Sunday, 19 March 2017

Need or Want?

Hello People, it has been a wonderful sunny autumn day here, not too hot and a gentle breeze in fact the word would be balmy.  Autumn is definitely here as the trees are starting to change colour.

Autumn is coming!
I also had a wonderful week with visits or phone calls with dear friends, some who hadn’t been in touch for a while.  Also, I had good news of a windfall coming my way.  This leads to the title of this post.  You all know I want a mobility scooter, this windfall means I can get one within a few weeks or even sooner.  The question is do I get a new one or a second hand one?  There is enough for a new one, I want a new scooter but do I need a new scooter?  It is a difficult question; if I get a second hand one I will have money for other items. 

So pondering this I wrote down all the things I might be able to get and thought about whether it was a want or a need.  Result: new glasses – want as I still can read fine print, just the distant is blurry or double, lol.  So they will be a need eventually; new computer – want purely, there is nothing wrong with the one I got even if it is windows 8, lol; sewing machine, is purely a want, I don’t really need it. Freezer is a want and sort of a need, but I think I will be better off getting a new fridge freezer with a bigger freezing compartment than what I have at the moment.  That is not really urgent as there is not much freezing to be done in winter now that I am vegetarian.  You get the picture. Oh there is one thing that is a need but I don’t want is a hearing aid!  Ha ha!  Still doesn’t help me decide whether to get a new scooter though, the advantages of a new one is that they can go faster and further than the older models and they have a 2 year warrantee.  That is appealing, more thought is needed.

All this has led me to think about how even if we are living a simple life the mores of our consumer society can rear its ugly head.  This was unexpected money and my first thought was how to spend it!! Shame on me! Lol.  But then again I am thinking you can’t take it with you when you depart this mortal coil!  I have enough already, although I know people think I am tight!  For example when my TV broke down at Christmas, I decided to go without.  People are so shocked when you say you haven’t TV, I was going to throw my TV out whenever I could get some strong guys to do it as it is one of those old heavy monsters.  I am beginning to think I will leave it and let people draw their own conclusions, ha ha.

I have noticed that now that I am consciously trying to live a simple life that I am automatically asking myself when faced with a purchasing decision, "Do I really need this? If I don't NEED it, why do I want it? Are my reasons for wanting it valid, or am I just letting myself get caught up in some mass-culture buybuybuy frenzy?"

There are so few things we actually NEED. Food, shelter, basic clothing, that's about it. Taking care of true NEEDS isn't generally a huge problem, at least not for many of us. It's the things we WANT but don't NEED that are tricky. Sorting out the worthwhile wants - the ones that will truly enhance our lives and bring us joy - from the wants that are just quickly forgotten and create clutter.
Do you struggle with deciding how worthy a want is?

Thanks for visiting
 and I hope you all have a wonderful week.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Sunday Ramblings

Hello all, it is a rainy Sunday here, I am itching to get into the garden  but it is sodden after 2 days of rain and the forecast has it raining till Thursday!  The cats are disgusted and are sitting on the door step waiting for it to clear, a long wait!  At least it is warm and I can keep the door open.

Looking on the bright side I won’t have to water it for a few days!

I haven’t been in the mood for crochet, but have picked up a long term project, some patchwork, long term, because it is being done by hand!  I am not sure what it will be yet, I just enjoy the activity.

There was a break in the rain at lunchtime for all of half an hour, Ambrose (the black cat) decided to wander off and got caught in the next downpour, it was so funny he tore inside when it eased off and mewed at me so plaintively, I had to pick him up in a towel and dry him he was soaked to the skin, poor boy, I sometimes thinks he gets wet purposely so he can be wrapped in a towel and get cuddled
It has been one of days where the kitchen is the nicest place to be. 

I have been freezing up punnets of lightly stewed tomatoes, zucchini and peppers ready for winter stews.  I have visitors coming next Tuesday and decided to do some baking for the occasion.  I made 2 slices, Eltham slice (a traditional kiwi bake), and a variation of it. Eltham slice usually has coconut and currants and spice and a coconut icing topping, but for the second one, instead of currants I used chocolate buttons and left the topping off. I will put the proper recipe up in the recipe page (see buttons under the header.)

