the zip.  As you can tell, that was a Ste idea!  Saved us time and money on costly repairs.  Bonus.


The polytunnel will soon be planted up with a couple of kale, radish and salad leaves to get the crops moving on quickly.  I'll grab some photos when I do that.

Sowings over the next week or so will include tomatoes and peppers, more salad and turnips and second sowings of what's already in.  We are getting pigs in 3 months which we also are going to grow as much food for as we can, so marrows, turnips, swede, leafy greens and so on.  It's going to be a very busy growing season, so outside we go!! More pics to follow :)

Friday, 6 March 2020

Adapting routines and a little business venture

Thank you to everyone who is commenting. I read every comment and will reply in due course. For now, I’ve a load of blog posts filling my head that I just need to get out there!! Here we go:

In addition to the quail expansion, we have lots of other ideas and rods in the fire.

We've taken on more laying hens, so we have 31 now and another 15 or so coming in 5 weeks time.  The idea of doing this is to provide ourselves with all of the eggs we could ever need and with a view to selling the surplus.  
There's your basic brown hen and white leghorns here, very prolific layers though the white ones are extremely skittish and flighty.
Below are the eggs starting to build up, we're averaging 20 a day right now and every one is spoken for the day or day after it is laid.
Our duck total is currently 4 Aylesbury, which we bought as 3 girls and a boy and since have proven the fertility of the eggs to only be low but still a reasonable amount.  We have put 19 in the incubator and will check for fertility again in a few days to only keep the good ones.  The plan for ducks is to grow some on for meat as we like duck, to sell them to friends as meat but then we would also like to become a local supplier of the breed as they are like hen's teeth around here.  We will also sell the fertile eggs once fertility is up and also sell the duckings and adults.
At the end of February I received an early Mother's Day gift which was just lovely.  Ste and the kids bought me 10 chicks from Durham hens.  I was sooo happy to get these, look!
There's 8 Lavender Araucana and 2 Cream Legbars.  The first you can't sex at birth but the legbars you can (from colourings).  Both of these hens lay blue-green eggs which is exactly why I wanted them as my own special addition.  We are going to breed these beautiful rare breeds too, which we hope will be the first of many to add to building up this little business.


Now taking all of this on whilst having a family, working full time, running a home and smallholding etc etc isn't something that you can do without planning.  It means you have to adapt, change your routine, plan, review and do it all again if needs be.  Something that we are getting so much better at is doing this.  It's no longer a shock to the system, which when you first set out it can be.  It's planned in, dished out and gotten on with.

Every morning Rodney and I feed the horses, exercise (myself) and he sits and looks like he is training with me, I open up outside pens and feed the animals, starting at one end and systematically working to the other end.  Daily the horses stables are tended to morning and evening.  On a weekend I clean out what poultry houses need to be changed over.  The kids and Ste take turns with this but all have their own jobs too.  
I mean, do you even lift bro?
My barrow on our cleaning travels
However, now we're getting more poultry we need to adapt.  What needed now is a daily spot clean of the poultry houses as this stops the hens and eggs becoming dirty and makes the weekend cleans fewer.  Once done, with a small bucket of chicken poop, I will head over to the compost bin and add it to it, along with any veg peelings and so on.  The horses muck goes to another pile as there's SO much of it.  We also sell that to local allotments as we don't use chemicals or straw and they can't get enough of it.  It really is good sh1t!  We bag it up for them but currently don' t have enough bags!  We reuse as much as possible to avoid increased plastic use.


We have another big change just happened too, more soon, which means even more adapting and changes which are all for the greater good and fantastically exciting.
Just as a side note, we did buy an incubator out of our savings to help up on our way with this.  It was a budget version and you may get what you pay for, however we will write a review once we have data to review.  In the mean time, this is it for anyone that is interested:



Take care everyone.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Our opinion - Discount Supermarkets

