Wednesday 30 April 2014

I really must... UPDATED

Engage brain, eyes and hands when picking things off shelves!

We went to town to buy some sewing thread and to get some Organic bug control spray. I stood and read the labels on the bottles, picked up the one I wanted, came home and went to use it:(

I had picked up the wrong one. Not content with that, I had picked up one of the worst non-organic sprays I could - see this link here to an article written by the British Bee Keeping Association or this one here written by The Soil Association. Both links list the main companies responsible for selling the stuff, plus a letter you can download and send off should you so desire.

The spray I inadvertently picked up is dangerous to bees, fish and other aquatic things, and is not recommended in the vicinity of household pets or children. Yes it might well kill everything (and more) than I wanted but if used, I have to wait days to eat what I have sprayed, if indeed I would want to eat them.


Well I am sorry, despite the cost of petrol, it will be returned when we next go shopping. We have visiting grand-dogs, two lots of bees nesting in logs, lots of aquatic life, Gold Finches and Coal Tits nesting, plus a myriad of wanted wildlife. We are totally organic and whilst I might go around squashing and standing on nasties, if I have to resort to sprays, I use organic even though they are not as good as non-organic.

Here are some links to making your own organic sprays if you so desire:
Green LivingOrganic GardeningHope Gardens, and finally Tipnut

Hopefully, you should be able to find something there to use.

Tuesday 29 April 2014

Water Butts

So much for up to 28 days delivery. DB went out to the garage to put the car away and found the water butts had been delivered. That was 5 days from ordering! We had been in the back rooms most of the day, didn't hear the doorbell or a lorry arrive so have no idea what time they came.

Although slightly smaller than our others, out the front they seem huge and very intrusive. DB is not at all sure he wants them there but we shall have at least one out front as that was why I wanted them, to save my back just a little.

We had planned in putting them just outside one of the conservatory windows but they are too tall and blocking light for my plants. We shall try them next to the front window next and see whether or not they block our view!

I'll take a picture of where they end up once they are in situ:)

Sunday 27 April 2014

Saving your blog posts

Firstly, welcome to my new follower from here, Paid in Chickens and to Mary Lowe via Bloglovin.

Regardless of why you write a blog, but especially if it is as a memoir, all of your blog posts can disappear. There may be no rhyme or reason for them to do so, but you could be hacked and deleted or the data could get corrupted. All those hours, special moments, help, advice, gone in an instant.
How would you feel?

Well I, for one, would be devastated. There is a way to prevent such an occurrence happening, this tutorial shows you how to save every post you have written and keep it safe.

Part II - Backing up all your blog posts

Log into your blog, get to your dashboard then follow these instructions:

I hope you can find the time and inclination to do this, as I think of my blog as memoirs and would hate to lose the memory of the last 3 years of my life!

Having re-read that last bit it does sound a little odd. Firstly, it does save ALL your posts, but may/may not do so as just 1 file. Some months when I export my blog, it arrives as one file, other months it might be 2. I don't really know why, unless something happens during transfer. You don't need to divide anything up, just export it and rename what arrives. As long as you remember to leave the .xml on the end, you will be fine. I download once a month, into a new folder. When I am sure everything has downloaded safely, I delete the previous downloads.


Friday 25 April 2014


I forget just how ingenious DB can be!

The key for our car has been playing up more and more. A few years ago, it was the electronic receiver (of the key) inside the car that needed its battery changing. They charged us an absolute fortune for changing it.

DB had previously taken the key apart and cleaned the circuitry. For a while, it worked really well. Now it was playing up so much, that we were having to take the spare key with us when we went out.

The other day, he took it apart again. Circuitry still clean. Closer investigation revealed that where 3 little black mounds were sited, they were no longer high enough to touch their corresponding dimples (I know, I'm so technical aren't I) to complete the connection. He knew he couldn't easily raised the mounds up, so he looked at dropping the dimples down.

Utilizing an old and thin bit of cardboard plus a single hole puncher, he punched out 3 holes:
Placed the little circles into the hollows (dimples) in the top of the key:
You can see here, where they fit and press down onto the mounds that sit on the circuitry:
There you have it, one fixed and fully working key which has probably saved us more than £100:)
Welcome to my new follower, Lucy Wisbey via Bloglovin.

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Saving water...

Firstly, Happy St. George's Day!

Also, welcome to Primroses Attic and from Bloglovin - Nikki.

I read recently, that the average sized roof, in a year of average rainfall, allows 85,000 litres of good rainwater to flow down the gutters and into the drains.

These last few weeks in East Anglia have, on the whole, been very dry, but changing this week! Being on a water meter, (which has saved us on average £400 a year), we have to watch our use of tap water in the garden.