When I use the oven, I like to fill it up to save on power. So I decided use to some rhubarb I had picked between showers. I was going to make crumble for my dessert.  But I suddenly remembered a cake I had seen on someone’s blog that had spoonful’s of rhubarb and custard in the mix.  I searched for it but just could not remember where I had seen it as I hadn’t bookmarked it.  Then I had a brainwave why not make it as a pie!

I was going to give the rhubarb a blast in the oven but suddenly thought why not the microwave, so I sprinkled sugar on the chopped up rhubarb covered with cling film (used no water) and cooked for 8 minutes at 50 per cent power.  It was a lot quicker than the oven

Next, I made some custard up, but you could use ready made, it needs to be fairly thick.

Then, I made some short crust pastry but quite short so that I could reserve some for the crumble topping.  I baked the pastry blind so it would have a soggy bottom.

Then I put spoonfuls of rhubarb and custard in the crust, I wanted there to be distinct patches of custard and rhubarb. 

 Then I scrunched up the reserved pastry added 2 spoons of brown sugar and I half tsp. ginger to the crumble.  Then I baked it in oven till the crumble was brown, I also used up the rest of the custard and rhubarb and crumble mix in little dishes. (I will probably share these with some elderly souls in our street)

I will write the recipe up properly during the week and put it on my recipe page.  I imagine you could use any stewed fruit.  I tell you it was delicious with a spoonful of plain yoghurt.  

My poor diet has gone for a burton, sigh!  But at least I only had the stewed tomato, zucchini and peppers on toast as my main course.  (Who am I kidding, ha ha) and probably will only have a cup of soup for supper.  

While I am off the diet wagon, I might as well have a proper afternoon tea treat. (Well, I have to try the new variation of Eltham Slice before giving it to guests!)  Also a chance to use one of the tea sets I got from the Hospice Op shop a couple of weeks ago.

I think I have rambled on enough, so I will go and devour my tea and cake.  Hope you all have a lovely Sunday whenever it arrives for you, and yay I do believe the sun is coming out, well trying to!  I am hoping the weather forecasters have got it wrong again!

A bit later, it was delicious and the sun didn't come it it raining again, oh well, at least we are not having the flooding that the Auckland region is.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

The Story of a Fig Tree - a parable

A while back, my sister bought me a small potted fig tree; it was her last gift to me before she moved to Australia.  It stayed in that pot for a couple of years and never did much, but still looked healthy.  I decided it probably was root bound so I planted it, in the front garden.  It still didn’t do much and I realised that the spot was probably too dry, but I had no free sunny moist spots, so it stayed.  It just existed, no fruit despite me chucking lot of water at it.   It came with me when I moved here, and I planted it against the shed a really damp spot.  It started grow and produce some fruit, not much only about a dozen a year. Early last year I had to have the shed replaced as it was full of rot.  The builders were going to build the new shed on the concrete base of the old shed.  They asked me if I would mind if they chopped it down as it made the job more difficult, to strengthen their argument they showed me the stem which had a scar of some previous damage.  I agreed and they dug it out.  That was that I thought, but no….

See, nearly high as the shed!

Last September I noticed some fig leaves amongst the mint that I had planted there.  Obviously, some roots had been left in the ground.  Since then I have watched it grow and now in the space of 6 months it is twice the size of what it was after 6 years!  It has heaps of figs on it for me to enjoy early winter! 
I can’t help but think that is a lesson to us.   The above story almost mirrors my life.  I had wonderful role models with my mother and grandmothers and even my dad.  In their different ways my grandmothers epitomised thrift.

My maternal grandmother, was a career woman, but loved vegetable gardening.  Her whole back garden was given over to fruit trees, green house and chicken run, (my grandfather reluctantly was allowed a shed for him to fiddle about in) till the day she had a stroke and had to go into care at the age of 85.  As kids we had to play in the front garden, no room out the back.  I loved to help her weed and be allowed to pick peas etc. for dinner.

My paternal grandmother was a farmer’s wife, but they had retired and moved into town by the time I came along.  She took in a couple of boarders usually young country girls starting their first job. Granddad’s job was the garden and hers was the house.  She was heavily involved with the Women’s Institute, and took part in all their home economic competitions and demonstrations.  She was always cooking, sewing, knitting etc.  I used to love to help her cook.

My mother on her wedding day with both my grandmothers.

