Thursday, 1 January 2015

The merging of the days......

So we've done Christmas,
but in a low key manner with even Christmas dinner not happening.
I had intended to cook make the effort and cook a simple roast,
but was instructed by Lester to not bother,
that it was more better to spend the time outside in the sunshine,
than being stuck inside cooking.
So we had savoury rice and chicken.
followed by fruit and custard'
followed by a binge of chocolate (well it was Christmas!)

We are now locked into the routine of harvesting the animals,
with three piglets now in the freezer,
and one sheep.
One more sheep is lying on the freezer waiting to be made into smaller portions,
the rest are still on the hoof outside in their paddock.
It is not our most favourite work on the farm,
but has to be done.
C'est la vie.

Smeggy, the new range cooker,
what a joy she is proving to be,

..... first batch of scones.....

....... first cake......

..... first batch of bread

Scones: cooked fast, no burnt bottom (old cooker used to singe things with ease)
Cakes: Smeggy does not seem to like greaseproof paper, and will gleefully burn any sugar put on top of the cake. (old cooker used to do a nice crisp sugary topping, but would still enjoy singeing the bottom of the cake.
Bread: Cooked fast again. Had to take the loafs out of their tins to finish cooking so the bottoms of the loaves got properly cooked.

She is a glorious lady, is Smeggy.

.... and Lester marking the date on a jar of milk in the temporary kitchen.

I still do not have a sink in the proper kitchen,
but feel blessed that I do have a dishwasher to help,
and I do have a temporary table and we moved the dresser back into the kitchen 
so I do have some space to puts things on.
And in the temporary kitchen we do our grot work,
such as joint up carcasses,
cook pots of pig food, dog food, etc...
in other words,
all the messy work in done down in this space, 
which now becomes the larder and food prep area.

It is with some relief that I can now use the proper kitchen,
that I have a tiled floor underfoot which I can keep clean,
that I can do my messy work in the larder/ prep area,
and have a clean and tidy kitchen to cook in.
I am not bothered about posh kitchen units, and shall fill up the rest of the kitchen as and when,
feel blessed that I have what I have.....

No news on the Rayburn front.
Not to worry,
down to minus 5 the last two nights,
so the house is cold,
but we became conditioned to the cold when we lived in the caravan for three years,
so we don't bother switching on the fan heaters,
we just put on more clothes!


It is now the first day of the new year.
We are going to have a slow day,
well as slow as any day can be on a smallholding.
Lester has said that he is going to tuck himself in with a book after he has done farm chores,
and that he might do that in the toasty warmth of our electric blanketed bed.
I said that I might do some sewing,
and mentioned that perhaps we shall put the electric fire on as a treat.
Maybe we will, maybe we won't,
because by the time the chores are done,
the sun will be out,
and yesterday afternoon I spent a glorious hour outside on my sun lounger,
drinking in the warmth of the sun,
and then it was as a switch had been turned off,
and suddenly it was as chilly as the insides of our freezers.
But it was not a shorts and t-shirt sunbathe,
I was still in my boots, knitted socks, Lester's thermal longjohns, ever so sensible knickers, Lester's thermal vest, a thick cotton long sleeved top, another one over the top of that, a fleece jumper, a long knitted cardigan, a fleece body warmer, a long knitted scarf, and fingerless gloves.
Well I did say that we are floating around the minus temperatures!

We have had a good year.
2014 was full of ups and downs, as per usual,
after all, what would life be everything stayed the same,
but most of all, it was the first full year of Lester being able to devote his time and energy to the house and farm after spending our first six years here chained to his computer.
It was hard at first getting used to having him take over so many of my farm jobs,
which took me away from the smallholding, and put me squarely indoors, mostly in the kitchen.
This I found challenging.
Lester was challenged by the physical work of running a farm, having been used to sitting at his computer all day.
We were challenged as a couple because we were in each others company most of the time,
and the delight of being able to have meals out,
of going shopping together,
of spending time together,
of learning a lot of new things about each other,
that is what 2014 gave to us a couple, which made those challenges not really challenges at all, rather they were adjustments.

I have been yabbering for ages on this post, so had better stop.
Well done if you have managed to get this far in my ramblings,
but, ummm, just to say that the sheep we put into the freezer last night,
that one of her legs weighed in at 4.3 kgs.
And that we have decided not to sell or give away any more of our animals,
and will explain why this is in another post.

Wishing you lots of adventures during 2015,
which will stretch you,
inspire you,
and make your heart sing.

Whatever it is that you have been putting off, go do it.



Shelly/Fred said...

Happy New Year to you both. Do pop over for a tipple soon. It can only get warmer from here! X

Tim said...

Happy New Year to you and Lester...
may 2015 find you with a FINISHED kitchen...
a working range...
an understood Smeggy...
and health, happiness and the wealth that you wish for!!

Kerry said...

Loved reading your post. Many inspiring words. Wishing you both a fantastic 2015 x

Leon Sims said...

Nice winter pics Vera

Vera said...

Tim, aw blessings to you, and hope that lots of good things come your way this year, especially good health, and lots of shared laughter!

rusty duck said...

With best wishes to you both for a happy, healthy year in which much progress is made. But whatever comes your way you will cope with it. That is for sure. Take care x

Ohiofarmgirl said...

happy new year!!! wow that smeggy is a dream! i dont think we have that here but i'll be looking into it. i love how much progress you have made this year. keep up the great work!

Vera said...

Shelly/ Fred, will give you a call to organise something. Meanwhile, hope 2015 is a good year for you both, and hope your flocks and herds of various animals continue to give you joy.

Kerry, glad I managed to inspire you, and hoping that 2015 is tremendously do-able for you.

Leon, thanks, and wishing you a happy and bright 2015.

Jessica, hope the wintry weather is not bashing the bajeezus out of your beautiful garden, and wishing you and your husband many happy and treasured moments during 2015.

OhioFarmGirl, the Smeggy is a range cooker, so not sure what it would be called in the USA. But it is a real work horse and is not just for looks, and for that it has already paid for itself. Hope you are recovering from your meat harvest, and hope 2015 gives you much forward progress on your patch of the world.

Olly said...

Happy new year to you both, Vera - I don't often comment but I read your posts and really enjoy hearing about life at Labartere. Your final comment really resonated with me - this is the year I stop putting off and start doing!

Vera said...

Olly, it is hard to 'go do' but sometimes it is even harder 'not to do', because in the end all that happens is that you go round and round in circles, never getting anywhere. This 'go do' was for me, but I am so glad that the words struck a chord with you as well. Let's both of us 'go do' this year! Vx

Janice said...

The SMEG looks like it is doing a great job. Your new kitchen looks very spacious. Have a great new year and hope things keep moving along the way you want them to.

Horst in Edmonton said...

Sounds like you had a good year Vera, That New kitchen stove is awesome, I wish I had one like that. It's nice to here that everything is working out for you in the small holding. Have a wonderful 2015, bye for now.

Vera said...

Janice, bless you, and I hope that the new year is an excellent one for your too.

Horst, Hi! Hope you had a good Christmas, and wishing you all the best for 2015.