Thursday 29 September 2016

Seeing Red

Yesterday was a busy day in the kitchen
I had to get those two boxes of tomatoes dealt with out of the way
but before starting with them 

 The soot box on the rayburn was due a clean out, I try to do it at least once a month and with the flue brush a keep sweep of the flue
This is what coats the inside of the flue, tarry deposits from the wood we burn, if its left to build up it will choke the flue, its easy to clean out and just another regular maintenance job.
 Then it was on to those tomatoes, I was asked if they are organic
 unfortunately not.
If I hadn't have lost my plum toms to blight then I wouldn't have bothered with them, but at a £1 a box it was worth it.
I got started with the canning
 15 pints of stewed tomatoes and veg, the veg is onions peppers and celery, adding the veg alters the acidity of the tomatoes so they can be canned. A good seal on all the jars, these will be ideal for adding to all sorts of meals, with the ones I have already canned from our own tomato's I now have 32 pint jars in the store cupboard.
The tomatoes that were left over got sliced up and 7 trays went in the dehydrator.
Out of the dehydrator for the day before 
 Sultanas from the green grapes
 and more Raisins from the black grapes.
Today I am going to get the peppers chopped up and into the dehydrator.
I have a very busy time at the moment, between harvesting veg, preserving it, sorting the growing area ready for winter and next years growing, the lambs are ready for the freezer, I am sewing every spare moment for craft fairs and orders that are coming in thick and fast just to add to it all, I have had a gift shop contact me and ask to stock some of my cushions, a very nice order I did think about it with so many balls to juggle at the moment, I have accepted the order, well why not, then last night another enquiry from another shop a smaller order, still thinking that one out.
Martin will be home tonight tomorrow will be a day spent on the sewing machine playing catch, got a big craft fair Saturday its the village Autumn Fair. :-) 

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Raisins And Grapes

I was up at 5-30am and got started with a few jobs in the kitchen, 
First up was a Raisin Loaf
I made it with some of the raisins I made the other week,
Once everyone was fed and watered I picked some courgettes
 They are starting to slow down but there is still some coming on, I am really happy with the courgettes this year, I only grew on two plants one yellow one green and they have produced a steady amount for us.
 I made up a pan of a thick courgette soup with three of them, the soup has a nice spicy kick with added cumin coriander and Cayenne pepper.
I had to pop out a pick up a few bags of animal feed, while I was out I popped into Thomas's fruit and veg to see if they had any more crates of grapes
 I got six boxes 3 of each colour for £1, I had already made a start with them when I took the photo hence why there is one missing.
I started with the green grapes, into the steam juicer
 Then it was the turn of the black grapes, two nice bottles of grape juice,
 after juicing the grapes were popped into the dehydrator, I am hoping the green grapes will be like sultanas when they are done.
They did have some wooden crates of a smaller green grape for £2, I might try some next time if they still have them.
But what I did pick up was
2 boxes of tomatoes and a box of peppers all at £1 a box, looks like I will be canning tomorrow.

Monday 8th November 1982
Up at 8.30am, Blue Boy was put out with rest of the flock, seems a lot better. Lucky showing first signs of calving.
Coates came took again more gear, counted hay approx 2,700 bales.
Douglas paid him for some cats, put in barn for first time.
Took fence down round bit of garden.
Molly and Douglas went at about 4pm. Had to change tyre, found scratch mark all along one side of car.
tired in evening went to sleep had bath about 1am.


