Saturday, 28 May 2016

May Photo Hunt

Joining again with http://livelovecraftme.blogspot.co.uk for a scavenger photo hunt...

First up is path...

This lovely path we walk along regularly...

Next hairy...

When you're this hairy you need the cool down!

Edible...

These were really rather yummy...cranberry buns with white chocolate and cream cheese topping...

Small...

Need I say more!

Poem...

Don't have a photo of a poem...

But I do have one that I've written...


Summer

The dawn had shown me its promise,

Of what the day would bring,

With its heat and haze and sunshine,

And other summer things.

Now here beside the river,

Far away from dust and grime,

I can relax and enjoy myself,

And have a lovely time.

I dangle my toes in the water,

So cool and crystal clear,

Oh but you lucky little fishes,

You must be to live in here.

The great majestic oak trees,

That grow along the riverside,

Provide a beautiful canopy of shade,

From the midday sun to hide.

How peaceful and so tranquil,

To lie back upon the grass,

And gaze up heavenwards through the leaves,

Then just forget the past,

But get lost in ones own wonder,

A fairytale for now,

'Till time once more it beckons me,

And it's homewards I must plough.


Hands...

Three hands!

Vintage...


The range at Montacute House...

Shadows...

The beautiful shadows of early summer...

View from a window...


What was a window...becoming a patio door!

My choice...

Hard work...

But worth while!

I hope you've enjoyed this selection...

Why not take a peek at what the others have come up with?

J. x

 

Packing Meat Rations

Sonshine is home to stay for a week from JCB land...Yippee!!

On Thursday I took the bull by the horns and travelled without a passport all the way across the Devon border and into Cornwall! Here is a butchers that I appreciate...no barley beef lurking here! Philip Warren & Son...there must be about 20 butchers in there on the go all the time it's so popular! I purchased a goodly amount of meat...523oz actually...this is just about the right amount until 28th June.

The extra rations have been allowed for visiting relatives as I'm assuming that they would have come with their ration books! They better way have! We don't have our large freezer here at Little Winter so I was risking it a bit as to whether it would squeeze into the space we do have...Luckily I have a vacuum packer which I must confess to not having used much before but now I can see it as being a vital tool for maximum storage...


Our shrink wrapped rations! Most of the right hand compartment is Heidi's...

I'm almost hoping for very un-barbecue weather as they tend to consume vast amounts of meat! I have used weight rather than value to give us our ration quantity...and have further deviated by amalgamating the meat and bacon/ham weights...

I believe the meat that is mass produced nowadays is of far less nutritional value than what it was years ago...I do not want to make us ill, just be more aware of how much we are consuming and at the same time be sensible with the purse strings...for me that does not equate to buying rubbish though I am happy to buy the cheaper cuts of a quality beast.

My ration buying is vastly different from wartime...but it's more economic for us and realistic in today's society...In a way it's more of a temptation now because we could have more...back in wartime there simply wasn't that option...and that's a scenario that I hope never happens again...

I'm off now to pop the bedding in the wash that I postponed from yesterday due to the weather...here's hoping for a good drying session though it looks like we're in for some rumbles of thunder later...

J. X




 

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Ready Made Curtains

Warning...

Minor rant coming...

I do not profess to be a brilliant seamstress...

But curtains are just straight sewing really...anyway...

We decided to let the youngsters choose their own curtains for our downstairs area...

They didn't appreciate my love of tartan in quite the same way as I did!

Not a problem...

But they are on a budget...

So off they went shopping...

And came back delighted with their 'bargains'...

'Curtains' readymade from Dunelm...

See through...

Wonky...

Pathetic heading tape...

Even more pathetic linings...

So what's a curtain freak like me to do but unpick these 'readymades' and remake the darn things!

The top material has poppies on and is actually quite pretty...

They could have done with being a little wider but I can't diss all their choices...

But I can't abide to look at wonky see through curtains either...

I really don't feel like photographing the flimsies...You're going to have to wait for the new hopefully improved versions!

Instead I'll leave you with a picture of the range at Montacute House...

J. X

 

It Was A Cold One

Saturday found us travelling to a nieces wedding...

And what a beautiful wedding it was...

But what a shame about the weather...

The huge barn that the reception was in was unheated...

