Monday, 24 February 2014

Frugal February.

For the last couple of weeks I have been racking my brains as to how we can save more money around the house.  I have read so many ideas on websites and blogs, but I thought I'd share some of the things that we are already doing in the hope that something may help someone else.

1) Second hand clothing for kids and myself. We are really lucky that we get given lots of hand me down clothes for DD2 and DS.

2) Meal planning and cook from scratch. I try to cook the amount needed to avoid leftovers.

3) Grow as much veggies and fruit as possible.  Preserve gluts of this food by making jam, chutney or freezing. If all else fails feed it to the chooks.

4) Swap/barter for things. I recently swapped homemade jam for some bookcases for my sons bedroom.  But my favourite swap ever was eggs for Eco tampons. That one never fails to raise a smile from others.

5) Looking in skips. Some of the raised beds in my garden as made with wood from a skip, same goes for my garden table.  In the past I have picked up a table lamp from an expensive High Street retailer, complete with a £55.00 price label.
6)This is one that everyone is talking about at this time of year, but keep the central heating turned  down as low as you can cope with.  We have cavity wall and loft insulation, which help a bit.
7) Saving water.  Last year our water company were offering free water saving devices to all of their customers.  I jumped at the chance, and they were fitted for free to. These included tap aerator inserts, aerating shower heads and water saving bags that go in the toilet cisterns (we already had these).  We also only run the dish washer and washing when they are full. Sorry to gross anyone out, but we stick to the old rhythm of "if its yellow let it mellow, if its brown flush it down".  We try to only shower, but sometimes as we all know only a bath will do. We also have a water butt in the garden.  Last month we received our water bill, and our water usage is the same amount as the average two person household.  I was thrilled with that, clue smiley face.
8) Save electric. We don't own  a tumble dryer, many of my friends can not fathom this at all.  Instead I line dry, or hang over the banister or clothes horse.
I would love to hear anyone else's money saving tips.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

New Chookies.

Last summer my five hens decided that they were no longer going to lay eggs for us, but since then we have sadly lost two of the oldest ladies.
So when a Mum at school offered us four more hens, I jumped at the change. My youngest and I went to see the birds on Friday, and WOW they were a bunch of beautiful ladies.  We were over the moon, and bought the birds home to live in our back garden. Sadly my photos are not brilliant, and one lady was a little camera shy.

In the top photo we have a Speckedly and a  White Star.  We have another Speckedly, who's feathers are super soft.  She is a real character, and recently visited our girls school were she was a big hit.  Hopefully our new Speckedly will be as fantastic. We lost our old White Star, they are fantastic layers of pure white eggs.
The bottom photo is a Cream Legbar,  this pretty girl should lay me some blue eggs.  I have wanted one of this breed for a long long time.  My Light Sussex girl managed to escape the camera, but she is equally as lovely as the other three. 
I think that chickens make the most fantastic pet, they can become really tame and give cuddles.  They eat all of the scraps that you have, and bits from the veg garden that you are not going to eat. You can use all of the old bedding and poop to fertilise your vegetable beds.  When I last worked it out their  layers pellets cost less than £1 a week.