Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Goodbye social media

It has been on my mind for a while now.  Every time I log in to Facebook I see images that I don't want to see.  Images shared by people believing that sharing a picture a thousand times, of a poor animal being beaten, will actually stop that action happening again.  As my friend said, I am so over it! 

I will miss following friends who I don't see in person (Hello Scotland, Bedford and Australia), but I have other ways of communicating with them. 

I think that the plans we have for the next year will keep me busy enough!

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

2 weeks, 3 days to go!

Is anyone counting down with me?  We are all super excited here and have got over the lull of feeling like there is aggggges to go and now are starting to think practically as we are down to 17 sleeps.  For example, I have sorted the home insurance and the best deal we could get for what we need (which includes £5000 cover on outbuildings) is with Admiral.  The first payment has been made and the direct debit set up.  I have been in touch with the council re the extortionate council tax - let us see what we get for our money! Also I've found out which oil we need for the oil tank which supplies the Aga and the boiler. 

The TV, electricity, water and phone line/broadband etc will all be done on moving in.  When I looked in to the phone and broadband, they set you up within a day or two.  Also we won't be paying for any TV packages at the farm but will pop an aerial on and get Freeview with our current TVs.

We are wondering what to do re heating the water as the boiler heats a huge water tank which is a lot bigger than a standard tank tat we have been used to in the past.  The showers are electric and the washing machine heats the water as it goes.  Therefore the only water we foresee needing is to wash the pots and wash our hands which makes me think it is a complete waste of resources to heat a whole tank just or those reasons.

Aside from this I am planning for Christmas 2016.  The cards from this year will be recycled to make tags for next years presents.  This will work two fold in that I will use them to create my list of people to send our cards to.  I'd like to do home made cards for family so will give some thought to the design of those. 

This whole process is a lifestyle change for us.  We know it won't all happen on day one, or even day two, but by day three we should have it sorted ;)  and with that thought, I'm off to drink my merlot and do some more dreaming and planning.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

3 weeks, 3 days to go!

I'm almost finished work for Christmas and I'm working today from home, so even better.  It will be a long day but at least that's it after that.  So I have more time to update the blog and think about the smallholding.

Yesterday I made a spicy butternut squash soup.  It has a kick to it and may be even too much of a kick so next time I will reduce the chilli's slightly.  It is very nice though.  Recipe/method for my future reference:

Golden butternut squash soup with a kick
Dice an onion and sweat in olive oil with a small amount of garlic paste (I don't have any fresh garlic here) and 1 flat (mine was heaped) teaspoon of cheat's chilli flakes.
After 5/10 mins, add a chopped up butternut squash with 2 chopped up sweet potatoes (mine were small, 1 large would do).
Cover with stock (I used veg, chicken may work to, I'll try next time), bring to the boil then simmer until tender, approximately 30 mins depending on size of the veg.
Cool slightly then blend thoroughly. 
It will be a lovely golden colour with flecks of red chilli and is perfect when you have a cold and need help blowing your nose!

I saved the seeds of the butternut squash so I am going to google what I need to do, if anything, before sowing them (whenever that may be!).

I also made a casserole which was onion, beef, tomato puree, gravy (not stock), carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and peas all in together, added according to their cooking time.  I served it with home made Yorkshire puddings.  It's the first time I've made them in this temporary house and I was impressed with them if I do say so myself.  The whole meal was very warming and enjoyed by all the family.  It felt cosy and comforting which is just what we need, despite this unusual mild weather!

It was the shortest day yesterday, so here's to lighter days ad the countdown to Spring....well, just moving will do!



Monday, 21 December 2015

Supermarket thoughts

During this time of not actually having a home to call our own, it's got me thinking about where to shop once we move.  Of course the whole point about moving is so we can start to live a more thoughtful, self sufficient and healthier lifestyle.  It will take us a while to get that established and in the mean time I will be reliant on the shops as per the majority of the population.

I've shopped at Aldi almost exclusively for the last 5+ years and I love it.  I don't love it in the sense that I rave about it, but I love it in the sense that I know where I stand.  It had the basic foods every week that we use and doesn't flash 20 of the same food in my face to make me choose.  I can be in and out in 20 minutes with a weekly shop in toe.  However I've often wondered if I would like to try Tesco and co, but on those few occasions that I have ventured in there, it's left me feeling stressed and skint!  2 's' that I don't like putting together.

However yesterday I nipped in to Sainsbury's to pick some flowers up for my Mum on my way to hers as it was her birthday and I took the opportunity to be very naughty and pick something easy up for tea.  The shop was well laid out and didn't leave me feeling seriously stressed. 

Weighing everything up, I will continue to shop at Aldi but every couple of months I might have a wander around Sainsbury's if I have the time.

The shopping budget per month on the farmhouse (starting end Jan) will be £300 per month, regardless of how many weeks.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Counting down to D-Day!

We have 3 weeks and 5 days left before we get to move in to our dream home.  We are literally counting down the sleeps!  The temporary accommodation that we're staying in (my Uncle's empty house) is working out okay, but it's trying.  There's very little space, but we have hot water and cooking utensils with a roof over our head so I shouldn't complain too much.

We are almost done with the Christmas shopping which includes a treat to myself of seeds.  My Dad has kindly offered to start some off for me, specifically the onions.  I bought a couple of different varieties:  Onion 'Kappa', Onion 'Bunton's Showstopper' and Onion 'Rossa di Toscana' - Vita Sementi which are a red variety.  He has planted a few of the today and we will stagger more over the next few months.

I have bought DH an incubator for Christmas :D and we can't wait to use it.  Ideally I would buy fertilised eggs to start asap but we couldn't keep them warm on moving day, so really we should wait until we're in.