And draughty...

And there I was in my lacy attire...

My sister who was mother of the bride made the brides dress...

She looked stunning...

And surprisingly not too cold!

On our way home the next day we called into Montacute House, a national trust property. It started to thunder and lightning but luckily not for long...

I decided not to take too many photos while there and to just enjoy the visit...

They do still have some of the kitchen in the house but sadly not all as some of it is now a housekeepers flat...

Also what was once the walled vegetable garden appears to be the car park...

Those two things are always our favourite parts of properties as you get an idea how people's lives really were...

We also veered off the beaten track and onto Exmoor...

Partaking in a delicious cream tea at Exford...

Then Monday came, reality struck and it was back to work...

I have been having lots of meetings as well, and this afternoon I finally start on my new job...

More training!

Anyway a little thing known to millions as the VAT return is getting impatient to be filed and as usual I'm dragging my heels...

Tut tut!

J. x


 

Friday, 20 May 2016

No More Delaying Tactics

During our everlasting move to Little Winter our poor car was used for umpteen purposes...

It carted logs...dogs...best china...shopping...rubbish...cement...well indeed pretty much everything...and it's disgusting...

Heidi has breathed and dripped and dribbled over it...even with blankets over the seats its dismal!

Anyway all week I've been meaning to set to and clean it...last week too if I'm honest...but something has always come up more important...such as blog hopping or a cuppa with a friend...

But tomorrow we travel to a nieces wedding...so today HAS to be the day...rain or shine the merky depths of the footwell will be excavated...

Why oh why do I have to leave things to the last minute...like always...big sigh...I guess it's the way I'm programmed...

So today I need the clouds to stay away long enough to get ahead for the weekend...bedding washed...bedroom dusted...suitcase packed...we'll be staying away Saturday night...dog groomed...shopping sorted...greenhouse watered...runner beans planted...oops...and car cleaned...yuck...

Better get a shift along...


Maybe not this walk today Heidi...

J. x

 

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

A Very Distant Memory

Something the lovely ( well I've never met her but she seems lovely ) Sheila at http://lifestooshorttoironteatowels.blogspot.co.uk remarked about pretending that my meat raffle pork had in fact come from a pig club pig brought to mind a story I remember from many years ago while sat on my grandparents horsehair chaise lounge. They were in their 90's and I was probably pre school age...anyway there was talk about my grandfather who had flat feet and could not join up to fight in what was probably the First World War, busking his way to London (he played an accordion) with a pig destined for the black market in a coffin...

Unimaginable as this is it is quite possibly true...I know his family had butchers shops in London, but came to Devon and bought a farm...I don't think all his family were as good a farmers as they were butchers and eventually they lost the farm, but grandad worked on farms afterwards and did not return to London...he'd met my gran who initially from Marazion, had moved with her family up to Woolsfardisworthy...I think her father was Headmaster at the local school. I thought her mother was school mam too, but not sure how this worked as were husband and wife allowed to work together? This is quite possibly my fathers gran who kept a small bottle of something under her apron...probably for when all the little darlings played up too much! Oh my goodness where have I come from! It's ok though...one of my brothers in law has traced my mothers family back to Edward 1st!

The equally lovely (but not met either ) Dawn from over at http://doingitforourselfs.blogspot.co.uk/ has suggested foraging for wild foods to bulk out the meat ration...yes I need to be more adventurous...though cavemen, unless it's a plateful of potatoes get mighty suspicious! Ideas anyone?

Tonight we have a tiny amount of chicken left over from yesterday which I'm planning on adding just as tiny an amount of bacon snipped up to...so...

Sliced potatoes and onions, par boiled in milk and butter, with plenty of salt and pepper...mix in the cooked chicken and bake for half an hour...top with snipped pieces of bacon and cook until delicious! Hopefully the quantity of potatoes will disguise the fact that there's not much meat...Add veg to the plate and tuck in...

A word to the wise...do not be tempted to save the butter ration for something else and use margarine...it goes a horrible curdley... this I know from personal experience.

At the moment people are feeling sorry at our lack of cooking facilities and supplying us with a steady stream of cakes for cavemen packed lunches...this will change...then I'll not have fats left over at the end of the week that's for sure.

