Tuesday 31 March 2015

Eggs And More

Last night I had a go at candling the duck eggs in the incubator, 
they have been in there 16 days now
I have tried to get some photos to show you.

You can see the veining in the eggs, four out of the six are defiantly viable number 5 I am not sure so will check it again at the week end number 6 is defunct so has been removed.
They take 28 days in total to reach hatching, so 12 days to go.

This is the Amaryllis that my daughter got me at Christmas

Its a stunning red colour and so far it hasn't needed staking.

Today the postie brought me lots of goodies
firstly the latest Home Farmer magazine

There is an article on smoking and curing also a good article on growing in Straw Bales I fancy giving that a go.
The garden club I belong to sent me some flower seeds
and some veg seeds
and Mikes seed club sent me these, the Crook Neck squash sounds interesting and it might be the one I choose to grow in straw bales.
A big box arrived from Marlene over at Simple Living she organised the Easter gift swap, I haven't opened it yet will save it until tonight. 
I went into town this morning had some things to post off and the post van didn't turn up yesterday, while I was there I renewed my driving licence, doing the photo thingy in there little curtain area, £21.50 it cost to renew my licence and that is only for 10 years, I reckon I will only have to renew it once more then it will be the big 70 year old fit to drive thingy. 
Right its time for dinner need to raid the fridge.

Monday 30 March 2015

My Monday Make

Hot Smoked Fish, I love smoked salmon and mackerel in fact I love any fish or sea food.
While we were out on Saturday I bought some Mackerel and half a side of Salmon
I got the fishmonger to gut the Mackerel for me, I chopped off the heads and tails and boned them, boning Mackerel is one of the things I first learnt in domestic science at school.
Boning is easy, lay the fish flesh side down and press along the spine, then pull off the spine with the bones, any bones that are left behind are just pulled out.
Next job was salting the fish 
 The salmon was cut into fillets lay on a bed of salt then sprinkled with salt,
I la the tail piece on top and sprinkled that with salt 
cover and pop into the fridge 
The mackerel was given the same salt treatment, they were left in the fridge for a couple of hours,
The point of salting is to draw moisture out of the fish
Its surprising how much liquid comes out of the fish 

rinse the fish well and pat dry leave to air dry for a bit, this is the time to set up the smoker.
I got a smoking cabinet last year when I was doing all the pork.
This time I use an Apple sawdust in the smoker 
Once the smoker was ready I loaded up the fish and closed the cabinet up and left it do its business for the afternoon.
Because it was so windy yesterday I set the smoker up in the wood shed, the smell was fantastic.
 The fish was fantastic too, the salmon fillets I have popped in the freezer for later meals.
For dinner last night we had the salmon tail and mackerel with salad and fresh bread.
This is the first time I have had a go at smoking fish and its been a great success, I will be doing this again, the salmon cost £10.72 not bad for three meals for the two of us.
Next time I would to try adding some flavours to fish while smoking.

Sunday 29 March 2015

Were Did The Weekend Go

The past few days have flow by, the weather hasn't been brilliant but it hasn't stopped us getting on.
Friday I shifted the delivery of 2 tons of top soil and filled some of the raised beds
It was a lovely sunny day so I made the most of it, the broad beans had all germinated 
21 of the 22 we saved from last year were viable they are now out in the raised bed.
I also sowed some Telegraph Peas I like there they are an Heirloom variety and grow 8ft tall, proper old fashioned peas as I remember them, I cant be doing with those scruffy peas that only only grow a feet tall, for what you get off them it hardly seems worth the effort of growing  them.
I did some more sowing in the greenhouse, sweetcorn and stevia and got my oca tubers into pots.
I did make these scones as well after getting the idea from Pam over on New Life In Wales no waste no fuss and they taste just like scones.
Yesterday we got the last of the boxes into the attic yippee :-)
I need to get the bedrooms organised this week as we have family arriving on Thursday, I am so looking forward to my daughter and granddaughters coming for Easter.
I also got some sorting out of the ex shop stock done Martin brought another load down for me, we popped down to the fruit and veg suppliers.
Today I have spent the day baking bread, and sorting out in the cabin, Martin has been logging all day and he has put together the Asparagus bed for me, they should be due to arrive any day now.
A lot of the seedlings are coming up in the greenhouse and space is becoming tight, I keep shuffling things around or moving them into the small poly tunnel.
There was something else I did today for the first time but I will post about it on My Monday Make tomorrow.
I hope you all remembered to moved the clocks forward, I hate doing it, it throws all the animals routines out as well as mine.

Friday 27 March 2015

Five On Friday

My phone and Internet are fixed, yippee just in time for Five On Friday.
This week I wanted to share some seeds I am giving a go at growing this year, I do like the challenge of growing something different and unusual.
I am also sharing the seeds with a couple of other bloggers so they can have a go as well.