Sunday 25 September 2016

Just Compost

Compost its what breathes life into the garden soil, when we moved here I quickly put up a compost corner
it served purpose although it difficult to turn and it spills out. I have had lovely compost from it, at last my temporary compost corner has a new home
Martin made me three nice big compost bins,
the front boards pull out, as the bin fills I can close up the front with the boards stopping it all spilling out.
Bin number 1 is on the left, once it is full it will be turned into bin 2, I can start again filling bin 1, again once full 2 will be turned into 3, 2 into 3 and 1 into 2, I am hoping once 1 is full for the third time number 3 will be ready to use, if not Martin will add another on the end. We need to add an open mesh bin for leaves and wood chippings, we have one of those plastic compost bins in the back garden, it drives me nuts as its very difficult to turn the heap, it is used for any kitchen waste, I haven't been adding it to the main heap because Sol would just scavenge through it, now I can get it emptied add to bin 3 with the stuff from the original heap.
I do add some waste to the wormery, they break it down to lovely compost, and of course I can take of liquid fertiliser, I have the lid fastened down to keep Sol out, I am now going to move the wormery over beside the big bins and sit it on a slab.
Something I have to sort out is dog poo as it is not suppose to be added to compost bins because of the pathogens and harmful bacteria , we have a separate bin for it, but what to do with it how to compost it down to be used on none edible growing areas, its something I am reading up on.
Sunday November 7th 1982
Up at 9-30am, Rained nearly all day, Ram arrived (Blue Faced Lester) from young chap at Abergorloch, went and checked sheep then drove on to Gwernogle to have a look around, arrived back at 1.30pm, went up for a nap very bad head.
Molly got the tea ready she made a lovely chicken pie, had a very nice tea, washed Molly's hair.
Put the ram that arrived in with the 31 + 36 speckle face ewes.


Saturday 24 September 2016

Just One of Those Days

It has been overcast and windy today, I spent the day indoors,
I was excited to see the first couple of piquant peppers had ripened, Dani over on Eco Footprint sent me seeds last year, 
 They have come on a storm and are laden with fruits
Cucumbers are still being harvested
 I made up another couple of jars of refrigerator pickle I used some red onions in these and one of the jars has a chopped piquant pepper in and the other has chillies. The other pepper I have saved for Martin to try.
 I also did a bit of baking, this time an easy lemon curd cake, using some of the lemon curd that I made the other week using some of our own lemons.
Once I had finished in the kitchen it was down to the cabin for me, I have been working on a few new lines for my stall
this is one of them
 Children's book cushions, they have a pocket on the front to hold a bedtime story book, the cushions will be in a boy or girl style.
This one is the little boy, I got all the bits stitched out just need to put them together now.
Next week end I have a stall at the Autumn fair in the village and hope to take some of the cushions along with me.
Feeling a bit drained tonight so I am kicking off my shoes putting my feet up and finding something to watch on TV :-) 

Friday 23 September 2016

Strawberry Haircut

It was a gorgeous first day of autumn yesterday, blue skies and sunshine, I was working in the fruit cage getting another seasonal job ticked off the list.
The main strawberry bed, all the runners had to come off, and the old leaves cut back, they are growing through membrane to keep weeds at bay.
All the old straw was removed it will only harbours pests over winter, I cleared a good foot of ground around the bed and made sure all the membrane was tucked in all around so there is no chance of the wind ripping it off.
Next year will be the year we start harvesting strawberries, there was a few this year, many of the plants were new ones and I wanted them to get established rather than produce fruit.
Raspberry area is next 
I am picking a bowl of raspberries every other day, mine are autumn fruiting rasps, I keep looking at the golden rasps and might get some to pop in the bed.
The spent mushroom compost delivery was due to arrive, I had a phone call from the delivery company which is not the company I buy from, they said they were unable to deliver as there is an access problem, what access problem, it seems the driver has said he knows the area and he wouldn't be able to get is lorry here, utter utter rubbish and I told them that, there is no access problem here, there is room to turn, unload the drive is fairly wide and the road is in good condition, upon asking how big is the lorry expecting an arctic, 7.5ton was the reply, I nearly choked, and told them to get the delivery here as there is no issues, lets see if it arrives today.
Saturday November 6th 1982
Went to Carmarthen mart, bought food shopping. John and Douglas went into St Cleare to take back Kew pressure washer to have it looked at. Had fish and chips in the mart, walked around the shops, bought a spade, two forks and a squeezy mop. Came home had tea, made 6 loaves and two currant loaves. Finished back of cardigan for John, Bed at 11.30pm.
( I was asked about her husband, she left her husband and moved here with her new partner John after her divorce, I don't know if she is married to John, I don't know what relation Molly and Douglas are to them but they visit most week ends and seem to be adults) 



