If you read my other blog you may remember that earlier this year I wrote quite a lot about my dearly loved grandma who died well over thirty years ago.
Grandma lived in a big old-fashioned farmhouse which looked very elegant from the outside but was cold, inconvenient and rather uncomfortable to live in. She had an amazingly hard life but for all sorts of reasons she is one of my frugal heroines.
Grandma had more than enough to do, running the farmhouse and doing quite a bit towards the running of the farm but she always kept a few hens. Looking back with rose-coloured spectacles it could seem idyllic but those couple of dozen birds caused a lot of work. Grandma had to let them out in the morning and shut them up at night, often searching for a hen who had gone broody in a very inconvenient place. Egg gathering sounds lovely but mucking out hen houses was not so much fun. The fox was a constant enemy. Grandma had to cope with delicate day old chicks and had to wring the necks of birds whose time had come. The birds would come to the back door but when they left they would also have left poo behind them.
All in all the hens were hard work but there were beautiful fresh eggs for the farmhouse and grandma would always give me one or two to take home for my tea during the week.
The surplus eggs would be sent to the egg packing station. They had to be buffed clean, sorted and packed into trays and seeing to that was sometimes my job. Just a few dozen eggs would be sent each week and some weeks there would be very few to send,
Whatever money there was from the eggs was grandma's own, not "farm money" and she used to squirrel it away along with butter money. Once a year she used to treat grandad and herself to a week at the seaside, staying at a guest house in Skegness.
A few days ago I mentioned to a friend that I earn about £60 to £70 a month doing on-line surveys and she said, "Ooh, over a year that's enough for a holiday!"
And I thought back to grandma and her hens. I'm not pretending that the surveys are anything like such hard work but they can be very tedious and the only way to get anything like £60 a month is to be very constant in doing them. The money doesn't go directly to my holiday budget (I'm usually paid in Amazon vouchers) but it does free up money to enable my holidays to be taken.
I think Grandma would be pleased with me. I hope so.