Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Hello All and a Happy New Year
Well Christmas has come and gone. Much as I enjoy it I also like to return to normal (whatever that is!)
Christmas day was lovely, after a shaky start when the power went off at 8.15, an hour after I had put the very large turkey in the oven. I looked outside and there were no Christmas lights to be seen so I gathered it wasn't us, but a general power cut. You could almost hear all the households screaming Noooooooo! I decided to go outside and see to the hens and rabbits. On my return 20 minutes later the phone was ringing. it was my granddaughter ringing from her father's house, some fifteen miles away. "Is your power off"? she asked  "Blimey" I thought,"Tthis is a major outage". "Why yes", I replied (as it came back on) "Are you off too?" "No I saw it on ... (local friend) facebook post!" So all was back on and I spent a goodly while thinking about what I would have done if the power had been off for the morning. I do like a challenge, especially a self-sufficient, SHTF- type situation. Does anyone else do this?
So onto lunch, just 14 people this year, which made for a little more elbow-room at the table. In the early evening, as is usual, my sister and her sons arrived with their families to join us. A few weeks before, my younger daughter and myself had found some odds and sods of cine film taken by my dad many years ago, which we had converted to DVD. We surprised everyone with a film show. It was lovely to see my parents and grandmother and our children, now 47 and 50, as babies. (We were also quite surprised at how many shots of women's bottoms were taken by dad while on various beaches!) The younger generation, that is, my sister's and my grandchildren, were shocked to see people smoking in the house and naked children playing on the beach. How times have changed eh?!
And talking of change......
The left-overs are now all sorted, eaten or frozen and we face a new year with some big changes for our family. The first came just before Christmas when our granddaughter and her partner moved out of ours to their own home, they have been living with us for over two years so we do feel that we are rattling around the house at the mo. They have moved four miles away ( the house was even on Homes under the Hammer!) and we still provide doggy-daycare, so still see them often. A more radical change is my elder daughter moving to another county! This is not as far as it sounds as she is to move to south Yorkshire while we live to the north of Derbyshire, which abuts said county. She has gained a significant promotion and she and her husband and daughter (and pony) are to decamp in the new year (oh my goodness that is now!!) As if that change wasn't enough to rattle our cosy little world, my younger daughter has been asked to be part of a team setting up a utilities project, for four years in Jersey!
We are still getting our heads around all this. Now I know that many of you have family all over the world and that we are so lucky to have had our little family within 10 miles of us since we, ourselves, were born. But Crikey !!!!!
That being said, we are SO proud of our daughters for doing so well and our granddaughter for buying her own home aged 23 years.
2018 is going to be very different for us isn't it?

I think I will leave it at that for now and post again soon. While I don't make new year's resolutions I AM determined to blog more in 2018.
Love Gillx
PS Has anyone read the biography by Caroline Fraser about laura Ingalls (Little House on the Prairie)?

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Happy Christmas

Hello All
Yes, I am still dipping my toe into blogland, I've just been extremely busy here in deepest Derbyshire.
I'm dropping by to wish you all a Very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.
After Christmas, which is going to be a busy one, I will get back to blogging again and reading all my favourite blogs.
David has his last Santa duties this teatime, before he hangs up his suit for another year. I think we will need to take on less next year!

