Pumpkins, crowbars and autumn leaves
Went to Sharnfold Farm on Wednesday to do some pumpkin carving and go on a Zombie walk with DD1 and DGD. Last year it was freezing cold and pouring with rain. This year it was pleasantly mild and absolutely torrentially raining. My top half was dry with my walking type raincoat, but the coat efficiently channeled the rain down itself and onto the knees of my jeans. Once it had thoroughly soaked those, it went on to soak the rest of the legs, and once it had done that, it just sluiced the rain down my actual legs, bypassing my (waterproof) boots and straight down into my socks. You should have seen the state of the car when we got back home! To say we were wet and muddy would be a bit of an understatement. I spent the rest of the afternoon walking round my daughters house in my knickers with a big pink towel wrapped round my waist to protect my modesty!
Anyway, all that aside, we had a lot of fun. And DGD is 6 now, almost 7, and did the actual carving of the pumpkin herself this year. Hacking away enthusiastically with a teeny little blade come saw. Once we had finished all that, off we went round the farm walk, on the hunt for zombies. Can’t let a bit of rain stop us can we! The piglets were all huddled up in their igloos and were looking out at us, them all snug and warm, and dry, us all sodden and getting cold, no doubt wondering why we were out there, and not in there, with them. The goat had his head in the shelter, and all the rest of him out in the rain, which looked a bit weird! The donkey was standing in his shelter just looking completely cheesed off.
I have a huge pumpkin to use that I got from WI. We have finished the soup I made with Percy Pumpkin, and now I need to crack on and use up the other one. I have gathered lots of recipes for inspiration on the Thrifty Lesley Halloween board. I particularly fancy having a go at the gnocchi, the curd, the risotto and the tea bread. If you have been a-carving, what will you be doing with yours?
Today, DP and I decided we would go off and have a look at the leaves turning at Sheffield Park. What a glorious day it was today. Warm and sunny. It’s difficult to remember on days like today that it will be November on Saturday. This is a picture from their website. There are nearly 700 acres of woodland and park, with lots of lakes too, to poke around in. So many people had the same idea today, and of course, it’s half term as well, that their car park was full, and we had to park down the road by the Bluebell Railway and walk back up the road. Seeing so many people toiling back up the hill, I wasn’t sure how enjoyable it was going to be with so many people swarming everywhere. But it was lovely. Yes, there were lots of people, but the site is so big, it easily swallowed us all up, without pushing us all together cheek by jowl. We had a very pleasant couple of hours getting some exercise in fresh air and sunshine, very uplifting.
When we got back, DP fitted the integrated door on the fridge. I’ll take a couple of pictures soon to show you. There has been a lot of work going on, but not much that a picture can reveal. When DP fitted the freezer, he had that flipping machine in and out of it’s allotted space SO many times! The instructions to fit it and the door were even worse than the Wickes ones for building the unit. One of the problems, he eventually discovered, as he struggled to get everything plumb, was that the back legs of the freezer were dropping off the back part of the unit, throwing out the straight lines.
Both appliances are now fitted and working beautifully. Before this I had a fridge freezer in the kitchen, plus two small freezers in the loft, neither of which were supposed to be being used full time, but both were. One is a small chest freezer that ices up easily and last time I got something out of it, I had to use (literally!) a crowbar to open it as it had welded itself shut! I decanted that one and the downstairs one into the new one, made a new inventory of the contents and am making concerted efforts to use things up. There are only two of us for goodness sake, and we are unlikely to undergo a siege any time soon, even though I seem to have squirreled away enough supplies to survive one . I haven’t helped matters by getting some chicken breasts yesterday from a supplier in Eastbourne recommended by SIL. They sell wholesale quantities, so I came away with 5kg of chicken breasts, at £20, which is a very good price. Not happy meat though of course. Plus I was also tempted to get a massive lump of mature cheddar, 5kg for £12. Both chicken and cheese now wrapped and stashed.
Today, I had some turkey and bean soup at lunchtime, from supplies, and I made a chicken casserole in the slow cooker using a solitary chicken breast kicking about in the freezer and an ancient chicken leg (which I much prefer). I did think I was going to be using two chicken breasts. But the chicken breast cut up into chunks that I had got out to use, turned out to actually be apple pieces! So I had to hastily locate the chicken leg to use. The apple pieces were added to the slow cooker as well of course.
The old fridge freezer will be going to DD1 to help with her fledgling baking business. She is a very good baker and tempts me every time I go down with her latest creations, the blighter. DGD is trying to make up her mind what she would like for her birthday cake, but keeps changing her mind. Whatever she decides, it’s bound to be a challenge!
Take care of your family and your budget
Before putting together the meal planners, Lesley surveyed what was needed. Of the existing 14 meal plans, most are for 2 people so can be sized up or down. Others are for 1, or 4 people