I was chatting with Lou over on Living the Good Life in Wales and I was telling her about a couple of conversations I had and have overheard recently about shopping, specifically at the cheaper supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl.  It reminded me how far we have come on the journey we wanted and how many people have a very different mind set to us.  
We are also underway with our Food Challenge (see previous post) so it feels like a good time to talk about where we shop and why.  
Now before I get in to this, I want to put a disclaimer out there - we have 2 children in school, both work full time, have good incomes, 2 cars, a house that has a central heating option (note the operative word) and have clothes on our backs.  We are lucky enough to not claim to be poverty struck nor to compare ourselves to people AT ALL.  We can talk from our experience and opinions only.  We are not proposing what we choose to do is right for anyone other than us, we only want to share and hopefully help provoke thoughts that lead to helping in some way, shape or form.
Back to it.
We converted to using a discount supermarket, specifically Aldi, many years ago and looking back I do remember it being a big change.  Truthfully we picked Aldi as it was closet.  If Lidl was, I would have probably used them.  
Like we were, if you are used to going in to a shop like Tesco and enjoy being able to buy a vast assortment ready made, branded or world foods for example, then converting to a discount supermarket like Aldi or Lidl is a bit of a shock to the system and does require planning and adjusting.  We found we needed to be flexible and able to adapt, but if you are considering shopping in the cheaper supermarkets anyway, then maybe you are financially trying to cut back and feel you have to make that compromise.  
We have found the interior of Aldi to be very similar throughout the UK, they keep things in the same place and stores that we have visited seem to have the same layout which although doesn't impact us very often, sits well with me as I hate it when you go in to Tesco/Asda/Sainsburys etc and they have changed everything round.  Yes this is meant to make you see other things you hadn't thought of buying, but when you are adamant on buying that one item you went in for, it's just frustrating!
I found that I came to prefer not being given a wide variety of options to choose from - if I have mayo on my list, I don't get the 4/5/6 whatever options the big supermarkets offer, I get trusty Bramwells and move on.  Personally, I like the taste.  If I didn't, we probably wouldn't bother, it's not a staple part of the diet.
We use their shampoo, cleaning products, dog food, frozen and fresh food.  I'd say we get 95% of our items from Aldi.  There are some things which we choose not to buy from there which is soap and they don't do a Ready Brek or equivalent which my kids have frequently, so we do go to Tesco for these, but rarely anything else.
The tills are crazy though, when I first started shopping there the till operators used to remember the codes for each item and type them in manually, no bar code scanning then.  It still didn't give you much time to get your items put back in to your trolley though, they fly through scanning and you're expected to put the items in your trolley and bag them at the separate counter.  When Ste and I go, we have the bags ready in the trolley and do it together so we do manage to keep up.  Took us a few times to master the art!
Aldi offers a wide variety of food that we feel has actually increased our family's healthy eating options as by removing some of the crap, you can get to focus on what's important.  We cook 95% of our meals from scratch, even more now I think about it.  There's the odd chicken kiev makes it in to the basket as the kids love those and on a Friday night, they get to pick their meals.
A lot of people seem to comment that Aldi's fresh fruit and veg doesn't stay fresh for very long.  I would say we have had maybe 15% of ours go off sooner than I would like, however planning our meals and prepping appropriately mitigates this if really needed.  As we cook from scratch we buy a lot of fresh things, plus frozen fruit and veg which I have never had a problem with and it makes life so much easier sometimes.
Does it make our money go further - hell yes is my answer to that.  Our grocery budget is £300 a month for the 4 of us and we eat healthily with a few treats, such as alcohol or the odd Chicken Kiev (if you can call that a treat).
So when people snub Aldi as a sub standard or lower class supermarket, I don't agree, it gives us a healthy, nutritional diet and saves us spending money every month and whatever your situation in life is, surely that isn't a bad thing.

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

The Food Challenge

This title has come from a variety of recent ideas I've had!  I find that happens, a little ideas forms a bigger one which grows and adapts.  It started off as a freezer challenge eating what's in the freezer as the freezer was fit to burst.  Given its bulging sides, apparently that will take months (which is a good thing, as that was and is the point of filling it!) and then it turned in to a pantry challenge of using up the tinned and dried goods that were bought and since sat there with just a partial amount used.  Finally it's turned in to a use up the jars in the fridge challenge.  I think they are breeding in there!  There's 2 shelves full of bits of mustard or pickle or cranberry sauce and other items I am not too sure as to what they even are!  So combined with my weight loss challenge I've set myself for this year, you can see the predicament that we have a bit of a mutation of challenges going on.

Essentially I find myself in a position where I want to step back and assess what we are trying to achieve before my head becomes too full and I give up on it all.  Do you ever get that feeling?  Sometimes it can manifest itself as feeling overwhelmed?  Life is so busy for us all and personally, I feel that without planning, things don't always happen.

