December Dreaming (Stock take)

What a funny time of year it is. We get up and its dark, we come home and its dark. The days are cold and short. The trees are bare, the rivers freeze and everything natural seems to sleep. Winter is upon us, but compared to last year it has been soo mild. The animals seem pretty chipper, Mac and Flow are still sun bathing in  the middle of the day, and the drinking water has only frozen over a few times. Last year we had thick snow by now, so we are feeling lucky.

The darkness, and lack of outdoor living do bring my mood down a little. It seems so much more healthy to be outside all evening, turning the soil and tending the plants and animals. Something in our DNA longs for this. The winter forces us inside, and ultimately (sadly) in front of the idiots lantern. I  am knitting and spinning, but not as much as I would like. I have taken up swimming 3 times a week to keep my body fit and healthy and ready for the activity that it will no doubt have to be up for in the spring and summer. I am managing to swim a mile or so.work stress and swimming seem to be good for me, I am 1/2 stone lighter than in my summer skin.

The above and below points were both discussede last year.

I am writing to track a little of what has happened to our winter fruit and veg stocks. Amazingly we still have fresh salad. The leaves that Becs planted in the polytunnel, are living on. We have picked salad by torch-light for the past few nights. The leeks are fantastic, and we are eating 4-6 leeks a week. The onions didn’t store that well, but we still have plenty that have made it through the autumn. The cooking apples are fine, but the eating apples turned late November. The french beans have frozen fine, and are lasting but have lost a lot of their joi de vive through the freezing process, and I am wondering if I will do them again next year. We still have loads of raspberries.

I am still able to use our own pumpkins as well. So in terms of veg, we are still pretty much self sufficient. In terms of fruit, I am able to supplement our packed lunches with pots of raspberries and rhubarb, and cook baked apples stuffed with cinnamon and brown sugar in the evenings.  We have run out of roasted tomatoes sauce..This was really useful, and I will make loads more of this next year.Our shopping bills are still lowish.

We have meat coming out of our ears but some of this is due to the amazing roadkill find.  We are getting 2 – 3 eggs a day.

Christmas is coming very fast, my sloe gin maybe the only homemade present I have to give this year, which is a bit rubbish, but still….this way of  life is marathon, not a sprint….there is always next Christmas.

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