Sunday 31 January 2016

Service Interuption

Been without phones and internet since last Monday, 
Our phone lines were brought down by a lorry,
mobile hone has been sketchy as well as we need a booster that runs off the phone line
so effectivly I have not been able to comunicate with the outside world.
BT says its non urgent  so all of us beyond the break are wit out service.
Now sitting down the pub in the village using there internet while waiting for dinner.

A rough week all round, fox attack the other evening took all the ducks
The Alacas have mud fever I brought them in the other night making temporary accommodation in one of the barns, we let them out yesterday as it was dry then brought them in again in the evening 
that is what we are doing until there is an improvement in the ground, out during the day in at night to dry off.
Kara is back on a bottle.
The goats haven't kidded yet any day now. 
right off to have have a quick scan over everyones blogs.

Sunday 24 January 2016

Spy's .......

A lovely mild day, we may have been bathed in low cloud but it was still and calm
After checking my hot heap, its starting to warm up now
I watered everything in the tunnel
then headed off with my pink wheel barrow to collect some mole hills
 The soil is lovely and is added to the raised beds
While I was out there I did a bit of weeding around some of the fruit bushes
and piled a load of manure around the Rhubarb
 pink buds of promise were start to fatten up.
Martin was putting in the floor in the goat house.
As time is drawing in for kidding we decided to set up a few cameras in the goat enclosure.
Welcome to goat cam
 There is a camera set up in there house this is Connie in the house
 the other camera is set up in there enclosure, we are going to shift this camera to the opposite corner tomorrow, we can now keep an eye on them with the impending event looming.
This afternoon we headed to the beach
 it was so calm and still not even a breeze
 we were the only ones on the beach,
 Sol had a great time chasing seaweed in the waves
so many little rock pools each one a tiny world of its own.
We had Scampi and chips eating looking out across the bay 
We collected some winkles and limpets that Martin is now cooking up for a supper snack
cooked in garlic and larger 
Fire is now lit, we have a choice of watching Alpaca cam, Goat cam or Call the Midwife.

Saturday 23 January 2016

Home Reared Pork.

Another Pioneer Woman dinner tonight Classic Pulled Pork
 I dug a joint of our home reared pork out of the freezer yesterday once thawed, 
Brown Sugar, Chili powder, Paprika, Garlic powder salt pepper cayenne pepper were all rubbed in,
wrapped in cling film and left in the fridge over night to marinade,
Lunch time it was popped on a bed of chopped onions covered in foil and put in the oven to cook
After about 5 hours it was taken out shredded up the juices were cooked up with barbecue sauce then the meat was then coated in the sauce ready to be served.
Really really yummy, some will go in the freezer and Martin will take some back with him next week.

The skin off the pork didn't go to waste
after rubbing with salt, I left it cook in a low oven overnight, 
Pork Cracking, Martins favourite.

I have spent most of the day in the cabin, its coming up to craft fair time again.
Tomorrow we are planning a trip to the beach in the afternoon, it was Martins Birthday yesterday,
So it has to be a trip to the beach with Sat and Pepper squid with chips sat on the harbour wall.
I was watching the goats a bit today, there udders are really starting to hang, 
In fact Connie is really hanging down, she is very large with her pregnancy as well,
its guess how many she is having. Thelma doesn't look no-where near as big,
I have a rough calculation of dates, Thelma 28th Jan and Connie 5th of Feb but of course they can come a week either side of that date.
We are having a goat session in the morning so I will have a good look at them then.
In answer to some peanut butter questions, You can use salted roasted peanuts or if you prefer plain roasted peanuts, salt and sugar are optional, I buy the big bags of value roasted salted nuts for mine.
Sunflower oil or ground nut oil I find best. 


