Spring Saturday

The sun was shining yesterday morning and it was wonderful!  There’s nothing quite like that feeling of waking up on a Saturday with the sun shining through the curtains, knowing that you don’t have to rush out of bed for anything … bliss!

I took my brew back to bed (getting back into a bed that’s still warm when from you got out of it is one of my favourite things to do) and looked out at the blue sky and thought about how best to spend my time.  Everyone else in the house had something they wanted to do, so the day was mine!

One of the things that I have been pondering on just recently is what I can do to try to stop our household bills spiralling out of control.  It’s not just us, everyone is in the same situation as food, heating, petrol and the general cost of living increases – it’s being blamed on the war in Ukraine but we all know that it started long before that and as much as we can all probably argue very eloquently over who we think is to blame, arguing doesn’t generally get us very far so I am turning my attention to what I can do instead.  It’s not going to be an overnight solution but anything that I can do that makes even the smallest difference has to be worth the effort, I think.

This is one of the easiest things I can do … washing out on the line again!

A blue patterned duvet cover on a washing line against a blue and white cloud sky

Oh, there’s nothing quite like that smell of line-dried washing, is there?  I love it when you bring the fresh air back inside on your clothes and bedding.  Lots of people hang their washing outside all year round but to be honest, this year so far, I’d have been in and out of the house to the washing line like a yo-yo!  I’m lucky that I can hang ours in front of the Aga or use the tumble dryer (sparingly) so I don’t have to constantly watch the weather, but it is lovely to know that line-drying season has arrived!

I had the usual performance of trying to find the post hole for the washing line to go into.  We’ve got a rotary dryer and I don’t leave it up all year – but the downside of that is that the hole disappears in the grass.  Usually, I can find it after some time spent scrabbling around on the grass with a large magnet (much to my family’s amusement), but this year, the magnet just wasn’t doing the trick.

Feel free to guess where you think the post hole is! 🤣

A patch of green, mossy grass

Our poor grass is in quite a state after the wet Winter and I think I spent as much time pulling out clumps of moss as looking for the post hole.  In the end, I went to ask our neighbour if he had one of those metal detector devices for finding pipes in walls as I thought that might help, but he was able to go one better than that – he had a friend coming over who had a metal detector and in less than ten minutes after him arriving, my washing pole was in the ground and my washing was out!  Hooray!

I also cleared out my vegetable boxes yesterday.  Again, I know lots of people who have home-grown veg to eat all year round (my Dad was one of them!) but it’s not been like that for me for quite a few years now although I might have to reconsider that.  I’ve been thinking about what we buy most of and that’s what I’m going to focus on growing this year.  (Not the Livingstone Daisies, though – we don’t eat those, I just put the packet out as I had thought I had run out of them!)

Seed packets on a black granite worktop

I’ve still got some leeks in the ground from last year which I should really pull up to see if they’re still edible, but I’ll be growing more of those.  I started them a bit late last year which is why they got left – I do need to be more organised this year!

Rows of leeks in a raised vegetable box

My plan is to grow tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, potatoes (yes, I know we can buy these but I do like home grown potatoes), courgettes, onions, beans and maybe peas – they’re not good value for space but peas in pods straight from the plant are my Very Favourite Vegetable In The World so I’m prepared to overlook that!  I think I will probably add rocket and spinach to that list, but I’m not sure about carrots … home grown carrots are lovely but I’ve had carrot fly before and I don’t really like the flavour of the fly-resistant varieties.  If you grow carrots and you’ve got any variety suggestions (I’ve grown Resistafly and FlyAway and I’m not so keen on those; Nantes and Autumn King were nicer but of course there’s the carrot fly risk), please do let me know!

To show my commitment to my plan (and to remind myself of what I’m doing as I know I will get distracted as the year goes on!), I’ve ordered some timber to replace these broken boxes – they have my fruit bushes in them and they’re a bit of mess now.  There blueberries, raspberries and redcurrants in here and I think there are a few strawberry runners left which haven’t done much for the last year or so which might mean they need replacing.  Whilst we usually get a good crop of raspberries, I have mistimed picking the other berries and the blackbirds have got there before me.  I will make more of an effort to get them this year – I’ve been adding blueberries to my breakfast of muesli and yoghurt and being able to eat the ones in the garden would be much better than out of a plastic supermarket box!

Wooden box frames around plants - they are old, broken and overgrown

My poor old boxes are in quite a state, aren’t they?  My Dad made these for me when we moved to this house so they’re about 18 years old now and they certainly don’t owe me anything!  It think it’s going to be quite a job to get this space cleared out and tidy again, especially with all the couch grass that’s grown in there.  Replacing the boxes might be the easy part!

While I was digging the veg boxes over, I found potatoes.  Of course.  I say “of course” because it doesn’t seem to matter which veg box I am digging or whether I have grown potatoes in there during the last year or not, there are always potatoes!  I am always sure that I have dug them all up but obviously not … and now they are permanently here to haunt me!  I think the only good thing is that I would far rather have potatoes than the bindweed which also haunts me in these veg boxes so I am quite pleased to see them 🙂

A partly-dug veg box with plants, compost and a few potatoes to one sideSeven potatoes lying on soil

I have some new potatoes for this year chitting on the windowsill.  These are an early variety called Rocket which apparently are very good for eating when they’re quite small – I love baby roasted potatoes, or baby boiled potatoes with salad cream.  (Salad cream is a British salad dressing which many of us grew up with in the 1970s and 80s, now often a second choice to mayonnaise.  I found this recipe whilst I was looking for a way to describe salad cream – I didn’t know you could make your own and I might have to give it a go!)