Looks like today...it's thunder rain at the moment...is not going to be a pegging out day...I'm off to the big town later...new bra and tights needed in time for nieces wedding on Saturday.

A picture to leave you with...


Tip toeing amongst the bluebells...

J. x

 

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Getting Tougher

To be honest at first I thought the meat ration I had allowed us would not be too bad...However I didn't quite allow for two hungry cavemen living in the house and their aversion to delights such as rice or pasta!

We also had a barbecue over the beautiful weekend...barbecues at ours tend to be heavy on the meat...

Now I am facing some dilemmas in my experiment...during wartime...if you had invited people over to a meal would you have expected them to bring the portion of ration coupons over to cover what they would eat? We had guests last week, and consequently the cottage pie I made only served us for one meal instead of the usual two...(well two if I stood guard over it clutching a wooden spoon!)...

So what to do...one bit of good news is that we came up trumps in the meat draw again...and again a small pork joint has slid into the nether regions of our freezer...don't let on to the powers that be just in case!

Milk as I feared is a problem...but I'm loathe to discourage youngest from drinking it...she suffered quite acute anemia a while ago, so whether she would have been allowed extra perhaps I shall look into...

It is beginning to feel just a tiny bit more real now...stores of everyday useful items are running lower...

The person in charge of the families ration books must have ruled with a rod of iron sometimes...we're doing it for fun...others did it for real...and for so long. Shudder...

Anyway...my list of duties for today is almost ticked off...

I am awaiting the hungry cavemen...

Youngest has gone off to work...later than usual on a short shift and sleep in...

This meant she had to eat before she went..precious ounces of rations!



Not taken today...these photos remind me of the beautiful weather we have had this past week...not today though...today has been pretty yuck...and a day to worry about the rations that I have to eek out for the rest of the month...

J. X

 

When Trees Become Logs

I mentioned recently that we were taking down a large tree on our boundary with next door...

It was a beautiful tree and created a lovely skyline...

Big sigh...

But slowly down it came...

After much heaving and sweating at the weekend we now have these...

We have kept back dome decent slices of the wood in various sizes to eventually make chopping boards with...

We believe the tree was a Wych Elm...and were sad to see it go...

But the area will now receive more light and there is a lovely bank at the top of the garden. The trees along the back hedge were steeped to hopefully grow into a lovely thick mass soon...

Continuing change at Little Winter.

J. x

 

Sunday, 15 May 2016

My Take On The World

Almost every time I get to see the news I see and hear reports of some way climate change is affecting us...

First I remember being told we must all be planting drought tolerant gardens...

Prairies no less...

So if it's dry...

It's climate change...

Next the floods...

These have taken so much from so many in recent years...

Climate change...

Ok...

Our climate is changing...

Apparently we are to blame...

So why are all these politicians and journalists flying all round the world in jets creating more greenhouse gasses...

Why are new roads still being built...

Roads that will reflect the sun...

Tarmac gets really hot, whereas grass stays relatively cool...

Why are houses still being built on flood plains...

Why are rivers no longer dredged the way they used to be...

Some advocate a vegetarian lifestyle...

Animals creating much carbon dioxide...

However cutting down forest to plant soybeans in far flung locations...

Really?

I think the truth as I see it hurts...

We are a fragile species on this planet...

Being fragile is scary...

Living simply in this age can seem scary...

This world is changing...

It's called evolution...

We don't like change...

Politicians don't like to admit there's a more powerful being...

Mother Nature...

She's not on the payroll...

Look back in history...

And by this I don't mean since records began a hundred years ago weather reports...I mean much further...

Lynmouth experienced a major flood in 1952...

Quite an infamous event...

Delve a little deeper and it's happened previous to then on more than one occasion...

Anyone know why Greenland has that name but is associated with being covered in ice and snow?

This post could go on and on...

But the simple fact is...

We don't like change but live in a World full of it...

I have been slightly reassured though after realising that most of the species of native plants do flower at the same time each year...it's the non native ones that tend to bloom all over the place...but that wouldn't make the headlines and keep umpteen journalists and politicians on expenses paid trips...

So it's hard for powerful people to admit they can't rule the World...

Mother Nature does...

She'll always have the last say...and has no feelings or remorse or sense of injustice or cruelty...

