The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Reduced stress for Dementia Carers

Posted in Discoveries | 1 comment

Reduced stress for Dementia Carers

(Guest post by Louise Hickman) I’m not alone in this situation, but it often feels like I am. There are 5.4 million carers in the UK, although I’m sure that there are many more but they haven’t acknowledged this to anyone, even themselves. Mum, like our Dad, is gradually slipping into a person that is hard to recognise and sometimes hard to love. The baton of responsibility has passed onto me now and it’s become obvious that I’m the decision maker, reminder service and often the one to get the adverse reaction to taking meds or...

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Pinterest

Posted in Discoveries | 6 comments

Pinterest

When Danny mentioned that I might like to sign up for Pinterest, I wasn’t very keen. “Well what is it exactly?” “People pin images on boards.” He didn’t blink, just tilted his head to one side and added, “It’s very popular with, well, women.” I’ve never been a scrapbook fan. Images on boards? Why on earth would I want to do that? I ignored his suggestion. Then I heard that Pinterest is the fastest growing media site of all time. So I went and had a very brief peek. Even though I’m a visual type of person, I couldn’t...

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How to remove glue from jam jar labels

Posted in Discoveries, Reviews | 23 comments

How to remove glue from jam jar labels

Why is it always the prettiest jam jars that have the most stubborn labels and glue? There’s no chance that they would accidentally peel off and nobody would know what was inside. And when you want to fill them with your own home made preserves they cling to their gluey deposits like stubborn stains. I’m late with my Seville orange marmalade making this year. But I have Sevilles, lemons and sugar at the ready. The real problem has been the jars. In past years I have washed them, dealt with the labels and stored them ready for use....

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Growing the best tomatoes

Posted in Discoveries, Fruit | 11 comments

Growing the best tomatoes

Growing tomatoes is quite easy but growing tomatoes well requires relentsless enthusiasm. Their growing period can last for six or seven months before the first small and fragrant harvest. They are susceptible to blight. If not watered regularly they can fail due to blossom end rot. If you don’t feed weekly when the first flowers appear they will not set much fruit. And of course it’s very hard to remember to nip out every side shoot on cordon tomatoes. And when do you ‘stop them’ (nip off the tops) to finish flower...

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How to easily stop a mixer tap from leaking

Posted in Discoveries, Save Money | 19 comments

How to easily stop a mixer tap from leaking

Mixer taps generally, eventually, share the same problem. They leak from the base of the mixer spout. This has happened to us twice. The first time we foolishly replaced the tap – cost of tap + plumber’s time. The second time I didn’t want to cross the palm of the plumber with cash so I investigated if I could solve the problem myself. I felt a real fool when I discovered that often the leak is caused by worn O rings. The latter are small flexible rubber rings – available from most DIY stores and inexpensive. We rushed down to...

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How About Snail Farming? Guest spot by Helen Howard – the edible snail farmer

Posted in Discoveries | 22 comments

How About Snail Farming? Guest spot by Helen Howard – the edible snail farmer

A few weeks ago I got an email from Helen Howard, the Kent snail farmer. I was intrigued – what did the process actually involve? Why had she started snail farming? Do they need a special diet? Where does she keep them? My brain whirled. We don’t have a large snail population here at the cottage. We are lucky that we have many frogs and a large community of birds living in the garden. When they do appear snails are a menace. The thought of nurturing and breeding them albeit to eventually eat was a wonderful reversal of the traditional...

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Plant trees to invest in the long term future

Posted in Discoveries, Fruit | 11 comments

Plant trees to invest in the long term future

Years ago my friend Sylvia said to me. “The Fosdykes have their 50th anniversary coming up and we’re planning to give them a Judas tree. What do you think?” My head whirled. I had just been given a weeping tree that I did not want. A tree can be a great present if.. a) The person has space and b) The person actually would like that particular tree. So my response was. “Do they have an established garden?” “Well yes.” “Do they have the space for a Judas tree?” “I don’t really know.” Recently my friend Jo pointed out...

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Tasty spring frittata with new potatoes, rocambole, cheese and parsley recipe

Posted in Discoveries, Hedgerow food, Vegetarian | 13 comments

Tasty spring frittata with new potatoes, rocambole, cheese and parsley recipe

Well I finally cracked it. My meat loving partner announced with delight. “That was the best frittata that I’ve ever eaten. I’d be happy to eat it twice a week.” “Did you realise that it was entirely vegetarian?” “No. It was just sublime.” Thoughtful pause. “I don’t care about the meat and still would guzzle this twice a week.” A result! I’m trying to cut down on our meat intake. Healthier and cheaper meals. Delicious is a bonus. The magic ingredient was rocambole . I had never used this before but after I...

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