Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Strange Times Week 4 Post 2

It felt very odd to go  out shopping yesterday - first big supermarket shop for nearly 3 weeks - the roads between home and Diss were quieter but not empty and I arrived in Morrisons car park to find it a lot less than half full.
I was expecting to join a queue - as seen on TV - but was ushered straight in - although there was a queue and a bloke with a clicking counter thing counting me out later. The shop had plenty of food and everything else on the shelves but still no yeast except some sachets of extra quick yeast for hand baking that I'll  use for Hot Cross Buns which will make my other yeast last longer - still have enough for several more loaves.
A few people shopping were wearing masks - I haven't got one but kept well away from other people in the aisles and several people were wearing gloves - which I had got.There were lots of staff around unpacking trolleys full of stuff and doing the Home Delivery picks - none had masks or gloves and it was difficult to keep well out of their way.

I had a craving for Chinese food which seems rather ironic! and splurged on something from their chilled section. (Judge me if you like!) but my main reason for going was for fresh fruit and vegetables and cat food.......... plenty  available. Funny how it almost feels like having to justify going out and buying food now.

Next shopping trip in about 3 weeks if I can make everything last.

The postman brought a letter from my penfriend on a windy Scottish island (Hi W 👋) and a lovely pressie from Youngest Daughter (a Mothers day gift ) it was an Arthur fob to add to my key ring which she got for me last year. 

My key ring is getting heavier..................... but I love it.

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Monday, 6 April 2020

Strange Times Week 4 and Stinging Nettles

My small battery strimmer isn't man enough for some jobs so this year no one will cut down the stinging nettles, and I don't mind that at all as they provide vital food for some butterflies while they are in the  caterpillar stage. There aren't many nettles here really, just along the top of the ditch in a few places. But BiL would have zoomed through them with the big petrol strimmer - just like Colin would have done in the past. Neither of them would have taken a bit of notice of me saying "can you leave a few nettles"!

Lacking fresh veg I decided to pinch out a few nettle tops and use them in an omelette as a change from the wild garlic.   They were blanched by pouring boiling water over them twice - tested to check the  stinging-ness had gone then chopped up and added to two eggs.

Turns out they are totally tasteless - but all that green-ness must be good for you.....right?
I investigated........

 This is from the middle book - 'Nature in Your Basket'. I picked out a few relevant bits.............

Urtica dioica
 People and nettles are old companions. Wherever the soil has been enriched by the refuse of human settlement - there will be nettles. They have very high levels of Vitamin A and C, 2.3% by weight of iron and a remarkable 5.5% of protein.
Pick the young tops between March and June.
Mankind has been using nettles from Prehistoric times. During the WWII nettles were harvested to supply chlorophyll for medicines. 

The page above mentions the soup made in a BBC TV series "Living in the Past" from many years ago when a group of families lived in a replica of an Iron Age Farm Settlement.
When I read this I had to go and look at my copy of the book which was an amazing find from somewhere ( I can usually remember where I found a treasure but this alludes me.)
The series was made in the late 70's and through one of the wettest summers ever. The families spent a lot of the time wading through mud and never having enough to eat.

Meanwhile the weekend here was lovely, sunny but too windy for sitting out!

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Saturday, 4 April 2020

Strange Times Week 3 Post 3

Toast and marmalade is my go-to breakfast - and now it's usually between 9 and 10am, with a cup of frothy coffee - while I still have some in the cupboard.  I'm up every morning by 7.30 - thanks to Polly cat, but usually don't want anything to eat that early. This is all so different to the early smallholding years when we had a cuppa about 6 o'clock, then outside to milk and feed goats, check the sheep and let out the chickens, then back in again for breakfast and for Colin to be off before 8 and to get the children up, fed and out to catch the school bus at 8.30..............it seems a Very Long time ago now as I dawdle and potter around the house alone with no rush.
Accepting the situation we are in is much easier than moaning and I'm all for the easy life! and I've settled into a pattern of not hurrying with anything. My quiet life in Suffolk is even quieter although I do try and do something useful everyday - hence the marmalade below
 Several weeks ago I bought a tin of orange marmalade concentrate. I would have preferred a tin of the prepared lemon because my last batch was orange, but only Lakeland sell the lemon and I wasn't going to Ipswich, so orange it had to be.
Thanks to the Approved Food sugar I was able to get this made and, by adding a tin of grapefruit, rustled up 7¾ jars of Orange and Grapefruit Marmalade.....delicious. I have to admit to never making marmalade from Seville oranges and I never will while the tins are available.

This week I've also planted out the rest of the potatoes,  sown pumpkin, courgette and squash seeds and then peppers for the 3rd time. 3rd time lucky hopefully  - as  it will soon be too late.
And on dry days when I walk up and down the meadow I come in with a good bundle of sticks for lighting the wood-burner. A simple job but satisfying.

When I saw a Weetabix Loaf mentioned on a blog ( just a couple of days ago but I've already forgotten who and where - sorry but Thank you.) I remembered the pack in the cupboard ready for the Easter visit from oldest grandson which isn't going to happen.
It was so simple and tastes delicious...........I like simple and delicious!
2 Weetabix                                                      )
1 Cup Sugar - or a bit less as it's quite sweet )               All these into a bowl, mix and leave to
1 Cup Sultanas                                                )               soak overnight in the fridge.
1 Cup Milk                                                      )

Next day add one beaten egg and 1 Cup of SR Flour and stir well together. Pour into a lined loaf tin and cook at 150C for 50 minutes. (I used Mk 4 on gas because I forgot to look at conversion chart and most things are OK on 4!)

This week I'm so grateful for
  • Another week staying well
  • An improving weather forecast
  • Food in the cupboards. 
  • Quiet roads for cycling exercise

It's over two weeks since I went to Asda and 12 days since I got some fruit from the Co-op - I think I'm allowed to  head out for fresh fruit and veg next week to make a change from dried, tinned and frozen.

Hope everyone has a good weekend - enjoy the warmth and sunshine at home!

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