Have a wonderful time
Gillx

Monday, 13 November 2017

Of the garden and the kitchen


Hello All
A special hello to Clarissa, who thinks I'm being tardy with my posts (I am)
Firstly a garden update (for Clarissa).
As I clear the gardens I am tipping horse manure onto the the cleared area for the chickens to sort. Son-in-law took the trailer and filled twenty bags to the top as he poo picked his daughter's ponies field (yes she has to pick up too!) The bags are so heavy they are impossible to lift so we have to take out half of the brown gold with a spade before we can shift the things.
The tomato plants are finally finished by a light frost. There were still plenty of tomatoes on the plants, many of which I have managed to save. I have made some passatas for the freezer and we are having tomatoes with whatever we can . I have put a bowlful of ripe ones in the fridge to keep longer but this certainly affects the taste, so I need to remember to get them out to warm up.
In the garden ready at the moment we have brussels, black and curly kale, celeriac, beetroot, corn salad and chard. To eat, in the greenhouse, there are several mixed lettuce plants (split up from a living lettuce tray) parsley and the last chillis. As small plants to produce next year we have spring cabbage, purple sprouting, sensyu onions, leeks and garlic. I shall be starting some broad bean seed off in the next couple of weeks. At the weekend Adam podded all the ripe bean seed pods and got several pounds of seed, some for planting next year and some for eating through the winter. After Adam had de-husked the cobnuts a couple of weeks ago my son-in-law and EGD's partner have doggedly cracked them until they are now all ready for eating/preserving.  This morning EGD and I have included chopped cobnuts into our oat biscuits and our cookies and very nice they are too. The remainder are in chinese food containers in the freezer, in a jar in the fridge for immediate use and the rest in jars of honey to pour over yoghurt, cereal etc. Cob nuts keep just about forever stored in honey I have found.
 So that's about it for the garden, methinks.
So to the kitchen -
I've already mentioned the passata, cookies, biscuits and preservation of cobnuts and dried beans, which is kitchen related I suppose. Yesterday we processed the fruit for the marmalade we are making today. This will be used for Christmas presents but also for the house as we are fond of marmalade, both on toast and in cakes (and a very nice steamed pud) As I write this it is simmering away nicely, with the jars in the oven to warm and bread rising from the borrowed heat. If I was really clever the marmalade will be ready and jars out of the oven in time for the bead to go in, but I bet it doesn't work that way! As we had roast chicken for tea yesterday the ubiquitous chicken soup is also bubbling away. I wish I liked it, but I don't. Fortunately David and the shared lives guys love it and will undoubtedly have a bowl or two for their lunch one day this week. The leek and potato soup that I have made today is much more to my liking. I wish I could say that they are my own leeks but they are not and I will have to wait a while longer for those, if they make it at all. So that's about it for the kitchen today, apart from the sausage and bacon casserole that I have made for our evening meal, which we will have with some homegrown potatoes and kale.
We now have semi-permanent signs out for eggs, honey and kindling. As the chickens have decided to go on strike I could done under trade descriptions, but I won't take them down again as they took some getting ready and erecting. I don't suppose it will be long before they oblige again, especially as they are now out of the orchard and roaming all the gardens and the paddock.
I don't know if I have told you about the kindling (skip this paragraph if I have) As you know, we often take delivery of a van full of pallets. These David turns into fencing, beehives, gates etc etc Pallets don't always break up easily and there are mountains of bits of wood to be seen to. These David turns into kindling. He cuts them to a certain length which he passes to Don (shared lives) who chops these lengths into sticks. Colin (shared lives) who loves things to be tidy, then puts the sticks into bags.  Colin then tidies up all the sawdust/shavings etc which he bags for the chickens and rabbits. This team work produces more sticks than we could ever use and so we decided to see if they would sell, the money going to the tea fund. So inside the kitchen next to the honey jar and the egg jar and the garden produce jar is the "stick jar"! The guys really love this activity, in fact would do it every hour they are here. They sit at their respective stations in the workshop, field kitchen lit, kettle on, Radio Derby playing, like a gang of elvin shoemakers!
I reckon that's enough for now. I'm about to jar this marmalade and then fetch David in to sit down. He was very poorly last week, with an infection in his leg. Today is his first day outside and he is overdoing it, so I'll go and nag him to come and put his feet up.
My last post, which was it's usual random rubbish, had double the usual views. I have no idea why, as it wasn't even the Russian spike I sometimes  get (don't we all?!) There is no understanding the wonderful world of blog is there?
Back soon
Gillx

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Up to date and a discussion item for you.

Hello All
Firstly, welcome to 99to1percent, Elaine Baron, Hannah Williams and Jen on Bloglovin.
Thank you for your comments about my Dixie tribute. For some reason I am not receiving any notifications that there have been any comments. I am trying to find out why.
 I am also having difficulty following people as "frugal in derbyshire". Whenever I try to follow someone it comes up with my personal details/identity instead, which for family reasons I don't want. As there have been some really interesting blogs I would like to follow I am finding this frustrating.

Well, as ever, I have been quite some time between blogs. it seems that whenever I am busy doing lots of (to me) quite interesting things I don't have the time to blog about them!!
 In brief...
 * We have been extremely busy in the garden, planting the overwintering veg and with produce still coming in thick and fast. This needing processing and preserving...freezing and drying, pickling and made into jam and jelly, juice, cider and wine.
Here is Adam (shared lives) de-husking the cobnuts
 And the state of the"Snug" while we are taking advantage of the gas fire being on. (Honey is easier to manage when kept warm)

 * We have been to Cornwall for our last fishing trip of the year.

  *  The bees have taken up much of our time too. Though a little late, we have taken the honey off six of our ten hives.We have left four to what they have as the hives weren't too strong. From the six hives we have spun, strained, and jarred 246 pound of honey! Our best ever honey harvest. Today I am processing the wax, which I will sell as little ounce bricks while reserving some for balm and polish.

