A no spend January?

Welcome to February folks! The last month that I identify as full on Winter. The days are lengthening in light and if you look closely, you might just see a spring in people’s step. Just a hint of a skip every now and then, we don’t want to commit too much yet, but it’s on its way. A month where gardener’s can start to sow those early seeds, snowdrops are happily dancing their merry tune and yet there is plenty of time for more hearty stews and soups. There’s plenty of mileage in the comfort food yet.

For me, January is a month to plan, reflect, recharge and be kind to yourself. I don’t know why, but I seem to have felt the cold in in my bones a lot more this Winter.

We have enjoyed hot food from the Aga and cosy nights by the log burner fire. We also have an oil heated electric radiator that we move around the house as needed, so we have our ways of keeping warm.

January went by in a flash. If January goes by that quickly, then imagine how the rest of the year will go. So for me, I am sitting back, planning ahead and reflecting on what we have.

We haven’t been to the supermarket once through January. Our supplies have had their preliminary test and I am not to panic when I see things being used. It’s a natural reaction after spending so long building them up. Some things we have a very good supply of, dried goods, tinned tomatoes and baked beans are examples whereas others were to see us through the month of January and into February alone. Our milk, butter and cheese was frozen at the back end of December and we’re just using our last bottle of semi skimmed fresh milk. We do have UHT which we like, so that’s being pulled off the shelves for this week.

We will have managed 8 weeks without shopping, when I go this coming weekend, which I am very pleased with. We have ran out of some things and I have developed some interesting substitutions. Think rhubarb syrup in your chinese instead of honey with soy sauce. No one noticed which I’m not sure is a compliment or not!

So we move in to February. Enjoy the quieter days whilst you have them as soon enough, Spring will be wakening and the days will be buzzing with life and I don’t know about you, but I will be left wondering how I can squeeze a few more hours in to my day as they just aren’t long enough, in a good way 😉

2021!! We’re off.

We have so many plans for this year that I don’t know where to start! Lots of things are going on here on the smallholding at the moment, the year is off to a flying start.

It was my 40th just before Christmas and I was so fortunate to receive a Presto pressure canner from Steven. For those that don’t know, pressure canning is an established way of preserving food, making it shelf stable for many years to come (by the book it’s only 18 months but like jams and water bathing, we will be using as long as it looks and smells ok!). I’ve already done a trial run to get it set up and then followed up with a chicken stock. You can see how the unboxing and trail run went on YouTube if you’re thinking of going down this route yourself.

Now, you may have guess, we are really trying to make a go of creating our own YouTube channel which will be a video version of the blog! I suppose that is where the word vlog comes from! So if you are interested and able, please would you subscribe to our channel – it’s totally free and helps us in the long run. We would like to get to 1000 subscribers for YouTube to take us seriously and we are slowly building up!

I’ve also posted about the grocery challenge we are working on. We have filled our freezers and cupboards and have £950 in the pot for groceries this year. How long can we make it last! When the money is gone, it’s gone!

It won’t be replacing the blog, just working in conjunction with it!

Right now, I’m sat with the garden plan on my knee and figuring out how we will grow enough to feed ourselves this year and also put a years worth of veg in the freezer and shelves. There’s no stopping us!