Please, at least read ....

Joseph Mercola on Swine Flu

Me, I'm just a bit cross with myself, that I'd lost my passion for frugality right before the credit crunch, and my habit of being stocked against an emergency, right before this latest warning.

So today, I started restocking my pantry, my flour and water supplies, and my pet foods and veterinary meds, to a level I would have expected from myself two years ago.

For whatever reason, be it financial problems, illness, family emergency, extreme weather or pandemic, I think it's just plain dim to be equipped for less than one month of comfortable survival - ie you might have to eat pasta rice and beans a LOT but you wouldn't starve.

Keep Paracetemol, Ibuprofen, some electrolytes and anti diarrhoeal meds, Calpol for children, as well as mega vits (especially C and B) and natural remedies such as tea tree, arnica, grapefruit seed extract, and plenty of garlic.

In the end times, there are going to be plagues. But there are also going to be false prophets. And there are also people making a looooooooooooot of money, out of vaccines, and fear.

It looks like these strains of viruses may have come out of our bloodlust - military work. If you study war, what do you expect? Or otherwise, out of our disgusting treatment of animals in factory farming, when God quite clearly left us stewards over His creation.

If the WHO goes to level 6, we'll likely stay home for a while.

But I'm not sure I'd go for vaccine.

Recession Tip of the Day ....

I was thinking this morning, about the budget, and the dire economic future which seems to await us, and I wondered, what can we do, to help our children adjust to this new era, this different life? I don't think any of us has yet grasped the significance of these momentous times.

One thing worth doing, I think, is to look at what they are reading. I am so very affected by what ever is on my bedside table, and I am sure my daughters are too. I think of their younger days, and our passion for the Little House books, and remember how cheerfully they endured our very, very broke days, all because it was so Laura!

I'm no expert on ballet books or school stories, but I do know my pony books, and so I'll make my case, if I may, with them. Make it a history project if you have to, or just raid the second hand bookshop or e-bay, but do think about a trip back in time, to the days when materialism was less rife, and some real values lurked beneath the adventure and the dreams come true.

I am blessed with two daughters whose favourite reading matter is older than their mother, but in case you're not, as an example, in the very wonderful series my children call 'the David and Pat books', you will meet David, a very ordinary boy from a working class home, with a passion for horses.

David makes friends with Pat, the privileged daughter of the local Master of Foxhounds, and together they share many adventures with their ponies. The series goes on into young adulthood, and while some dreams come true, reality brings David crashing back to earth in other ways. David has to work hard. He can take nothing for granted, and he accepts his parents' limited circumstances, and loves and admires them for their hard work and integrity.
David reappears, as an adult, in one of my very favourites, 'For Want of a Saddle', but that's another story.
Compare and contrast with the modern equivalent, the 'Chestnut Hill' books.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a Chestnut Hill ADDICT! I can't put them down. But Dylan, Mallory, Honey and the gang are a completely different kettle of wild salmon, believe me. They never don a T-shirt without our knowing its provenance, and that label better be the best. Only Mallory, the scholarship girl, is a little strapped for cash, but that's OK cos her friends are all so totally LOADED they help her get by! The cream of the crop are gathered at Chestnut Hill, the boarding school for wealthy horse lovers.
While the good guy usually wins through, and the bad guy - or girl in this case - the insufferable Lynsey, does indeed have even MORE dosh than the others, as shown by her 'immaculately tailored' ... erm ... everything.... nevertheless, knowing how fertile, not to say febrile, the girlhood imagination is, I've got to say that in today's climate, the pony mad girl would be way better with David and Pat, and the solid, English values of courage in adversity, frugality, and cheery perseverance, than all the catered social events and hired in fancy dress that Chestnut Hill has to offer.

So today's recession tip is : what are we reading, and is it helping us to feel positive about the challenge to come? As adults, we could do worse than fall back on my beloved Miss Read (I'm hoping to start a read along on a dedicated blog, soon) and her solid village values, and of course the redboubtable Nella Last and her wartime (and peacetime) perseverance and public spirit. Maybe we could encourage our children to find the same inspiration in the books of yesteryear - anyone want to suggest alternatives for other genres?

Working Lunch

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This time of year.....

is a strange one, for me. We work and work, the days get longer, we work longer, it is not quite dark at 8.30pm, and I am still washing and packing eggs, straining stock, cooling bagels, washing up ... the evening ceases to exist, as there is still laundry to be brought in, slugs to be picked, bantams to be shut up ... eventually it gets kind of weird and obsessive. We start to stare, strangely and mutter to ourselves.
And things can only get worse, for another two months! Then, like chickens, we will feel the steadying ebb of the days, the shortening hours of daylight, and we will begin to pace ourselves. And I will begin to long for autumn mists, log fires, and cosy evenings spent knitting or sewing.
The children, born and brought up in this life, are just the same. Today, they set to and deep littered a stable. Tired, dirty but pleased with themselves, they wiped out a large portion of Easter chocolate,
I asked Boo tonight, would you rather be .. you know.. normal? Watch TV, go shopping?
"No" she said, curled up in bed with her elephant, "I'd be bored"

But not quite so totally, totally exhausted!!!

Would this lot last you two months? Flour delivery from Shipton Mill.

Morning toil in the garden.

I swear I didn't arrange this. Just opened up the house to see that three of my girls had been having a coffee morning!

A right cow's breakfast. Our landlord's cows are on a New Zealand pasture system, they move around the whole time, going onto fresh grass each day, laying waste to it in a matter of hours! They are happy, lovely cows, with a varied herbage and a natural lifestyle. This is the field behind our house, rich with dandelions, waiting for them to move in!

Supper as requested. Homemade spelt bagel, piled with masses of freshly picked purple sprouting, with a perfectly poached egg - in this case, Neil's - a goose egg!

More bagels - they turned out really well - not perfect I admit, still some tinkering with the recipe to be done, but presentable for a first attempt. And about £1 for a dozen, even using super lovely Shipton Mill spelt flour. With cheap flour from Lidls, these could be less than 3p each!

I just made bagels!

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Seriously! It was easy!
Neil had requested poached eggs and purple sprouting for supper, and I was wondering what carb to put with that, having run out of potatoes, and I thought bagels would be good, since I had just received my lovely Shipton Mill flour! So I looked up a couple of recipes, mangled them together - and there are now 12 spelt bagels cooking!
I'll let you know how they they turn out and if I'm quick enough, maybe even take a photo.
So impressed with home made bagels !!!!!!!!!

Flour ....

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Just ordered what I hope is two months' worth of flour from Shipton Mill.
It's more expensive than rubbish flour from Lidls (which we have survived on for months, however!) but much LESS expensive than buying quality flour marked up in the shops.

IF it lasts me two months, it will have cost me about £4 a week, and that's acceptable to me.

In order to get free shipping, you do have to order at least 24kg - that's why I tried to make the spread (bread flour - ie white, wholemeal, spelt and rye - pastry flour, seeds, pasta flour) about right for two months.

We spent the morning in the garden, planting out peas, weeding garlic, planting out onions grown from seed, potting on tomatoes, and potting up some tomatoes, peppers, courgettes and so on for a customer.

Two loads of laundry washed and dried out there as well.

The weather is so absolutely beautiful, it seems almost too good to be true, long, sunny spring days, a sprinkling of rain now and then, blue skies, hazy downs, sleepy ponies in green paddocks.

Blessed beyond measure.
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