Sunday 30 November 2014

The Girls Have Arrived

What a day, I was waiting on the drive for the girls to arrive, pacing back and forth then they were here.
The boys had been corralled ready to be moved into there new spaces and were full of curiosity when the girls were being unloaded
 my new girls now the fun really starts 
Top left is Janine next to her is Daffodil then top right is Daisy, front left is Liberty she is the young cria of ofJanine and front right is Imogen the young cria of Daisy.
Liberty is 5 months old and Imogen is 6 months old 
Imogen with her mum 
Liberty with her mum and Daffodil who is the matriarch
Within moments they were all settled, 
the boys have now been split and are in paddocks either side of the girls
I was told the other day that two of the adults are pregnant this morning I was told there is a good chance that all three are pregnant and due in June July next year.
That is my news for today :-)

Saturday 29 November 2014

It Seems Never Ending

Today was spent awaiting for hubby to arrive with a lorry load from the shop, last week end was spent packing boxes it was like moving all over again, I cleared a space in the barn ready for them coming
Late afternoon the lorry arrived after a cuppa it was time to unload again
Most of this delivery is storage units from the shop that I want to used in the cabin, all the black bags have bales of fabric and yet more boxes, it seems never ending unpacking boxes.
I have a plan for all the shop stock but I wont be putting it in place until next year, I really need time to get myself organised. I have ordered a 10ft x 13ft metal storage shed for the shop stock and to prevent condensation I will be running a dehumidifier in there.
While waiting for the lorry I spent the day poo collecting in the field, cleaning out the ducks and sorting out water troughs and feeding troughs for the girls arriving tomorrow.
I did also make some bread
I do now set the timer on my mobile as a drawback from cooking in the Rayburn is you cannot smell food cooking and I have a few times forgot I have something in the oven.
I hoovered through the house, dusted and polished, unpacked another big box of china and glass and found homes for them all.
Last night I did get the Belgian Cake made
Now hubby and grandson have something to munch on it was made from
The Cranks original recipe for Belgian Cake using leftover mincemeat: Belgian cake Recipe from Cranks Recipe Book 1982. 100gms butter or margarine, 75gms dark brown sugar, 2 beaten eggs, 150gms self-raising flour, 225gms mincemeat, 1 tablespoon water. Cream fat and sugar until creamy and fluffy, add the eggs, then fold in the flour, then the mincemeat, finally the water. Spoon into a greased and lined 20cm square shallow cake tin (I sometimes use muffin cases and make individual muffins). Level the surface. Bake at 170C,/325F/Mark 3 for about 30 minutes until risen and golden. (Check with a knife to ensure all is cooked, but don't let it get too dry). Cool in the tin..
That about sums my day up, tomorrow I will have lots of photos of our new Alpacas :-)

Friday 28 November 2014

Sunrise To Sunset

I got up at 6am this morning and was privileged to see a glorious sunrise
I have friends who have never seen a sunrise, hard to believe, I stood in the field and took this photo, its a great time of day, so peaceful just the Alpacas humming, the pigs squealing, ducks quacking, chickens clucking, Lambert letting out the odd baa and the birds a cheeping oh must not forget Kara woofing were are you, what a great start to the day.
I love it out there in the morning.
Then it was fetching in logs, washing dishes, pegging out washing, ordering another shed and a Goulash in the simmering oven all done by 9am.
 The rest of the day was my own, so it was spent in the cabin sorting boxes and getting out unfinished projects so I can get to work on them.
Before you know it its time to feed everyone again, then its sunset time
 Oddjob was watching the sunset too
time to light the log burner 

chat with hubby on the phone he wont be home until tomorrow and is bringing grandson to help unload the lorry.
Take the goulash out of the oven
  its for tomorrows dinner, I shall do some jacket potatoes with it, it will be a hot meal ready for when they arrive with the lorry tomorrow.
I planned to get some baking done today, well I am just about to a Belgian Cake.
Must get it on the go :-)

Thursday 27 November 2014

Frost and Spicy Balls

We have had a few hard frosts this week
 A frost view down the valley across our top field 
view from the garden
Lambert taking in his first frost
The boys enjoying some hay on a frosty morning
In contrast the past couple of days have been very mild, when out stocking up on animal feed yesterday I overheard a farmer telling the cashier we are in for the worst winter for 100 years. 

