Sunday 30 April 2023

It doesn’t pay to be loyal!

 BT have just lost us as customers, after 36 years. Our line rental currently stands at £220 a year and no doubt will rise shortly. Our monthly bill has just been put up to £66!!!

That is just for basic fibre broadband and pay as you go phone calls. Shocking. We will be penalised by BT as we will be pulling out mid contract but are willing to pay to be shot of them.

We wanted to go to Now broadband and tv but apparently they don’t do this area (even though their big sister does), go figure.

Anyway, we have gone with sky stream/broadband/pay as you go and will also keep our Freesat recording box to record UK tv and be able to skip ads on those.

Tuesday 25 April 2023

Crispy vegetable peelings

 I used one parsnip, two potatoes and 4 carrots for the base of a soup. The peelings were kept in cold water for a short while, until the soup was cooking.

Drained and thoroughly dried on an old tea towel, they had just 2 teaspoons of oil and seasoning added.

The air fryer was set to air fry and 15 minutes. I tossed and shook them every 2 minutes and after 10 minutes, they were ready:

The yield was half a cereal bowl. They were cripsy, tasty and gone within 5 minutes! Obviously they would go soft after a while but still be tasty and would make nice toppings for things if cooked just in time for serving a meal/soup or even a sandwich!

Saturday 22 April 2023

Rubble cakes

 These are meant to be rock cakes but Benecol in any bread like recipe, tends to be extremely short and results in things slightly falling apart. It is fine in cakes and crumbles but no good in pastry!

However, they taste lovely. I got the recipe from Kerry on her YouTube channel - budget baking uk - scroll to almost the end for the recipe:

They took 12 minutes in the Ninja Dual air fryer, on bake at 180C. Might turn it down to 170C next time and add one or two minutes.

Friday 21 April 2023

Stinky mess!

 Yesterday we awoke to that familiar stink of dog illness:( 

Two lots of diarrhoea and one vomit, in her crate and her rear end covered in it. So, 06:45 saw us hosing her down, double shampooing the worst of it. Boy it stinks! Then we had to tackle her bedding, hosing down then quickly into the washing machine, along with several towels, for a hot wash.

Left her in the front room whilst we dashed to make a cup of tea. Found she had vomited again over another bed plus rug and leaked out the other end.

Hosed her back end again, and twice more during the morning. The washing machine was on 4 times before the end of the morning.

Luckily we had good weather so got most of it line dried and she spent the morning out in the sun once she stopped shivering.

Rice, pumpkin and two tree bark powders throughout the day, gradually got on top of things and today, she is a lot happier if still a bit whiffy!

Cancelled a planned vaccination and rearranged that. Another day of natural medication and light food and hopefully we will be through this event.

Tuesday 18 April 2023

Expensive or what!

 We visited a garden centre yesterday. It was selling a pot of five raspberry plants for £10.95. Knowing a local nursery would be cheaper, we went there and paid £7.95. However, we also needed some tall but narrow growing shrubs for the bare fences in the back garden.

Blimey, established but not large ones were between £30 and £40! In the end we found some smaller shrubs, which we already have, and bought two more of those, at £11 each. Much better.

Looking at all my plants both front and back, we have lost a few. Presumably due to the cold and copious rain. I shall see if I can find any self set small ones to move, or others to divide. Annuals will have to do the rest.

On a cheaper note, DB is busy taking apart and reassembling trellis from the old kindling store into net tops for the two raised beds we created last year.

Unfortunately we are running out of the black paint we use and that is around £25 a pot:(

Sunday 16 April 2023

Our currently messy garden!

The greenhouse is almost done. Both earth/compost beds are installed and the gravel path. Once the overwet top soil (dug out from the good soil floor) has dried, it will be incorporated into the compost. Next winter, we shall find out if we have done enough to stop the ground water partially looding it. 

We still have to put one greenhouse staging inside, which will sit on top of the soil (on tiles), which will hopefully allow us to grow in pots on top and in the soil underneath:

View from one corner - just had a tea break:
DB busy filling up the two new kindling/donated wood storage units:
The covered raised vegetable bed (Number 5), was where the old kindling store was. Where the new units are, is where the raised bed previously resided, not getting enough sunlight despite having good general light.

We are getting there and it feels like all our muscles are getting good exercise.

Friday 14 April 2023

Greenhouse still not ready

 In between heavy rain and high winds, we are still trying to get it ready. The water table in the rear garden is quite high and the soil inside is currently very wet and heavy.

Taking 1/3rd of it at a time, to save our backs, it has been dug out to a spades depth. This wet soil has been put to one side ready for compost and leaf mould to be added. 3 bags of grit has been added to what was left and dug in. Both our backs were hurting so we stopped.

Two days later we decided to half empty a new bed from last year and transfer it’s soil to the greenhouse. So far so good but it could all be a waste of time it we keep having such heavy rain:(

Still the other third to do. The middle third will have gravel added as a path.

Tuesday 11 April 2023

What on Earth!

 Checked my spam folder this morning to find 198 previously published comments and replies in there. Went to publish them again and it said “already published”. They aren’t and I can’t do them again.

Dates are all from 2022, 2021 and 2020. How very odd. Ah, it has just let me do it, wonder if they will now be duplicated!

Tuesday 4 April 2023

Greenhouse update

Water butts have now been added around the back. We had planned to have them on the front so as not to create any shade but the greenhouse has a very slight lean towards the back and that is where the gutters drain better:

Will need to level up the front one. A small 'wee' hole has been drilled in the opposite side for when they get too full. Sealing of any unused pre-drilled screw holes has been done (rain forecast for Thursday so that will test for leaks). DB has just started sealing where the metal base joins the wood inside. Then he will do the same on the outside. We are trying to stop all leaks as where water can get in, so can the wind!

It looks like we may have a problem with the water table though, as we sit on about 18" of meadow loam with a partial clay base under that. There are always little puddles sitting on the gravel which do drain away. It may just be that the soil in the greenhouse is very damp due to being stood on and the very wet March.

We aim on raising up the soil level as high as possible. Grit, compost and leaf mould will be added to the soil. A job for outside on a tarp methinks where we can get stuck in without fear of damaging the inside of the greenhouse.

Summer will be fine but if next winter, the soil is still sodden, then we will have to remove it (can be added to our raised beds), infill the greenhouse and will have to grow in pots. Time will tell.

Monday 3 April 2023

Already thinking about next winter

Today is sunny after a good frost. The wind though, is its usual blustery cold self. It made me realise that winter isn't quite done with us yet and what I could do to prepare for next year. 

Who knows what that will be like from a monetary point of view. Certainly more expensive than this year. OPEC, as though they aren't rich enough, have decided to stop producing so much oil to raise the prices, yet again. We are still on our 2 year energy deal. It runs out in a few months:( 

The log burner wasn't used as much as we feared as intermittent use of the central heating worked well for us. We will still order our usual 1 cubic metre of logs.

I did however, use my crocheted blanket almost daily and have decided to make another one, larger than it, ready for later this year. These are the colours I have chosen:

2 squares done many more to go. I shall find a lighter colour to join them together as well as use it for a decent sized border.