Picnics and harvests

Today we decided to walk to a local village along the Public Footpaths.  It’s about a 40 minute walk and the sleepy village has the River Skerne running through it.  It’s actually the river that runs along the bottom of our field.  There’s a lovely green area next to the river and the railway line, so we took a picnic for lunch and enjoyed some family time relaxing by the river and eating some treats for lunch.  We thoroughly enjoyed it as did the dogs.  We could only take the 2 younger ones as Buddy can’t go far these days.  It does make me laugh when I wonder what people will make of us, turning up in jodhpurs, gardening clothes and mucky faces from the morning’s jobs.  They will soon find out if they speak to us they won’t find a more down to earth family, but I do think our “work clothes” would stop a lot of people doing that 🙂
 
My beautiful daughter and a tired Rodney
 
You can see that smile too, right?
Jack was mightily impressed that he found a sticker which he was sure would lead to treasure!

Rodney enjoying the walk

 When we got back it was time to get on with some more jobs.  Grace had rode both ponies on the morning and had put the jump back down to jump the dogs over them to have some fun whilst she was waiting for me.  There’s a large tree and part of it had come down whilst we were out walking.  It was super windy, but I’m glad it didn’t come down whilst she was riding!

 
I harvested lots of yummy food from the veg plot to have for Sunday lunch.

I couldn’t resist taking this, such a pretty sight or am I cracking up?

Dwarf beans, lovely!

Purple podded peas and late picked broad beans

 Whilst tea was cooking, it was time to make sure Buddy got a walk out too.  He doesn’t go on a lead now, ever.  It was part of what I wanted when we moved away from a main road.  He doesn’t go far and isn’t the fast dog that he used to be.  The lane in the background is literally outside our gates.  We’re so lucky to be able to open the gates and let him have a wander.  Grace makes sure he’s safe and I’m sure he keeps an eye on her too 😉  Both under my watch of course.

 
I always like to look for the silver lining and today’s wind brought lots of windfall apples!  SO you can guess what recipes I am looking for tomorrow.  1 full bucket and 1 1/3 full.  I think they are all cookers.

 

Today’s eggs haul

This is my first attempt at plaiting onions  Maybe they needed longer to dry out but I couldn’t wait.
 
Last of the year’s rhubarb

Oooh and 4 sleeps left until my last day, 5 until I’m waking up off work! 

The dream is becoming the reality with each week that passes (including menu plan!)

I’ve been working on the menu plans now I am full steam ahead with the veg box and Tesco decision.  I will normally update this post type on a Thursday, but this week it’s Friday seen as though we’re just getting going.   Veg is delivered on a Wednesday, each week.  Items delivered will be seasonal and I’m working a menu plan based on the delivery contents instead of shopping to the menu plan. 

Wednesday veg box cost £26.27 and contained:

Veg box (£13.50) contents:  Milk, cheese, cream, salad bag, tomatoes, plums, oranges, bananas, sweet peppers, new potatoes, onions, broad beans, carrots.

In addition to the Standard Box I bought:

1 x RAW MILK 1ltr (Emma’s Dairy) £1.50

1 x SEMI-SKIMMED MILK 2ltr (Emma’s Dairy) £1.79

1 x SKIMMED MILK 2ltr (Emma’s Dairy) £1.79

1 x CREAM – DOUBLE 500ml Acorn £2.02

1 x RED LEICESTER CHEESE (Lye Cross Farm) 245gm £3.27

Plus delivery of £2.40.

The menu plan to use these lovely items is as follows:

Wednesday – Slow cooker beef with veg patch and veg box veg and mashed potato. Leftovers – make pie and freeze/use mash in potato cakes.

Thursday – 12 egg frittata with bacon tomato & cheese, potato cake, salad (veg box) and veg patch radish with salad cheese.  Leftovers – Lunch on Friday/after work snacks

Friday – Veg plot cauliflower cheese soup followed by veg box broad bean, Feta & Spinach Pie with veg box salad

Saturday – Bacon & Egg buns/Sausage buns, meal out (not takeaway and once in a blue moon!) with visiting family on night but home for pudding of strawberry shortcake with extra thick double cream.  Saturday extras – Make quiche/flapjacks/meringue/shortcake & sweet potato soup.

Sunday – Diced beef in gravy, veg patch peas if any, veg patch cauliflower, broccoli & cabbage with veg box carrots & new potatoes.  Use onions in gravy.  Strawberry shortcake if any left or strawberries with meringue (made Saturday) and cream.

Monday – Shakshuka with sausages served on plain flatbread or with pittas (never made this before, looks yum).

Tuesday – Slow cooker chicken curry with rice and naan

 

The plums will be eaten fresh and also used in a chicken, leek and plum pie for the freezer/coming meal.  The cheese, milk and cream will be used in some of the above meals, breakfast and in general everyday use.

In addition to the veg box, every Friday I will get my Tesco delivery of fresh items that The Organic Pantry don’t sell.  Each week I need food to cover the weekend’s guests that drop in (bacon, cakes to be made etc), my daughter’s packed lunch items for the coming week (son doesn’t have them), the weekly basics and top ups of items that have ran out such as flour, treacle, toilet roll etc.  Today’s Tesco shop includes:

6 small pork pies – £2

Deodorant £1.5

1kg Jam sugar * 2 £4.16

Sweet potatoes 5 –

Apple juice cartons * 2 packs £1.6 (check as coming up as £1.95)

Rolls * 12 £1

2.5kg potatoes £2

Oats 1kg £0.75

220g Cherry tomatoes £1.50

600ml dbl cream £1.5

30 pack shreadded wheat £2.18

Bananas £0.80

Bubble bath (Christmas hampers) £1 each * 2

Shortcrust pastry £1.50 (Yes, I know).

8 pack Blue ribands £1.69

Lunchbox malt loaf singles £1.35

Mixed fresh peppers £0.85

Mushrooms £0.90

Tuna 4 pack * 2 £4.98

Choco snaps * 3 for offer £3 check this too

More bananas £0.90

Mild cheddar stick £1

Baking butter £0.85

Carrots (horses) £0.45

Squeezy yoghurts * 2 pack £2

 

This allows me to put together 5 packed lunches for Grace, afterschool snacks (pork pies, yoghurts), breakfasts for all of us for the week, soup basics and some quiches for my lunch/teas.

If you’ve managed to get to the end of this post without falling asleep, I salute you.  I would like to say, to avoid any comments that may question it.  Yes the veg box scheme and milk is more expensive than going to Aldi or Tesco.  Yes I could save more money buying the same items in there.  No I don’t want to do that.  However we do have a budget and we stick to it.  We want to be able to eat locally and seasonally whilst supporting as many local businesses as possible.  This helps us and does my part for them too.  Ideally we want to be self-sufficient but know that we can’t be entirely due to our lifestyle of having to work (for now).  This is a big learning curve for us here on our smallholding and we are embracing every minute of it.  Happy Friday everyone 🙂 xx

PS some pics of how things are coming along.  I will post about them in another post but I don’t like non picture posts, especially on a Friday!

This is the muck heap I threw the old supermarket potatoes in that were destined for the bin/compost otherwise and they’re growing!!

Eating or cooking?  No idea.

More apples, eating or cooking I don’t know.

Plums?

More plums?
Definitely plums!
A redcurrant bush hiding at the back of the orchard which seems to be thriving well on its own!
Our first harvested onion 🙂 We also had potatoes but they went too quick to get a photo.

Aren’t they growing?  Adorable!

I was being spied on by the neighbouring cows when letting the ducks out this morning.