Monday 31 October 2016

Animal Antics

Over the week end Imogen managed to get her head stuck under the gate 
 She must have gone under the gate to eat the grass shuffled forward to reach some nice juicy bit and found she couldn't get out again, when they stand the get there back legs up first then the front but of course she couldn't,
 All the others stood around her, I think they were all laughing at her predicament, I had to undo the gate, lift it up to free her, not even a thank you. 
Its because of things like this I could never go away and leave the livestock without some-one being here to check on them.
Imagine if we had gone away for a week end and she was stuck there for several days.

 Breakfast fresh raspberries and cream, they are still coming on thick and fast, I have loads in the freezer and every other day there is another bowl full to eat.

Sol was down the vets today for his booster and health check, he passed with flying colours, his heart is good, gums and eyes are good and he has lost a total of 4kg in the past year he is nice and trim shiny coat and is in good shape for an OAP.
 Although at times he behaves like a puppy, tearing up his toys
 Poor bunny Martin had to do a bit of surgery on it with gaff tape.

Wednesday 24th November 1982
Letter from mother, Sunny calved at mid day, FERN. John went to get 16 sheets galvanised at 55p per foot, then John spent the afternoon until 7pm on paperwork for solicitor.
Mother phoned to say her farther and Janet coming for week end.
I washed my hair, made a sponge.
  Bell's rep called while John was away, calling again.

Saturday 29 October 2016

The Secret Life Of Dove's

I mentioned the other week we have had Buzzard attacks on the Doves and we now have them confined to quarters for a while
 Its very difficult to sex doves and I thought we had 4 remaining males Martin has been making enquiry's for some suitable wives, I was wrong it seems 
The other day I noticed courting behaviour and then a pair mated, overjoyed we have a female,
Two days later an egg was laid, you can just see it in front of the dove, doves usually lay 2 eggs then start the incubating process,
 Two days later another egg appeared but in the middle pop hole you can just make it out at the back
 Yesterday I was watching this behaviour, one of the males picking up bits of straw,
 parades around with it
 ten takes it to his pop hole but he lives in the bottom pop hole no eggs there 
I know he is a male because he parades with his wings down, females don't do this, I am now trying to work out how many of each I have, as they all look the same its very difficult, unless they parade then they don't all do it at once. 
Now we just have to wait and see what happens, at least with the netting over them the Magpies cant get in to steal eggs or young if they manage to hatch any. Like pigeons dove's will lay all year round and I think the demise in the flock numbers have spurred them on a bit. I takes 15 days of sitting to incubate.
Tuesday 23rd 1982
Mr Coates came with man about hay, mostly all bales well underweight, went home to talk it over with his wife. John phoned Eva re VAT book then VAT office about working out VAT percentage ( total x3 divided by 23) 
John fixed wood on shed ready for fixing corrugated sheets on to.
Then walked round to check sheep.
Put red oxide paint on small meta cabinet with two drawers.
Molly's Birthday.


Friday 28 October 2016

Growing Triffids

There have been some monsters growing in the Poly tunnel this year, I have at times done battle with them, wading in with twine to keep them in there place, which they are not always happy about and put up a fight.
 Looking rather messy all tied up, this Yacon has grown to 8ft
 The underground tubers are creating a mountain
 Outside the Yacon have grown about 3ft, dwarfed by there big brother
The flowers are small and fairly insignificant on such a big plant, Now I am waiting for the foliage to die back as the temperatures drop then the tubers can be harvested. I have big expectations of the one in the poly tunnel. Yacon produces two types of tubers, the large edible swollen root and small clusters of tubers that are used to create new plants.
The other monster that has been growing and very difficult to keep under control
Litchi Tomato Plant
Again it has grown to 8ft, but so difficult to tie up 
 The stems, leaves and fruit are covered in big painful thorns
There are fruits ready to harvest, I need to dig out some protective clothing and get started, I will be saving seeds from it but wont be growing it in the poly tunnel again, it should grown fine outside as it doesn't mind the cooler conditions.

Monday November 22nd 1982
Molly phoned, Douglas has left his tablet  record book here, went to Carmarthen to  post it back.
Buried Blue Boy and 1 Welsh Mountain.
Lawrence cut fingers on window.
Did load of washing in machine.
John fixed big water heater, after rubbing down large holes appeared, had to weld top of tank reservoir.
All cows brought in, entered all receipts in book up to date.
Diana phoned John about coming up for couple of days.

