Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Worth the wait...

Well, we're halfway through the summer holidays now and have been busy bees, hardly having time to blog at all.

We've finally got around to doing 2 things that have been on my list since Mr J moved down to Bath....
First we visited the Roman Baths ( local residents can actually get in for free with a discovery card).
We spent the morning wandering around like tourists, but surprisingly took few photos, as we knew we could come back again whenever we felt like it!!

The other was to visit a local wood and find the Waterfall. I'd never visited Greyfield Wood before, we are lucky enough to have so many wonderful woods to walk around here, but friend had told me of the waterfall so we were intrigued.

The map gave no indication of a waterfall at all so we set off to explore.....

It was definitely worth the wait!!! We climbed the rocks to the top of the waterfall and ate our picnic.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

A new blog!!!!!!

An idea hit me the other day to start a new blog, recording our changes towards the simple life! Please pop over to read it and let me know what you think!!!

I'll be posting the self sufficiency and simple living stuff there from now on and keep this one for other stuff, or maybe do both!!! ... bear with me till i decide!!

Thursday, 12 March 2009

The Peasedown Pigeons

The flock has finally landed!! Last summer I took the children to a mosaic workshop (by nesa) at the village day and we made pigeons!!!

Over 30 people did the same and the results have now been displayed around the village, on various buildings, the centrepiece being on the co-operative. One of ours is on the bakers, another on the school. They are being released by a miner, celebrating Peasedown's position and history at the centre of the former Somerset coalfield and the long association between miners and racing pigeons.

We are so lucky to have stong community art projects in this area.

More details below





What happens where you live? What is your towns history?

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Vegetable plantings ......

...... or I spy with my little eye something beginning with P!!!!
(Cold frame made from recycled wood by my lovely boyfriend )

It must be getting warmer because the Peas are up and I've been busy planting seeds!!!!!

Update from 22.02.09
Peas: Feltham First
Planted last November these are growing nicely in the coldframe! Harvest should be ready for harvest at the start of May - August. More can be own now (Mar - May) for a longer harvest.

Garlic: Supermarket
November I planted cloves from a supermarket bulb, these are now 6 inch high shoots! The recent frosts / snow should be great for splitting the bulb into cloves.

Potatoes: Supermarket
The spuds I planted last year were dug up by the kids (searching for worms!) so I planted more today.

Lettuce: Unwins Organic Cut & Come Again :
Planted indoors in two drills will be ready for harvest May - Oct. Can be planted outside April - July. I'll be re planting every 3 weeks to ensure a continuous crop.

Carrots: Early Nantes 2
Planted 6" in the coldframe, these are old seeds so not sure if they'll germinate?

Summer Cabbage: Primo
The seeds I planted last year inside (wrong time!!) are looking long and leggy but green, I think I might scrap those and put them in a stir-fry and start again. I can sow more inside this month or outside in April. Harvest Jul - Aug.

Runner beans: nursery buy from last year
Sown inside, in recycled loo rolls! We'll plant these

Onions: nursery buy from last year
The sets are growing nicely in the trough, putting up shoots, twigs in the mud seem to be keeping cats / birds off!!


I've decided we need some flowers in the garden as well!

French Marigolds: Marionette Mixed
Companion planting to keep the pests off the veggies!

12 seeds planted in the propogator on the living room windowsill. Several have sprouted within the week!!

Nasturtiums: Maharajah mixed
Edible beauties to cheer up our salads!

Planted in propogator. None sprouted yet!

Loads more seeds in the basket to plant but not ready yet!!!!

Saturday, 7 February 2009

How to make rice milk and oat milk

Ok, so we have enough milk to keep us going a few more days, but maybe you haven't? What are you going to do, the shop shelves are empty.
How about you make your own? I've found recipes now for rice milk (delicious in red bush tea) and oat milk.....

Rice Milk

1/4 cup brown rice
4 cups boiling water

Put into a saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1hr. Allow to cool and blend till smooth. Strain through muslin.