My parents were not well off, and we always had vegetable gardens fruit trees and hens to supplement the table.  As kids we had to help, with the garden and housework.  My father was keen on preserves and I loved to help with them, he used to sell the surplus at the local corner store.  I saw my Mum making our clothes and mending, nothing was thrown out.  Although I remember her trying to throw out one of Dad’s jumpers that was very holey, but he would always retrieve it saying it still had wear in it.  Our holidays were at our aunties or grandparents.  Family holidays were a tent near a river or beach and we lived off the fish Dad caught, nothing better than having shellfish or fish cooked on an open fire.

So that was me in the pot!  As a young married I carried on the tradition of thrift, as I was still at university and my husband was just starting out.  I bottled fruit and made my clothes; I think I even made Garth a bomber jacket!  However, the rot set in when I got my degree and we moved to Britain, after touring Europe in a camper van for 6 months we knuckled own and got on with our careers.  We both worked long hours and even longer as we climbed up the ladder.  Food, became ready made, not rubbish, as Garth was type 1 diabetic, so food had to be healthy.  We ate out a lot at restaurants with friends, as dinner parties took up too much time to prepare.  We had holidays in South of France in the summer and Austria, Switzerland and Germany in the winter.  We weren’t totally spendthrift, we still managed to save and invest our money, but only because we weren’t materialistic, we had a modest home and I was not into having the latest furniture and mod cons.  We were your typical 2 income, no children family.  Looking back, I think as a person I existed, I wasn’t unhappy; I was just coasting along following the life Garth wanted.  When I returned to New Zealand, I was a bit happier as now I had family around but something was still missing.

Since I retired 15 months ago, I have found myself again   I have time to garden, do home crafts and to stop and smell the roses.  I feel that this is the time for me.  I am flourishing like that fig tree.  The roots were there for me to take up all my new activities with ease, so thank you family for giving me the start you did.

If the roots are strong, even if troubles and wrong directions are taken, there comes a time that a turn can be made and a transition into a better way can be made easily. 

My heart cries out to the many youngsters these days that haven’t had the basics taught them.  I have friends who bemoan the fact that their children have no idea of how to manage their time and money, or even have the desire to work!  I am afraid I am naughty and usually ask them did they do everything for their said daughter or son, and when they admit they did wait on them I say, there you go! 

The saddest thing happened last week.  I decided to off load some of surplus plums onto the bus driver, Hannah, but she declined saying someone had given her a big bag, so she called out to the other passengers if anybody wanted them, there were several young Mums that screwed up their faces and said no.  One did however say yes and asked what she could do with them.  I said stew them, she looked blank and then said in a little voice how do you do that? Several of the older people rolled their eyes, but, I carefully told her how and she wrote it down on the back of her hand.  When I got off the bus, Jill a friend who had been sitting at the back, said to me, several of the other young Mums were asking the girl who said yes, to pass on the instructions.  I saw the same girl on Tuesday, she said she had stewed them, but put too much sugar in, but would know better next time and then she asked if she could do the same for apples?  I said yes and suggested to her that her Mum could help her to learn more about cooking, her reply was, “Nah, Mum doesn’t cook!”  I suggested Utube , but she said she can’t afford the internet nor a fancy cell phone.  I suggested that library has free internet access on their computers, you know what she said, “Okay, I will do that I haven’t been in a library since I left school.”  Again how sad is that!  These youngsters need the basics not the fancy cooking programs we see on TV.  It makes cooking look too hard and expensive for them.

Wow!  I have gone on haven’t I!  I was also going to post about my budget and menu plans but will leave that for the end of the week!

A tipto make things a bit easier for when it is too wet to sloash down to the veg patch or you don’t have enough space for a full grown garden, plant a bucket or tub with a mix of lettuces and herbs near the back door, really handy for nipping out and picking a few leaves before serving.  This tub has several types of lettuce, coriander, Italian parsley, sage and rocket.

Saturday, 4 March 2017


On Thursday I decided to do an inventory of by tinned and bottled cupboard, it was jammed packed or so I thought, but by the time I had replaced everything in an orderly manner there was suddenly some space!  On my inventory I had starred items that needed to be purchased.  That lead to on to thinking how many should I have etc. Do I have enough supplies for 3 months, 6 months or even a year?