So be kind to one another...tread a little lighter on this Earth...

Use common sense...don't rely solely on the weather forecast...

Look out the window...see what the birds are doing...

If they're flying low it's not a good time to peg out the sheets! Even if the weather forecast promised wall to wall sunshine...

Be responsible for yourself...

Don't expect someone else to look after your future...

They'll be too busy planning their own!

Enjoy your day today...make the most of each thing you do...

Life is a wonderful gift...

J. x


Saturday, 14 May 2016

Twenty Five Years Ago

I didn't know whether to share this with you...but have decided that yes the time has come...

Twenty five years ago today I gave birth to our second child...a daughter...

But today does not find us celebrating, or visiting her...

It does not find me pouring through albums of childhood photos...

For she was stillborn...

A sweet little angel...

Our perfect baby had died in my womb two days earlier...

I knew the exact moment of her passing as she had kicked wildly like nothing I had had in my previous pregnancy, nor in my further two afterwards, and then the kicking abruptly stopped...I felt a pain that sent me to the floor...after that mild contractions started...

After six weeks of torment we were told there had been a constriction in her cord...

I believe that her little hand had grabbed hold of her cord and cut off her vital supplies...she was a perfect little baby...

I thought I would never smile again...

The pain inside my heart was unbearable...

A year and a week later I gave birth to our son...

The first year was not easy...

Lovely as he was he could not replace the baby I had lost...

Time is a great healer and now I consider myself to be a stronger person having gone through that most cruel of fates...

I can type this with dry eyes...

I can appreciate how lucky I am to have three other healthy offspring...

But she will never be forgotten...

We never named her formally...

A big regret of mine...

But she was little Megan Rose...

My beautiful baby born asleep...

All I have are two photos of her the midwives took...

Not things I can publically share...

Twenty five years ago today a little piece of my heart was lost...

And it's forever with my baby.

J. X


Reading

Whilst reading The Cottage Garden Diaries by Fiona Houston, it became apparent how much I have adapted totally to reading on the iPad...

I couldn't see a photograph as clearly as I would have liked so automatically put my fingers on the page in an attempt to enlarge the picture...

Of course this didn't happen...and I felt very silly...and also a little bit sad that my reading habits had become so divorced from what used to be...

Partly I have favoured the iPad for reading because I have reached the age of failing eyesight...and the lure of larger text at the press of, well not even a button has been too great a temptation...

But...

Some books become old friends...

Well worn, with bent and or torn pages...

They exude a sense of comfort and wellbeing that much as I love the iPad sadly it will never give me those feelings...It's more of an instant gratification tool...

And that made me feel quite bereft at what we could so easily lose...

Call it nostalgia...or silliness...or whatever...

The iPad and kindle have their place...

But if you're after a faithful old friend to comfort you on a dull afternoon, or the smell of old paper, or the recipe that's so well used and grubby everybody would know it's a favourite...it has to be a good old book...

So maybe...just maybe...in this little old cottage that seems to hug it's dust as though it's growing in value I will never...ever...moan about dusting off the bookshelf.

No I don't have a photo of our bookshelf...actually it isn't even made yet...roll eyes in exasperation!

But I do have this...

To soothe the soul...

It does mine anyway. J. x

 

I Will Not...

Admit defeat!

I use blogsy to write my posts on...

It would not let me copy and paste the Liebster Award logo...

I tried adding it after photographing it through edit on blogger...

Ok so two fails...

Anyway...

Please welcome...

Hey be upstanding...

For the one...

The only...

Liebster Award logo!!!

Ta da!

Once again thank you Dawn over at...

Wait for it...

http://doingitforourselfs.blogspot.co.uk

Big smile from me now...

I'm someone who has to write longhand texts so having a missing logo really bugged...

Simple things please simple minds...

But hey...