Thursday 21 January 2016

Turn Of The Goats

The day started as normal, feeds, water, hay collect eggs, bring in logs
then it was the turn of the goats
there house was given a good clean through
goats are not very houseproud, they will soil and relive themselves in there bedroom
after forking out the old bedding and scrapping the floor, it was a fresh layer off wood shavings
then a thick bed of new straw
Hay rack was refilled
after christmas was over I asked for next doors christmas tree
the goats like it to have a bit of a nibble on and scratch on
it was laying on the floor of there enclosure I stuck it in a pot and added a few fresh pine branches around the bottom, I have tied the tree up so they cant pull it over
I collect them some fresh greenery every day today it was brambles, holly and ivy
they do enjoy the greenery, it adds some interest to there diet of dried food.
water filled up, they go through a fair amount of water,
there enclosure was laid out with straw as well.
Goats all sorted 
sorted out the rubbish for collection, pop it in the car to drop off at the end of the drive,
I made a dash to the post van, only to find it wasn't Wednesday it was Thursday and I had missed it,
It also meant I had missed the rubbish collection oh well it will come round again in a fortnight
Back home again, rustled up some lunch
got some bread on the go
 made up a new batch of peanut butter, I love peanut butter but would rather pay 27p than £1 or more,
its one of the easiest things to make, large bag of value roasted peanuts into the food processer, blitz them up, then add 1tsp of sugar (optional) 2 tsp of sunflower oil blitz together there done.
That was easy,
Then it was hoover through upstairs down stairs in the ladies chamber
Wash the floors
then off to walk Sol down the woods
Back home again in time for another round of feeds and collecting eggs,
then sit down open the post
January delivery from the Seeds of the month club,
Watermelon I tried last year they were doing alright but we didn't get the summer they needed,
Squash White Bush a new one to try, the squash we grew last year did really well.
Beans this times its Blue Lake not come across these before, last years beans did really well.
 Beetroot Detroit these were another successful crop last year.
Its nice getting this little surprise package each month, you never know whats going to arrive.
It was egg and chips for dinner 
So how was your day :-)

Wednesday 20 January 2016

Welcoming The Freeze

A hard frost evident when I went out this morning
 The Alpacas coats were all crispy, it just shows how insulating there fleeces are
 It doesn't worry them at all, the seem to enjoy the cold weather, as the ground was frozen I fed them in one of the paddocks, and laid out a load of hay for them, broke the ice on the water for them,
gave Kara a bottle, it was pleasant in the morning sunshine
 This were the Alpacas chose to sleep last night, they have access to a field shelter but would rather sleep outside.
After everyone was fed, given hay, collected eggs, broken the ice on the drink waters, brought in plenty of logs, nipped to the post office van, I decided to make the most of lovely winter day
The Welsh National Botanical Garden is only about 15-20mins away and through January on week days its free admission, a quick change of clothes grabbed a few snacks and off I went.
The car park was fairly full when I arrived, I took so many photos I have popped them on another page for you to see.
I had a lovely time on my visit and best of all it didn't cost anything.
There are all sorts of free entertainment out there in the local area,
I get the local news letter telling me what is going on, attending these events is a great way of meeting people too and gets you involved in the local community.

I hope you have all been enjoying the freeze while it is with us.

Tuesday 19 January 2016

Sowing And Growing

More seed sowing today
I am using up opened packets before breaking to new ones
I have sown some spring onions in a tray indoors
 also two lots of onions, I usually grow my onions from sets,
I want to have a growing them from seed, it will be cheaper than buying in onion sets also I could let some go to seed and collect seed from them for future sowing's.
I had a read up last night about growing them from seed and it seems this is the best month to get them started with some bottom heat from a propagator, then come the spring the will be ready to go out into the ground.
Chilies are next on the list, I have a part used mixed pack and I still have some of Dani's Piquant peppers, they are in the propagator as well, I want to grow some in the hot bed and some just in the ground in the poly tunnel to see if there is any difference.

Anything we grow here is a challenge
 This photo I took today is a cut away along the driveway, it shows the structure of the ground beneath our feet up here, rock bed topped with shale then a small amount of soil a few inches if we are lucky,
It drains well after rain everything has to be grown in raised beds filled with top soil, I also collect soil from mole hills, moles can be good sometimes, trees do alright as there roots can work down in the shale. The other challenge we have is the soil is acid, great for all those acid loving plants, but for everything else I need to add lime.

 I popped into the garden centre yesterday to pick some up, I want to start adding it to the poly tunnel when I am digging over and preparing the beds for planting,
While I was there I spotted they had there fruit bushes 50% off, nothing wrong with them, they are just clearing out ready for new stock arriving.
I picked up a redcurrant, I have plenty of blackcurrants and raspberries but only one redcurrant,
I toyed with a white currant but put it back, I had a £4 off voucher to use before the end of the month, so the bush was only pennies, I am still using the garden centre gift card I got last year for my birthday so I didn't have to part with any cash.