Last year, and especially in that short but very hot Summer, we invested in a small pond pump to take the bath water out of the window and into containers for our flowering plants. It was barely enough so more needed to be done.

Before the rain overnight, I had already used our black dustbin of water and started on one of the 3 water butts behind the garage. Only aesthetic reasons have stopped us having slimline butt/s down our narrow driveway, or water butts in the front garden. No more!

This week we bit the bullet and ordered some on-line, as we were having no luck at all wherever we went, to find any that were usable despite their price stickers on the shelves! On average, a 220 litre butt was anywhere from £35 to £40, then there was the stand (we have run out of bricks/slabs), plus the down-pipe diverter kit and connecting kit. Not a cheap option initially, but in the long run, it saves lots of water from being drawn on our meter.

We remembered a special offer the other year from Anglian water, linking to this company here
and ordered what we needed. It would seem the more you buy, the cheaper they get, so again, not necessarily cheap in the first instance. More importantly than cost in my eyes though is health, it will save my back from lugging cans of water from round the back of the garage, through the back garden, down a path, through a gate, into the front garden, over and over again. When these are in situ, I shall only have a carry them for a few feet.

I have no idea if your own water company does this. If not, I can't imagine that only Anglian water customers can order from here, we didn't have to give any proof that we were with them although our delivery address probably gives it away!

I'll let you know when they arrive and show you where we have put them. About 28 days delivery.

Monday 21 April 2014

3 part guide to making a back-up of your entire blog!

Part I - Backing Up Your Template (what your blog looks like)

People write blog's for all kinds of reasons and there can be nothing more heartbreaking than to try and open your blog and find it has disappeared!

I am trying to get into the habit of downloading my blog template, blog posts and photographs, once a month. That way, should anything happen, I will hopefully have a copy to upload or at least keep as memoirs. This is not difficult to do but it does take time.  

To begin:

Login into your account. When I log in, my dashboard opens but you may have to get to yours. Find and open up your dashboard, then follow these instructions. Sorry for the slightly fuzzy appearance but this is a tidied up screen shot and helps save room in my Picasa album!

I have a folder on the desktop of my computer called "Blog Backup" where I store all these downloads. When I save next month, I make sure they are put into this folder, before I delete the old ones!

Sunday 20 April 2014

Easter Sunday!

Happy Easter!

A normal day for us, knitting, sewing, cooking, gardening, washing, ironing etc. All household jobs have been done for today. I have managed to get most things planted in the garden that needed doing. A line of washing is blowing in the stiff but not too cold wind.

The strawberry trough table has been re-jigged again and now all the strawberries receive sun and rain in equal quantities. There are some small flower buds forming as well:
The first Blueberry is in full bloom, the second will come into flower a few weeks later and the gooseberries have flowered and are beginning to swell their fruit-lets:

I even have 4 flowers opened and pollinated on the Blackberry! The first small rows of crimson flowered Broad beans have come through. Some were too close together and have been transplanted further apart. With the sharp shower of rain we had this morning, they seem to have survived.

I shall begin sowing beans this week and plan on sowing just 4 climbing varieties,  3 French - Cobra, Major Cook's Lucky Dip and Blue Coco and 1 Runner bean - Desiree. There is after all, just the two of us.

We have 11 tomato plants just transplanted, still very small, 3 varieties - Tigerella, Bambino and Orange Bourgain:
The picture above, at the front, also has 2 tomatillo's and one Cucamelon in the tray.

As last year, some of the tomatoes and all the beans will be grown down near the garage, but will be switched around, to practice crop rotation (even if it is only bi-annually)!

Friday 18 April 2014

Good Friday Baking

Being Good Friday, I would normally have already made our Hot Cross (less) Buns, but yesterday was such a messed about day, that nothing got done that needed doing.

This morning, I have made 8 (eaten one on the photo below) Spiced Chocolate and Orange ones,
following a new recipe, which can be found here
They are very nice but the bottom of them caught on my new tray so I shall have to remember to double line it in future.

Also, I have made a half sized portion of a recipe for a Classic White Loaf, (normally makes 2)
which can be found on The Iowa Housewife blog, recipe here

Today has dawned bright but breezy and that breeze is cold. Shan't be going anywhere near the seaside! Don't really fancy a stiff breeze at a temperature of 6C - it will feel far colder than that. No, better to stay at home, bake, get on with yesterday jobs, stay out of the traffic madness and just enjoy ourselves.

Thursday 17 April 2014

Official Opening and Travel Trouble!

This morning, we were invited over to E's house to view her brand new kitchen, then celebrate with hot cross buns and coffee. We stayed for a couple of hours then went to town.

Most of the roads were not too bad going in but having dragged ourselves from one place to another, looking for water butts, bases and other things, we gave up due to other people obviously having thought of the same thing!

