Wednesday 28 June 2017

Rounding Up And A Round Up

 Yes the Alpacas were sheared yesterday, we had to round them up and bring them in over the week end, which they were not to impressed by, rain was being forecast and they needed to be dry for shearing, needless to say the rain didn't happen.
 I wasn't here for shearing this time, I have a long standing arrangement with friends, hence there is no shearing photos I am guessing it all went fine as they have all been cropped, Martin has to go back to work after shearing he will be home again tomorrow, I haven't yet spoken to him.
 but they all look fine to me and there is lots of bags of fleece in the barn.
 The sugar beet I sowed in the rotavated field is now popping up, it will be interesting to see how well it grows, it would be great to have some home grown for feeding to the animals.
 My first little harvest of honeyberries, also know as sweetberry honeysuckle, I am going to try and propagate some more they are ready before the blueberries and taste very similar.
lots of nice big strawberries coming along a lot better than the ones in the poly tunnel so I think the poly tunnel ones will be going.
 The onions had to come up from the poly tunnel I needed the space, we ended up with a barrow load of red onions
 and a barrow load of white, some had started bolting so they have to be used first, they are all on a rack now in the barn.

In the kitchen
 Martin made up a bowl of Salsa I was told it was really lovely, I will have to take his word for it because he ate it all and I didn't get to try it not one morsel. 🐖🐖🐖
We are still awash with goats milk
 a batch of yogurt was made up
 also some mozzarella cheese, one plain, one flavoured with Basil and one with chili.
 waffles have been on the menu for a few days, to have with cream and strawberries
and a big pan of pulled pork made up from the left overs from a roast that has fed up for days.

Monday 26 June 2017

Talking Lemons

Yesterday we made a start on some Elder flower champagne,

 4 lemons were needed, didnt have any of ours left so we had to buy some, 6 for £1 no biggy but I do often think about the wax coating on them and why do they do it, quick google search and this is the answer why 
wax is applied to lemons and other fruit for a couple of simple reasons. Firstly so that they look good on the shop shelves, but more importantly to preserve them and give a longer shelf life.  
Then the question what is the wax another google search 
Some are based on polyethylene, a type of plastic, and some on shellac or beeswax. The latter both have implications for vegans (shellac is derived from the secretions of an insect). 
I think in future it will be unwaxed fruit if we buy any.
Back to the Elder Flower Champagne  
 After washing and scrubbing the lemons they were zested
 Juiced within an inch of there lives
 all the above was added to the Elder Flower mixture, I have posted before how the Champagne is done Champagne Link 
The pips that were left over will be set to germinate into hopefully some new lemon trees 
 That just left the lemon peel and pulp,
Another quick google search and I came across Lemon Vinegar cleaner.

 The peel and pulp was put into a jar top up with white vinegar, it needs to sit for 2 weeks, then strained the lemon leftover will then go on the compost heap, the liquid is diluted 50/50 with water and can decanted into spray bottles to use as a general all round cleaner.
No waste and few questions answered what could be better.

Thursday 22 June 2017

The Missing Week

Thought I better get a new post done before people thought I had dropped off the face of the earth.
Its been a busy week and a very hot week
The asparagus bed was weeded  we have finished picking it now time for it to rest and rejuvenate.
 and mulched with the soiled bedding from the goats
 had to make a batch of peanut butter as I ran out
 with the last picking of asparagus I made up a quiche for when Louise came over for a visit,
 the hot spell we had saw me seeking shade and doing things that were less taxing
 like carding up alpaca fleece while listening to an audio book
 and clearing this border early morning before the heat builds up
 doing a little each day I have slowly made my way down half of it.
 Still harvesting lots of goodies, 
the pak choi is fantastic this year

 I have been getting hanging baskets done
 and window boxes,
 I have always wanted to plant up some window boxes.
 today we turned our attention to the orchard area, is was badly in need of a cut
 I cut around the fruit trees with shears so Martin could work with the strimmer without snagging the trees accidentally 
 now it is under control again we can see the trees
 the paddocks have all been topped as well.
 the fruit cage is now all finished with a nice mat of wood chip and the paths around the veg beds
 that just about sums up the week I didn't post, lots of jobs we are now on top of, it is making a big difference having Martin home more. I have also been getting some sewing done I will update my craft blog in a few days.
I hope you have all been enjoying the good weather 🌞🌞🌞

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Working On Winter Feeding.