In the greenhouse one of the oranges is ripening up nicely not ready yet but not far off.
 The geranium cuttings I took last year are doing really well.
 And one of the lemon trees has plenty of fruit
The other citrus trees are in various stages of flowering and young fruits.
  There is no heating in the greenhouse, it is insulated with bubble wrap
everything in there is doing well.

The weather today has been lovely, the morning mist lifted, the sun shone and there was blue sky,
no wind makes it a very pleasant day.

Time for bed for me now, Martin went back to work today we are back to our normal routine again,
I even got down in the cabin for a few hours.
Are you sowing yet ?

Monday 18 January 2016

Quack Quack Quack

Not much to report today,
A trip into town we had to pay the vet bills,
Pick up the next load of medicine stuff for the livestock
We then went to collect some more chicken feed and goat feed,
called into the garden centre more on that tomorrow.
When we got back I popped one the ducks in the oven that we raised for the table last year
 We had some of it for dinner, Martin shredded up some of the breast we had it with 
cucumber and spring onions wrapped in some warmed tortilla and plum sauce
the whole meal cost us £1.10 I looked up the cost in the Chinese take away it would have been £16.60
and we wouldn't have had so much.
There is a lot of duck left so I will look out some recipes to use it, 
then make some stock with the carcass, 
We called into the fruit and veg wholesalers for a sack of carrots for goats and alpacas and dog cost £2.50
picked up 2 cases of apples at £1 each again they will be fed to the animals 
and a case of satsumas £1 for us.
Although the carrots and apples are good enough for us to eat and we may well have a few.

Once we were back after a few jobs, we had to dose the Alpacas with there medicine 
Martin got them corralled  at feed time
I think they have had enough of being man handled as they were not being cooperative
after being shoved about, spat at, drooled on and covered in mud and that was just me we were both shattered and decided to leave treating the goats until Martin comes back at the week end.
We had a good chat to the vet this morning and it seems we are not the only ones having problems with alpacas at the moment, we need about two weeks of frozen ground to break the cycle,she was saying that when we get them moved on to the new land we are buying after a year course of treatment we should be clear and free from future problems as the land is higher there will be no run offs, we can keep things under control with good paddock management, the goats though will always need treating annually for parasites.
We will ever early autumn have checks done for fluke which we are clear on at the moment. 

The Weather, mild and dry with grey skies. 

Sunday 17 January 2016

Hot Beds.......

Martin has spent the week end building the new goat house
in the paddock that will be there new home
 we need to get them moved soon as they are due to give birth next month
 and we hope to get them installed before the big days.

While Martin was doing that I was in the poly tunnel 
I have been reading up about growing in hot beds
and set about making one this morning
 I dug out the top soil from the bed area I put together with some of the pallet collars
 then piled in the clearings from the duck house, chicken house and some alpaca poo
mixed it all together getting plenty of air into into it and gave it a good watering
then mounded it up into heap, in a few days the heap should start to heat up, 
once the temperature has stopped rising, it will be tamped down into the bed
then the soil will be laid on top, it will then be ready for planting in, 
I am planning to try some chili and pepper plants in this bed

on the other side of the poly tunnel the border is being filled with Alpaca poo
 it will all be dug in along with some ground up egg shells I have been collecting, they will add some calcium to the ground, at the far end is the early potato bed.
 the opposite side  there is another pallet collar bed, carrots have been sown
the other veg growing are beetroot, spinach, radish lettuce and leeks.
 the carrot bed has been covered with a couple of layers of fleece 
slowly the growing season is getting on the way.

Tonight's dinner was again all home produced
Pork Chops, french beans and roast Oca.

The Weather
Today has been another mild day, cold but dry, most of the snow has gone now
the air has been thick with mist. 

