About this blog

My photo
Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Saturday, 31 December 2011

A year in pictures

Inspired by The Inelegant Gardener, here's my year in pictures (though I'm not disciplined enough to restrict myself to one picture per month, so this might take a while to load).


I made marmalade

and learned to knit


I planned the garden

and was delighted by early signs of spring colour

I picked wild food

and did lots of digging

I got the hang of knooking (with dirty fingers)

and saw burnt gorse seen on a coastal walk


More digging

Experiments with home made soap (very successful)
and laundry gloop (less so)

Attempting to tap a birch tree for sap

A wonky baby blanket

Many seedlings

Starting to make a camera bag.
Um... must get back to that project at some point


I made baked beans

and picked many dandelions, most of which subsequently went mouldy

Things grew, slowly

and the cherry blossom was very pretty.


The first major work of the heating project:
Opening up the fireplace and laying a hearth.

Mushrooms - probably morels - in the store room

I found sorrel, but not wild garlic

I collected oak leaves to make wine and cordial

did battle with monster slugs

made wild green pies

and showed you around the village


I made elderflower champagne

and brown bread ice cream

The blackcurrant harvest began

I learnt to make socks!
(People have found this blog with an image search for Mature women wearing socks. Do you find that a bit disturbing?)

I cleared space for my tomatoes in the conservatory

I took a class in spinning

and knitted the wool with broom handles


I made blackcurrant ice cream

and insect repellant (from a plant that I thought was wormwood,
but turns out to be southernwood)

and soap (from lard rendered from bacon rinds)

and cakes, with more blackcurrants.

The potatoes got blight

but nonetheless yielded a good harvest (this is just a small part of the total crop)

The store room shelves collapsed

and I started harvesting the peas.


Slugs ate my cabbages

as well as pumpkins, carrots, and even onions.

My dad came to stay and we converted my sewing machine
to run on treadle power

I made baguettes

started harvesting runner beans

and saw a fabulous caterpillar on the crocosmia.


I made a party dress with my treadle powered sewing machine

picked bilberries

and field mushrooms.

I made chips

and fruit leather

and admired the sunrise.


I made sponge pudding

and considered the merits of different types of light bulbs.

In fact, I was very busy laying new floors during October, which is why not many blog posts were written.


I attempted to declutter

and wrote about the planning stage of the heating project.

Some of this month's blogging was catch-up on the heating project.

We replaced most of the floors in the house with underfloor heating panels

removed (suspected) asbestos tiles from the garage ceiling

and had the rest of the heating system installed professionally.

I made sloe wine

and croissants

which we enjoyed in front of our newly-installed stove on Christmas morning
(the croissants, that is. The wine was for later)

and the gardening year has already started, far too soon, as my seeds got wet and needed urgent attention.