Last nights dinner was supposed to be baked potatoes but instead we chopped the spuds into chips, laid them out on a shallow baking tray, drizzled them with a splash of olive oil and sprinkled with mixed herbs and freshly ground pink himalayan salt, popped the baking tray in the oven around 200 C / 400 F and 20 minutes later, Bob’s your uncle, delicious bowl of healthy chips.

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We also looked at our power consumption. Our youngest went back to uni a few days ago so with just GD and I here we turned the central heating off. We found that by lighting candles around the cottage and using  terracotta pot warmers,

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we could notch up an extra 2 degrees room temperature, bringing it up from a chilly 17 C degree to a respectable 19 C degree, with a little layering up on the clothing GD and I have both felt a little healthier and less lethargic than waking up to central heating.

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The Ikea lanterns we have dotted around the house are great too because they are safe, can be hung and the bottoms don’t get hot, they take a decent sized pillar candle 16 cm  ( 6 1/4″)  x  7.5 cm (3″ ) of which GD and I make many from scrap wax the family gather for us during the year.

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This morning when we woke up we laid snuggled under our lovely indian mandala deep orange bedspread and listened to the wind and could see all the seagulls just riding the air current. There was no central heating buzz, which was great as I am still suffering from ringing in the ears, it was good to only have natural noises like the gull cries to contend with.

At the moment the bath tap won’t give hot water, but we are so grateful to have a hot shower that does work and I just stood under the shower letting the pitter patter fall on the back of my eardrum, no kidding it was bliss.

Next job was the washing, all the laundry liquid had gone, but I still have a packet of soap nuts  which are brilliant, a little dash of white vinegar with a few drops of lemon essential oil and who needs laundry liquid. To use soapnuts

  1. Place 4-5 soap nuts (hard water area), 3-4 (soft water), in a reusable wash bag or a spare sock and tie closed.
  2. Put it in with the laundry and wash as normal.
  3. Remove the bag at the end of the wash and set aside to dry or do another load.
  4. Re use up to 10 times or until they start to disintegrate,  then they can be added to the compost, but not fed to a wormery, add new soap nuts to the bag and start again.

Soapnuts help keep us from polluting our waters with synthetic chemicals and they are so economical to use, a machine load costs around 3-4 pence. People have used soap nuts for thousands of years across the East, in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and China they have been gathered,( also called soap pods) and used for washing clothes as well as for multitudes of other uses.

‘Hot water dissolves the plant saponins which are in very high concentrations in the sapindus mukorossi soapnut. Saponins are a natural surfactant which reduce surface tension of water, making water ‘wetter’ and allowing it to penetrate the clothing fibers lifting dirt, grime and oil from the clothes. The surfactants then hold onto the dirt, keeping it in suspension in the water until it is drained away. During the rinse cycle, normally with cold water, no more soap is released, meaning that when the clothes are dry, they are completely fragrance free and soft’. says natural spa supplies  u.k

I do like to know how things work.

Soapnuts are also good for washing up with and you can use soda crystals to soak really stubborn greasy pans, use with some wire wool,  works really well, much better than a brillo pad. Not there yet though we still have two bottles of eco friendly wash up liquid left.

To make washing up liquid add 10 soapnuts to a  jar and 1 litre of hot tap water. Shake and leave to soak and when water turns brown the soap has been extracted. Use liquid as needed and when jar is empty replenish with hot water. You can keep doing this until no soap is present in the soap nuts.

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Next we are dehydrating some of the apples we got given last night.

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We didn’t have a lemon to spray the apples with to stop them turning brown, but we googled it and apparently lemon is not an essential and some even prefer their apples dried without.To be honest ours don’t seem to be turning very brown anyway and we are now a good few hours into drying, perhaps different varieties turn out different.

We have a friends birthday coming up so we thought it would be nice to make her a card, so we printed out a photograph of us together on their last visit, I think it makes it special and I have enjoyed thinking about our friendship while I have been working on it

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I remember having dinner at a friends house when I was a girl and I was amazed by the lovely dinner table she had laid out just for me and my friend, when I remarked how pretty everything was she said to me “it does not matter what food you have, whether it is fit for a king or a pauper’s meal, if the table is laid out, then every meal is a celebration”.

So breakfast today was homemade bread and marmalade.P1050593.JPG

Lunch turkey curry, greens and rice.

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Tonight cheese and crackers.

Tomorrow  we have our son and daughter in law over after school, they are teaching assistants and we will be having veggie sausages, eggs from our chicken and baked beans and we have banana bread from the freezer defrosting if anyone is hungry later. Just a few stocks left in the shed freezer now. Just the little kitchen one to go.

Tonight am so looking forward to relaxing around a small wood fire in the living room, next we want to find some wood to forage, but for now we have some in our store box.

 

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