Thursday, 31 October 2019

The Last Day of October..............

...............Financial Ins and Outs..................and pumpkin pictures.

All Hallows Eve or Halloween as we say nowadays, a night of pumpkins and ghosts, witches and spooks. It's Samhain if you follow the Old Ways and The Night of the Dead - the most unpredictable night of the year - so if you are out and about with children trick or treating - take care!

This time last year I wrote about the year we grew giant  pumpkins at the smallholding. 

This photo that shows how big they were.....Col sitting on the biggest of all the giants.

This is the photo I put on the blog last year with all five giant pumpkins, taken the year before Colin was diagnosed with Lymphoma. It was much easier growing normal sized ones, they didn't need shifting with tractor and trailer!

A load of normal sized pumpkins from several years before the photo above when we still had a grey Fergie tractor and  older trailer

 Anyway............back to this year and October whizzed by as all months seem to do nowadays. There was some pretty grotty weather on several days, but luckily the weekend when Eldest Daughter and Jacob were staying was perfect for getting out and about.
I got a few outside jobs done including cleaning the greenhouse glass, inside and outside. Weeding the asparagus bed, cutting back the  holly hocks and Alstromeria in the Cutting garden (and at last after three tries the Alstromeria (Peruvian lilies) have taken hold and spread). Unfortunately they are all the same colour - pink - unlike the patch I grew for selling at the smallholding which were mixed oranges and shades of red. I've never seen similar plants for sale since then.

In October there was the usual income....... County Council Spouses pension, bits of interest on savings, repayments from family  plus £10 for books sent to Ziffit

The expenses during the month included
  • All the usual things - food for me and the cat, diesel for the car, phones and charity direct debits
  • Chimney sweep £60 - and he put the new fire bricks inside the wood burner for me.
  • I went slightly mad and bought clothes (new and secondhand) and boots. The boots were from Hotter and were a special offer reduced by a few pounds......and how annoying is it that on the day after I ordered them another email popped up with a "extra 10% off on top of the previous reduced price - this weekend only"! Now I've got one pair of boots and one pair of shoes for winter it should make them last that how it works?
  • Bought some new even lower energy candle bulbs for my living room lights after one went pop.
  • Treated the family to lunch out - my favourite thing to do when we are all together.
  • Son's Birthday present
  • A sheepskin cover for my bike seat
  • New jars and lids for more hamper presents
  • My regular once-a-month-pick-up-prescription-on -the-same-day-as-the-pensioners-fish-and- chip-cheap-lunch treat for £3.50
  • Septic tank emptying - £99 this year.
  • Paying for the labour for gate fixing.(Gate pictures to follow)

Still Clearing Out...................
Lots of old plastic clothes hangers into the bin
Old pair of slip on sandals into bin
Emptied out some various bottles of spray things that were in the greenhouse, left here by Mrs F and put bottles into recycling.
Craft bits to charity shop
Odd children's books and few toys ditto
Some reference books that I've not needed to charity shop

Frugal things?
Hardly any boot sales due to wet weather!
Last of the tomatoes and final cucumber during the first week of October
Using breadmaker for bread and malt loaf
Made a hanger for my "fishing float" using cheap jute string
Mixing milk with water.
A few  pears from the garden
Cheap apples from boot sale.
Gift of a book from publishers

At one time there was a blog thing of No-Spend November which I've tried but something always happens to put the kibosh on it so this November I'll not bother.
There are no regular bills due but I'd better get 500 litres of heating oil and there are Christmas things to organise. I try to spread the buying through the year but November and December are the spendiest months.

Thanks to everyone for comments yesterday - there were so many on what I thought was a dull post about LPG!
Replying here
  • As Colin was in and out of hospital when we moved here, it was left up to me to choose and organise the cooker. When I found one that fitted in exactly - so saving me having to think about a  cupboard of some sort to fill the space. I decided to ignore the cost and get the double oven range! I didn't regret it!
  • The cooker stands in what was once the fireplace in the old part of the house. Although the wood beam isn't the original as that was lower and the previous owners cut it out and put a new beam above. The old beam is now the mantel shelf  in the living room.
  • The LPG cylinders last longer than they used to  because of having the bread maker and my lack of enthusiasm for cooking much for myself. I think I use  3 a year now.
  • I've been changing over cylinders for years, although not shifting the 45kg ones that we had everywhere before here!
  • The grill is the top right door and bottom left is a drawer. I don't use the grill much because I hate washing it up as it's so large.
  • I do try and reply to comments but some days just don't have time and that's the same reason for not leaving comments on every blog I read which would be just as difficult - actually impossible as it would leave no time for writing my blog! 
  • The hob has four normal burners - 1 large, 2 medium and 1 small  plus a double wok burner. Which is really good for stirfries.
  • The Nan's Kitchen sign was a lovely Mothers Day present from Son and DiL last year