Tomato Tree 
The Tomato Tree grows exceptionally fast, and can produce orange / grapefruit size fruit within 3 months of germination. The fruit is picked off the tree more in the manner of an apple than a tomato, producing hundreds of large tomatoes each season. These trees are short lived perennials, and usually last for 2 - 3 years in the UK climate. I don't expect for a moment mine will be anything like the picture.

Sugar Apple
The Sugar Apple Tree rarely grows larger than 15 – 20 ft, but produces numerous fruits from 115 – 675g in weight. The sugar apple, as the name might suggest, produces creamy white pulp with a taste very similar to sweet custard. The fruit is often used in milkshakes, and ice creams; adding a great flavour, and consistency! Now This will be a challenge more of a challenge to get it to fruit.

Prickly Pear

The Prickly Pear Cactus produces one of the most refreshing fruits; tasting similar to a juicy, extra sweet watermelon!! The fruits know as prickly pears, or cactus figs. They can be eaten peeled - or made into jams, and candies. Now I have grown this before and had a lovely plant that was just at the point of fruiting, it was a good few feet tall and every winter I moved it into the porch to give it some protection then one winter that one with heavy snow just before Christmas we were away and I lost my plant.

Dragon Fruit

Dragon fruit originated in Central America. Also called pitaya fruit, this plant has been cultivated since the 13th century. Dragon fruit, like other cactus, needs warm growing conditions. When pitaya matures, it makes an excellent eating fruit or component for wine and flavourings. When consumed in fresh or dried form dragon fruit provides carotene, digestive fibre, protein, phosphorus, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3 and Vitamin C.

Black Strawberries
 I already have everyday red strawberries, alpine strawberries and white strawberries so why not throw black into the mixture, I am not expecting them to be a true black more of a dark red purple colour.

All this is just for fun and I do like a bit of a growing challenge, even if they don't get to the fruiting stage just getting them to grow will be a success in my book.
I get my unusual seeds from Botany Seeds

Many Thanks to Amy for organising the Five on Friday pop over to her blog and see who else is taking part.

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Wednesday 25 March 2015

Service Interuption

I have no phone or internet service at the moment, BT say they should have the fault fixed by 5pm Friday.
Be back soon :-)

Monday 23 March 2015

Monday Make and Alpacas

Today's make is a crafting make, I have made it for Martin to have in his rented accommodation were he stays through the week
looks a bit odd doesn't it, its a carrier bag holder, stuff the bags in the top and pull them out from the bottom when needed, he mentioned some time ago he could do with one. I have put full details on my craft blog along with another item I made today.
Yesterday it was time to give the Alpacas there vitamin supplement, they need this to prevent rickets along with other things due to the low light levels we have in winter, its given to them in a paste form with one of those big syringe guns with a plunger, like the ones you use for diy. 
The girls have not been halter trained at all, something I intend working on when the babies have been weaned. The girls bucked and kicked and lept about the catch pen on the end of a lead rope, I cant be doing with that so they will be trained to wear a halter and walk on a lead rope.
The boys were angels in comparison.
Nick Nack was the best behaved 
he lay down and calmly let me do his nail trimming and examine his legs he developed a limp over the week end I couldn't find anything obvious and today he seems fine again
he looks like he is having a snooze
he continued to stay down until his harness was take off then he leapt up, he doesn't usually have a pink mouth, its the vitamin paste, if they were all to lie like this it would be great.
Lambert was very intrigued watching what was happening to his buddy.
I did get stuck into clearing more of the borders in back garden yesterday in readiness for an order I have coming.
A collection of Day Lillie's
A collection of skyscraper Lillie's
20 Asiatic Lillie's 
20 Oriental Lillie's
Can you tell I like Lillie's, the young plants in the greenhouse are coming on great and before I know it they will also need planting out Lupins, Dianthus, Cosmos, Rubekia, Helichrythums, Anthirnums, Sunflowers and Zinnia. I really don't want to buy in perennials or bedding annuals I have loads of seed packets so I am using them up.
On the same order I have coming
Monkey Puzzle Tree
Orange Tree
Lemon Tree
2 Plaited stem Oleanders to stand by the front door
Acer Nugendo Flamingo tree
I was looking for a Eucalyptus tree but they didn't have what I wanted, it would have been rude not to put an order in. 
I want to add plenty of trees to the garden with interesting foliage and colours, there are a few gaps in the existing trees to fill.
Martin took the scaffolding down from the side of the house, 
brilliant I wont keep banging my head on it.
That's all my news up to date I think. 

