Tuesday 30 May 2017

A Weekend In Pictures

We have 14 family members descend on us at the week-end for a camping visit.
 They were arriving in time for breakfast, I got 36 rashers of bacon all cooked up keeping warm in the oven ready for bacon butties,
 Tents had to go up
 Some were staying in the teepee
 The youngsters used the quad and trailer to transport stuff from the cars down the field
 Grown ups got there homes set up
 Youngsters had there own tent to get up
 with the help from grandad
 dinner was cooked over the fire
 whittling sticks for marshmallows

 You just have to
 toast marshmallows on a camp fire
 Tent city

one of the lads log splitting
and one of the girls 

Our visitors

Friday 26 May 2017

Milk And Honey

Helen is milking really well giving just over 2pts every morning, I did a short video of her on the milking stand yesterday morning
As she has only three good legs, I have to hold her dodgy leg otherwise she gets it caught in the milk cluster as it jerks around a lot, she really has taken to being milked and jumps up on the stand as soon as she knows I am coming.
This weekend we will start weaning the kids overnight from Thelma and Connie  then we will start milking them.

With this hot spell there is a chance the bees will swarm
swarming usually takes place mid to late afternoon,
Yesterday I got three swarm hives set up
 Each hive has a swarm lure attached to the front frame, the lure is a mix of lemon balm oil and thyme and is suppose to attract the bees
 There is also another lure sachet attached to the front of the hive near the entrance
 One hive has been set up in the woodland field next t the willow hedge
 the second one has been set up behind the barn next to a hedge
 the third one in a more area up in the veg garden, all doors are facing south as bees are suppose to prefer that
yesterday evening there was scout bees checking out hive number three, fingers crossed if they swarm they will head to one of the hives.

Wednesday 24 May 2017

Hop Hop And Away

With sunny days and a rise in temperatures,
 everything is growing skywards,
 The Hop root I planted last month has taken off and is now on its journey climbing up the back of the shed.
 The cut flower beds are full of promise, the Lilies are shooting up
 The Gladioli are all up with the flowers forming the tell tale sign is the crinkle in the main shoot.
 The Dahlias are forming lovely strong clumps
 Tomatoes are now coming into flower
 every few days I am taking off lots of side shoots, these tomatoes are cordons so its important I don't miss any.
 The flower borders in the garden are full of blooms.
Today I made a new run for the teenage chicks giving them a bit more space, these are the first hatching's of this year, now off heat, tomorrow there little house and run will get moved down beside the adult chickens, a chance to get to know each other, in a few weeks they will be moving in with the adult chickens.
The weather has been brilliant the bit of rain we had didn't get all the IBC tanks filled and now they are running low again, but there is plenty there for the animals who need there water topping up a couple of times a day when its hot like this.
But good weather means plenty of jobs gt caught up outside, you have to make hay while the sun shines. 🌞🌞🌞

Monday 22 May 2017

Drying Out

I thought I better jot down a post on some dehydrating I did last week before I forget.
I was chatting to Kev at An English Homestead on social media about dehydrating  and I mentioned Vegetable Stock that is used as a base for instant soup,
here it is, vegetables and herbs cooked in water until tender,
 then puree them down add some cornflour and simmer until its reduced to about a third, spread out on silicon sheets
 pop in the dehydrator until its all dried out and breaks up easier
 break it up a pop in the processor and grind down to a powder
 there you have it instant vegetable stock.
 While out getting supplies for the goats last week I saw an offer of 5 punnets of strawberries for £1
perfect for drying out.
 wash and sliced onto trays in the dehydrator
 I think they took about 6 hours, they need to be sort of flexible but dry
All bagged up they will be ideal for grand kids along with the pineapple  I did last week.
We have both had a busy week end, Martin had a group of friends to stay and help out with some jobs around the place, I went to Malvern quilt show with friends on a coach trip.
Next week end we have visitors again 14 of them this time, they are going to be camping down the field.
Right must go and get some sleep I am out again tomorrow meeting with some friends.

Friday 19 May 2017

An Idea Developing

I do save pictures and web pages to my computer of ideas I like, sometimes they can be implemented or sometimes they just become inspiration for something else.
I was sent some Yam Bulbils by a friend she didn't really know what they were or how they would grow, I did a bit of research I love the Internet for that and I think they might be Chinese Yam's

 as well as the root to harvest the bulbils are edible as Yamberries. 
They need a fair amount of vertical space
This got me thinking were was I going to grow them, I needed to get a move on with an idea as they were already starting to produce shoots.
I went to bed thinking about Yams and then had a light bulb moment, going back through pictures I had saved I found this one 
Yes this is what I want to do make a tunnel to grow my squashes over and the Yams
Yesterday I started putting my idea into action
I had two unused poly tunnel frames these are small ones that came with that green plastic covering with zipped doors, 
I moved the frames round over the box squash bed that were set up last Autumn
 The space between the box beds I am going to close in and grow the yams in those spaces
I still have to cover the frames with some live stock fencing Martin will have to help me with that.
My squash yam tunnel is only 22ft x 12ft not as big as the one in the idea photo.
The box beds are on the south side of the poly tunnel,  by the time the squashes grow over it, they should help to create some shade for the poly tunnel in the hottest part of the day, 
The box beds are being planted with a variety of squashes at the back and a single courgette plant at the front, the beds are filled with compost from the compost bins so should give plenty of depth and goodness for the plants.
The grass area will soon be covered with membrane and covered over with wood chip, there is still room to get to the compost bins.
It nice to see an idea take shape. 



Wednesday 17 May 2017

Just A Mish Mash

This post is just a mish mash of things that have taken place over the last few weeks, I have been taking photos but never got them into a post.
 Martin built me a water tower that will take 2 IBC tanks behind the poly tunnels, these are reserve tanks and we pump the water from other tanks to fill these and I use them for the poly tunnels,
 The kids have been playing hide and seek in the hollow tree
 The Alpacas using there scratching brushes
 Tess can now sit on command and stay but I cant take more than three paces away from her, not bad for an old blind deaf dog that has never had training.
 I had the chimney alight one evening, for no other reason than I found a wasp nest in it.
 The water tanks were getting very low we didnt have any rain as such for about a month
 The nasty angry broody spent three days in chicken jail, to break her broodiness.
 Broody chickens damage eggs trying to get them all in one nest.
 No sooner broke one broody and we had another, I set up a nest with 6 eggs and popped her in there she is sitting tight on the eggs.
 I picked up a couple of pineapples, sliced them up and got them in the dehydrator
 I have set the tops and keeping fingers crossed that they put down roots.
 The dried pineapple makes a tasty snack.
 I stewed a load of rhubarb as a base for crumble its now in the freezer ready for when we have visitors.
 Made another couple of goats cheeses one is rolled in lemon pepper and the other in smoked paprika with dried garlic
 Went to the plant fair in the village and bought some Irises an Astilbe and a Valerian now all planted
 Playing with a cardboard box
 even Martin had to get inside, Tess did as well as Sol its like having kids sometimes.
Well that is my mish mash of a post showing some of the going on's over the past couple of weeks. 👍