Wednesday 21 September 2016

Out and About

Yesterday I went over to visit Louise Welsh Dreams Now Reality
I have met with Louise before and even though I am only 45mins away from her there just never seems the time to visit more often.
I was a bit late arriving, I got distracted 
I had to stop and speak to these two young men along the way
Sorry I cant remember your names gents, they are following an old pilgrim route from St Davids to Snowdon, 4 weeks walking with the cross and hope to arrive on the 8th of October, they are doing this challenge to spread the love of Jesus, two lovely men to talk to with an interesting story to tell, if you see them stop for a chat it will make you smile. 
I had a lovely visit with Louise, she has only been growing veg for 6 months and is doing so well.
For lunch Louise cooked a lovely cheese free quiche for me and before we knew, it was time for me to head back.
Sol was out walking the other day 
 He went with Martin up Pen Y Fan, perhaps he will get up Snowdon one day.
The old boy was a bit tired and slept all the way home.
Today is the official first day of Autumn, it looks very autumnal outside, with mist hanging over the valley, leaves are starting to turn and fall. I do like Autumn its the time to get cosy in front of the fire and lots of warming meals, salad days are for summer.

Friday November 5th 1982
Rained all day, did lots of washing, washed hair, cleaned up, made sponge. John pressure washed the veterinarian room!!! then started on the roof, then found to be not working properly.
I took pick up to check sheep at the top, all well and all there.
Molly and Douglas arrived at 1/4 to 10.

Monday 19 September 2016

Garden Preperations

Yesterday was spent out in the garden,
I have been clearing beds removing all the weeds
 Breaking up the surface, I have a delivery of spent mushroom compost coming later this week, as beds are emptied I plan to top them up with the compost, we have so little soil here, building up is the only way to get depth into the beds, also what soil is there is very claggy, I did add a load of mushroom compost when setting up the beds, another dose will do them the world of good, the beds then will be covered over, come spring it will be all systems go.
The above bed with be brassicas next year, everything will move down a bed.
 The sunflower heads have all been cut, they are in the poly tunnel drying out so I can harvest the seeds, some will be grown on next year, some will get added to chicken feed and some will go into the kitchen, 22 heads crammed with seeds.
 Martin got the lawn cut as well as a few other odd jobs, it has been a dry week end, we have had rain over night and today promises to be a nice day the sun is just starting to burn through.
Martin and Sol have gone to walk up Pen a Fan, I am going to head down my cabin. 

Thursday November 4th 1982
Blue Boy a little better, temperature dropped a bit.
Got flock in and sorted out 55 welsh mountain, drenched trimmed and marked with S. Collected speckled faced ram from Mr Little Gwernogle and put in with main flock, feet trimmed and drenched.
Welsh mountains put up in very two top fields with one teddy ram.
Put cats out for 1st day.

Saturday 17 September 2016

My Garden Nemesis

We all have one and this is mine, what is yours?
 Big, small, fat, thin, black, brown or beige horrible destructive slimy creatures, I despise them all.
I don't like using slug pellets if I have to resort to them then I use an organic one
It is effective to a certain extent, I also do put down slug traps with some cheap beer in, I have tried in the past nematodes with fairly good results but they are an expensive way of treating slugs, for one poly tunnel to use nematodes effectively it would cost approx £70, with two tunnels and a fruit cage and the outside beds it would cost over £500 each year, now who can afford to throw that sort of money at growing fruit and veg it makes it very expensive food. 
Copper tape around pots is OK but you do have to keep cleaning it for it to work.
So what is a girl to do 

 Scissors are my most used tool in the fight against slugs, see a slug cut it in half, these scissors live in my pocket, they cost nothing to use and very effective when used on a daily basis, over a few weeks there is a reduction in slime producers, some days I have to really hunt for them, some people put salt on slugs that is alright on hard standing areas but you don't want to be putting salt on the soil in your growing areas, some people pick up slugs and throw them over the fence, they only come back and its not really nice to throw them into your neighbours plot, you might get twice as many thrown back, cut them in half, birds hedgehogs and other wildlife come and feast on them.
Now for something pretty
 picked a few of the late roses yesterday to bring indoors

Last night there was a stunning harvest moon, I took this photo from the back garden.

November 3rd 1982
Drenched another 36 ewes with fluke and worm, trimmed feet and marked with S, put them up with hired blue faced ram, (68 in all)
 Drenched 10 from Dorset, trimmed feet and marked with S, Blue Boy fell ill in all the attention except marking with S, took him to vets at Llandysul, gave him terranyain and poretrovite to be treated with antibiotic for another two days.
Collecting ram from Mr Little tomorrow.
Man came from electricity, appalled at wiring, here for 21/2 hours.
N.F.U. dinner dance £7.50 each. 

