Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Purchasing thoughts

This month is a designated storecupboard month in this house. I wondered whether I could take it a step further and just buy the oddments that we run out of from the village shop - but I don't think I can. I would be prepared to cope with the increase in prices compared to the supermarkets, for the convenience and lack of other temptation, but the lack of fresh fruit and veggies is going to be our problem. We eat loads of fruit, especially grapes (easy for lunchboxes), apples and satsumas/clementines. The shop is OK for picking up the odd few carrots or potatoes, but I think we will struggle with the fruit.

The other option is to think about the fruit and maybe change some of our ideas. When my uncle was here at the weekend, the conversation at the BBQ got round to him buying fruit and veg - and he just doesn't. When pressed, "What, never?" as one of the girls said, he thought that he probably bought a few oranges around Christmastime each year, but that was it. He eats plenty though - apples, plums, rhubarb, gooseberries, red/blackcurrants, raspberries, pears - all homegrown and preserved by freezing, careful storage of the apples in a cold place, and bottling in the case of the pears - and he is a 69 year old man, and he does it all himself; his bottling is better than mine as his pears are always lovely (we beg for odd jars now and again!) whereas the last lot I did went bad! He is the same with vegetables - he eats what he grows. He does have a very much larger garden than ours, with the added benefit of an orchard, established over 40 years ago - my grandmother had that house built in about 1965, and they planted the garden themselves. This would be the scenario I would like to achieve, but I am realistic in seeing that I don't have the land here to be able to be as self-sufficient as that. I can move closer towards it, though! They used to keep chickens too when I was a child, and much of what I know about chickens is what I learned from my grandmother.

I can't go to his level of production and live off it all this month - that would be impossible. What I can do, though, is use the fruit I have in the freezer in different ways, so that we get our fruit allocation for the day without me buying grapes, oranges, etc. Small hiccup there will be the YFG's inability to eat cooked soft fruits - she just can't. For her, though, I will manage as I have some tinned pineapple and peaches, which she does like.

We'll give it a go and see how we get on.

Other exciting news! Quite a lot actually: we have bought an incubator from ebay so that we can hatch chicks off when we want to, rather than waiting for a hen to go broody - and we'll try to hatch some quail as well. Can't wait for that to get here. Then there are the five rabbits born this morning - the mum is a floppy-eared white rabbit and the dad is a Dutch, so we're hoping they will be well and healthy. And I have just picked the first cucumber in the greenhouse - it's a plant which will produce a lot of little cucumbers rather than big ones, so it is only about 6inches long - we'll be trying that later.

The weather is cooler today so I am hoping that my bean plants will perk up - they have wilted rather in the heat, although they have had copious amounts of water. Perhaps a couple of cooler days will do the trick - fingers crossed.

Better go and hang some washing out.

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