  *  I am also supporting my youngest daughter, who lives on her own, who is moving house on the 29th of this month. At around this time her daughter (EGD), who is currently living with us, will be also be moving to the house she has bought with her partner. When they moved in with us two years ago, I took half of what I would have asked for, for board on the understanding that they banked the rest towards a deposit. This they have done and with this amount added to by careful their saving they are on now on the housing ladder!! My eldest daughter now tells us that there is a possibility that she too will be moving house. Come on girls, give me a break, even more tip runs, curtain altering, packing etc!!

 * September and October is quite a busy time for our Civic Society, so I have been/am pretty busy assembling newsletters, exhibitions etc and preparing for/holding meetings.

 *  Last weekend was my eldest daughters 50th Birthday!! How did that happen? I was a child bride you know.

   I think that brings us up to date-ish.

   Last week I watched " Homes under the Hammer". One buyer was asked why he had bought this particular house. The buyer replied that he had bought it for his son. "Will he be helping you?" he was asked."Oh No" the man replied "He doesn't like work"
  As they say .....  DISCUSS  .....          (You know what I think!)
  Back Soon
  Gillxx
PS Did I say this post was going to be brief?!


Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Tribute to Dixie

Hello All
After a goodly gap I am back to the blog.
This one is picture heavy as it is my Dixie tribute!
If you read my last post you will know that we lost Dixie last month. Here are a few pictures of her from my blog. I have had to select a few as there were many!

Here she is on one of her favourite places ..my laptop.

 And here she is with my youngest daughter's rescue dog Sammie
 Another favourite spot is on any current sewing projects. Here she is with my eldest granddaughter , testing a quilt that she is making.
 Dixie was definitely the queen of the smallholding. She kept the dogs and the sheep in their place. In this pic I just missed the moment that her paw connected with that cute lamb nose.
 Not one to be camera shy, whenever I set up a piece for the blog (in this case some of the books I received for Christmas) she would often get in shot and refuse to move.
 Here she is looking cute on something we actually WANTED her to sleep on.
 Not too good a pic, but around that black hen are several tiny chicks. This pic demonstrates that while she was a good ratter and rabbiter and often bought moor hens through the cat flap (feet first - with wings outstretched on the other side of the door) she never touched the hens or chicks.
 Dixie  testing another quilt in progress
 Dixie demonstrating she can be kind to sheep too (so long as they behave)
 Dixie doing what she did best. being cute and kind and lovable.
 Rest in peace sweetheart. 
We miss you
Back soon
Gillx

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Losing our dear cat.

Hi All
I'm sitting in my friends conservatory in Cornwall (while David is fishing ) feeling a little low, so thought I would talk to you, my virtual friends.
While here, my daughter is looking after the old homestead. Our dear cat, Dixie, has been unwell and "under the vet" for a couple of weeks now. Last night YD rang to say that Dixie had taken a turn for the worse and that maybe the time had come (we had already discussed this between us and the vet) As she was talking to me Dixie fitted in her arms and then drifted away. I'm so sorry that we were not there for Dixie and for YD.
Dixie was about 10years, we are not exactly sure of her age as she was a rescue, but she was a young cat when she came to us. She had a great character and was a fearsome rabbiter and we are going to miss her dreadfully.
As I am away I can do little more that post these few words, but when I get home I will gather the photos of Dixie that I have posted over the years to put up as a sort of tribute

Tearfully
Gillx

Friday, 8 September 2017

Safe after Irma

Thanks for the helpful comments re.. the judging. I have all my "props" to hand now and ready for the morrow.
The fishing gear is mostly packed tho' it is possible we won't set off tomorrow as the weather doesn't look too good for fishing as winds are forecast for Sunday, Monday and possibly Tuesday, so we won't be rushing off.
In truth this all seems a little petty after today when my youngest  daughter and I have been tracking Hurricane Irma every few minutes because her daughter  (the young quilter Weave) is hunkered down in an hotel on the north coast of Cuba!!!!
 The worst seems to have passed now, so she is safe thank goodness, but as yet they haven't been allowed out of the inner, windowless hall that everyone was ordered to stay in until the hurricane had passed. She tells us, by text, that they must stay in a little longer yet  (they have been there since lunchtime) and that they are told that the lobby is destroyed and at least some of the roof has gone, with water is running through the hotel.
What an awful time they are having in that part of the world. Three current hurricanes (and an earthquake today in Mexico) We are so lucky living where we do and yet no one complains about or discusses the weather as much as us Brits!
All for now, keep safe our American friends
Gillx