Friday 16 September 2016

Like Chalk And Cheese

I have had my friend to stay this week and took a complete break from the computer, we had a great time and the weather was glorious.
After she departed yesterday lunchtime I had chores to catch up, I only did the basics while she was here, first up was cleaning out the chicken house, then on to the goat houses, all clean again.
Thelma goat can be a real madam to milk some mornings, things needed to be taken in hand and yesterday afternoon I built her a milking stall.
Now she can be milked in a confined area, no more leaping about when she is throwing a tantrum, I tried it this morning and I need to do a few alterations but otherwise it worked fine.
Thelma can be a real nightmare and the saying stubborn  as a goat describes her perfectly
 Unlike her sister Connie who will stand without being fastened up, let you do what you want, she is so friendly and calm, they really are like chalk and cheese.
 Helen who is Thelma's daughter I really hope has her aunties temperament rather than her mum's,
Now the billy's have gone Helen has been moved into the paddock next door to wean her completely from her mum,
She is not happy about it all, we had four days of her bleating pitifully she sounded like a baby crying and went off her food, yesterday she seems to have turned a corner and ate her supper last night and is a lot quieter this morning, she is in the paddock next to mum and aunt and spends her time lying by the boundary fence to be close, but she really needs to be weaned, 7 months old she no longer needs feeds off mum, we also need to start building up Thelma ready to be put to the billy again.
Speaking of which I am starting to wonder if Connie got caught through the fence by one of the billy's, she came in to season and should have come again 3 weeks later but no season she is due again next week if she doesn't then it looks like we are looking at New Year kids not ideal.

Monday 12 September 2016

All Pitching In

It was a lovely but busy week end with family

 Our youngest family member is not old enough yet to get involved, but was happy to watch
 little fella got stuck in helping to pick beans,

 we did have a large harvest of 42 cucumbers, 3lb of chilies and 7lb of beans along with courgettes, beetroot and some peppers
 filling the log store was a main priority with everyone helping
 and learning how to split the logs
 the little one even chipped in to help get the logs into the store
In the afternoon while the visitors headed to the beach, I did get some beans canned.
I then got started on dinner, deciding to go with a Spanish themed meal, I had several dishes of Tapas planned and the weather played fair so we could eat outside.
Tomatoes in olive oil and basil
Salt and pepper squid
baked chirozo, our own is now ready for eating
Courgettes in garlic butter
deep fried whitebait
chicken in honey and mustard sauce
Tortilla (Spanish omelet)
Flat breads, Olives, pickles and a mint and cucumber riata
I then made up a big pan of paella, that I cooked at the table all washed down with Sangria.
Unfortunately I forgot to take photo's, we even had some Spanish music in the background.
Visitors left yesterday today we are back to normal and tomorrow I have my friend coming for a few days.


Friday 9 September 2016

I Amaze Myself Sometimes

Yesterday I was experimenting with the steam juicer, after doing the grapes I thought about putting the juiced grapes into the dehydrator, after all I had nothing to lose 
 When they went into the dehydrator
 when they came out
 yes they are raisins, look like raisins and taste like raisins,
I am surprised you didn't hear me shout eureka.
I did do a bit of research on line first, black grapes make raisins, green grapes make sultanas, and currants from a very small bush grape.
 The pear pulp was turned into fruit leathers, rolled up and snipped into chunks for snacking on.
 Today I did a crate of apples, the pulp will tomorrow be turned into apple leathers.
 There was a good amount of juice from them to.
The fruit juice from the steam extractor is pasteurised because its exctracted by heat.
Taste wise it taste like the fruit it has come from, I suppose the best thing to compare it to is the long life fruit juice you get in cartons.
I have visitors arriving this evening, most of my day has been spent preparing for them, more bread, making up beds and sorting out for tomorrows meals.

Tuesday November 2nd 1982
Up at 8am, letter arrived from mother with cutting of Michael winning trophies.
Drenched 31 ewes, and hired ram with fluke and worm, trimmed feet and marked with blue S, trimmed prince and bathed him.
Electricity phoned coming tomorrow late morning.
Bed at 10-30pm