I’m also going to grow another variety called Vivaldi which are supposed to be good for baking.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that a lot of the larger potatoes I’ve bought this Winter for baking have been pretty battered and aren’t always very nice in the middle so I’m going to try growing our own this year instead.


You might wonder why there’s an extra post on a Sunday this week and the simple answer is that I felt like it! 🙂  My blog is a good visual record for me (and often a bit of a prod if I’ve said I’m going to do something and have forgotten) so it helps me to write things down and sometimes that means it’s not all on the same weekly post.  If you’re on my mailing list, don’t worry that you’re going to get inundated with emails – just like during Blogtober, I’ll only send you the one email in the week but I will link to any other posts that I write so that you can find them to catch up if you’d like to.

I hope your Saturday was as productive as mine! 🙂 xx


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20 Responses

  1. Christine says:

    Enjoyed your email blogs! Reading your blog posts I got a giggle when it came to me that your use of the word “brew” means tea.
    Here in the US, “brew” strictly means beer. Not being judgey here, if you like to bring a beer back to your warm bed on a sunny Saturday morning, have at it! There’s a famous rock n roll song here that starts out with that line, haha!

    • winwickmum says:

      Oh that is very funny! I use the word “brew” a lot and it’s never in relation to beer, but that’s going to make me laugh every time I use it now! 🙂 xx

  2. Betsy says:

    Living in Central Florida drying clothes on the line is easy compared to in the UK although I have gotten caught out on the stray shower We haven`t been too successful in the veggie department except the small tomatoes that have come up in the crate I was using for compost. We have enjoyed baby tomatoes now for months. My special veggie treat! Love your post

    • winwickmum says:

      I always have lots of tomato seedlings in the greenhouse where tomatoes have fallen off the plants the year before – it can be quite a job to keep up with them! I’m glad you’re getting plenty of fruit from your plants! 🙂 xx

  3. Irune says:

    I also love hanging my washing outside when the weather is warm enough. It really makes a difference 🙂
    Have a nice week!

  4. Mary says:

    We have an oil fired Aga which will run out of oil in a couple of weeks and for the first time in over 40 years we are not going to keep it going due to the spiralling cost. I am dreading it, like you I dry/air the washing,heat the water, cook, all sorts of things. No point in stressing about it, but what have we come to? Grrrr,

  5. Selina says:

    have just played catch up, been awhile since i sat & read a blog & i was saddened to learn of your losses with the your fur babies, one after the other is very hard (has happened to me too) but seeing your 2 new kitties settling into their new life brought a smile to my lips; they are adorable!
    been enjoying all your sock knitting & wishing i could pick mine up again (hopefully soon) but for now it’s big needles only (knitting a jacket for my sister)
    glad you’re all well
    thanx for sharing

    • winwickmum says:

      I don’t think we ever imagined that we’d have new kittens quite so quickly but they have completely entranced us (whilst destroying the house) and although we still miss our old cats very much, it’s a joy to have such furry bundles of energy around! I hope you get on with your jacket very well – that sounds like a big job! 🙂 xx

  6. Abby says:

    Like you I’m going to try growing tomatoes this year

  7. Gretchen Hrusovsky says:

    This is totally off the subject, BUT I just completed sock #1 in your Mosaic pattern with your “Spring” yarn!!!! So pretty and really uncomplicated, even for me who is a toe up, afterthought heel sock knitter. (You haven’t converted me, but I will no longer hesitate when I see a cool top down pattern with “real” heels.). I was a bit anxious about my CC as it was a kind of gold/tan, but knitting daughter assured me it looked fine with the spring colors, and that the whole thing looked like I’d done it in Fair Isle. I’m going to rest my hands from the tiny needles for a couple days before starting Mosaic sock #2, but I know I’ll have no “second sock syndrome with this pattern . . . . I’m actually thinking about what yarns to use on my next pair!

    • winwickmum says:

      Wow! That’s brilliant! You can still use the mosaic pattern with your usual toe up pattern – it works either way up – although I am not sure how it would work with an afterthought heel. Something to try, perhaps? 🙂

  8. Gretchen Hrusovsky says:

    I’ll let you know how it goes when I get to it!

  9. Joy says:

    “Flakke” is a tasty, fly resistant variety of carrot that my hubs has grown for several years

  10. Sandy says:

    Whew…I’m tired just reading what you did and plan to do. I used to garden, but stopped a good number of years ago; as things always seemed to come in when we were out of town. So there was lots of waste. The squares where the veggie garden was has now all gone back to grass. My flower beds were much smaller back when I did the veggies and now they’ve more than doubled. Too much work. The only thing I miss from having a veggie garden is fresh tomatoes. I’ve always hated hanging clothes on the line outside. I’ve never liked how they feel, or the fact that more needs to be ironed; though it is a good way to reduce the electric you’re using. I try not to use the oven much during the summer warm months, so that reduces usage a bit.

  11. Ben Blackall says:

    Really interesting blog!

    I’m also chitting Rocket and Vivaldi potatoes but the labels got knocked off and I’m not sure which is which! The shoots from one type are green while the others are purple/black. Any ideas?

    • winwickmum says:

      I’m sorry, I absolutely don’t know! I did do an internet search to see if I could find anything but there are no clues – and they’re both early varieties so that doesn’t help either. You’ll have to go for potato lucky dip this year, and I hope both varieties grow very well! 🙂

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