Tuesday, 30 June 2015


At the beginning of the year, I boldly stated that we would attempt to get rid of 1000 items from our house, either by donating, selling or throwing away (after recycling!).

We hardly did anything at the beginning of the year:

January = 36
February = 10
March = 3
April = 0
May = 0
June = 119

As you can see, April and May were desert months where other things were happening, family needs, bad backs etc. You just cannot move in an attic with a bad back!

However, most of June DB brought things down from the attic, for us both to decide on what to do with them. Just when he got started his back became painful again. Thank goodness for Chiropractic treatment yesterday!

I am being particularly brave in getting rid of most craft items as well as all the items from my BA and MA courses that we just don't want. Where they can be recycled they will be, sold if they can be, after that - binned!

We are not going to reach 1000 by the end of the year but if we get even 1/3rd or 1/2 of that figure, it will be good. Less stuff is always good:)

Monday, 29 June 2015

Pride cometh...

Before more hard work!

There we were, pleased with ourselves on how quickly and healthily, we had managed to stack our logs. Then I read on line on how alder needs a longer drying time. As you can imagine, we wished we had read it before stacking!

Anyhow, we spent a good part of yesterday, un-stacking and re-stacking the logs to separate out the alder as much as possible. The odd one or two got missed as you can see below (Alder, on the right, turns more and more orange as the oxygen gets to it:
There was also a load of logs in the garage that were too fat for our burner and they needed splitting using the log splitter (a very good buy!). One or two also needed cutting in half afterwards as they were too long as well.

Eventually, it was all finished and we now have 3 and 3/4's of the main log store filled up ready to dry out over the summer. The logs which are hidden behind the hessian trellis on the left, are from last year and are already dry and ready to use:
DB after lunch, spent a little time sorting out the kindling store, making a lot more room. We just need to top up the pine cone box (one or two carrier bags should do it) and that side of our winter preparations are under way.

We are careful using the logs, not lighting the wood burner until 4pm usually. If not, we would probably need 3 cubic metres of wood. We would just about be able to store the extra but if it comes too it, will do so as it would warm us up more and cheaper than using oil.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Fruit Crumble Cake

Feeling the need of some cake, I looked at Nigel Slater's recipe for Gooseberry Crumble Cake, which can be found here

My gooseberries are not quite ready so I used still frozen damsons and blackberries. Here is the almond sponge in the tin ready for its top layer of fruit:

Topped with the still frozen fruit:

Then the crumble topping:

And cooled after baking:
 It sank a little in the middle but that could have been the fruit being frozen (and I did test it with a skewer which came out clean!).

The almond cake is lovely and would make a nice cake by itself. The crumble for the first day was crisp and crunchy but after being in a tin overnight, had gone soft but was still nice.

All in all, a good cake.

Have a lovely weekend everyone!