Then should it be frozen, tinned, home preserved.  I decided to go online and look into a pressure canner, well, that is a no-no at the moment, they don’t exist in NZ.  I found two that would ship to NZ, a presto one that is quite basic about $80 US but wait, shipping was $143, what?  Guess they don’t want to ship here! On principle I will not buy something where the shipping is more than the cost of the product. Other companies didn’t ship outside US.  Top of line an All American Pressure Canner, in total would have cost over $1000!!!!   So I guess I will put that idea on the shelf for the moment.

So it looks like freezing. I have only a fridge freezer and the freezing compartment is quite small.  So maybe buy a small standalone freezer?  I costed them online and I can get a decent one for about $250, maybe even cheaper from the local shops, and there is second hand, a friend who was visiting yesterday said she got one second hand for $95 from the second hand mart in town.  So I will do a tour of the shops next week with my tape measure in hand as the space I have for it is limited.

There is another question I have been pondering for quite a while, whether to go back to being a vegetarian?  I was a vegetarian for about 15 years when I was living in the UK, it started with the mad cow debacle and the listeria scare in chickens they had in the 80”s.  When I returned to NZ, meat gradually started to appear in my diet, NZ is a meat and two veg country, and vegetarian products are slim pickings, that is starting to change especially in the last year or so, I think in line with the sudden rise in cost of meat products.

I have noticed that whenever I have meat, I have real bad indigestion.  Since I have following my menu plan which has only 3 days of non-meat meals, it has become very noticeable.  The days I did not have meat, no indigestion!  This has set me thinking.  I need to test this theory properly.  So I have decided to do the next fortnight menu as vegetarian, if my indigestion stays away, I will go back to a vegetarian life style.  Not totally, I don’t think I can give up bacon or fish and I have noticed that chicken breast is okay.  So maybe I will become a 6 day a week vegetarian and have meat on the seventh day (I have to use up that meat I already have, lol! Anyways for the next fortnight it will be totally vegetarian; also it will be a lot cheaper.  I just suddenly realised that if I become vegetarian the pressure canner is not such an issue.

Over the last week I have been preserving plums, making plum jam and today I will make some plum sauce and I think that will be an end to the plums, I will have a few weeks rest until the apples and blackberries are ready to deal with.

Early morning in my garden

This morning I took these photos. The above is the view from my front door as I let the cats out.  The grass is nice and green because of all the rain we had early in the week.

Around the back where the sun hits with a vengeance I have geraniums growing as they can stand the drought.

The apples are coming along nicely, this one is Fuji my favourite eating apple, and also it keeps so well. 

A bit further along I have let some leeks go to seed and I love their shapes, like something out of science fiction.   

I have let one of my globe artichokes flower and it is interesting to see the process.  They are very stately.

Right back in a far corner I have comfrey growing and have made two lots of liquid fertilizer for the garden.  It pongs, but it so good as it gives the plants all the trace elements as their roots go down a long way.

Finally, a sunshiny smile for those in the Northern hemisphere, the Mexican sunflowers are flowering always a sign that summer will start to wind down.

So now I am off to make my plum sauce and start to plan a vegetarian menu for the next fortnight, I can change my meal tonight which was to be a chicken risotto to a zucchini and pepper risotto, my protein for today can be the scrambled egg on toast for supper and the chocolate mousse for desert at lunch.  Monday’s meal was to be meatless anyway.

That’s it for today,
have a lovely Sunday and great week.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Bag Lady

Hello, my Name is Sharon and I am a bagaholic , hangs head, and grins. 

 I love bags big time!  I love making them.  I am always searching the op shops for handles, as I believe that the handles make or break the bag.  This week I manage to snag 3 wooden handles from the hospice op shop in town for $2.  Two, I could use straight away to finish bags that have been waiting a while for their handles.  I was so excited to have finally matched up the bags and handles so got to and finished them last night.

The one above is a just a crochet rectangle with lace frill and crochet flowers.  I just needed to extend the top and fold over and slip stitch together. And I was done in 45 minutes.

This bag is one of my favourite methods.  I buy the out of date curtain and furnishing samples in bundles of 20 or so for a mere $2. 