We have decided to put one or two water butts in the front garden. Not only will it save using the tap (we are now on a water meter), it saves numerous journeys to the back garden, where our current water butts live.

We got thoroughly stuck on one road to come home (Easter traffic already building up), changed direction and got stuck again, (mega accident, at least 3 fire engines going there), then changed direction once more.

Although moving slowly, we eventually made it home, some 2.5 hours after leaving E's (for our quick trip into town).

We have now sat down to a good cup of tea and a chunk of chocolate!

Gardening can wait until after Easter, and the transplanting I had thought to do today can wait until tomorrow.

Hope you all have a good break, spend some good time with friends and family if you are doing so. If not and you are on your own, same as us, have a good rest. It is due to rain Sunday and Monday so I think indoor jobs will be called upon, plus lots of rest!

Tuesday 15 April 2014

How to un-follow a blog!

Most of us follow many blog's, but how do you get rid of a blog that either you no longer wish to read, the writer of that blog has stopped writing, moved the blog, or is in the process of creating a new one.

I like to housekeep my blog and my computer, to help them run more smoothly and quickly. When Google Reader was still operating, removing a blog was easy and straight forward. Today, I decided to remove some blog's that are no longer active, only to face more than an hours search to find how to do it. It used to be so easy!

Firstly, go to your dashboard, in the section that says Reading List, right click on the gear wheel on the far right of that particular section (not the one at the very top of the page). By right clicking you should then choose "Open in a new tab" which will help you work two screens at once.

It will bring up a new screen "Manage Blog's I'm Following". Go down to the blog you wish to remove, click on the dustbin symbol on the right (it might take a few seconds for the blog to disappear):

Close the tab once you have clicked on any blogs you no longer wish to follow or who are no longer blogging.

To check everything has worked, go back to your dashboard, click on the gear wheel that started the whole process. Hopefully, all the blog's you have deleted should no longer be there.

All you need do now, is to go to layout, make sure you remove them from there, if they are still showing, and you are done.

I hope this has been of use to you.

Monday 14 April 2014

Sun, wind, gardening, enjoying...

Yesterday and today, we have sun, wind, blue skies and cloudy ones, all scudding about, constantly chopping and changing.

On Saturday, we went to a nearby nursery to buy some more perennials. Three-quarters of them can and will be divided (into 2 or 3 plants), most going into the front gravel garden, the rest into the back. We like to look at more than vegetables whilst out there!

The red pear tree and one of the apple trees, on the front arch in the back garden, are in full flower at the moment. At last, they have met up in the middle and their blossom is intertwining nicely:
Blue skies returned about an hour after this photograph was taken.

The old raised herb bed, was replanted with alpines last year. Due to the early warm weather, quite a few are in flower, coming into or finishing:
The first lot of broad beans, carrots and beetroot, sown about a fortnight ago, are just beginning to poke their heads above soil level. There is a strong possibility of frost tonight, so fleece will be laid on top of the net covers.

Right oh, that is it for today, just about to hang out a final batch of washing, that will be it for this week then.I have started my next cushion cover, more about that later on.

Saturday 12 April 2014

Finished - my quilted pillowcase!

Looking on the reverse side of my pillowcase, I wasn't happy to leave all though ends loose. It really only needed the reverse part putting on to finish it off, but I decided to add a sheet of material and outline quilt all the seams.

It might be a bit excessive work, but it will look better and be stronger for it I think. Unlike a quilt that might have batting and a back piece of material, and may only be washed occasionally, if ever, this would need to be washed and ironed. Ironing it would be a nightmare as the seams would take a lot of ironing.

It took quite a bit of time to do but in my opinion looks better. DB commented on how much more substantial it feels.

Here is a close up of the final stitching:
Finally, here it is finished and fitted onto the pillow on the couch!
All in all, a good job I think for my first attempt. Now all I have to do is cut out 7" squares, rather than these 6" ones, and hope the new covers fit!

Have a lovely weekend folks.

Friday 11 April 2014

Books by Rhonda Hetzel

If any of you are interested in buying a paperback copy of Rhonda's latest book "The Simple Life", is available for £5.91, or a hard cover version of her first book "Down to Earth" is available for £25.99,

on a British site, to buy as a hard copy (rather than kindle etc). Postage is FREE but if you use PayPal, there is an 11p charge. The link to the page is here

I have just ordered mine. It comes from New Zealand and they are giving me an estimated delivery date of between 23rd April to the 9th May - hopefully! As it has just been re-printed, I hope to receive one soon. Will let you know.

Rhonda has just commented that she feels these prices are a little high and that her publisher, Penguin, is trying to sort out a price for world wide sales.

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Next stage of quilting...