It looks less milky than milk but tastes just as good, with a nice light rice taste! I reused the strained rice adding sugar and heating to make a (gruel like) rice pudding!!!

Oat Milk

3 Cups Very Hot Water
1 Cup Rolled Oats
2 Tsp Sweet White or Barley Miso

Combine all ingredients in a container with a lid, being sure that miso is dissolved. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, blend until smooth in a blender or food processor. Keeps for one week. Always shake before serving.

The miso is there for added B12 and fermentation, but I dont have any in so I'll be trialling it without for now???

Does anyone else have any tips for 'making do' with store cupboard stuff?

Friday, 6 February 2009

What do when you are snowed in - and everyone else is panicking

or rather how I've been coping!

Its been snowing here for a week now and it seems as if the country has ground to a halt! We hardly ever get snow here, a mild dusting if we are lucky, never enough for a snowball let alone a snowman or sledging, yet we have had 5 inches on the ground for the last week.
Before the snow, we dropped our car at the mechanics for repairs, bad move! Unable to walk very far in the best of weather I have been almost housebound for 7 days ! Even if we had a car we couldn't get far - the councils in the south west are running out of grit to treat the roads.
The start of this week was traditionally when I would have done my fortnightly shop, so Yesterday I finally ventured out, (we needed eggs and sugar), the snow was beautiful as we walked into the village..... if you see the two footprints with the small round hole next to them, littered with smowballs that me!! trainers with breadbags inside to stop my feet getting wet (my wellies give me blisters!) and a walking stick to steady me whilst the kids and PJ attacked me with snowballs!!
The village was transformed it was full of families walking together (school has only been open 1 day this week) but when we got to the shop the shelves were alarmingly empty - no milk at all! We popped across to the butcher for free range eggs and local cheese then headed home, thankful that I had supplies at home of the staples that were quickly disappearing from the Cooperative!

Steps to take to be prepared:-
Keep a stockpile of essentials to keep you going
MILK - we always buy cartons of UHT milk anyway, and always ensure we have a weeks worth in. A supply of dried powdered milk is our backup for longer periods.
BREAD - we have frozen loaves at home but also enough supplies to make our own for a few weeks
WATER - We have bottled water, but are looking at ways we can harvest rainwater for drinking etc.
FOOD - we have frozen meals and ingredients at hand to last and a good supply of tinned goods and dried food to keep us going for a good while. Thinking about whats plentiful / in short supply can help us emergency meal plan. Luxeries are put on hold or rationed out.
FUEL - (essential as I can't walk far) we keep our car tanks topped up with diesel so strikes and shortages shouldn't bother us for a while. We minimise car useage.
ELECTRIC - We have candles for power cuts and for the future we are looking at solar panels and storage.

This isn't by anymeans a complete list just a reminder for me more than anything. A good post on stockpiling can be found here and here The website food lifeboat gives great daily dietry recommendations .

Rhonda over at down to earth has loads of posts on this whole topic here

Monday, 2 February 2009

Celebrating simple traditions - Candlemas Day

Looking out at the frosts today and predicted snow its hard to think that Winter will soon be over yet in pre-Christian times, Feb 2 was a day of celebration known as the "Festival of Lights." Coming midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, it heralded the coming of spring.

Candles were lit to symbolize the return of the sun and lengthening days after the long months of winter darkness. Called Imbolc in Celtic cultures, this day marked the beginning of lambing season, and according to folkloric tradition, the initial stirrings of seeds in the earth.

The holiday is a festival of the hearth and home, and a celebration of the lengthening days and the early signs of spring. Rituals often involve hearthfires, special foods, divination or simply watching for omens (whether performed in all seriousness or as children's games), a great deal of candles, and perhaps an outdoor bonfire if the weather permits.

So tonight we will fill the house with candles and celebrate Candlemas!!!