Tuesday 29 August 2017

A Round Up For August

Here is a round up of whats been happening on the ranch through August
A Cucumber glut 
To date we have picked 72 cucumbers, they are eaten in sandwiches, made into pickles, given away, sold, fed to the goats, fed to the chickens and fed to the tortoise, I have also dehydrated some
 The cut flower beds have produced gluts of Dahlias, Sweet Peas, Gladioli and Lily's, every room has had flowers including the 
Ti pee when we had visitors, given bunches away and sold some.

 Corn on the Cob not a glut but they have done excellent in the poly tunnel again
 I have pulled 14 cobs so far and there is still a few more
roasted in the green over a fire is the best way to enjoy them
Peas once again have done well this year, so far 18lb
 Unexpected crops of mushrooms from the poly tunnel were spent mushroom kits were emptied

 A couple of pickings a week
The Ross Cob meat chickens are coming on great, now 16 weeks old, they spend there time free ranging the fields, we had the second one to eat, oven weight was 5lb 10oz, it served us well, with a roast dinner, rissoto, a couple of lunches and I used the last of the meat for pies, chicken and mushroom ones, the carcass was made into stock.
 Tomatoes I thought I was going to loose them last week to blight, but prompt action seems to have saved them, so far we have picked 9lb

 Onions have done well this year, the brown onions were taken up over the week end,

 and have now joined the red and white onions on the drying rack
 An unexpected addition arrived on the ranch, he has been name The Bolt, he arrived soaked through and exhausted, I popped him in a cage where he would be safe and he tucked into some food, I traced his owner in Blackburn through the numbers on his rings, he was released up into the air after two days rest, later that day he arrived back again, he now spends his days hanging about with the doves then takes himself off to bed in the barn in the evening, looks like he has decided to stay.
Departures, we sold our two young does, now 5 months old, they were collected at the week end, our first livestock sold.

 That's the round up for August, lets see what September brings.

Sunday 27 August 2017

Getting All Minty

I love growing herbs and one of my favorites is mint, 
There are loads and loads of different variety's and I love them all, my interest in mint started when I had a delicious mint tea in Egypt
I was doing a charity bike ride along the Nile 250miles in 5 days, that was 14 years ago, anyway after my return I was seeking out this mint tea and several years later I stumbled across a recipe on a blog, and have made it ever since and it always takes me back to that time in Egypt.

 I pick 50g of a selection of mint, this batch is made up of chewing gum mint and garden mint
 The secret of Egyptian mint tea is Black Gunpowder loose tea
 strange looking isnt it, 1tbs needed
 the tea and 50g of sugar is added to 1lt of boiling water and simmered for 5 mins
then you add the mint leaves keeping them submerged simmer for a further 1 min, then cover and let it stew for 5 mins
strain and enjoy, I keep the rest in a thermos jug so I can enjoy it throughout the day, sometimes I enjoy it cold.
In the back garden I have a few mints growing in the herb bed, I do thin them out to stop them taking over,
Here is a video showing who else enjoys the mint.
As well as those is the back garden I have another collection of mint that is waiting to be planted out, some I have bought, some I have grown from cuttings that were given to me by friends.
This video is my mint collection.
 To date I have 23 variety's of mint and the collection continues to grow. 


Thursday 24 August 2017

Back To Blogging

Time to get back in to the swing of things, 
August is a busy month, as things take off growing and producing, lots to harvest, lots of preserving.
I have been watching the grapes over the past few weeks in the poly tunnel as they started to ripen
 Today they were harvested, 6lb in total, this vine is 3 years old and started off as cutting I brought with me when we moved.
 I have been extracting the juice this evening with the steam extactor.
 I am going to make some wine with this juice, if it turns out not drinkable it will be used for cooking.
 Remeber the Hop I planted back in April, it has grown away lovely and is now in flower, it is not suppose to flower until year 2, there wont be enough to do anything with, I will proberbly just hang them in the kitchen.
 The melons have come on a storm this year, there are 9 lovely sized ones, they have been netted using old tights to keep the weight off the stems.
 Blueberries have also been brilliant this year, so far 7lb have been harvested, there is still one bush of late season to harvest, I did make a couple jars of Blueberry jelly, the rest have gone in the freezer until I have time to do something with them.
 I will end my return to blogging with the result of tonights juicing

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Eco Village Visit

I will return to normal blogging in September, in the meantime last week end I had fantastic day out at Lammas Eco Village in Pembrokshire, they hold open day tours through April to September.
 The eco village is made up of 9 smallholdings of about 6-7 acres each
 The village is totaly off grid
every small holding is self sustaining 
 Planning permission was granted in 2009
 the project is being run under the One Planet scheme
 The smallholders all own there land
and had to show within 5 years they could be self sustaining
 and bring in an income of at least £5,000 per smallholding
 this income is made from the land using non agriculture methods
 as well as raising there food
 they raise there own fuel
 the small holders come from all walks of life
 some are family's with children
 when they moved on to the land it was barren and had been over grazed for 25 years devoid of wildlife
 They have volunteers who help them work the land learning as they go
 The smallholdings all live independently with a village community, if you are ever in the area on a Saturday go along for tour, I came away with some ideas I want to implement here, if you cant get to visit you can learn more about the project HERE

Monday 14 August 2017

The First Year

I have put together another photo slide show of work that was done outside in our first year.
The first few photo's are the garden we left behind.
I have tried to group these photos together with before during and after.


Tuesday 8 August 2017

I Will Return

I will return in the meantime here is a slide show of some of the things that have taken place here during our first 3 years