Thursday 26 October 2023

Lots of wee jobs

We went to puppy day care for a visit and Luna was assessed to see if she would fit in with the pack.  I was a bit concerned that she would either be too shy around new people and the other dogs (that's what she's like out a walk) or she would go crazy.  But she behaved beautifully and appropriately!  And she can start next week!!!  HOORAY! πŸŽ‰ When she's there I can go visit my Lovely Mum to help her out a bit and get some of my DIY stuff done round the house.  

Luna has been getting more daily walks so she snoozes for decent amount time too.  Which means I can get on with some stuff like knitting socks!  Second one is already on the needles 🧦

I used the last of my stored potatoes from the allotment to make a big pot of mash!  I turned some of it into tattie scones for the freezer.

My DIL gifted me some yellow stickered pork mince that I turned into a meatloaf.  I used up the last of the stuffing mix I bought last Christmas to mix through the mince.  It was delicious with some of the mash!  Several portions are in the freezer.

I strained the gooseberries from the gooseberry gin I started in the summer and bottled the gin.  I used up the gooseberries to make jam.  I used a jam thermometer for the first time and I must confess I feel the jam is over boiled and sticky.  I think I'll stick to my old fashioned method of testing the setting point on a cold saucer!!  I'm just using the jam myself as I don't think it's good enough to gift.

So, there are lots of wee jobs getting done this week.  But that's ok, I'm not in any rush to get anything major done.  I'm taking this time to relax a wee bit before gearing up to getting ready to sell the house.

Sunday 22 October 2023

Sort of good news?


Nope, I'm not tired and I'm not going to bed! πŸΎπŸ˜‚

I sort of got good/mixed news from the vet yesterday with her test results.  Luna's liver enzymes levels are back to being within the normal rage.  HOORAY!!!!  That means she doesn't need to take the supplements any more.  One less expense!

Even though she tested positive for the giardia, she hasn't actually had any of the symptoms (vomiting and diarrhoea) since the first week she came here.  The vet thinks she's just got a persistent 'presence' of the parasite that shows up on the test now.  Her advice is to do one more course of the treatment then simply stop testing.  15% of all dogs in the UK would have a positive test without any symptoms and their owners not knowing they had it.  

So I'll not actually know if she still has it after this course of treatment.  I think I'm ok with that.  The vet recommends continuing with the hygiene routine as that has stopped Emma getting it.  And we're putting her on a course of probiotics to boost her gut flora.  After that I'll just make sure to add gut friendly foods in her diet.  But it means she's now allowed to mix freely with other dogs and go to the park etc  That's definitely good news! 😁

Wednesday 18 October 2023

Still positive :-(


Luna is still testing positive for giardia.  The vet is genuinely stumped.  I'm gutted.  We're waiting for the vet who treated her at the vet school hospital to give his advice.  But in the mean time she still can't mix with other dogs including Emma, who fortunately tested negative.  More costs for future tests and meds but most importantly she still can't go to puppy classes or puppy day care.  That is having a huge impact on her social development as there's nothing worse than a dog who can't behave around other dogs.

Tuesday 17 October 2023

More unpreparedness!


I've been unwell over the last few days πŸ™„  I had a nasty bout of vomiting all Friday night that left me depleted all weekend.  I'm just about back to normal today.  Pretty sure it wasn't a bug or something I ate as it's the second time in a month 😣  Without going into the gory details, I suspect it's acid reflux related due to stress and excess coffee drinking!! 

And I was totally unprepared for it!!!  I had nothing with ginger (my usual sickness remedy) in it anywhere in the house.  No ginger ale, crystallised ginger, no dry crackers, no nux vomica (homeopathic remedy) or any antacid products.  I was on my own as my son and DIL were away for the weekend so I couldn't even ask someone to get stuff for me.  Another reminder of how I've let 'stuff' slip these past few months.

I spent most of the time lying on my bed with a pounding headache (caffeine withdrawal as well as dehydration!) and Luna discovered that she can jump on and off the bed by herself now.  So I had company!  She's breaking all my rules about not letting dogs on the furniture!!! πŸ™„

I'm tentatively eating small meals again and was delighted to find a couple of frozen meals in the freezer that I'd made for my Lovely Mum and forgot to take with me the last time I visited.  This is slow cooked chicken stew with veggies.  It really hit the spot!  I'll make more for mum but I got to test out cooking a meal from frozen in the new ready meal containers I bought.  I was impressed, they worked well.  I'm thinking I might meal prep some recovery meals for myself as well as my mum.  Trays from Amazon HERE

So, I need to get on with sorting out my 'stuff' starting with being prepared for vomiting and getting my first aid kit up to scratch (I also discovered I had no plasters!!)  I'm pretty stocked up for colds/flus/viruses but need some ideas for vomiting/acid reflux/heartburn.  I've ordered some organic crystalised ginger, so that's a start.  Any other suggestions? 

