Winter Edges

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Saturday goes by in a blur. I drive. Here there and blooming everywhere. It is bitterly cold and the wind slicing down off the Downs is laced with ice.  Two cockerels, brothers, who have lived together for ever have decided to fight, so we battle the wind and the sleet to move them around. Spring, come soon.

We haul sheep feed and go shopping and one daughter volunteers in the Christian bookshop for the morning and tother works in the farm store in the afternoon, and they are in two different towns and I come and go, and haul and fetch.

We eat home made pizza because on Saturdays in winter we always do, and the week of no shopping comes to an end so I have stocked up in Lidls. I'm not so comfortable about it and put feelers out to form an Essentials buying group. I could eat simpler, I'd like it to be more ethical.

My seeds have come from Real Seeds and I still have a heap of garlic to plant before I start methodically planting everything and his brother in cell trays. The garden at the field is still wet. Not, praise the Lord, as wet as it has been in other years, but wet enough.

In the evening, I am sitting by a roaring log fire and spinning Jacobs wool on a drop spindle, and thinking that I must surely be among the most fortunate.

Who was I again?

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Muddly sort of day sorting out some ebay listings and trying to catch up on housework.

I really do need to stop faffing on a Monday and get on with work.

At the weekend our CIC Certificate arrived, which was exciting and intimidating, and I have a grant application teetering on the brink. I have envisioned this project, I am convinced it is where I am being led in life, and yet I seem to stall constantly.

I don't know how many others suffer - I know one or two! - but I am terribly changeable and almost have multiple personalities! Not in a scary way, but enough to keep shooting each other in the foot so that I don't make much by way of progress.

I think I'm finally getting a handle on it - and managing to stay focused on being one person, with one mission in life.It's still two steps forward and one back though. I wonder do many people suffer from this changeable heart?

I think it's a complex mix of fear of success (and of course failure) and procrastination! I'd love to help anyone else who has this problem - if and when I eventually nail it so do contact me if you do.

After a long day I sat down with my knitting, a cup of chai tea in the lovely cup/pot combo my daughter bought me for Christmas, and the penultimate episode of Wartime Farm. Bliss.

As long as I don't suddenly decide I must make myself a flour sack dress ;) That's how it works, this diversion disorder!

No Shop Week

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Fairly randomly,mid morning, I decided not to go to Lidls this week.

Saturday is a bit of a nightmare, Boo to her volunteer job by 10, H to her actual job at 12, then Boo to pick up at 12.30, and H to pick up at 5. Did I mention they are in different towns?

I was determined to get some housework done, we had some sheep to move, and my seville oranges were looking a bit peaky.  Also, the delightful Cassidy (he's a goat) was coming to move in with our ladies for a few weeks.

I set to with the housework and got the pantry cleaned out and tidied/reorganised and while I was doing it and noticing how much there was in there, howbeit fairly weird, some of it, I informed Neil that I was not going shopping this week, and as he was doing the fetch that led him past Sainsburys, he could pick up the four things we really truly needed, one of which was cheese. I can't remember the rest!

Then I pitched into marmalade making, which makes your hands hurt and is not in any way gripping, but it is very satisfying when five hours later you have a lot of marmalade.

Made some bread using up a Lidls mix - I don't have a bread machine but I love these, they're totally worth the extra. Our favourite is Sunflower, but there is a bizarre woman who comes into our local store and clears all the boxes of that one particular mix. She quite often causes a fair bit of collateral damage - she's not careful - and we generally look up at the boxes and say 'she's been' glumly. Actually I do have a sunflower tucked away from an earlier sortie when we beat her to it, but this was a wheat/rye mix which is nearly as nice.

I made a fruit cake to tide us through the biscuit and treat free days a bit, and three large pizzas for, I reckon, in the region of about £2 for all three, for supper. Boo then got into the spirit of the thing by making up a packet of goodness knows how old raspberry blancmange, which she used as a hot custard over chunks of the now baked fruit cake. I can tell that's not going to last long.

I then jarred up the marmalade and by that time was utterly shattered. We sat down to watch an episode of 'Wartime Farm' from the collection Neil gave me for Christmas, but neither of us made it to the end. Once I had nodded off I decided it was time for a bath and bed!

Snow, Slush, Sevilles and Skirts

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Either  my to do lists are too long or my achievements are too short.

I intended today to make marmalade and a skirt. However, when it came to it, I actually completed a grant application. Well, when I say completed .... it's nearly there.

My great bowl of Seville oranges sits unmolested, and my length of lightweight denim and adaptable-to-all-body-shapes pattern is equally uncut. 

I had promised to take H out to a client evening run by our equine vets, with five excellent speakers and very yummy food, at a superb eco-conference centre on an organic farm which is local if you're marketing but not so much when you're driving across the top of the Marlborough Downs with snow hurling itself at you blindingly.

We did make it there and back and thanks are due to Lambourne Equine Vets for a very informative and entertaining evening. 

It is now impossibly late, and all my best laid plans of early nights and self care have gone slithering down the road with the melting slush. Tomorrow is another day.

Monday Round Up

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Today I'm doing a fair old bit of running around. It's a two school run day, as H now has half days in the lead up to her A Levels. She's got her UCAS form in and received one offer, from her first choice Uni, so she's as happy as a person studying for A levels can be.

Boo finishes at the normal time or later - later today as she has extra classes, due to course work being due in for her GCSEs.  I can't recommend having children who are two years apart, at this stage in the game.

After animals - ducks had a good clean out and a change of pond water today - I got stuck in to eBay - I've signed up with D$D and am also listing my own 'stuff' on there to try to capitalise a bit.  My list for today was long and included sewing and all sorts of other extravagant hopes, but so far, animals, duck cleaning, ebay listing, child driving, and coffee slurping have filled all the available time thus far.

It is bitterly cold but on the frugal plus side, N got offered a load of logs free if he went today to fetch, which of course he did. They'll need splitting but even so, you can't turn down free heat.

The downside of that is that he will be at work painting and decorating probably until 9pm which is jolly late and I do worry about him sometimes.

I've resolved to take care of me a bit, for the next few weeks, as I usually crash and burn and develop some kind of a health crisis in February, so I'm aiming to drink lots of water, get plenty of sleep, take my vitamins and cut myself some slack, with the aim of avoiding same!

Pick yerself up ....

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I've been mostly concentrating on the farm blog of late, and actually getting some work done, but as the new year kicks in, I'm feeling grey because our big push to get debt free was going so well before Christmas, and now we are back in all kinds of trouble.
We didn't consciously over spend on Christmas, but we did have an 18th as well, and the money kind of stopped coming in, too. We've had a lot of veterinary expenses, and the hassle with the neighbour means we have to spend money on fencing and moving stock.

We are back at baby step one.

 We have to gather an emergency fund.

Dave Ramsey advises $1000 and we've always taken that as £1000 (unless you are earning in one currency and spending in another, exchange rates are meaningless. In the old days we used to say, a pound is a pound, is a dollar, is a mark, is a franc. That is now meaningless to anyone but old crones like me!

£500 will do it if you are on a very low income or in very dire straits, and we are as dire as they come at the  moment, but there's nothing for it but to get tough and start again.

I was just wondering if anyone would like to join me?! Anyone else back at square one step on and needing to draw that 10 x 10 grid .....
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