I have been making some spiced orange pomander balls, they are a lovely natural air freshener and very decorative, even more so for this time of year 
As well as making a few of these I have been looking up recipes for making fudge, getting things organised for the new Alpacas arriving, unpacking more boxes in my craft cabin in readiness for a load of stuff arriving this week end from the shop.
I have finished off a few Christmas gifts, made some Christmas decorations, pop on to my craft blog to see them. Catching up with housework. Keeping the home fires burning.
Tomorrow is going to be a day of cooking, I am just about to do some scramble eggs and smoked salmon to eat then sit in front of the fire cutting out fabric for a patchwork quilt.
Hope you are all staying warm.

Tuesday 25 November 2014

The Oca Harvest

I had never grown Oca (New Zealand Yams) before let alone eat them, earlier this year I was given a few tubers to try out, I grew them in a container as we were moving house during the growing season, they have been some-what neglected, but they grew and formed nice bushy plants, as the season finished and all the usual vegetables were harvested, the Oca continued to grow, they form there tubers in the autumn and you harvest after the foliage has died back from frost, well we have had frost and the foliage was dying off.
I was very excited to see if there was anything to harvest
 lo and behold there they were what little beauties.
This was my total harvest 
Now having harvested them, I had to try them out, a quick look on Mr Google and I had some suggestions, wash then lightly it said and the various ways of eating are
You can eat them raw
You can stir fry
You can roast
You can boil 
You can add them casseroles
I tried a bit raw, very crunchy and firm, with a bit of a lemony radish taste, I then sliced a few up and added them to the mince I was cooking for dinner, when cooked they have keep there crunchy texture and have a nutty taste, very very nice.
I am going to keep a handful of tubers to grow on next year, it great to be able to harvest something so late in the year. They make a lovely substitute for potatoes.

Monday 24 November 2014

Home Again

Kara and me got home late last night, its a great feeling to get home, Kara was overjoyed to be back, the shop is all packed up and closed now, Stock and fittings in storage, Hubby is going to bring up the storage units I want for my cabin next week end and he will load with most of the stock, at some point I will start selling off the stock and the remainder of the shop fittings will be sold off.
Homespun crafts is no more, many of the regular customers called in to say goodbye over the week end, there was many tears hugs and goodbyes. 
Lesley keep smiling :-) it was lovely to see you.
The valued staff of Homespun Crafts
Carol who ran the card making classes is going to continue in another venue, Mandy who ran the dressmaking classes is also going to continue and work with Sue doing craft fairs, 
they are all very talented ladies and very good friends.
So a new chapter opens this week end we should be taking delivery of Alpacas, 
Daisy who has a young female cria at foot called Imogen
Daffodil who is pregnant 
Jolean who has a young cria at foot called Louby Lou and Jolean is pregnant
the young will be ready to be weaned in January
So that makes 5 females that should stop the boys fighting
We came home to -2 and this morning was a hard frost our first real one, my Azalea has started flowering 
such a beautiful delicate flower, and many more to come.
I came home with some lovely fabric from my sister 
ideal for making some much needed door curtains, the cream will go on the front door and the gold on the back door, that will be a little job for me to get done this week.
I am now going to have dinner and do some catching up on blogs :-)

Thursday 20 November 2014

Its Offcial

Our adoption of Kara is now official, the paper work arrived from Dogs for the Disabled yesterday, we have to transfer her microchip information to us and send back her DFD id tag,
Today I got her registered with a local vet and did a bit of shopping 
 here she is showing off her new collar and ID tag she has a matching lead as well
 This is her favourite spot every every evening when I light I light the log burner, she stands watch over it until it gets going 
Then she scruffs up her blanket and settles down for an evening of snores
When I go to add more wood to the fire I have to step over her as she has no intentions of moving.
Tomorrow Kara and me are heading to Milton Keynes the shop closes on Saturday so I am down there for a few days packing it all up, we will be staying with my sister and brother in law, I am really looking forward to this visit tying up lose ends closing a chapter and moving on.
I am also meeting up with my son, it has been 6 months since I saw him last we haven't always been on good terms with each other, I am really looking forward to meeting up with him.
I have just been raiding the fridge for dinner 
Smoked Salmon, Avocado and salad with bread and butter, there is enough salad and salmon left for me to take with me for lunch tomorrow on the journey, I shall fill a flask as well, I cant really go into the services to eat and leave Kara in the car, on the way we have to make a little detour to drop my sewing machine in for a service, the nearest place I could find is Swansea not really on the doorstop about an hour and a half away, the have said it should be ready to pick up in a weeks time. 
Catch up with you all in a few days :-)

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Its Come To Life...

