The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Paris and Preserves


Photo: Chicken salad

Photo: Chicken salad

Danny has gone to Paris on business this week. I drove him to Whittlesford station yesterday afternoon and drove home feeling a bit mumbo. The cottage is very quiet when he’s away – not that he stomps about but there is no conversation, or rustle of another life alongside. I find myself talking to the Min Pins and the chickens. The Min Pins miss him too and tend to get a bit clingy. Everywhere I go they want to go too.

During the morning I’d watched the occasional person stop and examine the gate side stand. But business was dormant. Were the prices too high?
“No,” said Danny “They are too low. The packaging is added value.”
I secretly decided to put the prices down while he was safely zapping towards Paris on Eurostar.

As I turned into our drive I spotted that there were spaces on the stand! And this morning I’ve been quite busy as people are buying. Even the dustmen got out of their lorry to have a look. Business isn’t exactly brisk but it’s a start and I’m delighted. Now I’m wondering what else I can sell on the stand. Could this be a start of a whole new venture?

I was restocking the shelves this morning and bumped into one of my customers. She was delighted with the stand.
“It’s so pretty and approachable. I don’t have to knock on your door.” She showed me what she had bought. “Who wouldn’t be delighted to receive one of these or this? I can’t wait to taste the vintage chutney. It’s funny but I’ve never spotted it before.”
I returned to the cottage with a glowing happy heart.

What has this got to do with a photo of a plate of chicken salad? Well when D is away I eat chicken salad with a baked potato for supper most evenings. My ultimate easy comfort food. I made a lovely orange vinegar and nut oil dressing with a pinch of cayenne which was light and tasty. And by nine o’clock I was tucked up in bed with the Min Pins exhausted with all the excitement.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pamela

    It’s strange as we spend so much time together at the moment. In the past I’ve enjoyed the solitude and I’ve been busy this week with the stand etc.

    Danny’s trip is pure business, poor thing.

    Hi Toffeapple

    Yes I’m busy here as the stand is set up at 08.00am! Have been making new goodies too.

    Hi Wendy

    Loved the story of Shaun the sheep!

    Hi Joanna

    We lead quite independent lives which means I spend a lot of time on my own and I suppose we have grown closer since I became ill. We are working together on the blog a lot now – so I miss the craik.

    Hi Paula

    The pouches are getting loads of attention and their favourite meat topping (kidneys in gravy):)

    The dried food idea is a great one and the candied orange peel. The new stand is an exciting project for me!

    Hi Tamar

    Farm stand Magnates – I love it. I am enjoying being able to be completely selfish!

    Hello Belinda

    Wow what daring children you were!

    Hi Linda

    We had a few years of Danny weekly boarding and working miles away from home. It did add a lot of stress to the relationship as he wanted a quiet weekend at home and I wanted to go out and party!

    Now he works from home life is much easier. But he does have his own office at the other end of the cottage.

    Hi Alex

    I’ve eaten my favourite meal every night this week!

  2. When Mr F is away or out, I always have a baked potato!

  3. My hubby is away every week, for most of the week. During one long contract I only saw him from Saturday lunchtime until 7pm on Sundays. That went on for two and a half years – too long!
    As someone who loves their solitude and quiet, I think the answer is balance, because when he’s here I seem to spend so much time in the looking after (not that he’s helpless) that I neglect my own interests!

  4. Wendy – as unsupervised motherless children we did that to my Dad – tried to have a garage sale while he was working overtime on a Saturday. Thank goodness no one stopped – they could have had the whole house full of furniture for a pittance.

    Fiona – great news about your stall. Congrats

  5. When my huband goes off somewhere, I always enjoy my solitude — that, and having popcorn for dinner. But I also enjoy his return.

    Take advantage of the quiet pace, though. Once you become farm stand magnates, that’ll be nothing but a memory.

  6. The pooches are clinging because they don’t want you disappearing too. Give them extra attention, since half of you is gone.

    I’m excited for your stand’s initial success! Maybe you could package up some of your dried stuff for soup vegetables. Would candied orange peel go over well? Just don’t overdo- it won’t do for Danny to come home to a collapsed heap of woman in the kitchen!

  7. It certainly is quiet when my hubby is not around, he can be worse than the kids used to be sometimes. Fortunately being in a flat means he has had to curb his noisiness and can’t play his music through a subwoofer. I think having had three kids quite close together means I value silence.

  8. When you were wondering what else you could sell on your stall I had a little smile. There is a childrens prog on the BBC called Shaun the Sheep.
    Yesterdays episode was about the sheep doing really well selling all the veg etc on the Farmer’s stall. It went to their heads and they ended up selling everything from the Farmer’s house incl furniture etc!
    So sorry you are alone at the moment but knowing you there is so much to do that the time will fly. x

  9. Toffeeapple

    Oh, I remember those days, feeling out of kilter because the partner is away. I’m sure the time will pass quickly, there are all the new delights to be cooked up for your garden gate stall.

  10. Hello Fiona, that empty feeling when someone goes away is always strange. You will just have adjusted to the quiet life when Danny will be back, bringing all sorts of Christmas goodies from Paris. Or is he on one of those business trips where it is all work and no time for any shopping? I am always caught in the horns of the dilemma of not wanting to pay for hold luggage on Easyjet and wanting to bring back all sorts of goodies from France. Perhaps my sister and I should set up a reciprocal food parcel service! It must feel good to see your products starting to sell from the little stall, it could be the start of a whole new career for you, and certainly less physically demanding whilst you recover from your post viral problems.

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