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Should you feel bad for enjoying the lockdown? I don’t think so. It doesn’t mean we don’t feel for those who are suffering from it, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be enjoying it where we can, learning from it and adapting or changing our ways. It has given us plenty of time to think about things, even more than normal and some great foundations for the future are coming out.
Whilst making this week’s scones, which were blueberry by the way and I say were as they are all gone already! I’ll pop the recipe up shortly.
Anyway, I was mulling over financial thoughts and it dawned on me that when we moved in here, 4 and a bit years ago, we never thought we could be in a position to consider paying our mortgage off early. We were just so grateful to have one and be able to buy the smallholding. Now, 4 years on, we are putting plans in place to become mortgage free in 10 years! Yes, that is a VERY stretched target and it may be longer but today it’s 3 times that amount. Yes, really. We always assumed we would have to work full time as we do now, not be able to be on the smallholding working and be stuck in the paid employment cycle until retirement.
So what’s changed? Research, people, experience, lifestyle, finances. We have adapted our lifestyle, which we always intended to do when we moved here. The main areas are the grocery bill, owning cheaper to run vehicles, cancelling luxuries like cable/sky and having a strict entertainment budget.
As I said before, being in lockdown we haven’t spent anything on entertainment and we have missed it all over 0%! Yes once the kids are back in school and I have to go back out every day, it might be nice to eat out every now and again or to take them to the trampoline park etc but this should be minimal cost.
After all, who would not want to cook on an Aga in the kitchen with a poorly duck?
We have also created our own little beer garden, also known as a picnic table in the front garden which catches the evening sun.
We can have the dogs running round, get to see the fabulous flowers come through along with the animals in the neighbouring field, and if we are lucky, get to see a baby deer run by.
Finally, one other thing I am working on personally right now is working towards less and less wine. This sounds like I have an issue!
Define issue haha.
However drinking 1 or 2 bottles a week between us does not fit in with trying to reduce our outgoings so significantly to help pay off the mortgage, nor getting up early on the smallholding to tend to the animals that get up when it is light. So I am on a challenge right now to only drink what we either make or what people gift us….so our address is…. 😉
We last went shopping at the supermarket at the end of April and won’t be going again until 25th May. Remember that we get milk delivered (20 pints a week) along with a weekly veg box (£11) which supplements our home grown items. We plan to eek supermarket items out to be 6 week intervals then 8 and so on. This time we have ran out of butter, honey, juice so far. There is an argument for doing without certain things on a permanent basis, more on that another time.
I cook all of our bread from scratch now, having got a great delivery of flour from amazon.
As we move in to late Spring and Summer, we will most likely (hopefully) have no need for the veg box. We are already starting to see lots of salads, greens including this beautiful kale and hopefully won’t be too long until we get our first courgette as look what we saw a day or 2 ago.
Here’s the newly transplanted brassica bed, right after planting when the plants went in a mood at being moved. Hopefully they will pick up, they usually get over it quite quickly.
On the smallholding we have now got most of the laying hens in one place as Ste moves on with his next project of changing where the pens are that they have, to ensure we cover some of the overgrown areas. Some hens are more cheeky than others.
The pigs are thriving and the (newly sheared) sheep and cows are only a tad jealous of the pigs having hard feed 🙂
Grace is busy rescuing animals. This duck drowned in the pond. Yes, ducks can drown. She has a poorly leg and couldn’t get out. We literally brought her back from the brink of death and Grace has done her usual and looked after it since then.
Right, I better go and get on with some of these jobs I keep talking about. These buckets won’t fill themselves!