Making meadows

At present our two meadows are cluttered with newly shorn rushes and grasses. I’ve got a little more seeding later next week when the rain lets up and there’s a few other jobs like assembling my honey harvesting gear and prepping a few jars for filling.

Now some of you might have picked up on me planting a native flower called Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor). Here’s a brief video explanation of what it does and what we’re hoping to achieve;

Mrs S has been off to physio, so I’m off the leash from hanging curtains and shifting furniture to get on with what I consider the important tasks of harvesting and development of our greater property. Before we bought it, our little acreage was neglected for several years, so it’s going to be a bit of a long drawn out process to bring it up to a natural hay meadow standard and to clear most of the Dock and Rush, as organic hay will be fetching a premium price over the next two years, as politicians who do not understand agriculture pile yet more rules and dangle subsidies on the most productive sector of the economy.

As previously stated, we do not intend to get involved with these new rules, as they only apply to properties that take subsidies. Refuse to play the game and what can they do? Stop the payments you don’t take? Forcibly take your property unless you get with the programme? No Ministry would survive the adverse publicity.

When it comes to subsidies, I always apply Heinlein’s T.A.N.S.T.A.A.F.L. (There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch) rule. Specifically that all ‘free gifts’ offered by the political class have toxic strings attached. Because someone, somewhere has to pick up the tab, and if you take the poisoned chalice, as so many have found to their cost when trying to pay off their ‘Education loans’ or any other kind of government promoted loan. That will be you-hoo. Sorry. Bit of an eighties flashback there.

So no subsidies, just my own pocket. At least I can benefit from all of the payback. Same for the house. If we don’t have the ready money, well then it doesn’t get done if cashflow won’t allow, and even then I’ve learned to be a financial pessimist.

Besides, ‘Government money’ should be more correctly referred to as ‘taxpayer dollar’. Whenever an administration offers other people money, they will have to take it off the taxpayer first. Then there is the cost of collection, which means that people will need to be employed to collect the money to pay out to other people, which is a cost. Which means the money collected shrinks as more staff and infrastructure are required to take the tax and process the payments. Then there’s the risk of later, more venal politicians plundering the increased tax revenues or purposes it wasn’t originally intended for, then adding to the amount taken. So. The more ‘redistribution’, using empty buzzwords like ‘fairness’ and ‘equity’ the bigger the tax take, the emptier our pockets, and the richer the politicians get. Simple logic. The money has to come from and go somewhere, and the problems the increased tax take was meant to solve too often remain.

I’m also seeing a lot of “Pensioners thrown under the bus” rhetoric out there, and as I’ve stated before, I have no intention of being held hostage by a state pension alone. Mrs S is getting geared up for her projects, as I have been. Her workshop is coming together slowly, as is mine, although mine has the most holes in it, and will require the most investment. However, we have our first crop in and money to pay our taxes, so it’s not all doom and gloom. We will not be customers of any food bank.

On the topic of food I’m experimenting with soup recipes at the moment and our old fridge freezer is doing sterling work as storage. Current recipes being trialled are: Russian vegetable, Steak and vegetable, Fish stew, Celery and blue cheese. There is a modest crop of tomatoes still ripening in our garden which I hope to transform into a couple of litres of Passata. All of the aforementioned to become nourishing weapons in our battle against declining incomes as we head into official ‘retirement’.

Speaking of declining incomes, I’ve been doing an off the cuff price check with goods at the local Supermarket, and have come up with a rough local inflation rate of 25%. Bread is almost up a Euro per loaf. Cake similarly. Pre-packaged bacon up fifty cents, and this holds true across the board. At a rough back of a fag packet calculation, prices on staple items have risen more than a quarter over what they were last year. That’s a lot. This seems to hold true no matter where you shop.

And you can’t blame the Russians because these price rises began long before the Ukraine business, or the Yanks bombing the Nordstream pipelines. Think that wasn’t the Americans or one of their proxies? The long arm of coincidence would like to give you a good hard prod in the ribs. The Germans certainly seem to think it was the Yanks.

As for four blasts, one explosion might be down to poor maintenance or carelessness in one pipe, but four simultaneously? On both? Following NATO exercise BALTOPS22 and recent statements from both Biden and the CIA that they were going to shut down Nordstream? Then there’s the recently opened Baltic Pipe, from Norway to Poland. Can I sell you this bridge son? Great skyline, Only a billion careful users. The current US administration is no-one’s friend.

It’s almost like someone wants a world wide depression. With the manipulation of energy markets the lights may well be going out all over the world, and if we’re lucky we might not see all of them go out. For my own part I’ll be busy trying to make my meadows bloom. We do what we can do.

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