Back Tomorrow



  1. It has been a very speedy - and rainy - month, that's for sure. I love pumpkins. We only managed to grow one teeny, tiny white one this year, but I was happy with that.

    1. I might try growing some white pumpkins next year- no idea why as I'm not keen on the taste - but they look so good

  2. They're amazing pumpkins but growing them for sale must have been quite hard work at times.
    A lovely photo of Col.

    1. Planting out the little plants was the worst bit and we would then cover the rows with the white enviromesh stuff until they got going, we couldn't water as they were out on the field so had to rely on the weather

  3. Love the pictures of the pumpkins and Col sat on top of that monster. I must confess now and say I've never grown a pumpkin, we always grow winter squash instead, Maybe I should be nice to the kids and grow some next year they can carve out!
    We filled our heating oil in the summer (a bit cheaper in the summer months) and the lady on the phone asked where I went last time. She couldn't believe we'd made it last as long as we did! Two and a bit years on a tank full. I have a friend that uses twice as much as that in a year! Wood helps with that one though, can't wait until the kids are big enough to split it unsupervised!

    1. This year my 5 butter nut squash plants only produced about 9 squash between them. I fancy trying white pumpkins next year

  4. Goodness Sue... they were massive pumpkins...we had a family pumpkin growing competition this year...hubby's largest one rotted before weighing and measuring day, and our only other one left is oblong and small...but I'll still be carving it later on...I have tried to love pumpkin recipes...but am resigned to expanding the compost heap later. We just don't like the texture at all. xx

    1. They were certainly a talking point when we had them on the trailer in the front drive. We watched cars slowing down and looking and some people stopped for photos

  5. I love the photos of the pumpkins. My daughter went to see a pumpkins display on a field she said it was lovely lots of children around and lots of displays they children can see. She does a display outside her front door and gives little gifts for the children. It looks a nice day here so plan on finishing the bulbs.
    Hazel c uk

    1. It was always difficult to know how many pumpkins we'd grown until all the leaves and stems died off leaving a field full of orange blobs

  6. Love the photo of |Col on his giant pumpkin. That trailer full of little pumpkins is impressive too.

    Every year in Great Haseley near Jointers Farm where we used to live, they have a big giant pumpkin competition at the village pub and yes, the competitors really struggle to get some of the entries there to be weighed.

    1. It took the front forks of the tractor to lift the big one

  7. Those pumpkins are fantastic. Tom's eyes would pop out of his head if I brought one of those home for him to carve! xx

    1. I feel sorry for however bought - all the insides to use up!(or chuck out)

    2. That should say..... whoever bought them

  8. Those were some pumpkins!!!!!!! -smile-

    This is certainly a very full post! It must have taken quite a long time to write.

    Have a Happy Halloween and Blessed Samhain....

    😊 😊 😊 😊

    1. I type fast nowadays after all the practice and add bits as the days go by!

  9. What on earth did you feed those pumpkins on, they were huge.

    1. We were given the seeds for these giant pumpkins from a friend and they were just out on the field - no extra care to the normal size ones - we were quite surprised at the size!

  10. Wow they are amazing pumpkins! I am hoping to grow some next year, but I want to grow edible ones, as I really miss having roast pumpkin which is quite a common addition to roasts in NZ. I'd also make soup etc... but it would be fun to also try growing some huge ones I think.

    October has really gone past. What a thorough post, a great way to document the month.

    1. I grow butternut squash now - much tastier than pumpkin although I fancy growing some white pumpkins next year

  11. That is what I call a pumpkin - a handy garden seat too! I love your monthly round ups. I can't say I have done anything frugal this month - but always keep trying. I might have even managed to get a library fine this month if they still isued them - luckily they now renew them automatically for you - presume it is too costly to chase people for the money.