There is stirrings of life in the mushroom bag
the mycelium is growing a lot faster than what I expected, I only started the mushroom spawn last week and yes its coming to life, the instructions said can take up to six weeks. I don't think my Oyster Mushrooms read the instructions.
Other news today, after the long planting list from yesterday, I got out into the garden at 8am and started digging over the third raised bed, I decided to double dig the bed.
Basically you dig out a trench spade depth from one end and keep it to one side, fork over the sub soil, then the next row you dig out a spade and tip it face down into the trench you had previously dug, then fork over the sub soil and continue until you get to the end and put your sods from the first trench face down into the last trench.
Me personally I would only double dig new ground once after that it should only need light tilling or forking, some gardeners double dig all there growing areas every year, but I don't see that it benefits it any the turf is now at the bottom and will rot down.
  I added 8 bags of spent mushroom compost forked it in and the bed was planted up with the last back of Shallots Yellow Moon, Red Onions Electric and Yellow Onions Senshyu.
I have one bag of onion sets left to plant and one more raised bed to dig over, 
these raised beds as 12ft x 6ft so they are a nice size.
We will then build another four raised beds then that will be our outside growing area complete.
I made a lovely rice pudding this morning and it has been in the simmering oven all day ready for me to have some this evening, I took a fancy to rice pudding when I was washing up this morning.
I also got a bit of time to go back through my garden diary, every year my daughter gets me a lovely hardback diary and calender, the diary I use to record what I planted, what I harvested, what I ordered and what seeds I sowed, when I have fed plants or done particular things in the garden, does anyone else who blogs keep a diary as well ?

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Hedging Pears and Plums

It has been a busy few days, yesterday I was at the craft club, then the afternoon I spent in my cabin making more Christmas gifts, this morning was my paid session at the family centre working with the mums and there little ones, we were doing baubles details on my craft blog, I am glad I am only doing 4 sessions with them, the mums are lovely but the noise from 14 toddlers is something else, I was asked today if I could put a program of events together for the spring I will be giving it careful consideration before I commit.
I got home at lunch time and found another big box on the doorstep
This time it was hedging pear and plum trees, I came across them a few weeks ago on
I hadn't come across hedges from pears and plums so thought I better give them a go.

Cherry Plum
Produces masses of pure white flowers in the early spring before the leaves appear, followed by deliciously sweet cherry plums in the autumn. This dense hedge with its thorny twigs provides an attractive yet effective barrier.
Ultimate Height 7.6m (25ft)
Recommended Hedge Height 1.2-1.8m (4-6ft)
Growth per Year 30-45cm (12-18in)
Planting Distances 35-60cm (1ft 2"-2ft)
Positions Requires a sunny position.
Soil Suitable for most well drained soils.

  Hedging Plum
New! Our pear (Pyrus communis) hedging is a species native to Europe and produces clusters of pretty white flowers in April followed by edible fruits in late autumn that can be eaten raw, cooked with, or used to make perry. The trees are deciduous and have orange/gold autumn tints and are popular with wildlife.

