Friday 28 July 2017

Taking A Break

I am taking a break from blogging
 I may be back I may not

Wednesday 19 July 2017

More New Additions

These two arrived on the
ranch this morning 
Chinese Crested Geese 
It has been a busy week with lots of new residents and getting them settled in.
Cucumber glut has now started 3-4 every couple of days
 made up a big jar of refrigerator cucumber pickle
still getting lots of milk from the goats as well as milkshakes everday
 its yogurt for breakfast with honey and fruit
we have workmen in at the moment I will update on that later
 I did make them up a batch of biscuits from the recipe that Louise gave me, these are great dunking biscuits and have been a hit with the lads 
must go there is lots to get on with busy busy time.

Sunday 16 July 2017

Honey And Milk

The other day I went down to check the only occupied bee hive we have at the moment its a top bar hive.
The comb isn't built on frames, the bees build the comb hanging from bars that run along the top of the hive.

 This is a photo from a few years ago showing how the comb is formed.
Anyway while checking the hive I accidental broke a comb that was full of honey.
Sticky and runny it was impossible to repair the comb and fix it back to the bar.
There was nothing to do but take it away.
 I did a first straining of it just letting the honey run and got about a pound and half of it.
 Then I squished up the comb to release any trapped honey, in total there was 3lb of honey that came off the comb, this honey wont store long term as the comb wasn't capped off by the bees, when enough water has evaporated off the honey stores the bees put a little wax cap over the top to preserve it.
The unripe honey wont go to waste
 we are having it with yogurt made from the goats milk in the morning and the honey will be used for cooking.
 we got this corner unit for free it was looking for a new home, It is being painted white and will go in the kitchen, at some point it had been previously painted then rubbed down badly and varnished so now its being painted again.
Today we have lots going on so I better get a move on.

Saturday 15 July 2017

Black And White Arrivals

Its been a busy time with new arrivals on the ranch,
First the white arrivals
 I had no intentions of getting more doves after ours had been taken time and time again, all we have left is 3 one original adult and 2 youngsters that have thrived and fledged, I saw an add on face book the other day some-one looking to re-home some, there was the usual responses from those who had no idea with comments like could I have some for my children we have a rabbit hutch to keep them it, then some-one else who wanted to keep them in a bird cage in the house, it made me shudder to think these beautiful birds would end up caged and never fly free, so I put in a request and got them, we picked them up this morning and tonight they will go into the dovecot with our three, it will be netted over for a few weeks then they will get a chance to fly free, in with them is a baby only just getting its feathers. 
Now on to the black additions, it was always agreed with Martin that we not get our own breeding flock of sheep until he is here most of the time, he is here now and hasn't wasted any time in finding a start up flock of Hebridean Sheep.
 Every since we started talking about moving to a smallholding it was Hebridean sheep he was wanting, late last night he arrived home with them.
 we left them in the trailer overnight as it was too dark to unload them
 this morning they were moved into there new home, Hebridean sheep are only small, the ram is the one on the right and he is about full grown about the size of Labrador dog, they either have 4 horns or two and only produce one lamb, we can let a ram run with them as the ewes wont come into season until November which is typical of the breed.
 The Alpacas were very curious about these black bundles arriving in the field and didnt know what to make of them.
Straight away the Alpacas started alarm calling here is a short video of the alarm calling going on this morning.
they will continue for the rest of today and soon settle down once they realise the sheep are not a threat. 
So that the black and white new additions we have.

Thursday 13 July 2017

Getting Dressed For a Date

This evening I run up a chicken saddle for one of the chickens

 The two cockerels were being a bit over amorous with her and she was losing the feathers on her back.

