Where growing, making & good living come together

June – end of month review

Posted by on Thursday 30 June 2011 in goals, less than 12 clothes challenge, low spend 11 | 5 comments

I seem to have been writing a lot of review-type-posts lately – all very introspective (sorry!) but I do very much learn from my past mistakes so it’s good to think about them. So then, June….

Goals in 2011 progress

We’re finally starting to get good food from the garden so I could see myself easily doing “full meal from the garden” thing in July. I haven’t made any provisions for the off-grid stuff though.

I’ve been starting to take cuttings of various herbs and will continue to do that – and I’ve come up with a way of measuring success of that goal — a list of things I’d like to successfully propagate this year (and a few things I’d like to try to overwinter – since that’s a similar idea).

My making stuff with wood has slowed down – boo – and aside from a little embroidery, haven’t done much craft stuff either – no outfit sewing either. Inspired by this tutorial though, I’m going to set aside a day in July to do a bit of sewing and I’m also tempted to join the Crazy Aunt Purl holey jumper KAL — that would be my first knitted jumper (and, um, actually my first knitting since I fell in love with crochet nearly two years ago!).

No more fishing progress – boo again – but I might try to get us a day booked in before the main school holidays start – I think I have a week window between being busy with drama and the holidays so better get a move on!

Not really baked that much, not made cheese, not done any cold-smoking and not met any internet people. Been a bit lazy recently really! Recapping that here make me feel I should be a bit more motivated in July!

Buy less than 12 items of clothing in 2011

Not bought anything this month – so my clothes buying tally is still zero (with just a few second-hand/BNWT bras from my exception list last month). I can’t believe I’ve not bought any clothes for over seven months now!

Extra Mini goals

I set myself an extra six mini goals at the start of the month: I did one of them (the energy company one, although I ended up not switching companies, just tariffs), sort of did the poached egg one (does doing it in the microwave count? they are good poached eggs, just feels like cheating!), mostly finished the painting the bathroom one (just the wood work to go, then the bathroom will be finished … after four months!), and the bedroom is a lot tidier since we had the bathroom cupboards fitted. So essentially two and two halves out of six done – not exactly great progress on the mini goals!

However to redeem myself a little bit, I completed two of May’s outstanding mini goals (phone, washing line) – so at least I’m getting there in the end

Growing & Chickens

Well, hello little tomatoes.

(We’ve got quite a few like that but these two, peeking out through the gap, made me smile when I saw them :) )

As I said above, the garden is starting to give us some decent food – regular salad, broad beans, there are potatoes ready to lift and we had our first courgette this week. I suspect we’ll be inundated with courgettes in July. The borage (mostly for the chickens) is going great guns, the tomato plants are starting to fruit, and I think my achocha (achocha!) is starting to flower). I’ve planted stuff in most (but not quite all) my big tubs/planters (which is a mini goal I missed) but just about everything is where it should be so no biggy. I’ve got a few things to sow over the summer (overwinter/successional stuff) so I might yet fill them. I also had a shuffle around and have nearly all the pots of herbs (except the mint) in the porch, which makes the porch look – and smell – nicer than it did when it was a cramped-full nursery!

We’ve been having a bit of an issue with the strawberries – the slugs were getting them in the garden so we moved the pots to the balcony and now the squirrels are stealing the berries! I need to make a fruit cage I think. Our first ripe raspberry is ready for picking – I didn’t think we’d get any this year since they’re new bushes but we should get a couple of handfuls — not a lot but better than nothing. The apple trees have mini apples on them (they’re also new but we’re letting them each grow a couple so we can see the difference etc) and the wild plum tree next to the kitchen is looking rather heavy with fruit too. In a vaguely related thing, we also found some new berry foraging spots recently – not collected anything yet but good to know where they are :)

It’s been a sad chicken month – with Buff’s untimely (but unsurprising) demise – and a frustrating one (with Ginger going broody, AGAIN), and I think those things have affected the other girls too. Still, we’ve had 148 eggs in total – just under five a day on average, which is more than fine by us. Yesterday we had the first truly massive egg of the year – a 105g one (a standard “large” egg in the UK is 63g-73g, with our girls usually laying them around 75g)! The top half of the garden has now been fenced in so in theory, they should be able to play out more from now on — but in practise, I don’t want them eating my veggies so they might not have such a free run right now as they will do later in the year.


This month hasn’t exactly been a “no spend” month but it has resulted in my lowest monthly spend since I started tracking things at the start of the year – and to celebrate that, I made the details into a graph. I heart graphs.

Transport/travel costs were a lot lower than previous months this month – I didn’t leave the Leeds/Bradford area and didn’t have to get any taxis back from drama as there were just normal early-finish sessions this month (that won’t be the case next month). Just over a third of my monthly spending – £64.53 in total – was on drama/work-related stuff: mostly books but some props. I could claim against my company for both – and might do the books as they’re a legitimate work expense – but the props may end up as general household stuff (an apron, an “old lady” scarf) so I won’t.

My “household” category was another quarter of my total expensive – including £28 on tiles & tile grout for the coal hole/utility room, a retractable washing line (£4.98) and an eye test (£5) — which reminds me, I didn’t mention the day I had it done but my chain optician (Specsavers) offers half price eye tests during the week.

Food – takeout and eating out at restaurants – is still quite high this month, although that £42.65 has gone quite far/provided lots of meals. Every month I see my food column and sigh, since we can cook such lovely food at home. But on the other hand food – growing, cooking and eating – is a major hobby of mine, so most of the time I’m not *too* distraught over the meals out. I would like to still cut down on the random smaller food purchases (this month: a bottle of water [boo!], a pork pie, a pack of sandwiches) forced by lack of preparation before leaving the house.

How has your June been? If you’ve got goals for 2011, how are they going at this the halfway point? Is your garden growing well?


Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Taphophile

    Updated my totals to include May and June. Still tracking high but nothing I’m concerned about.

  2. laura

    I’ve been annoyed at myself for forgetting my water twice and then having to buy a drink when out all day! Grr!

    Great job this month Louisa :)

  3. louisa

    Taphophile: I saw your updates on your blog – sorry to hear about your mum. :(

    laura: It’s annoying isn’t it? Especially when you fill up your flask on the way out of the door then leave it in the porch has happens to me with startling regularity.

  4. Su

    Been struggling to reply, hence the delay. Bought a scarf, 2 coupons & and vast 50p! I know it’s somewhat unseasonal, but it’s virtually identical to one I saw a very chic Italian lady wearing about 5 years ago & have not forgotten since. I am aware however, that it will make me neither chic nor Italian!
    Growing, well all I can say is that it’s a good job I’m not relying on the stuff I’ve got growing in order to survive, frankly I would have starved to death by now! All I’ve had is a handful of broad beans, some very unremarkable potaoes and rocket, vast amounts of rocket (not complaining though, I love the stuff).
    Bus fare spending on track to be under my self imposed annual limit.

    • louisa

      Hi Su,

      I wouldn’t have resisted that scarf either – I’d be forever kicking myself if I hadn’t bought it!

      Don’t knock vast amounts of rocket – think how much it would have been if you’d bought it all!

      And well done for getting back on track on the bus fares :)


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