Saturday 16 January 2016

Boys Meets Girls

 Today was a big day for the Alpacas, they have now become one herd, in the big field area we let the girls in with the boys, at the time of letting the girls out the boys were in there coral as they were getting the dose of medication that the girls got the other day, the reason for the delay was the boys were not playing fair and refusing to come in for medicine, anyhow we got them done this morning, once they saw the girls in the field they were anxious to be released
 we opened the hurdles for them and the boys went galloping across the field to meet the girls properly, Daisy (self appointed herd leader) walked over to them gave them a kick and walked off, 
there was no fuss or anything.
 After a while Daisy led the girls away to another part of the field, when the boys decided to have a tiff this afternoon Daisy intervened between them, I think she is taking her job seriously.

We had a phone call from the vet this morning, more results in, it seems the Alpacas have picked up a sheep parasite resulting from the rain and run off from the fields at the back were sheep were grazing this year, they have been treated for that, the other thing is a bit more concerning, they also seem to have picked up a parasite from the goats, this is in its early stages still egg larvae stage 3/4 this must have come from the goat paddock were they have been grazing recently, hence the reason for moving them today, they will be getting treated for that on Monday as will the goats.
So nothing yet that cant be controlled. 

 my salad leaf seedlings were starting to get a bit leggy and growing towards the window so I set up the grow lights,
The grow light panel is full of blue red and white led bulbs, they have now straighten up again they will stay under the light panel until they are in proper leaf.

A proper winter dinner tonight
 Lancashire Hotpot I added sweet potatoes to it as well, we had it with some fresh picked curly kale from the garden.
The complete meal was home produced, with our own lamb, potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes and stock, the meat and veggies were browned off in our own lard and the kale was sauteed with our own garlic and apple cider vinegar, the only thing that wasn't home produced was a bit of flour salt pepper and Worcester sauce 
It was delicious 

The weather today
bitterly cold, dry and wind free, we did have a lot of mist come in giving everything that ghostly appearance this afternoon.

Friday 15 January 2016

Life Goes On And Plans

After the shock of yesterday, life continues on the homestead.
Thank you all for your kind comments.
Kara is still taking her milk with gusto now from the bottle
This is the milk we are making up for her
If the goats were in milk we could have given her goats milk
Cows milk is not suitable.
 200grms of powder
 mixed with 1lt of boiled warm water,
 her bottle only takes 500ml so we have to refill through the feed, I could have bought a bigger bottle but this works fine, she is only taking 800ml twice a day
when you consider a week ago we were lucky to get a couple of 50ml syringes into her a day its an improvement.
Her Aunties are looking out for her and they all sleep around her at night in the shelter as if to protect her, staying with the herd is the best thing for her.
The next step will be to try and get her to take the milk from a bucket, once we succeed with that we can start adding some of the Alpaca supplement pellets to it and start reducing the milk until its just sloppy supplement she is having.
Its going to be a long process, the other Cria didn't start eating food supplements until they were 8 months, Kara is only 4 months, a local farmer suggested seeing if she would just take the milk powder as with lambs they sometimes get them onto the dried powder, it seemed a good idea then I realised a problem, Alpacas don't lick they cant protrude there tongues so that wouldn't work.

If anyone has any suggestions ideas or advice please say, I don't have any issues with being offered advice or suggestions not just Alpacas but on any subject. Even if its something I cant use some-one else may be able to. I am all for sharing knowledge no-one can know everything.

We haven't heard any more from the vet but she did say that results would come through in drips and drabs. It could just be coincidental losing them both so close together,, Daffodil went down and passed away a couple of days later, Liberty just went suddenly over night totally unexpected.

Other news, We went into Swansea this morning to pick up my sewing machine, saved me a trip net week, Martin took Sol down the beach yesterday afternoon and collected more Cockles
He is cooking them for dinner tonight.

I  had a little distraction time in the cabin yesterday details on my craft blog, and spent a little time in there today trying out my sewing machine.
I am spending the evening having a bit of quiet time in front of the fire.
This is one of the books I got Martin for Christmas
 He has been dipping in and out of it, we are looking at taking some lambs and fattening them for market, one of the plans for the new land, 
We had this card arrive the other week
 We didn't know the people it came from, A friend who had two turkeys from us took one to his in laws over Christmas
It was so nice to hear they enjoyed the Turkey, we have had feed back from others as well and everyone has said they were really tasty, we are now talking about doing some again this year.
It all brings in a income.

The Weather
We had a lovely fall of snow overnight at the same time as the snow came down it started thundering and there was some lovely dramatic lightening, today has been cold occasional snow hail showers.