Take care, J. X


 

Friday, 13 May 2016

Rationing Update

Oh the trouble I have had getting this to appear on here!
I've had to do it for the month on this template...all weights are imperial ounces except pints of milk and individual eggs...
Let's see how we get on the rest of the month...
I know what will be a certain fail...milk...for today's transaction of 12 pints has not yet been entered. I could cope very well on 6 pints per week...the younger generation not so...
I decided to go for the monthly plan for two reasons...that's what the template requires, and it makes buying small amounts much easier...nobody wants to give you a single slice of anything nowadays...
I still have a store of naughties in the pantry cupboard...but then so would anyone have...and as time goes on that will naturally dissipate...
Tonight's tea is our raffle winning piece of pork...Friday night is meat raffle night at our local and last week we struck lucky! I will not be including this as part of the rations...call it luck...call it contraband...call it black market...I don't care!
Heidi had put on a little weight when she visited the vet and so though I don't include her meat in the rations she now eats chopped carrot, apple, and sometimes has frozen yogurt with banana in it...healthy living! Apart from her meat the other bits count towards the £30 all else spend...so that's rations plus Heidi's meat plus £30. Job done.
We have enjoyed a beautiful day here in the Devon countryside...it doesn't get much better than this...the birds are singing...the sun is shining...tea is cooking...albeit slowly in the little oven...bedding has dried on the line...along with lots of other washing...and it's Friday...
Enjoy your weekend everyone,
Jackie. X

Liebster Award


Many thanks to the lovely Dawn over at http://doingitforourselfs.blogspot.co.uk for nominating this blog for a Liebster Award....sorry for the delay in responding, but life got in the way!
Anyway...in response to Dawn's questions...
1. What is your favourite cartoon character?
Tom and Jerry double act...the old style ones!
2. Walking or cycling?
Walking.
3. Preferred method of preserving food?
Making jams/chutneys.
4. Favourite bread?
A multi seeded loaf.
5. Your favourite cookery book?
All missing in storage at the moment, but it's a little paperback-rather old and tatty, next would be the very first Dairy Cook Book.
6. Your favourite tool?
Is a sewing machine considered a tool?
7. Rain or wind?
Tricky one...good thunder rain or dry Autumn winds blowing the leaves around.
8. Favourite herb?
Easy...mint mint mint!
9. What time do you go to bed?
Usually before 10. Zzzzzzzzzz
10. Seaside or countryside?
Countryside with occasional seaside visits!
Now to the tricky bit...nominating 5 blogs...
Here goes...
So this is what you are supposed to do...
Link back to the blog that nominated you, so that more lovely people can find interesting blogs. (Check)
Post a photo or badge of the Liebster Award. (Check)
Answer ten questions posed by who nominated you. (Check)
Nominate five blogs for a Liebster Award. (Check)
Notify them so they know! (Pending)
Oh yes...post 10 new questions for those you have nominated...
1. Tea or coffee?
2. Bath or shower?
3. Book or Kindle?
4. Real or fake Christmas tree?
5. Christmas or Yule?
6. Starter or pudding?
7. Cup or mug?
8. Favourite flower?
9. Up to the table or couch dinner?
10. If you had the chance to go back in time, when would you choose and why?
Good luck and have fun everyone!
J. X


Sunday, 8 May 2016

Sometimes

Just sometimes I do wish myself to be living in a less complicated era...and am at present enjoying getting absorbed in the book The Cottage Garden Diaries, by Fiona J. Houston. Having a dog who this afternoon has refused to go for a walk, preferring to lie comatose upon the kitchen tiles, and guarding her dish just in case any tasty tidbits should fall into it...(rather unlikely)... I find myself reading and blogging without guilt.

Roast lunch was prepared in the small oven...turning it off occasionally to use the hob...only one or the other at a time I'm afraid...still it saved me from sweating over the woodburner. And after the glorious few days we have been enjoying I am very grateful for it. Anyway rationing suits the small oven cooking method...it was more like a sparrow than a chicken which we enjoyed today...and I can't quite believe that there is leftover meat!

Meat has been hard to eek out, though not as bad as the milk ration..I feel sure that I may have been keeping a house cow...I suppose I do have access to farm milk if I get desperate...we always used to drink it, but lately with youngsters no longer getting their BCG's (though ours did as babies), we do buy in milk. I could be adding water on the quiet to the last dribble later!

Youngest has gone off to work...I'll see her in there tomorrow...hope it's a good day! Hubby and youngest's partner are at the top of the garden taking down some large trees. They are on next doors hedge, but he wants them down so we're doing the job for him! There will be light on the tops of our gardens. They were beautiful though and the birds perched and sang their hearts out from their branches so it will be sad for them to go...however having some more useable veg growing area will be good.