 I had to wait until it was dark and snatch her off the perch to get dressed
She screamed the place down.
I did spot another one with a bald spot so will run up another saddle tomorrow for her.
They will keep them on until there feathers re-grow.
I will get some better photos of them sporting there new outfits

Saturday 8 July 2017

Carbon Footprints, Zero Miles

I was interested to see what our carbon footprint was,
There was a problem, 
Every calculator I look at didn't cover our lifestyle,
They ask how do you heat your home, Electric, Gas, Oil, LPG there is no option for wood burners
 They ask were do you shop for food 
Again no option for raising your own
And on they went  after trying 6 different ones I gave up,
Is our lifestyle so unusual, I don't think so, I know many people locally as well as world wide who live like we do.
And many more who are striving to break away and live the lifestyle. 
Most of our meals have zero miles, here are a few from this week.
Last nights dinner home reared lamb chops, new potatoes from the poly tunnel garnished with mint from the garden, courgettes fried in butter made from our goats milk and garlic from the garden.
 Tonight it was sausages from our own home reared pork, onions from the garden, new potatoes again and peas from the garden

 Dinner the other evening, egg fried rice, the rice wasnt home produced who knows perhaps one day, but everything else was
served with pork tenderloin and pak choi, all home produced

I did get round to making up some chili flakes from chilis we grew last year and dried
we do tend to use a fair amount of chili flakes, I am not growing any this year as we had a great harvest last year, dried them, froze them, pickled them, made chili sauce and gave a lot away.
Todays lunch was 
 freshly baked baguettes with our own ham
followed by freshly made flap jacks.
We have also been having milkshakes a couple of times a day as we are still in milk glut zone. We make them using whatever fruit we have on hand, or sweet sauces.
Strawberries and raspberries are coming thick and fast.
In the poly tunnel today I spotted this 
My peanut plants are flowering I was so excited.
I must do a poly tunnel update.
The cut flower beds that are new this year have been producing well
 lots of lovely scented sweet peas
Lily's and Dahlias make nice big bouquets for the house.
I had a brain wave the other day, not something that happens often but happen it did.
I am experimenting with growing winter food for the goats in the paddock that the pigs cleared, I sowed 3 rows of sugar beet and they are growing along with the brassicas, I have been thinking a lot about this sugar beet, how was I going to feed it to the goats, they wont bite into it whole so it would mean chopping it up small, we buy in shredded sugar beet for them and the alpacas, I looked at equipment to do the shredding it would be a fair investment if we can succesfully grow sugar beet, but what to do in the mean time.
we have a small garden shredder that has just been serviced we did plan on selling it as we dont use it anymore now we have the big shredder, I wondered if it could shred up vegetables, to give it a good try out I had some swede sitting there 
the garden shredder idea made short work of the swede, now I just have to wait for the sugar beet to be ready then I can shred it all up, perfect for feeding to the animals.
Speaking of animals we have some new additions arriving next Friday 😁




Wednesday 5 July 2017

Working Together, Birthday And Anniversary

Having Martin home more means more gets done, there is always plenty to do, no shortage of work around here.
The other day we worked together getting stuck into clearing borders in the garden
This border was waiting to be cleared I had made a start on it but work was slow, thick with weeds and lots and lots of stones 
 working together its now been cleared
 along with this corner of the garden
 and this one under the living room window, this border wont be planted up the rosebushes will be moved in autumn, this border will become part of a veranda when we do building work.
 end of the day was a big bonfire and a
 camp fire dinner.
 I have been getting a few new plants into the big cleared border
 I am going for shrubs with textures and winter interest
 and plants that will grow large to fill spaces rather than pretty flowers.
 Globe Artichokes are ready for eating
 the first four were studded with garlic and roasted, they were yummy. Still lots more to come.
Yesterday Tess had her 11th birthday, we know here date of birth because when she was a puppy she was micro chipped but it was never registered to an owner, how she ended up in a puppy farm as a breeder and then being rescued we will never know, if only dogs could talk the stories they could tell.
Yesterday was also the anniversary of move 3 years WOW, it sometimes feels like we have been here forever and sometimes it feels like we have just moved in I must do some photos showing the ranch has changed over 3 years.