The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Bosch Rotak 40 electric rotary lawn mower: a review

Posted in General care, Reviews | 13 comments

Bosch Rotak 40 electric rotary lawn mower: a review

We bought the Bosch Rotak 40 electric lawnmower to replace our ancient petrol engine model. Read how well it performed on our bumpy lawn and how well it coped with the ovegrown bits.

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Chicken thighs recipe roasted with red onions

Posted in Chicken | 11 comments

Chicken thighs recipe roasted with red onions

Roast chicken thighs were never something I looked forward to, or could ever countenance as I prefer white chicken meat and always avoid brown. That was a fact until we tried this amazing recipe that was posted on the forum by Shereen, who lives near Belfast. She credits her sister in law, JennyB. Well congratulations to you both because you have converted this chicken thigh hater to a chicken thigh enthusiast. This is really is a wonderful and economical recipe that punches way above its weight. The thighs magically convert to white meat...

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Companion planting: flowers with vegetables

Posted in General care, Pests and Diseases | 8 comments

Companion planting: flowers with vegetables

It’s all very well growing 2000 flower plants but having started planting them out in the herbaceous borders it was clear that I was quickly running out of space. Some of my large swathes of perennial plants just had to go. I cut the more rampant ones back and dumped the ones that I didn’t like 100%.  I also took a long hard look at the shadier border that I’ve never really bothered with and moved any plant that can cope with semi shade to that location. But still I didn’t have enough space. Then I had a brain wave. If marigolds are...

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Turnip Oasis: a review

Posted in Reviews, Vegetables, Vegetables and Sides, Vegetarian | 18 comments

Turnip Oasis: a review

Last year Danny was surprised how much he enjoyed raw home grown cauliflower and raw courgette (zucchini) in salads. This year I thought I’d tickled his taste buds further by introducing him to raw home grown turnip. I’m not a big fan of turnips – they are fine in a winter stew but I’d been seduced by the description of turnip Oasis on the Thompson and Morgan site. Turnip Oasis is a new variety of turnip and when eaten raw has the taste of a melon. Danny was dubious about it. “Why would I want my turnips to taste of melon? I want...

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How to clean your gardening tools with ease

Posted in Discoveries, General care | 7 comments

How to clean your gardening tools with ease

What do you think this is? Well it’s not a bucket going to a fancy dress party dressed as a cardinal. This old metal bucket with the broad lid from a rainproof chicken feeder has transformed the dull process of cleaning my new gardening tools at the end of the day. In the past mud clung to the hand forged tools. An oily rag worked 90% if I was not too impatient for my supper. But my cleaning process wasn’t efficient. When you are tired a quick clear up/clean up is an essential part of garden happiness. Then Paula, who writes the...

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Forum temporarily unavailable

Posted in Cottage tales | 14 comments

Hi everybody – Danny here. After installing the up-to-date versions of software early this morning, some problems developed around noon and our server was out of action for about two hours. In order to identify the element that is causing trouble, we have temporarily shut down the forum and other more minor features. We will observe the health of the system over the next 24 hours and gradually reinstate each disabled element in turn. Apologies for the interruption to normal service. Similar Articles (probably)Our online shop is now up! Ho

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Haddock baked with lemon and Greek basil served with pickled nasturtium seed butter recipe

Posted in Fish and Seafood | 4 comments

Haddock baked with lemon and Greek basil served with pickled nasturtium seed butter recipe

  “Do you remember we used to use Jamie Oliver’s method of cooking fish in aluminium parcels? Let’s do that for supper tonight.” We used to use this method a lot a few years ago. It’s simple and quick and the foil seals in the flavours. Danny had found some CFC haddock marked down to a third of the original price so he snapped it up. All afternoon I played mentally with combinations of flavours and eventually ran them past Danny as he lay on the swing seat enjoying the sun. “Haddock with black butter and pickled nasturtium...

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Update on Baby: tackling bullying in our flock of chickens

Posted in Chickens | 18 comments

Update on Baby: tackling bullying in our flock of chickens

  Baby our diminutive cockerel is still very small. He has a sweet nature but his brain seems to match his size. The only time that I’ve seen him trying to take a dust bath was on a rainy day – no wonder he looks very tatty compared to the rest of the flock. This tattyness set off alarm bells with me. Why wasn’t he grooming like the other chickens? Was he depressed? The swing seat is within earshot of the chicken run. Tempers can flare in the flock and this is to be expected every now and then. Baby is not even on the first rung of the...

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