Below is the small paddock. The fenced, nettled area is where we ran the pigs on in 2017. There is a small wooded area at the back and the rest of the paddock is currently laid to grass. At the moment we need the grass for the sheep as the horses have the big field, but we just can’t decide what to do for the best with this area in the long run. The pig area will be brilliant for growing in once it is clear, given the muck they produced.
With a lovely farmhouse tablecloth over it, it really suits the kitchen and is the perfect size for us.
So now we’re reevaluating what to do with the other table and the space we’ve created in the dining room (which was a snug).
The kids have been baking, but I forgot to take photos as I was playing negotiator. Brownies, scones and millionaire shortbread! No diets in this house for now! The kids and Annie had plenty of cuddle time too!
She simply is the kindest natured dog with them. She is the perfect guard dog too, you won’t get in the house without being barked at followed by a warm welcome if we tell her it’s ok. Can’t wish for a better dog.
I also made a tomato soup which turned out to be very bland. Unsure what to do, the next day I made “half the garden soup” from Hugh’s River Cottage book and when it called for a kilo of toms and stock I decided to just use the tomato soup instead, plus a bit of my ‘souper mix’ from Pam Corbin’s book and goodness me, it worked out well.
I’ve also been making slow cooker stews, pulled ham, pork and roasting chickens. A lot will be returned to the freezer once made ready to reheat as evening meals once we are back to work.
The next plan….
So now for the exciting part. The next plan. It’s been forming for a year or so, but we’ve taken the time to formalise it whilst we have been off work. Starting now and until end of May 2019, we are stockpiling a years worth of long life or non perishable goods.
Come June 1st, we’re embarking on living off one wage and saving the other. This will allow us to have a years worth of savings in the bank, which leads on to phase 2 of the plan, for another day.
From June 1st we will have an annual grocery budget that equates to £25 a week. This is only for the likes of milk, butter, flour, cheese, kids lunch items. Everything else, literally, will come from our ‘stores’ as we refer to it, the years worth of supplies we have stockpiled prior to June.
That means we also need to find an additional £1300 cash to have to hand from June 01st, which is the annual budget. Any income after June 01st is being saved. As we’re stockpiling, our outgoings are already going to increase so we need to have this cash as additional to what we have now. Time to sell what we don’t need and make money where we can.
It’s all part of the lifestyle shift that we have bought in to and I can’t wait to get started.
We have log burners which we use as a heating source for the main house, but they aren’t linked to the central heating system so they only warm the room they’re in, plus a bit of escape heat into the corridors. Our heating in the new house isn’t great, it merely takes the chill off and given that our house is 100’s of years old, it’s glacial inside during Winter, so taking the chill off simply brings it up to a zero temperature opposed to a positive temperature (or so it feels like). Therefore I begrudge putting the heating on as I don’t think we’re benefitting enough from the amount of oil we’re using. We do however have the Aga which is on constantly and heats the kitchen so it is lovely and toasty. We’ve taken the decision not to turn it off for the summer. We use the two plates on the top to dry a multitude of clothes, boil the kettle and keep it warm, toast our bread, cook our eggs, plus use the main ovens for all of our meals. At present, with oil prices being so low when we last bought oil in January, this wasn’t a difficult decision to make, however if oil prices go back up to their sky high 50p+ a litre then we would switch it off over the summer. Maybe.
We are oil fueled here for the main part. Here is a picture of how much oil we had on 9th March versus today. Now this is a big tank, over 2000 litres so I am hoping it doesn’t go down quickly!
The Aga, central heating and water are fueled on oil and the heating has been on for a fair few days whilst we all had the lurgy so it seems to have dropped more that I would have liked. You can’t put a price in health though.
So this post is to allow me to start and monitor the oil use over the year. The heating won’t be going back on now thay we are heading in to April so the only use will be the Aga which I plan to leave on during the summer (north facing big kitchen and may change my mind yet) and a couple of hours for the water each day.
I may regret saying this buy I hope that oil amount will last us until August which is when our next order is budgeted for on the spreadsheet!