Thursday, February 26, 2015

Another Week Almost Over....

With delight, as I look through the small window in front of me, I see a clump of snowdrops in bloom. These have cheered me up.  Even my gout seems less painful today. 

Have to say that Kathryn's prospective new life keeps my little grey cells working.  Her mention of sustainable energy (to keep the freezers running) has reminded me of the smallholding (very DIY) where Dick Strawbridge and family made a life.  He made a small water wheel to provide energy (elextricity?) by damming up a small stream so that it ran over the wheel before continuing on its way.  So that's another thought - buy property that has running water through it (stream, beck....).

There are of course solar panels, and wind turbines, and I see no reason why an exercise bike could not be used to generate a small amount of (storable) power.  Take it in turns to fast peddle the bike and gain free power and good health at the same time.

Do remember (was it in the 70's?) when there was an excellent book on self-sufficiency, sadly have forgotten the author).  He covered all aspects, and I learned a lot from it.  Also read three little paper-backs about living in a small cottage (was it in Wales?),  think the first was called 'Hovel in the Hills', the second (I think) was 'Garden in the Hills', and the third was a cookbook - probably got the names wrong, but again it gave loads of suggestions (that worked) on how to turn an almost derelict cottage and overgrown land (including bad weather) into something very productive.

Now then's a thought.  Would Dolly be more useful for you as a working horse/cob, or as an 'eventer'?  Or could she be both? 

Pigs and sheep definitely, and don't forget chickens. If you were close enough to a main road, you could have a children's section where they could pay to see the baby animals (plus a few others such as guinea pigs and rabbits (the cage litter absolutely wonderful for digging in the soil - and you can eat rabbit),  Ever thought about goats?  Goat milk, goat's cheese.....!   Myself would LOVE to have a Jersey cow, they have such pretty faces, big eyes and long lashes..  They don't give as much milk as a Friesian, but then if for a family you won't need that much, and you would have enough left to make your own cream, butter, yogurt, cheese (hard and soft....) plus clotted cream (all of which I have made myself but from Channel Island milk delivered by the milkman). 

Thanks Cathy, for that link to 'contact-the-elderly'.  As to what I would serve Jane, I'd (already) thought of assorted sandwiches (with the crusts cut off); scones, jam, and cream; and small cakes.  I'd be in my element making all those.  Must look up the recipe for Selkirk Bannock.

If we had a good spell of weather we could have it as a 'garden party' with small tables holding 4 - 6 under sun-shades.
If my ideas would be accepted - and we have a good summer, I might buy more garden tables and sun umbrellas.

Spent much of yesterday sorting out the kitchen drawers, good thing about gout is that if I can sit down (in the kitchen) there is still a lot I can do, so it is perhaps not surprising that I'm now finding a lot of my things are not now used.  Won't get rid of all of them (charity shops) but keep what might be useful later and store them in boxes in the larder - this now having a lot of empty spaces on the shelves.  Most of the time I live on fresh fruit and vegetables, and eggs (omelettes etc).  Really MUST try and sort out the freezer to make more room.   My daughter wants to buy me a week's samples of Wilkinson Farm Foods, and I will need space to store these.   Have to say that being able to re-heat something that has been made by someone else is something I consider a treat.

After a few days of feeling depressed, am now on the up again, and this could be because there is already a slight feeling of spring in the air (thanks to the snowdrops). Weather alternates between one day very cold, the next mild, but not having had snow this winter (at least in Morecambe) we seem to have got through the cold months without too much discomfort.   It could have been a lot worse, butl do miss seeing the lovely large flakes of snow that always used to fall during the winters when I was a child.  And the snowfall last several days and lie for at least 6 weeks!  Those were the days.

Hope to be back blogging within the next few days but cannot guarantee writing anything interesting. My life seems to have got stuck in a rut at the moment.  TTFN.