Things are just rolling along like they do at this time of year
The little Ross Cobb table birds have moved into there new home and foster mum has re-joined the flock 
 They are not so little anymore, but I am keeping on top of there feeding so they don't grow too fast and go off there legs.
The teenage egg layers have also joined the main flock.

 I have made a start getting wood chip down on the pathways around the raised beds
 It is very heavy work and difficult to move those dumpy bags full of wood chip.
 I finished getting membrane down in the fruit cage and managed to get another load of wood chip down
 one more bag should finish the fruit cage, there is one sitting not far from the door that big blue one in the photo, I might manage to get it emptied today but I have a couple of things on toady's agenda 

 A bit of experimental growing is taking place
 with sugar beet, a little late in the season, the packet says late spring early summer so I hope they will still come on, I don't even know if they will grow here, I have never grown them before
 I set three long rows in the feed growing area, I want to use them for animal feed if they grow.
Now there has been a disaster in animal feed area, the pumpkins and squash I planted got battered and broken by the high wind and heavy downpours we had just after I planted the out.
There is one lonely squash tying to grow, all is not lost, I have found a local nursery who has some plants and they are sending them out to me, I so want to grow a field of pumpkins.

 On the animal feed front
 I have been harvesting nettles and laying them out to dry, the plan is to chop them up and add them to the goat feed over winter, I plan to keep collecting nettles to get as many as possible.

I did get a bit of baking done when it was too hot to be outside.
 A couple of sticky Malt loaves.
I have a bit more baking on the list for today.

I have to make an apology, 
I seem to missing out on a lot of new blog posts from those I follow, I am going to set up for email following then new posts will pop into my emails, they seem to fall off the page on the blogger reading list and I then miss them.

Sunday 11 June 2017

A Success After Failure

I had a big success this week, 
something I have tried a few times and failed 
 Butter not just any butter which I have made many times, this butter is made from our own goats milk 😁goat milk butter is white rather than yellow it took 1 pint of cream that was collected over a few days.
Martin was putting the finishing touches to a chicken house and run
 for the Ross Cobb table birds.
I have been trimming back the grape vine and thinning out the bunches
 I have reduced the vine down to 20 bunches, I might reduce them down further, its about quality rather than quantity and reducing the bunches means bigger and juicer grapes.
The peas in the poly tunnel are cropping well
 another harvest for tonight's dinner has brought this seasons harvest up to 1kg so far and there is plenty more to come yet.

Can you see what I see
 Mama dove is on top of the dovecot, daddy dove is on the house roof and if you look you can see 2 young doves who are almost ready to fledge, The doves have had a hard time with the buzzard this adult pair keep trying to raise young last time they were successful in raising one that fledged and was finding it wings when the buzzard stuck and it was RIP baby dove.
I am hoping there is plenty of other food around for the buzzard and he leaves these alone to become adults.

Thursday 8 June 2017

Casualties From The Wind

This week we have had downpours of heavy rain a big gusts of wind, all was not lost even though there was casualty
The day after the high winds I went round and collected these

 The Alliums on there tall stems were flattened, still I can enjoy them indoors.
The wet weather has kept me indoors, except for normal chores
The other day I used some of the goat milk glut for fudge
 Chocolate and Pecan, very tasty.
The poly tunnel is producing
 Time for peas, I love fresh peas, we cant grow enough of them, this is the second picking with loads more to come.
I bought myself one of these
A salad cutter,
easy to use, pop your salad bits in and cut through the slots, turn it 90 degrees and cut again and you have a nice chopped salad, its ideal for up to 2 portions it wont do a family salad.
Perfect for doing  a quick salad for my lunch.
I am looking forward to a break in the weather as I have things to get on with.