Then I use lace and old doilies to decorate.  (I can’t bear to use the doilies I make!)  For this one I had crochet a flower in the matching red and cotton, and added a pearl 

button on both sides. Actually, I didn’t finish this till this afternoon!  So, two more bags to give as gifts, or for the church fair, or keep for myself.  In the first picture of this bag you will see that I have a cup of tea, well that is one of the cups from my haul yesterday.  

While I was at the counter buying my handles, someone delivered a box of bits and pieces, the ladies had a quick look through and sighed, one of them said, “more china!”  My ears pricked up for my obsession with china runs a close second with bags. 
“Can I have a look?” I asked hopefully, as I glimpsed some choice pieces.  
"Okay," well, I was in heaven the box had some of my favourite china some crochet cottons and pretty embroidered runners and small table cloths plus some very old magazines from the 1950’s.

I was drooling.  “When will this go out”, I asked

“If you take the whole box you can take it away with you”, said one of the ladies, whom happens to be the manager.

 “Really, there are some good pieces in there!.” I said reluctantly. 

“No, you can have the box for $20 as you are a very good customer!” 

“Are you sure?  There are a couple of cup and saucer sets that you usually sell for $15 to $20!”

“We have so much china at the moment it is a joke and those crochet cottons nobody uses anymore.”

“I do

“Well if any more come in we put them aside for you” the lady offered.  

And would you believe it she phoned me this lunchtime and said that there was a large bag of crochet cottons delivered this morning.

Despite the Royal Albert china and early (1900’s) Meakin china, my favourite piece was this cup, it is Japanese and has a wonderful mother of pearl finish, no saucer, I don’t know whether there is meant to be one.  All in all there were 4 Royal Albert sets, 5 Meakin plates, the Japanese cup and some rather nice plates and bowls.  I feel very blessed.  Needless to say I emptied all my change out into their donation box, the least I could do! The magazines are a real trip down memory lane and I will blog about them at a later stage.

Food budget.

I only needed two items for the coming week – pate and some yogurt that was on sale cheaper than I could make it, plus some milk that I will get later this week to see me through the fortnight.  So I was able to buy some items for my store.  They were all specials and came to $27.25 and that leaves $2.85, milk is $1.99.  First fortnight worked yay!

I am sticking to the menu plan okay, except I am tending to have my main meal at night as it is too hot to eat at midday.

My heat pump was installed this afternoon and I have had it on cool, bliss! That is one reason why my post is late as I couldn’t concentrate on writing it with the workmen drilling and banging!!   And on this note, I will end this post as I need to have a lie down!

So thanks for visiting and have a great day/night wherever you are!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Being Flexible

Being keen as anything to get going on my challenge of cutting food costs, I made a menu plan and a shopping list, hah, that all went out the window when I got to the supermarket.  Normally, I would have used a brochure they stick through the letterbox in the weekend.  Somehow it didn’t arrive and I assumed that the usual specials would apply how wrong I was!

First of all I intended to buy lamb as that has been on special for ages, no it was up to $34 a leg!  No way! I cast my eye along the chiller, oh pork! Yippee!  A good price too.  Such a good price that I am seriously thinking of going to town after my physio on Friday, and get some more joints, as also (I discover that I can see the specials online) the legs joints are even a better bargain! 

There were quite a few bargains that weren’t on my shopping list such as avocados at 89 cents each; Jarrah coffee reduced down to $4.00, normally it is about $7, and potatoes they have been about $2.99 a kilo, I got a 2.5 kg (5 lb) bag for $4.00.  Maggi cup of sups for $1.99, (quite often I will just have a cup of soup and a piece of toast for supper.  Quite a quick and cheap meal, (there are 4 in a pack.) Tasty Cheese $10.00 instead of $12.00'

I quickly realised as I was going around the shop that my menu plan was not valid anymore and also that my actual needs for the next fortnight were only about ¼ my budget.  So I am able to replenish my stock as well.  Well mostly!  I did plan to make a quiche on Friday as I have a friend coming for lunch and she is vegetarian.  I would have used up the butter I have for the pastry, However I could not believe my eyes it was over $5.00 a 500gm block. (Normally you can get it $3.50, what happened?  So, I will make impossible quiche instead and save my butter!  I went on line and the other supermarket in town has it for $4.50, STILL!?!!