The bird life here is fantastic...we are bordered by hedge on three sides of the garden...all slightly different species. Many fledglings have been begging for food in the garden this week.

I need to do a spot of menu planning in a while, and the main shopping will be done on Tuesday. Eek and stretch are two situations I think I will have to become more familiar with. I need to also be writing down what we did eat because now I'm trying to remember the weeks meals my mind has gone blank. I think a diary may be in order to keep order! The £30 for 'everything else' has been fairly easy this week...in fact £22.90, though admittedly I do have a very well stocked pantry.

So what is Heidi missing this afternoon...

Well this actually...

 

 

Though the wind is really picking up a pace now and she doesn't have her buddy Beatrice to go with today...so perhaps that's why she didn't want to go.

Much more fun with company!

J. X

 

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Sitting Here

In the greenhouse typing this just after lunch...the sun is pale in the sky and a keen breeze blows through the many broken panes of glass...but it is a greenhouse...ours remains for its fifth year resolutely in storage!

No plants in here yet, but our old kitchen table has found a new home and there is a little mobile coverage up here which is more than in the actual cottage...so maybe this will become my office of choice...today I have hauled in an old folding chair, some paperwork and lunch.



As you can see I am not alone...

I have been budgeting for our food, and not just in monetary terms...keen to try and live off wartime rations at least for a while I've been working on the average amounts allowed of various foods rather than keep upping and downing amounts which previously I found impossible to find out about. Points are another sticky issue which I need to address. I'm leaning towards set amounts for all basic rationed foods then a monetary amount for whatever else we need. Different products are available now and I'm not sure I want to give them up, but just limit what we scoff and use of everything!

Who I and youngest daughter work for have come up trumps by lending us a compact cooker that they used at the home a few years ago while the kitchen was being re-done. Our cooker isn't now arriving until the beginning of June, and much as the food cooked on top the woodburner has tasted delicious, we were very restricted as to what we (well I) could prepare. Sunday roast was started at ten in the morning and served at six thirty in the evening! Best brisket I've ever done though!!

So for any of you that may be interested here are the amounts averaged out over the duration of WW2 of what weekly rations our family of four adults would have been allowed and what we're hoping to adhere to...

Meat...including sausages and poultry...4lb

Bacon or ham...1 1/2lb

Cheese...1lb 2oz

Butter...1lb 4oz

Marg...2lb

Lard...10oz

Eggs fresh...12

Milk...12 pints fresh

Milk...1 pint dried

Jam or syrup...12oz

Sugar...3lb

Tea...12oz

Sweets...12oz

Now I know that meat was by monetary value and poultry and sausages weren't included, but very rarely available...so just for simplicity the above is the amount we're allowing ourselves.

At the moment we do not have chickens, though maybe that will change, however I'm not about to buy powdered eggs...one dozen it is!

The main problem I can foresee is milk...we use a lot of it, both I and hubby came from dairy farming families...youngest's partner is the biggest milk guzzler though!

Having no wish to whiff worse than stirred silage effluent, soap rations could be fun...these were coupon based...at the moment we're using packet laundry powder, but will have to see about whether to continue this or make our own again...I do make soap and have plenty of making supplies already. Think we'll worry about the food items first...but what monetary value should the rest of our shopping be at? Four hungry adults, two taking packed lunches, one taking breakfast as well...and let's not forget the meat eating dog...who would really rather not be on rations of any kind! I'm not going to impose anything on her...she does eat a raw food diet rather than commercial pet food, so things like offal, bone, skin and meat, plus fish and scraps get scaffled up by her...eve carrot peelings!

So excluding Heidi grub, and the rationed items, at a guess things such as fruit, veg, tinned goods, flour, yeast, dried fruits, nuts, and cereals could realistically add £30 to the bill weekly? This I will monitor and obviously get as low as possible without wanting to kill someone!

One thing that strikes me at first glance is the amount of sugar and fat allowed even on rations, but wait...just about everything was cooked from scratch...no added sugar drinks or sauces or anything really. So we'll see how we go! And with the help of albeit a little cooker I'm quite sure we shan't starve...for a while anyway.

J. x