Wednesday 26 October 2016


It has been a odd few days, totally thrown out of my routine,
Martin went back to work last Friday morning came home again on Sunday night went away again yesterday morning,
I hope this week end sees us getting back into a routine.
On this last short home tour he managed to replace the window in the chicken shed

We still had the old caravan windows from the caravan that was here when we moved in, he cut the glass from the old windows and now they have a nice new weather proof window, just needs some curtains I think, the old window was plastic and had got blown in several times last winter with the high winds.

 I made up a big pot of soup with end of season veg
It has a bit of everything including some of the home made chorizo
I have secured another order from a shop 
This time for some terry towelling Welsh bibs I have designed.
Today I was tarting up some display stands for my stall
 They needed a fresh lick of paint, they do get a bit battered being loaded in and out the car all the time.
We are getting ready for some new arrivals due to join us soon.
Hedge lines are still being worked on.
 The weather is still being good, yesterday I went out and met up with a group of ladies from a social media sewing group I belong to, we all live about an hour away from each other 
A lovely get together we are arranging to meet up in January.
In case your wondering I am second from the left.
P.S. It seems we might have a female dove after all, I saw two of them mating yesterday.
Sunday November 21st 1982
Lucky had calf Bracken 1-30am, finally came indoors at quarter past three, all went well with calf and Lucky doing fine.
 Slept until 10am, went out to see calf, looking lovely.
John had another look at Jimmies foot, could not find anything wrong, brought all cows in, weather foul wind and rain.
John connected cold water to washing machine after turning water off at meter at the top field.
Molly and Douglas went home, I drove up to check welsh mountain sheep, found one carcass, radioed John to come up.
Mother phoned for about 20 mins.




Monday 24 October 2016

The Daily Bread

Making our own bread was one of the first skills I learned many many moons ago, when the kids were still in nappies it was terry nappies then, 

  over the years I perfected my bread, I did for several years try bread makers when they first came out, back then they produced house bricks, I ended up using the machines for kneading the dough as the bake was terrible, as the machines improved I tried them again with very mixed results once again relegating them to dough kneading and proving, when the last one stop working about 6 years ago it was never replaced, I have trouble kneading by hand I would get a lot of pain and stiffness in my fingers and wrists, 
I went to use the dough hook on my kenwood, this is now my preferred way of doing bread. 
Recently I have switched yeasts 
 From the green tin
To the yellow tin and the results have been fantastic a much lighter loaf. I also use a good quality strong bread flour, I have tried the cheaper brands but personally I do think you get what you pay for, 
My basic bread recipe
500g strong bread flour
1tsp salt
300ml warm water
1tbsp of yeast 
1tsp of sugar
Activate the yeast with the sugar in the water, leave until frothy,
meanwhile pop the flour and salt into the mixer and mix well together with the dough hook.
once the yeast is frothy, stir it and while the mixer is going on a slow speed slowly add the liquid, once it it all added increase the speed, knead for about 5 mins, until it is smooth and stretchy if it is to wet add a small amount of flour if it looks very dry and heavy not binding add a small amount of water, different brands of flour need different amounts of water but the variation is only a small amount, while the dough is kneading, grease and flour a bread tin, once the dough is kneaded shape it pop it in the tin, I then put my tin with dough inside a big plastic bag, inflate the bag put a clip on the end and leave to rise in a warm place,
 mine goes on the shelf above the Rayburn,

time varies just keep checking, I don't bother with knocking back and setting to rise again, when ready remove from the bag and pop into a hot oven, my oven can vary in heat anything from 160- 200c I just adjust the time according to the temperature, 35 - 45 mins. 

The other day I made these dinner rolls
 I came across a recipe on the Internet, tried it and
yes they are lovely soft tasty bread rolls easy to do 
I now have several bags in the freezer and its a recipe I will do again and again.

I also like to do flat breads 
 and a nice crusty Tiger loaf
Crumpets are next I am trying out various recipes to see what works for me.


