The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Too Good To Go

Posted in Cottage tales, Save Money | 4 comments

Too Good To Go

Have you heard of this mobile app? The ToGoodToGo app is designed to link restaurants/cafes/food outlets with people who are happy to eat food that is on the sell by date. Left over food – that would normally be thrown away – can be ordered and collected in a mystery magic bag . You cannot chose the contents. The price is at most a third of the original cost of the food that is presented. This is not a new app, it has been going for several years. I heard about it last week and decided to test it out. I’m on a...

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Dogs do cry

Posted in Cottage tales | 2 comments

Dogs do cry

One of the really great things that my mum shared was a love of dogs. Albeit with reservations. When we were 10 years old we were given a dog. This was a very caring move. It meant that we had to take responsibility for another being. We had to feed the dog, take it for walks and house train this puppy. The reward was a great companion when life got tough during the teenage years – the dogs were allowed to sleep in our bedrooms. Mum did say that it was hard not to play with the pups when we were at school. She deliberately hung...

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Day for Night

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Day for Night

This is the few minutes of dusk before visibility fades, In the UK we call it dusk. I’ve always thought that the French term ‘Day for Night’ perfectly describes this wonderful transition. The word dusk just doesn’t encapsulate the magical quality of this fleeting experience of light and shadow. In January it probably only lasts for twenty minutes at the end of the day. I often find myself stepping into this beautiful and delicate time of day as I take my dogs out for their last decent walk. After a bright clear day...

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Boots

Posted in Cottage tales | 8 comments

Boots

Image: My work boots! When I was dismantling the kitchen in a rush before the builders arrived, I dropped a cupboard on my big toe. It hurt like hell and I realised that if I was going to fit my own kitchen and tackle all the carpentry in the cottage, I needed some decent work boots. I eventually found some in my tiny size in southern Ireland at a bargain price. They are brilliant, heavy soled stomping boots that have saved my delicate toes over the last few months. While I was thinking about my work boots I remembered another much more...

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Repairs at the Cottage Smallholder HQ – Part Two

Posted in Cottage tales | 3 comments

Repairs at the Cottage Smallholder HQ – Part Two

Image: Pushkin in the kitchen “Well have you got the first cabinets in place?” It was Pete the plumber on the phone.“They’re in the kitchen but so heavy. They don’t fit the wall which is wonky.”“Expected!” When I was ripping out the kitchen Pete had dropped by“I want to help you fit the kitchen. I fitted my own one.”I was delighted but realised that if I accepted Pete’s offer I would be under The Rule of Pete It had taken me a couple of days to strip out the old kitchen and fix the plumbing so it was still...

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Repairs at the Cottage Smallholder HQ – Part One

Posted in Cottage tales | 7 comments

Repairs at the Cottage Smallholder HQ – Part One

Image of the kitchen “The cottage is not fit for human habitation. It’s freezing cold and very damp. There is only cold running water, and that’s just from the tap in the kitchen. You just can’t come home!” This was my plumber, Pete “So what’s new. It’s been cold and damp for years. I’m coming back.”After a very long pause he replied“Well bring a torch. You won’t have electricity in every room.” Pete is a glass half empty kind of guy. He’s in his seventies. Everything is a problem, he is an expert...

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Peppers stuffed with a versatile Veal, Mushroom and Tarragon Sauce

Posted in Cottage tales | 2 comments

Peppers stuffed with a versatile Veal, Mushroom and Tarragon Sauce

Simple lunch in the sunny garden I make a lot of Italian style sauces. To accompany pasta, stuff vegetables and even to top with mashed spuds for a comforting supper.  I also make a more traditional filling for shepherd’s and cottage pies. All these sauces and fillings are made in large batches frozen in flat one portion sizes that can be defrosted in minutes in a saucepan. Until yesterday all the Italian style sauces that I made were tomato based. Everything changed when I scored 500g of high welfare veal mince for a song on...

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13th Cottage Smallholder Blog Anniversary

Posted in Cottage tales | 13 comments

13th Cottage Smallholder Blog Anniversary

The Little Red Hen + Mrs Grey Lacey I can’t believe that it has been 13 years since I made the first post on this blog. So much has happened in the world since then! I can remember that day so clearly. It was one of those chilly, rainy August days. The backdoor was firmly closed and Danny made a spicy smoked fish chowder. Of course the star of the post was not the soup but The Contessa – the little Min Pin Prima Donna who is still sadly missed. Quite often at the Vets we would be called to the consulting room with the one...

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