Where growing, making & good living come together

October 2011 – end of month review

Posted by on Monday 31 October 2011 in chickens, less than 12 clothes challenge, meta | 0 comments

Carla-cat enjoying a spot of autumn sun – the woodstore is perfectly place for sunbathing felines: in the sun until nearly 2pm but also within a short stroll of their food dishes. Purrfecto!

Goals in 2011 progress

moving swiftly on!

October mini-goals

I achieved more of these than my main goals – the accounts are finished (just waiting for John’s business accounts now then new mortgage a go go!), we finally finished the bathroom and we both batch cooked for the freezer – “ready meals” of pasta sauce, keema curry, enchiladas and spicy beef casserole (with corn bread) now await us! I also got some fabric for the cushion in the porch and found somewhere for the foam – just hesitating now about whether a soft cushion is right for there, or whether a can-put-your-foot-up-on-it wipeclean option would be better.

I think I would have achieved more on these & on my main goals if I hadn’t been distracted by other fun pursuits – crocheting and writing (the latter planning for my NaNoWriMo attempt, which starts tomorrow!).

Buy less than 12 items of clothing in 2011

Bloomin’ heck, I’m getting close! I’ve been on the look out for a nicer-than-my-scruffy-hoodies jacket all year and spotted a lovely M&S brown cord jacket in fab condition in a charity shop for £5.99 so bought it even though it’s close to being too cold to wear it. I’ve worn it loads over the last few weeks. I also bought yet another pair of jeans off eBay. They take me up to eleven things so far in 2011, eep, close!

It very nearly became twelve – I got the idea of obtaining a woolly tank top to wear over my long-sleeved cotton tops and I spotted a bargainacious BNWT Boden one on eBay — very very tempting! Instead of bidding though, I hightailed it over to Ravelry and am now making a woolly top instead. To be honest, I’m delighted that I did this as it was one of the purposes of the original challenge!

(I also bought some new bras and knickers this month – replacements for worn out ones – and John bought me a giant onesy pyjama thing as a present — he knows I’m more of a warm pyjama than glamorous jewellery kind of girl :) )

Growing & Chickens

The garden is mostly put to bed for winter. We’ve had the very last of tomatoes and marrows, nibbled at the achocha (…not a fan of it raw – but the chickens like them), and picked our single pumpkin (*shakes fist at unproductive pumpkin plants*). Yesterday I did lots of tidying chores and heaped lots of leaves together to make leaf mould. I feel sad when I see things like flowers on the tomato, squash or strawberry plants because I know that flower will never come to anything. I should start planning what we want for next year – especially fruit trees.

Somewhere mid-month, the chickens slowed down in production for winter – dropping from an average of 5 eggs a day to about 3 (the overall monthly average is 4.10 a day, or 127 eggs in total). I think two of them – one of the ISA Browns and Ginger the forever broody Black Rock – are going into moult (lots of feathers everywhere but they’re not very obviously moulting yet). They have all had a lot of fun helping me tidy the garden (“windfall apples? slug attacked marrows? yes please!”) and all seem in good health so hopefully they’ll have a good winter.


My biggest spending month to date this year. Sigh. As predicted earlier in the month, I spent quite a bit on books (some new-new, most charity shop) – £37.12 – but that only worked out to be 9% of my total spend. I spent £41.58/10% on clothes – nearly £30 of that was on the replacement bras – and another £36.96/9% on craft stuff (nearly all yarn which will become clothes). My biggest spend this month – £80.74/20% – was in my “silly” category, ie totally frivolous stuff, which included a bag from eBay, a mini gong (which I’m going to use for work but really, who need-needs a mini gong?) and yet another pair of glasses after I discovered the two pairs I bought in September as “a change” were, sigh, not quite suitable for every day wear (too nice/delicate for clumsy me). At least I had a 50% off voucher and I have been wearing the new pair almost non-stop since I got them. I just wish I’d not been so driven for “a change” in the first place – a lesson learnt though.

I had a bit of a realisation mid-month about my spending over the last few months: I’ve been keeping a track of things as usual but have been letting myself go a bit more over recent months. I think it dates from around the end of July when we finally sold our old house: not particularly the freeing up of previously trapped equity which boosted our savings (as that’s already mentally assigned to paying off some of the mortgage here) but the knowledge that the risk — of interest rated shooting up, of having to throw money away on insurance & council tax etc, of having to pay for repairs & renovations to sell it — all suddenly went away. I don’t think we realised quite how nervous it was making us – making us even more cautious than normal. I think I’ve gone a bit spendy-spendy (for me) due to the relief/in compensation for holding back before. Sure, some things (such as clothes) have needed replacing or replenishing but other stuff (perfume, a superlambanana ornament, and um, the mini-gong) have been much more extravagant. As I dislike the idea of provoking future purge/binge cycles by cutting back again too far, I’m not going to be super strict with myself now that I’m aware of what was happening, but I’m going to be more conscious and mindful about it. I mean both mindful enough to not waste money but also to enjoy it when I do spend it — if I’m buying something as a treat/present for myself (like I did with the superlambanana ornament), I want to enjoy it, not feel guilty about it.

How was your October? As we head to the end of the year, have you got many 2011 goals still to accomplish?

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