Sunday 22 March 2015

March Book Winner and Vsitors

Sorry I didn't post yesterday bit of a busy day.
Anyway the winner of my March Book Give Away 
if you would like to email me your postal address Hazel I will get it in the post to you 

Yesterday was a lovely sunshine day again, we have been really spoiled with the weather this week, we had much welcome visitors coming.
First to arrive was Pam A New Life In Wales I have met Pam on a couple of occasions each one a pleasure, after a cuppa we headed down the cabin were I wanted to show Pam a quick easy patchwork block, she mastered it straight away, I am sure it will be used in working through her fabric stash.
Next to arrive was Marlene and her husband Kev from Poppy Patchwork they are in Wales for a few days it was great that we could all meet up and the sun continued to shine.
Marlene is a very accomplished stitcher and brought me a lovely stitching that I had been watching develop on her blog
 Also a gift for Kara
Marlene also brought with her two plants one each for Pam and me Cucamelons, mine is in the greenhouse so will photo it later.
After a cuppa we had a visit to the animals and a bit of tour of the homestead and cabin, Pam and Marlene got to rummage through some of the shop stock I really must get it unpacked and organised, we had a salad lunch sitting outside in the sun.
It was great to see everyone and they are all such lovely people I would happily spend time with again.
Martin did get the last the last of the anchor points in for the poly tunnel so today we can get the frame all bolted together as the sun once again is shining on our welsh mountain top.

Friday 20 March 2015

Five On Friday

This week I thought I would share with you what I usually carry around in my pockets every day, I were padded waistcoats while pottering around the plot they have 2 nice pockets on them that are very handy for carrying the things I need about my person
My phone, there is no use anyone phoning the house during the day if I am out and about in the fields or garden, also I have it for safety if I was to have an accident there would be no use shouting there is no-one to hear me, this was brought home to me one morning while feeding the Alpacas and Daffodil kicked backed and caught me in the abdomen could have been nasty.
  Reading glasses, cant read those labels on things without them and seed packets why do they make the writing so small.
Knife, this has come in handy so many times, cutting bits off plants, cutting string and it came in handy for rescuing one of the ducks when we had the last buzzard attack one of the ducks got caught up in the electric netting and I had to cut her free.
Dog whistle and treats, there is no use calling Kara from across the field, we think her hearing is doubtful any way, a quick blast on the whistle and she comes bounding across well bounding at her pace and a treat is her reward 
my camera, a bit scratched now, I have had it a few years but I love my little camera and much prefer it to the camera on the phone, you never know when you need to take a photo.
So that's whats in my pockets on a daily basis, although I do end up with other odd things throughout the day, cable ties, screws, nails bits of string.
What is in your pockets :-) 

Thanks to Amy for organising the Five on Friday

Thursday 19 March 2015

Breakfast With Lambert

This morning I dug out my video camera, I want to try and video the solar eclipse tomorrow morning, I only got the camera last year and havent really used it much, so in an attempt to familiarise my self with it I thought I would do a quick video of Lambert having his breakfast.
Dont get too excited its not a good video, it is really difficult to walk across a field armed with the Alpacas feeds Lambert's breakfast and try and hold a camera steady, I don't recommend it.
So here you go

What else has been going on, we have had some fantastic weather this week, it has meant a lot of time spent out doors. 

The bubble wrap has come off the greenhouse although the seedlings and young plants still need wrapping up at night
 There are new young limes coming along on the lime tree
the raised beds that are planted up are coming along great, 
I have been barrowing in more of the mole hills, sowing more seeds, beetroot and spring onions outside, Globe artichokes in the greenhouse along with plenty of summer bedding flowers, I ave put Okra seeds in to soak they will be planted tomorrow.
I went down to the book reading group on Tuesday evening, an enjoyable time having a good natter with others from the village.
That's me about up to date, the draw for the March giveaway will take place tomorrow night.

Wednesday 18 March 2015

Hedging In The Sunshine

A willow planting session took place yesterday

Alpaca poo was spread along the fence line were the windbreak hedge was going in
weed suppressing membrane was pegged down and the willow cuttings were planted through it, I ave done it 2 deep , some f the cuttings were just starting to break bud, there was 10 different variety's with some interesting colours of bark from yellow through to purple, I have tried to keep there labels with them so I can swap some cuttings at a future date, although I might have to draw a little plan up, there was suppose to be 5 of each variety, in some packs were there 6 or 7 cuttings the extras I am going to put into gaps in the existing hedges.
Mole hills were next on the list
This area is were I want to plant up a coppice Mr Mole has been busy with 100's of mole hills
The soil he has been throwing up is lovely and fine, I am collecting it up and putting it into one of the raised beds
were the mole hills were I am putting in some willow trees for coppicing,
 I do also have some trees that I have grown from seed that will be a more permanent planting, we don't have a rabbit issue up here there are plenty of predators around keeping numbers down 
I tried to get a photo of the Red Kites circling yesterday
 While I was working away in the sunshine the Alpacas were relaxing 
Kara joined them for a sunshine snooze,
  after her visit to the vet on Monday she is now allowed to go barefooted again.
 she celebrated with a treat hidden in a box, she was very happy tearing the box apart to find a treat, best of all she will pick up the bits for me after she has scattered them around the floor.