Home from Home

So, I am off to the UK for a month.

This has put some extra strain on our dwindling funds. Needing time off and costs and cost-of-living in England being much higher. No complaints though, I am happy to spend some much need and overdue time with my folks.

My partner is in charge of watering plants, but am delaying planting new seeds until my return. I have a few things to share but keep forgetting what I have and haven’t posted.

The most exciting thing is the transformation of our barren terrace, full of cement and dust and stone, into a mini-Eden. We’ve got some flowers in to attract insects, we now have some spiders and beetles in residence and get daily visits from bees. We’ve put out bird seed and get frequent visits from a local bird similar to Blue Tits, Sparrows and a female Black Bird.

I’ve given up on home-made soap, it costs more money and time than supporting a local small business. I’d put tinfoil/card insulators behind the radiators during the early winter, before switching heating off.

What else did I need to say?

I’ve still to properly hang the bat boxes and we are now looking to make a bird bath and some bird houses. We’re willing to have more wildlife friendly plants and flowers until we become better at growing crops.

We’ve found some of the funds we needed but are still too short. Sorry to end on a negative note, but I best get back to packing.

Not wanting to end there, here’s some photos I’ve not yet shared:

B-Day

Yesterday I updated my budget, something I still do in a spreadsheet and will continue to do until our loan is paid off……

Sometimes these quick checks help bring a smile to my face. When realising we’ve got a few more pennies than I’d thought. Then there are those times when I end up feeling physically sick with apprehension.

Yesterday was a dizzy-sick day. Somehow we need to find ourselves €1,000 to survive through ’til June. Come June we’ll be back in the black, having either a few euros spare or have that 1k saved up.

The problem is that between now and then we will be one thousand overdrawn, and without an agreed overdraft. Yikes!! :(

Thankfully we hadn’t got our new sofa yet, as the situation would be even worse.

The problem with getting paid in the middle of the month has reared its ugly head once more. Too many bills to pay weeks before I have the money to do so.

The problem with trying to go ‘moneyless’? There’s not really anything left to cut and try save a few pennies or cents.

I have just six weeks to find €887.

The Grim & The Good

I’m about 10 minutes into Peter and the Farm, what I thought would be a nice chilled morning viewing. A rare treat for me to watch some telly. And well, I’m horrified!

If my commitment to vegetarianism was at risk of wavering, it’s now firmly glued into place…

As I’m writing this the farmer is now discussing seeds, so I’ll stick with it. Not exactly a quick end for that poor sheep. This farmer follows organic methods, but not apparently the idealised (or humane?) view of them.

Still, I’m not one to judge. I’ve been out spending money this week. My brother and sister-in-law are coming to visit and I wanted to show that we’re not turning into hippies.

My family aren’t critical or judgemental, yet I was concerned about word getting back to mum of us living in ‘poverty’. Second-hand news is the one second-hand thing I like to avoid. When she and dad come out later this year, I can show them how things really are.

I am trying to balance things a little, and not jump in the deep-end of consumerism.

I got some scented candles, vegetable based, from a local shop that has been making candles for 100 years or more. I ‘m looking to buy a sofa too, i’s one of the cheaper ones I’ve seen and fits our current views and goals perfectly.Well, excluding the 400€ price tag.

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It’s made from old mattresses. The man selling it, along with many other upcycled items, assured me it has been thoroughly steam cleaned. Something I hadn’t even thought about. The little shop has a nice collection of things; typewriter-lamps, suitcase-chairs, clock-tables and much more.

Better yet, is that the items are made by people with learning difficulties and mental disabilities. And even better is that the sale of the items will provide a salary for the workers. This is the kind of buying we should all aim for. When our money helps to empower others and with as little harm to the environment as possible.
The blogspot is fildeferro.

We’ve been buying ‘luxury’ foods too, some cheeses and wines but we’ve be sticking with the five rules I explained in The Big Update.

I’ve also sacrificed some planting space for flowers, tired of bare earth and wanting to feel inspired to get back out into the garden more. I may regret this, if diseases and bugs become a problem. For now though, they have helped keep me busy outside and still leave plenty of space for early season crop-plants.

One last plant, was a heart-shaped cactus. A little gift for my hubby as a thanks for his understanding and willingness to live the way I want. I couldn’t resist a new pot for it either, made from ceramic but designed to look like a crumpled/discarded paper cup.

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That for me has such a significant meaning, a message so powerful. We throwaway so much without care or consideration for the energy needed to make it and what will happen to it next.

 

And finally, a few pics of my new compost bin. :D

Windy Day

We’re having an awfully gusty afternoon, which is undoing all of yesterday’s work. Newly potted plants on plant stand; blown over with broken pots, scattered soil and bent stand.

Mother Nature obviously disapproved!

I’m off to the shop for one more bag of soil tomorrow, winds allowing, that should be the last we need. Now to get sowing!

Spring has arrived somewhat early on our terrace with flowers bloomin’ and our cabbage and lettuces happily growing. The chives and parsley have sprung back to life too. The raspberry, blueberry, roses and many of our bulbs are budding and leafing like mad. Our lavender has even recovered and put out flowers.

We’ve more decorative plants and flowers than much else right now, but I’m set to get things back in favour of edible crops. That’s if the weather doesn’t decide to blow or wash away anything else.

I always used to love autumn, but this time of year is much more magical and beautiful. Both in the garden and out in nature.

I’ll have to leave it there for now, need to batten down more pots. I will post a few photos of the garden/terrace sometime later today or tomorrow.