Here is my budget and menu plan, I promise, promise you I will not bore you with it every fortnight, I just wanted to list it to show that even when food is dear in your area, if you have a well-stocked store you can be thrifty. As a matter of interest Winz (state benefit people) calculate that when giving out a food grant to its clients, $100 for a single person a week is sufficient!  PLEASE I AM NOT SAYING IT IS TOO MUCH, THESE PEOPLE ARE VERY NEEDY and NEED HELP WHEN UNEXPECTED BILLS COME IN, THEIR BENEFITS DON'T MAKE ALLOWANCE FOR THE UNEXPECTED. (I have been there!) I am only giving this as a benchmark. Also I wanted to show that you can eat really well on my budget.  Yes there is an initial outlay to build up your store, but that can be done gradually during the weeks you have a surplus.

Fortnightly needs:

Pork 2 kg (4 lb) - $14.22
Chicken  1.3 kg (2 ¾ lb.)- $9
½ Cauliflower - $2.70
Eggplant - $2.49
Sour cream 250 gm (8 oz.) - $3.00
500 gm carrots - $2.22
500 gm Onions - $1.47

Total $35.10

Store cupboard

Potatoes $2.50 kg $4.00
Tin diced tomatoes - 80 cents
UHT milk 1 litre - $2.00
4 packets Maggi soup of soups - $8.00
1 Watties Tortellini Sachets 350 gm - 3.00 (stand by treat)
Jarrah Vienna latte coffee - $4.00 (treat)
Bread (el cheapo) -- $1.00 (I like to have a loaf in the freezer in case I don’t get round to making a loaf!)
Tasty cheddar 700 gm - $10.00, will cut it up into 4 pieces and freeze.

Total $32.80

This leaves $32.10 of my fortnightly budget of $100 (US $70) for perishables and replenishment of stores.

Menu plan

Tuesday Roast chicken, potatoes, kumara, carrots and peas, strawberries
Wednesday –Cold Chicken, potato salad, lettuce salad, fresh peach
Thursday – Broccoli and feta fritters, garden salad and fresh peach
Friday – Impossible Quiche, garden salad and fruit salad with yogurt
Saturday – Chicken Pilaf, lettuce salad, yogurt and berries
Sunday - Roast Pork and the trimmings, Bread and Butter Pudding
Monday - Black Bean`Quesadillas, Fruit salad
Tuesday – Cold pork, broccoli, carrots and Jacket Potato, rest of Bread and Butter Pudding
Wednesday – Chicken curry and rice, yogurt.
Thursday – Stuffed zucchini (mince beef), rice, carrot salad, preserved apricots
Friday – Sweet and Sour pork, noodles and stir fry vegetables, apple
Saturday – Broccoli/cauliflower soufflĂ© and garden salad, apricot crumble
Sunday – Chicken risotto, using last of chicken and stock made from the carcass, chocolate mousse  
Monday – remains of risotto made into a patty with a pocket of feta cheese, chocolate mousse
Breakfast is usually toast and vegemite or jam, or a cereal, such as cornflakes or weetbix, milk and preserved fruit.
Supper will be the cereal if toast is had in the morning or a cup of soup and salad sandwich. I will make ratatouille to have some days as a change.

Today’s main meal I had this evening as it was too hot to eat at midday!  I still haven’t eaten the peach, but will have it later perhaps.  I have planned for desserts but quite often I will miss them. They are there if I want them.
With this plan I have not used all my pork, I will have at least 6 meals lfor the freezer. And I probably will have some vegetables left.  There were only 3 meals that made heavy use of what was in store. 

The key to this is being flexible, go for the bargains and then plan your meals.  Take enough time when you are going around the shop to think what if I have that what else would I need.  This shop was done in only one supermarket; no doubt I could have pared it down even more if I shopped around more.  But we are in the middle of a heat wave and no way was I going to traipse down the other end of town!  I will check it out on Friday.

One bit of good news, the company that is fitting my heat pump in is doing it next Tuesday so if the heat wave is still here I will have air conditioning. Yay!

Crochet news – I have been working on a shawl from some wool I unraveled from an op shop jersey. I am using two strands and it is coming on well.  However I would love someone to tell me how to stop unraveled wool looking like spaghetti junction!

I fell in love with shawls last winter and I do have another one on the hooks, but have put it aside as it is too hot to handle wool comfortably, so, I have been making some doilies.

