The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Rammel in the larder

larder gone AWOLThe larder has been driving me nuts.

We have bought loads of dry ingredients for our vegetarian drive. We’ve also been overwhelmed by events and have not had time to organise the space. The result is a rammel nightmare which would have a normal person weeping at dawn.

A couple of weeks ago I got up in the middle of the night and wrote LARDER on the calendar across the four day Easter weekend slot. Although we have our own answers to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, cleverly fashioned from a selection of disparate unopened tins and bottles, things had finally erupted out of control. The larder was a hazardous place. Ingredients were guzzled by the black hole within, the instant that they were tossed inside.

I knew exactly what we needed. A few half width shelves, in between the bendy melamine ones that were already in the larder when I arrived at the cottage fifteen years ago. Unfortunately, Homebase and B&Q no longer stock the slim budget shelves. So I had a poke around in the barn and ran up my own from some offcuts that I’d been saving for years. Useful rammel

The dogs didn’t like it. Partly because of the noise of the drill and circular saw but mainly for being told to stay in their beds or risk getting entangled with a shelf, trailing cord or something sharp rotating at 1200 RPM.

Inca eyed me from beneath her blanket with the disdain of a trophy wife who has never mouthed the words “vacuum cleaner”.

I have reorganised one third of the larder. Having shown off my finely crafted prototype shelves earlier in the evening, Danny was finally summoned down from the Rat Room to inspect them in situ.
“Wow! It’s just like a proper larder.”
“Here’s a space. What shall we put there?”
“Don’t worry. Just leave a gap. It will fill up fast.”

tidier larderFor a not so tidy Virgo, the experience has been cathartic. Thank you Amalee for the nudge.

  Leave a reply


  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Amalee

    Half the larder looks great! Ans I am a Virgo.

    Hi Wendy

    I am so pleased that you are enjoying the Min Pin posts. We are planning to breed with Inca within the next few months. Watch this space!

    Wish that I had a chest freezer. I have to practice careful, specific positioning. Wouldn’t recommend this as health cure!

    HI Judy

    Great tip. I will try this.

    I agree with you. So much hand built stuff is made with MDF and melamine and costs a fortune. Give me plywood any day.

    Hi Moonroot

    It has been a bit of a nightmare, time wise. It can only be tackled in the day as there are loads of dark corners.

    Hi Amanda

    We desperately need those little shelves everywhere too!

    Hi Kate(uk)

    Great minds …

  2. Kate(uk)

    How bizarre- I wrote a big note saying LARDER last night and left in on the kitchen table- just about to go and do it now. Your efforts make me even more determined to sort it today!

  3. Please allow Jalopy to take a great detour via our house. We desperately need lots of those little shelves – everywhere.

    Hope you’ve had a great Easter weekend. x

  4. moonroot

    Don’t suppose you fancy coming over to sort all my cupboards out, do you??

  5. Fiona, after you are finished with your half-width shelves you can easily reinforce the bendy melamine ones. Get some sturdy half-round molding of appropriate diameter, cut it to length, and fasten it to the front of the shelf. Paint to match (or accent, or contrast, as desired.) It will help by stiffening the leading edge of the shelf. Better, of course, to gradually replace the weak shelves (why, oh why do melanine of MDF get used for things beyond their strength) with sturdy plywood.

  6. Hats off to you Fiona the larder looks great. We’re quite alike you and I methinks. I’m also a Virgo, and every now and then have a spurge like this, where I can’t stand the chaos any longer and things must be sorted. I’m in need of a new kitchen at the moment, most of the cupboards and drawers have seen better days and it’s not very well designed, so wastes a lot of space. Being 5”2 doesn’t help as can’t reach the top part of the cupboards either. Larder looks great though, and worthy of a Virgo!

  7. you beat me too it!the old coal shed attatched to the kitchen is about to under go surgery and become a big scullery,for the freezer, tin goods,dry goods,and all that pickling and chutney making ive got planned

  8. I found your wonderful blog a few weeks ago and love reading about your Min Pins especially. Your larder project must make you feel very pleased. I had to laugh as your description of things being tossed into the black hole within was a fairly accurate description of my chest freezer – any tips!

  9. amalee issa

    I knew it! You are a virgo… and the larder looks great.

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