Ultimate Height 15m (50ft)
Recommended Hedge Height Prune to height desired.
Growth per Year 30-45cm (12-18in)
Planting Distances 35-60cm (1ft 2"-2ft)
Positions Grows well in any light but particularly likes semi shade.
Soil Suitable for normal soils (except chalk).
 I have copied the details from the site, I did also order some Raspberry canes, Mailing Minerva they are an early fruiting cane, all the trees and raspberry canes are bare rooted so need to be planted asap.
 I got half a dozen planted then it was time to see to animals and I was losing light.
The initial place I had in mind for them I decided against, I have now decided to plant them out along the fence line of the growing area  they will give a bit of a wind break when they have established and hopefully encourage pollinating insects.
With the order I got a free book a surprise as I wasn't expecting anything
 I had a quick flick through it and its got some excellent information in it.
My outdoor list is starting to stack up I really need to get a move on with planting.
To plant list 
14 Hedging Pears and Plums
5 Raspberry canes
24 of my original raspberry canes
30 strawberry plants
18 Apple and Pear Trees
5 Nut Trees
5 Blueberry bushes
1 Tayberry
1 Honeyberry
3 Fig Trees
3 Grape Vines 
Passion Flowers
Perennial Flowers
6 Bare Rooted Roses
6 Bamboo Plants
Perennial Veg
150 Onion Bulbs
25 Shallots
50 Flowering Alliums
25 Dwarf Daffodil
25 Tulips
50 Lavender Plants 
The lavender is what I ordered back in July, I didn't get them all planted when i realised the digger was coming through the garden to dig out the water trenches I stopped planted them, so glad I did.
 The list of things to plant is long and I really really must get stuck into planting them, most important is the bare rooted ones the others are in pots and will be fine there but I would like to get them into the ground before winter sets in.
Anyone else got a planting list ?

Saturday 15 November 2014

What Was In The Box?

This morning after everyone was fed I finally got round to opening the big box that arrived yesterday
It was full of plants, it was an order I put in with J Parker in August, I knew it wouldn't be coming until November, I had actually forgotten about it.
I planted up the ground cover perennials 
The ground is far to wet to plant them out, so i will grow them on for a few weeks.
In the box was also 6 lost label roses if we get a couple of dry days I will get them in the ground, it will be interesting to see what they are like next year.
There was also 2 free gifts dwarf daffodil bulbs and orange tulips, I think I may plant them in some containers to have on the door step.
We have had a lovely sunny day here almost spring like, hubby has been working outside in his t-shirt, The other day in the high winds we lost a strip of felting off the new shed, the stuff they send you is so flimsy a sneeze would tear it, hubby replaced it with something a bit more manly and put batons across the roof to prevent it happening again. He also put the hooks up for me so i could get my garden tools hung up
We will build a long bench under the window and i would like some shelves up on the other side, but there is no rush, I got a lot of the stuff moved into the shed

It all needs organising but at least it now in one place, and after getting this done I felt like I had really moved house, strange that, it must be getting all the stuff in its rightful corner instead of all piled in the barn.
Nik Nack still looks a bit of a mess today 
I have been keeping an eye on him in case he rubs his head and starts it bleeding again.
I think it will take a while for his fleece to clean up, I did wash him down yesterday with a bucket of soapy water and got most of it out of his fleece. 
Hubby is logging at the moment but the light is fading so he will be in soon, I have lit the log burner, about to go and shut the animals in for the night, then have a shower and we are having fish and chips for supper.
Lets hope tomorrow brings another dry sunny day.

Friday 14 November 2014

What A Day ............

I have so much to tell you today 
I had a morning baking
Gluten free cakes
More Crackers
I shall post tomorrow on all of those
The fencers have now finished work 
We have had post and rail fencing put around the food growing area 
And around the apiary orchard area, I can now get my fruit trees planted and take all the orange netting down, there is metal pedestrian gates into each of the areas.
We have had 4 paddocks done with stock fencing, these four paddocks are for the Alpacas, the paddocks are in pairs and link with a gate, so we can move them from paddock to paddock so we can rest ground in between, now the paddocks are done we need to get some field shelters built then we can get some females.
On the subject of Alpacas today there was a big fight between them, I was just coming out of the cabin going to make a cuppa when i looked across the field all I could see was Nick Nak covered in blood, a lot of blood all over his head and down his neck, I went round to get C junior from next door to help we get Nick Nak into the enclosure so we could see what had happened.
We managed to get him his ear had been torn, he was sprayed with purple spray and washed down to get rid of as much of the blood as possible.
This is him after we had cleaned him up, he seems fine now. It gave a bit of a start when I saw him covered in blood, not something I want to see again in a hurry.
Mushroom Spawn part 2 
I drained the straw and went onto the next bit of the instructions
 break up the mushroom spawn and sprinkle it into the bag of damp straw
close up the bag with a paper towel as a bung and give the bag a good shake place somewhere with a temperature between 17-24c in a few weeks I should see lots of white threads running through the straw, will update when we get to the next stage.
I have been that busy today I haven't even opened this big box 
It arrived this morning, hubby has just got home for the week end so the box can wait until tomorrow as well.