They are quick and fun to make.  This is made with no 10 cotton and a 1.75 mm hook.  I got the pattern from Ravelry, I must put a link to my project pages on the side bar.  I am not sure if you can see it if you don’t have an account with them, but for those of you that do, you can access the pattern links.

In the Garden

It is too hot to be in the garden much, but I have had to clear the bed against back of the house, so they can put in the unit for the heat pump.  I will start again as the plants are overgrown and rather shaggy.  The Geraniums had got taller than me!  So, a good excuse putting in a new plan for that area.
Tonight I will take some time out to read with a herbal tea, I am reading David Baldacci’s Zero Day, I love his books.  After I have posted this I will strip the chicken carcass and freeze the meat and boil the carcass to make stock. 

Life cannot get any better than this!

Thanks for visiting and have a lovely day/night.

PS I want to thank Jane over at Hope and Thrift for inspiring me to take the plunge.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

You are never too old to learn!

I have been taught some lessons this week.  The first one is how we can say something without really thinking about the meaning and how it affects the listener or reader.  For example, I know Jane over at Hope and Thrift was a bit miffed when various comments called her ‘lucky”, I don’t think I called her lucky but I think I implied it, and I should know better.  So, apologies, Jane.

I think when we use the word lucky today, envy is involved, it’s the grass is greener over the hill syndrome.  I think that there is a bit of laziness involved, people see something they would like but don’t want to put in hard yards.  The true meaning of luck implies unmerited fortune.  Living a simple life actually is hard work, hours gardening, canning, and sourcing bargains and so on.  It is enjoyable and very satisfying, but like everything in life you have to work at it.  So, from now on I am going to be mindful of what I say, that’s lesson no 1.

Lesson no 2 is thinking outside the box.  I have been preparing my garden for the autumn and winter crops, lots of weeding and digging, it’s been a struggle, but I doggedly soldiered on.  Yesterday morning the ground was too wet to do any work (it been raining here 3 days), so I decided to do a bit of blog hopping.  I found some wonderful new sites and will add them to my sidebar soon.  On one blog they mentioned ‘no dig’ vegetable gardening and my fingers quickly clicked on the link to a marvellous video of a trial of traditional and no dig vegetable growing.  I struggled with the gentleman’s accent but got the gist very well.  Excited I googled ‘no dig’ gardening and then went on forest gardening and permaculture.  A wonderful morning spent learning.  I have decided to give ‘no dig’ a trial; I have 6 vegetable beds and will prepare 3 of them the ‘no dig’ way in preparation for next spring. Hedging my bets, ha ha!
Here is a link to some of Charles Dowding videos 

Lesson no 3. Always keep on challenging yourself.  I suppose all of us can get set in our ways, and don’t see that a change can beneficial to our goals in life.  I have been thinking over the last month or so that a mobility scooter would make my life a lot easier.  I don’t want the cost of running a car, as I don’t think the costs would outweigh the advantages.  But I want some independence, at the moment I rely on the kindness of friends and a limited bus service.  The friends I know are only too happy to help but I am conscious that it is awkward for them sometimes, the bus service is free and stops near my house but the times are not necessarily convenient.  Having a scooter would mean that I could shop around the stores for the necessities of life, I could visit friends or go to events without them having to pick me up and I would be free to leave at my convenience and not theirs. 

Anyways, the problem was I didn’t want to dig into my savings as they are earmarked for other things.  I have already started saving towards one but it was going to be a long road because they are about $4000 new or $2000 second hand.  Last night I went der….! I have been reading Jane’s challenge of living on $20 a week for 3 people.  I don’t want or need to so strict, but I could cut my food budget right down, my food larder and freezer are overflowing, I can barter with neighbours for the extras.  I worked out that $50 a week would enable me to live healthfully even if plainly.  It might mean more time preparing meals, but hey I am home all day.  I will also be able to save on electricity costs as I am having a heat pump installed, and also won’t have to spend so much on firewood.  I reckon that I will be able afford the scooter before next spring. Or, even sooner if I can find what I want second hand, which is ok as I wouldn’t want to use it much in winter.

I have decided to chart my progress once a week for this challenge on my blog as I hope it will keep me on the straight and narrow.  So here comes 6 months of tightening my belt, maybe figuratively and well as metaphorically, ha-ha.

Thanks for visiting an d see you next time,