Having found that for some unfathomable reason, my square of quilting was too small, I adapted it to fit the pillow I use for my back on the settee.

Another disappearing nine patch was created but instead of sewing the 4 squares back together, I only used 2 and added them to the original square to form an oblong.
Still a little bit too short on all sides. Next I added a small border, making sure I cut the strips and joined them back together to make it resemble quilting.
This is where I made my second mistake. The last side was sewn on the wrong way so its seam was showing on the front. Ah well, only 2 mistakes so far, not too bad!

Then I made a short flap to edge the front part of the pillowcase.

Monday 7 April 2014

My first square!

First of all, well done to the lads in the Davis Cup. Yes, you might not have made it through to the semi-finals but you did break a very old record to get to the quarter-finals. You both seemed very tired yesterday and playing on clay is not easy, especially when playing opponents you grew up with it. Had this round been in our country, methinks the outcome would have been very different!

I have at last, made my first square of quilting - only the top part mind you, as I hope to use it as a cushion cover.

Here are the nine 6" squares, joined together in 3 strips with their seams neatly pressed flat:
Then the 3 strips sewn together:
This square was then cut in half in both directions:
Before been turned to a pattern I liked and sewn together and there you have it, my first disappearing nine patch!
Now all I need to do, is make a plain back, sew them together and put the cushion inside!

Oops! Just double checked it against the cushion pad and I seem to be short by a few inches. I promise you, I did measure several times but there you go. I could add extra strips all around the outside to make a border. That would make it fit but I have decided to do another one of these, use half of it to attach to this square, thereby forming an oblong.

I use a memory foam pillow for my back when sitting on the couch, so forming an oblong would mean I could make a new pillowcase for it! That way, it would blend in with all the other cushion covers, when I get them made:)

Saturday 5 April 2014

Update and a picture of...

Welcome to felicitytaylor3, Su Willett  and Creweville.

War Diary Year IV has been updated for the month of April, scroll down to find it. I hope you enjoy the read.

Herewith a picture of young Master L, taken about 2 weeks after we last saw him:

Have a lovely weekend folks.

Friday 4 April 2014

Making liquid nettle feed - UPDATED

Today was N day. After hearing my lovely FDiL mentions she was going to make some nettle feed, that I would have a go. I normally make comfrey feed, but it is a little early at the moment for that.

Anyhow, armed with secateurs, thick gloves and a small tub, off I went around my immediate neighbourhood to find some nettles. Our local gardener had been around 'the cut' and trimmed most things short but luckily, the nettles were springing back up with a smile on their faces!

A few minutes later I was back in my garden, chopping roughly the leaves and stems into an old tub. There seems to be slightly differing ways of making it but here is what I did.

Chopped and bruised nettles rammed solid into a tub. Top up with water (I used some out of the water butt but you can use tap water).
As mentioned above, you can use anything that is water-tight.
Put some weights on the top.
Then most importantly, a lid. DB kindly stencilled an N on the lid to let me know it was nettles!
Leave for 4 weeks. This stuff stinks.

I must admit, I get so embarrassed using it in the garden, if my neighbours comment I tend to nod and remark "they must be spraying the fields again"

Anyhow, once it has steeped for as long as you want, I tend to strain it through a sieve (prepare to baulk), put the leaves on my compost heap and pour the 'tea' into an old plastic milk bottle. This is then labelled with not only the name of the liquid but how much to dilute it by to use.

As I am steeping it in water, I tend to dilute it 1:10 (1 part nettle to 10 parts water). Nettle liquid feed is very high in nitrogen, so is excellent for plants and vegetables which you harvest for their green leafy growth. Brassica's, lettuce, kale etc. There is some debate about it not being the correct thing to use on vegetables that you harvest 'fruit' from such as tomatoes, cucumbers etc, which need a higher potassium feed.

For that, I make comfrey liquid. Sometimes I mix them together in the same watering/spray container. More about that when I make some.

Sorry, I forgot to say, only pick nettles from the more shady area's, as those in the sunnier patches are used by butterflies and moths to lay their eggs on!

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Not a lot happening here...

These last few days, have seen me taking my time, weeding both the front and back garden. Neither are particularly infested with anything but this is their first tidy up of the year. In the front though, where our boundary joins the non-gardening neighbour, we have to pull up dozens of Grape Hyacinth every year. Not only do they spread by creeping bulblets, but presumably seeds as well.

Don't get me wrong, I love them, they are beautiful to look at and smell, but they are invasive.

This month, we are trying to eat from our freezer. It will be difficult to not use some meat and make more meals but we shall endeavour to not do so. Come next pay day, our meals will change slightly from the wholesome and filling winter things, to the more quickly produced warmer weather things. We don't tend to have so much in our freezer then.

Herewith our freezer list: