Sunday 31 December 2017

Adventure Before Dementia

2017 saw us having lots of adventures
Martin has been home more that has been our biggest change making such a difference.
Our 4 little porkers
 Filled the freezer and got made into lovely hams 
Tess our podgy chocolate pudding joined the family
Became slimmer of the year and is now enjoying her golden years. We had lots of new kids on the block

 but sadly had a loss as well
 we had our first attempt at raising some meat birds for the table
They grew into fantastic birds and have fed us well.

 Accommodation for visitors
 and lots of cook outs were enjoyed
 New equipment purchased to make life easier
 Lots of success with milking
 Starting up a flock of rare breed sheep
 The cut flower garden provided an abundance of flowers for the house.

 The new goat house got built and had electricity put in.
 A foray into keeping geese
 Martin got his boat
 The growing area has been cleaned up with a mat of wood chip
 Our latest adventure sees the addition of water buffalo.
2017 has certainly been an adventure,
 so what will 2018 bring, some plans are in the making and some events are on the calendar.
Goats will fingers crossed be kidding again,
Water buffalo will be calving
Geese will start breeding
More meat birds will be raised
Lambs will join us
Weaner pigs will arrive
Alpacas Kara and Imogen will go to meet a boyfriend.
A bio fuel willow copice will be started
Aquaponics will be set up in the poly tunnel.
Hay will be made.
I am looking forward to lots of adventures in 2018 while mind and body still allows. 
Our 2018 phrase is Adventure before Dementia 

Sunday 24 December 2017

When Life Gives You Lemons

I got a box of lemons for £1, after a wash in hot water to remove the wax, I kept 8 back and the rest were peeled
 The peel was dried out in the dehydrator
 and blitzed up for zest, my pot was empty so it was very timely, the lemons were juiced and the juice was frozen in ice cube trays.
 the lemons that were kept back were made into Lemon Curd we have a bit of an egg glut at the moment, 8 lemons and 8 eggs went into this.
 The last of the tomatoes have been picked and the plants cleared from the poly tunnel.
 The last of the Ross Cobbs have been dispatched came in at 7.5lb, 8.5lb, 9.4lb.
 while in the kitchen yesterday, I made up a batch of mince pies using the last jar of mincemeat made last year.
 and a couple of chocolate fruit cakes, these Nigellas Christmas Cake I love these cakes, they dont need making months in advance very fruity and moist, I always do them as two loafs instead of one big cake, easier for slicing, I have been making these for about 7/8 years now.
 The other morning Martin got a surprise when doing his breakfast, a triple yolker, we have had a few doubles before but never a triple.
 The buffalo are settling in well. Thye will now feed from the bucket and come up for a scratch.
 To answer a few questions.
We bought a breeding starter herd from the Buffalo Dairy Aberystwyth, they were being sold through one of the small holders groups, a starter herd is 2 pregnant females and a young unrelated bull and cost £2,500.  The females are originally from the milking herd, when they reach about 7 years old there milk yield starts to drop off, they are then used primarily for breeding or suckling.
Buffalo need as much space per head as cattle but don't eat as much and prefer shorter grass to cattle. They are not cattle they are more related to Oxan, although they have to be passported under the British Cattle Movement. They come from Mediterranean unlike there cousins that come from Asia, these one grow a thick winter coat, They do need shelter although unless we get another heavy snow they wont need to be shut in, being water buffalo they like to have a wet area and will make wallows in summer. 
It will be a couple of years before we have meat they are a long term plan and investment.
Now Christmas has arrived, everything here will carry on as normal we dont really go all out buying in foods that we dont normaly eat full of additives, we are not TV watchers, we might get down the beach with the dogs, I have my sewing friend arriving on Tuesday so we will have a few days crafting together.
How ever you are spending it I hope its a good one.


Friday 22 December 2017

What Have We Done.

Yesterday was an important day here on the Ranch
 Our Water Buffalo arrived, we had to walk them across three fields
 Including through the Alpaca field, we kept the Alpaca shut in out of the way, we didn,t need any mayhem.
 we got them walked round to there new home that Martin has spent the last two weeks building.
 young Fraser was looking a little lost as its his first time away from were he was born.
 Lavender and Petunia took it in there stride they are used to being moved around for grazing.
 They checked out the accomadation

 a wood chip pad has been put down to try and keep it dry under foot
They are big, very placid, we dont know much about water buffalo, there isnt a book we can read, there is not much on the internet about raising them for meat, Its going to be very much trial and error I think, getting them registered has been a bit of a headache, they are wild animals.
Oh well you can but try I suppose.

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Treacle and Tomatoes

Things have been rather busy of late here,
 The sheep have been wormed and feet checked ready to see them through winter
 Manky who turned up the other month with a damaged leg, still hasn't been claimed, she has become very friendly, a good investigation of the leg it seems it must have been broken some time ago and has fused in a bent position, she gets about fine and is not in pain, she also got wormed along with our sheep
 and has now joined our little flock.
The doves have had a hard time and another 7 were taken by the Goshawk, Magpies ripped the baby doves from there nest,
 This mama dove was chased under the car by the Goshawk, she is our last remaining female
and she had a young one to care for, 
 we cleaned her off the best we could with washing up liquid
 and she was left to dry off in the barn
 a week on cleaned up with her partner and youngster, as these are the only remaining doves we have kept them in the barn, we are moving the dovecot into the fruit cage and soon they will move into there.
 Yes we are still picking tomatoes, not a lot but its still lovely to have some fresh tomatoes.
 The old garden shredder is being put to use shredding up vegetables for the goats to help bulk out there meals as there isn't much green stuff around for them to graze.
 Spot a new goat
 This is Treacle
 He is on loan to us until the new year, hopefully getting the girls into kid.
The Buffalo's are not with us yet, we are now all ready for them, I will try and get some photos over the next day or so.