Saturday 22 October 2016

Bulbs And Sets

I do like this time of year, getting in the bulbs that will produce for next year, they are so easy to plant that is a bonus.
I had some flowering bulbs for the little border at the front 

 Just some to add a splash of colour, there is already some Tulips and Crocuses in there, along with Dianthus, Primulas and Wallflowers that were grown some seed, oh and a few roses bushes.
Now all tidy again I also added a bag of the mushroom compost to the bed.

 I have also been adding mushroom compost to the poly tunnel, this border had the tomatoes in it this year, now its been cleared dug over alpaca poo added, its ready to go again,

I got some red onion sets 
and white onion sets into the border,
 they should be ready to lift ready for peppers and cucumbers to go in next year.
The poly tunnels have to earn there keep and be planted up with a succession of crops, no point in leaving them empty over winter.
The garlic that was planted the other week outside
Is starting to put out its shoots, 
The weather here is still glorious dry sunshiny days although there is a cold breeze today, the nights are now colder and the log burner is lit most evenings.
Saturday November 20th 1982
Went to Carmarthen, Lawrence checked main flock of sheep, John and I checked the Blue Faced Leicesters, had lunch in the market, bought groceries, Douglas bought a mincing machine , John bought me an icing set, came home had tea.
Got Lucky, Sunny and Celandine in very late in evening, Lucky had a lot of discharge, had CB radios working, went out to Lucky, started calving, Heifer from her.


Friday 21 October 2016

Reclaiming Hedgerows

The hedgerows here all need reclaiming, many years of neglect means they have become tree lines instead of hedgerows, its a long job and it will be a couple of years before they are proper thick hedges again, offering shelter to wildlife and protection from the wind, wind blows through trees but is filtered and lessened through hedges.

 As you can see they have been shaped by the wind over the years and hang into the garden, some are very unstable
We have take on a young local man to help with this work, we did the hedge line down the front garden last Autumn and the hedge at the bottom of the garden the Autumn before, as we are taking on more land there is a lot of hedge work to do.
 A lot of brush wood to be got rid off, the Alpacas and goats are doing there bit eating off the leaves
 We do get a good amount of logs as well
 The hedge is starting to take shape, all the rubbish has to be cleared out and I have some willow I have been growing on from cuttings I am going to use to plug gaps.
 This big Ash at the end of the line has to be taken down, its on a very unstable raised area of the hedge, if it was to come down it would take out power cables and also my cabin.
There is evidence on the other side were some has come down in the past, not a risk I am willing to take.

 There is so much more light in the garden now and we get the early evening sun, the spindly bits that are still standing are going to be layered into the hedge line.
Today I want to get up the top fields and get more trees planted, I love trees and dont really like taking them down but sometimes needs must. I just have to keep planting trees to replace them and more.

Friday November 19th 1982
Rained all day, John and Lawrence finished fence up the side of the shed and the drive. John carried on with washing machine, tried to trace stop cock, unearthed pipes outside the house. Connected everything except the cold water.
Rubbed down small metal cabinet, then used some paint stripper on it.

Thursday 20 October 2016

Man In The Kitchen

Yesterday Martin took over the cooking,
 he wanted to have a go at doing some bread
 The recipe is in my head and I was at hand to relate what had to be done, will have to write it down so he can do the bread more often.
 One perfect loaf later.
He also offered to cook dinner, who am I to refuse that offer
When sorting out the barn he came across the Dutch Ovens we have, they are cast iron cooking pots, before the move we use to cook outside when ever the opportunity arose and used the Dutch Ovens to cook all kinds of things. If you go back through my blog to a few years ago you will see how we cooked with them. here is a link to some of the cooking we did with the  Dutch Oven
 Martin got a fire going and threw together some meat and vegetables in the Dutch Oven and it was set up on the tripod over the fire.
 As the sun set dinner was cooked outside, something we used to enjoy and its lovely to be doing these things again on our smallholding.
Sol was there with us although he didn't really understand what we were doing out there in the dark.
I spent most of the day working on some new sewing lines 
but I did get the first sheepskin combed out, 

another few days and it will be properly dry and ready to use, perhaps on one of our cook outs.

Thursday November 18th 1982
Went to Carmarthen, took Blue Boy's head to be analyzed.
Bought fitting to plumb in washing machine £16.
Looked at kitchen and bathroom equipment, picked up feed from Carmarthen Farmers, 4xwhite 2xred.
Lucky's doesn't seem any worse.
John fitted washing machine to hot water pipes, wrong connections for cold water.