Thrifty Lesley in Russian
Fritters, Soup, Gloves and Karen Millen

imageWe live in a typical 50’s style bungalow with 2 bedrooms, one of which I use to work in and is stuffed full of all kinds of, erm, stuff.

There is a decent sized kitchen, which somehow still can’t manage to hold a dining table, and a medium sized sitting room. The dining table is in there, and when we have people over, it has to be pulled out into the middle of the room. It all feels very awkward and it puts me off asking people over. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind, I wouldn’t if the situation was reversed, but I do mind. Anyway, we are building on 4 metres to the back of the house, and will knock the back wall of the kitchen down to create a lovely family kitchen/diner. It was all supposed to be watertight by September, when the weather would turn, but events conspired against us and it didn’t happen that way. Consequently, we have been trying to do it through the winter. Mike has been struggling to get out there and do anything with all this blasted rain. Finally today, he could do a little bit, and putting on the roof is now in sight. I can’t wait!

We are going to create the space and then decide how to fit it out. The kitchen fittings will probably stay more or less where they are as I want to have a dining space in the new part, and not fill it up with too many things. Mike made a beautiful solid oak refectory table for a long narrow room where we used to live. That is stored in the summer house and will go down one side of the new space. He made benches to either side as well, but is now talking about having chairs instead.

A sofa will go down the other side. It is a south facing garden, so it will be a lovely light, sunny room, and I think I will spend most of my time in the new space once it is in place.

I would like to change the kitchen units. They are from the 1970’s, and getting very tatty. We have lived here 7 years now, and I know when they date from as the previous owner left the receipt for them in a drawer. I don’t know quite what he expected us to do with it 🙂

The little bit of sun we have had yesterday and today has had me wanting to rush out and sow things. You can just see my little greenhouse in the picture.

I sowed broad beans

broad beans Feb 2014

peas

peas Feb 2014

spring onions and leeks

seeds Feb 2014

I have been nursing a chilli plant all winter on my not very light kitchen window sill. I chanced it yesterday and put it out in the greenhouse, in the hopes that it would like it better out there. It has lots of flowers on it at the moment and I am hoping an insect or two will find it and fertilise them. I saw a Red Admiral butterfly yesterday! Goodness knows what induced it to come out from wherever it had been, it wasn’t that warm 🙂

image

I need to use the last of the leeks, before they start growing big cores.

leeks Feb14

The rhubarb is starting to grow, and you can see from the puddle in the picture, just how wet the garden is. It’s solid clay, with springs running under it.

rhubarb Feb14

rhubarb 2 Feb14

Some people manage to grow salads in their greenhouse over winter, but I’ve never managed to. I sowed some radish seeds in October last year, and this is the entire crop 🙁   – Two radishes! Think I’ll stick to the summer ones.

radishes 2014I sowed some more watercress today as that does very well here, and rocket too grows in abundance. I shall crop and freeze a lot more of that this summer, and parsley too, as it was lovely to use it in the autumn when the fresh stuff had died down, and rocket pesto is divine!

gloves after washingThe gloves dried out beautifully after their recent wash. They are just as soft as they ever were. However, because I had been very careful when I washed them, the finger tips were still in need of a clean. So I washed them again this morning, this time dunking them in a basin of warm water with a little Dreft added and gave them a gentle squeeze. Alarming amounts of colour came out in the water, as it did last time. But they seemed ok last time, so I am pretty confident they will be this time as well. I shall put them on my hands to shape them in a while, when they have dried out a little more.  After this experiment, I am happy to recommend Miss Thrifty’s surprising tip – you can simply wash leather gloves using a little soap and water. Amazing!

I am off to the pictures with a friend in a bit. We are going to the 5:30 showing of The Book Thief, and afterwards, we’ll repair to the Italian run restaurant opposite. It’s also the monthly WI lunch club tomorrow and we are going to the Buxted Inn in, yes, Buxted. It’s a cracking pub to eat in, very set up for meals rather than drinking. Modern European cuisine, friendly attentive people – and just ask my friend about the scallops, she goes into raptures over them 😉

It was the WI garden group yesterday which has become so popular that we now have to book a place in order to go. We met at a members house and had a look round her lovely garden at the hellebores, which she loves and has lots of.  Someone talked about chitting potatoes and sowing peas and beans, and I took a new minarette tree I have in a pot, waiting to be planted. It’s a pear, a Beurre Hardy. I told them about how this type of tree grows, and how to prune it, what types of fruit you can get and just how productive they are, and where to get them.  We veggie growers are asserting ourselves in the group 😉

I get very excited this time of year, watching out for the new growth, planning what I am going to plant. The garden is in a bit of a state with the building stuff, but I shall get out there soon and have a tidy up blitz

Are you going to grow anything this year? Do you have any outside space you can use, or a window sill for herbs?

Any tips for fellow gardeners?

I bought masses of coconut milk powder and mango pulp from Approved Foods this week, so I am looking for other recipes to use it in. I have found a couple of ideas I like the look of, so I’ll give them a go and let you know what happens

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Thrifty Lesley in Russian
Fritters, Soup, Gloves and Karen Millen
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