Wednesday 11 October 2023

Flooded site

One of the plot holders has a drone and very kindly took some footage of the allotment site from above.  I've grabbed a couple of screenshots.  The yellow bit is my plot.  It looks like my shed might have escaped being flooded as it's raised up a bit on slabs but I won't know till I go there.

It's pretty flooded!  The railway line was flooded too and we've still got a bus replacement service.  Lots of places around the city were flooded like this especially near the rivers and burns.

Someone posted this link HERE from the Food Standards Agency in our FB group about contamination after a flood.  Interesting to read about what to do with our home grown fruit and veggies!

Tuesday 10 October 2023

I'm doing it all wrong!!

Thanks for all the good vibes for Luna at the vet this morning.  She's finally fully vaccinated and can go out without any restrictions now.  WOOHOO!!!  And she's a healthy chunky 10.1kg!  We're still dealing with the giardia (currently doing the 3 day poop collection for both dogs to re test πŸ™„) and she had a repeat blood test to test her liver function again.  Of course Luna being Luna had the bandage off within minutes of being home and was spurting blood everywhere!!  She's now totally zonked out on her favourite napping spot and the green bandage is firmly back on her leg!!  

I collected another round of drugs for Emma while I was there and paid another £150 for those.  I've still to pay for today's blood test and the poop tests later in the week.


It occurred to me last night that despite knowing how a no spend month works 😳 I've been doing it all wrong.  The decision was a knee jerk reaction to having a heavy spending spree these last 2 months.  But what I've failed to take into account (as evidenced by things running low or out!!) that I haven't been stockpiling/prepping the things I use all the time.  A quick look in my cupboards shows a lack of the cooking basics I normally use and I'm pretty sure I'm going to run out of toilet paper and toothpaste before the end of the month!

So I'm not feeling as despondent as I was yesterday.  I've just been rather disorganised in some areas despite having such a full freezer!  I'm giving myself some grace as I've actually got a lot of 'life stuff' going on.  I took another look at the coffee I bought and was really pleased to see the Rainforest Alliance symbol on the label. Check it out HERE.  My usual Sainsbury's version doesn't have it! It's 51p cheaper than this Tesco equivalent but from now on I'm switching.  

I'll try to have a very low spend October rather than a no spend month I think.  I'm not including dog expenses (except their food) as I have a separate budget for that.  So far I've spent £3 on coffee.  Let's see how far I get for the remaining 21 days of October!! 

Monday 9 October 2023

At what cost?


Today is the final dose of medication for both dogs to get rid of this blasted parasite.  Tomorrow Luna has a scheduled vet appt for her final vaccination.  But I've been warned she may not get it if they don't think she's 'clinically' well enough.  I honestly don't know what else can be done to eradicate it except dig up my whole garden and re landscape it.  And remove every single carpet and soft furnishing the dogs sit/lie on/brush against, just in case it's lurking there.  Luna doesn't get out into the back garden at all and doesn't get into any rooms with carpet.  Poor Emma is just very confused about everything 😒

I did pop to Tesco but it took ages trying avoid the flooded roads.  Stirling has been very badly hit.  I was very good and only bought laundry supplies, coffee and the usual allowed 2 packs of paracetamol for Emma.

The Tesco capsules work out at 16p each and I use 2 each time I wash the dog towels and bedding.  Plus I'm adding the sanitiser as a back up.  It really goes against my ideals to not use Ecover or equivalent earth friendly/home made products but they simply don't kill off viruses etc.  I'm balancing cost v principles and I'm honestly not happy about it.  My usual Ecover laundry liquid has been costing me 48p a load and by doing 3 or 4 loads a day I've used up a whole 1.5 litre bottle!  It would normally last me a few months!!  I can only hope this will all be over soon and I can go back to 'normal'  whatever that looks like now.