This whole Corona virus thing has got us all thinking too.  I don't want to be in a position where we have eaten everything down to the bare minimum and end up self isolating for a period of time.  It seems there's going to be a bit of scaremongering in the next few days, which naturally may result in people panic buying.  Given we are normally stocked up for 3 months plus with food etc, this is probably the worst time this could have happened.  We still have a good amount of food in though, so I am not worried, it's just typical and shows it's always good to be prepared, or have a plan A and B at least.  Anyway, I'm not spending time worrying about that until we know more.

Generally, even though we are working our way through what is in stock in the said areas, generally there's left overs from those and I will reuse them in something else.  Eg if we roast a (raw) chicken for a Sunday lunch, I will reuse left overs in a pie and eat one for another meal, then freeze one, so the pie goes back in the freezer in a differed "state" (ie cooked chicken, not raw) to how it came out, which is fine.  

That takes me to the title of the post, The Food Challenge.  What are we trying to achieve? An organised, prepared, useable stock of short term and long term food items which are adaptable, healthy and budget friendly.  Easy right?  I will do a separate post on supermarkets and why I believe you should have a menu plan, shopping list and shop efficiently to help you lower your outgoings.  Given everything we have in stock, there's absolutely no reason we should be maxing our grocery budget, or even coming close, for a month or two at least.  For the record, our budget it £300 a month, which is reduced from around £600 from when we first moved in 4 years ago. 

I didn't choose my words without giving this a fair bit of thought.  

Organised:  this is a task that can be fairly quickly achieved and is tangible.  Physically organising the freezer, fridge and pantry which are they key elements in this challenge, is something I can be getting on with.  It doesn't stop there though, once they are organised, how do they stay organised and how do we benefit from them being organised?  Keeping an inventory is key here.  That makes this task a little bit more time consuming and if you can get a helping hand to either write the list as you go through the items, or vice versa then that will save you a bit of time.  I'll set myself aside some time to do this and report back.
Prepared:  this is a reference to a few different things.  I need to be prepared (and organised) with regards to menu planning, writing shopping lists, doing the weekly shop etc.  Also it means preparing ahead, getting up on a morning and taking tea out of the freezer, batch cooking, taking time to prepare meals ahead.
Useable stock:  what is the point of having a tub of quinoia, pearl barley, blue food colouring and eastern spices if I am never going to use them?  Over the years I have been pulled in to advertising, expensive recipes, following the ideal and impulse buying.  Not any more.  Everything we have in stock needs to be useable.  That may mean I have to be inventive with recipes, avoid others, think differently and so on.  That's fine, bring it on.  I like the idea of having almost a capsule wardrobe pantry, does that make sense?
Short term and long term:  to me, there's a obvious need to have fresh and non fresh items.  Dried, frozen, pickled, preserved, whatever it may be.  What is the ideal amount and what benefits can we get from both?  Time will tell.
Adaptable:  Something that will not work for us as a family is restrictions.  We eat at 6:30 on an evening, after we have done the jobs outside and caught up with each other.  Sometimes though, something happens, chickens escape, the wind has blown down a fence, the greenhouse takes longer to water and then everything gets shunted along time wise.  Tea needs to go from a 45 minute Aga time to 15 minutes.  Instead of making lasagne with the ragu, I'm going to heat the ragu and throw it on top of some quick cook spaghetti or penne with a garlic bread.  See what I mean?  I may have some dump bags (idea adapted per The Batch Lady slow cooker) that I can use as a stir fry, or to add to longer cook rice or short cook noodles.  So for my family, adaptability is key.  
Healthy:  I guess this speaks for itself.  One thing that was important to us when we moved here was moving to a more healthy lifestyle, food and drink included, where I cook as much as possible from scratch.  That doesn't mean we won't eat fatty food or drink red wine, far from it!  It about a balance and as long as the scales tip in favour of the healthy, I'm happy with that.
Budget friendly:  2020 is about minimising our outgoings and I can not see that ever changing.  Why would you want to spend more than you needed to?  For us, it's to allow us to pay our mortgage off early, other people will have their reasons.  All to the same goal though. 

I told you I had given it some thought 😂.

So over the coming days and weeks I will add updates as to where I am in The Food Challenge journey.  I will share my inventories, subsequent menu plans and shopping lists, where I shop to get them and recipes for making the meals.  Please join us on this journey, we would love to hear how these things work for you guys and learn from how you do things too.  I'm planning on doing a YouTube video or two on this for anyone who is interested - I will let you know when it's ready.

In the mean time, I'm off to start the inventory lists, which will inevitably result in a cleaning session too!  I'll grab some pics of before and after.