I bought the cheapest decent coffee.  At £3 for a 200g jar it doesn't break the bank.  But then it got me thinking about how it might have been produced.  Did the farmers get a fair price?  How was it processed so cheaply?  Etc etc etc...  Living simply and/or frugally has many challenges and I'm tying myself knots overthinking everything.  

What is the 'real' cost of having dogs especially when they get sick?  Maybe it's because I'm stir crazy being cooped up in only 2 rooms in the house with Luna.  It's not what I thought I'd be doing just a few months into retirement but I keep having to tell myself it must surely come to an end soon.  Please send positive vibes our way for the vet visit tomorrow!! 

Sunday 8 October 2023

Foul weather and bleach


I took this photo at half 6 so that tells you how long I've already been up this morning.  I need to wait another 2 hours for it to cool before I can cut it though!  The weather here is absolutely foul (lots of serious floods locally) and frankly it's matching my mood.  As Luna isn't fully vaccinated yet I have to avoid taking her places where there's 'lying water' and that includes puddles.  It's one gigantic puddle out there and I have a puppy who is full of energy!!!!  Thank crunchie she's discovered she loves tennis balls and playing fetch!

I still have to keep the girls apart in case they reinfect one another and they're doing ok with the arrangements.  Emma is a bit confused but she's got doggy dementia any way.  It's me who is stir crazy!!

I switched the heating on as it was just too cold and damp.  Luna has discovered that she can lean on the radiator to get warm.  She also likes to bark from this position to tell me she wants fed!!  She is hilarious and loopy in equal measure!

Unfortunately I need to go to Tesco today as I'm almost out of washing power and bleach.  I have to wash all the dogs' bedding and towels etc every day plus continually bleach the floors and other places where they sit/lie.  I think I've used more bleach in the last month than I've used in the last 10 years!!!  I'm going to treat myself to a jar of coffee but count the other things as part of  my monthly dogs' budget.

Thursday 5 October 2023

I should have planned this better!!


This is all the coffee I have to last me until the end of October, if I stick to a no spend month.  Less than half a jar of instant.  This is a serious situation for me!  Luckily I found half a packet of ground filter coffee lurking at the back of my fridge. I know it has definitely been in there since at least May as it was gifted to me by my Lovely Mum. I'm rationing myself to one large cup a day.

I'm also very low on salt, both types.  I used a fair amount to brine my cucumbers to make the bread and butter pickles and didn't check to see how much I had left.

And this all the honey I have left 🍯  I really didn't plan this no spend month at all.  But then, if I'd stocked up on stuff in September I'd just have moved my spending costs into a different month.  I'll do my best to make do with what I have.  

Unfortunately the vet bills are still racking up as Luna is still testing positive for giardia 😭😭 It costs £170.14 for each poop test.  Emma had a nasty bout of bloody diarrhoea at the weekend and is now on 10 days of antibiotics.  The vet is now treating them both at the same time for giardia as she thinks they're just passing it back and forward to each other.  It's all very stressful for me and the dogs who are totally confused by all the cleaning and new toileting procedures.  I'm bleaching all surfaces they sit on and practically boil washing all their bedding and my clothes etc.  And I'll need to pay for 2 more poop tests for them both.  

Might need to do a few no spend months at this rate!!! 

Monday 2 October 2023

Chinese Plum Sauce

I popped down to visit my Lovely Mum in hospital yesterday with my DIL to help me puppy wrangle.  Luna isn't used to travelling in the car yet so I need someone with me.  I had made a load of healthy ready meals to put in mum's freezer ready for her when she comes home.  But I had to remove a ton of home grown fruit to make room (with her permission!)

So today I started using up some of the fruit as my freezer is full to bursting and made a Chinese style plum sauce.  I didn't have all the spices needed so I improvised a bit.  I trebled this recipe HERE as I had almost 3kg (6lbs) of plums that my mum's neighbour gave her.  But here's my version.

  • 3kg plums, halved and stoned
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 and a half cups cider vinegar
  • 2 and a quarter cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 of a cup Tamari
  • 6 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 12 cloves 
I simmered it for about 2 hours as the plums were very watery from being in the freezer.  I blitzed it with a stick blender and put it into sterilised jars.

It tastes lovely but would definitely be improved by having more spices.  I just didn't have any others and as it's a no spend October I wasn't going to buy any!

I still have plum chutney left from last year so wanted to try something different to use up the plums this year! πŸ˜‹