Saturday 29 December 2018

A Bit of Field Work

 A bit of field maintenance work has been needed in the Alpaca area.
First all broken branches needed clearing
 There were branches that were broken off in storms
And branches that were damaged but still attached,
 all branches and trees need to be made safe,
so we don’t end up with damaged fences or get injured ourselves with fallen branches
then its on to the poo picking, 
it all gets loaded into the muck spreader
The chains are next, to loosen up the moss and loosen up the surface then the new spring grass will be off to a flying start.

I had a lesson on using the muck spreader today.
We are spreading the muck on the field we hope to cut for hay this coming year.
That big 74lb pumpkin I grew this year was enjoyed by the pigs,
it didnt take long for them to demolish it.
 Tess enjoyed Christmas day on the beach
 As did Sol, we expect this to be his last Christmas,
Sol is having health issues and the outcome is not good.
 In the meantime life goes on
 and the two of them enjoy each others company and enjoy trips out.

Wednesday 24 October 2018

It All Went Well

We have just gone through our first TB tests

 We had the pens set up and a plan in place, the Buffalo were brought in the night before, everything was set up ready for the vet to come. The mama's have gone through this before and familiar with the crush, the vet has never TB tested Buffalo before but has come up several times and met them. 
All went well, that was until we got to the calves who are a lot smaller and they needed there ear tags going in.
Percy decided he didnt like it and manged to turn himself around well sort of fold himself in half really and got jammed.
There was a lot of pushing a shoving to get him round the right way and through the gate at the end, all this time the mamas were getting concerned at the other end, you dont want to be confronting and over protective mama who things you are doing harm to her calf. 
We got the process done and ear tags went in, of course a few days later we had to put them through the crush again so they could be checked, this time none of them want to go through, Martin Vet and me were trying to herd these big beasts through the crush who had other ideas, we managed and all was good we passed the tests. 
Thank goodness we dont have to repeat it for another year.
We also had worming on the agenda, we dropped poo samples into the vets to do some Fecal Egg Counts, Alpaca were clear and Buffalo were clear, sheep and goats needed worming and we needed to raddle the ram, he is a fine looking fella but he has an attitude problem.
Martin had a bad confrontation with him the other week and his leg is all the colours of the rainbow.  

 Raddle is on with a yellow block, the idea is when he mounts the ladies he will leave a yellow smudge on there rumps, once we know he has done his job he is going in the freezer and his fleece which is super curly is going off to be tanned.
 We are now harvesting the third lot of potatoes this year, the name escapes me of these but they are yummy and fairly special.
 A lovely red colour through and through and they retain the colour through cooking, doing succesional planting of potatoes through the year has worked out well, we have one more bed of them in the poly tunnel which should be ready end of the year.
 First of the sprouts harvested and it looks like we are having a fab harvest of them this year.
 am going to wind up with a video of the Turkeys, during the day they free range, late afternoon they are brought back in.
These Turkeys this year are looking really good.
So its time to get your Christmas orders in.


Friday 19 October 2018

In Stickle Tarn Kitchen

With all the harvesting there has been a lot going on in the kitchen,
 I came across a recipe for Dream Cheese, using clabbered milk, which basically is raw fresh milk left to curdle and seperate
 you then drain off all the whey mix in a bit of salt and leave it to drain again
 then its rolled into cheesy balls coated with a mix of dried herbs and then covered with olive oil. Ready for eating a couple of weeks later. All very easy and straight forward.
 As milking is still in full swing yogurt has been a staple in the kitchen. We always use the last pot as a started for the next batch.
 Its the time of year to get Sloe Gin on the go, its been a good year for sloes.
 The last of the courgettes were turned into courgette marmalade, which is surprisingly very tasty and has no resemblance to courgette at all.
 Wild Mushrooms have been in abundance this year, they have been dehydrated

 and canned for future meals.

 We have harvested some great red cabbages, as well as having braised red cabbage
some also got pickled

 The tomato harvest has been fantastic with over 100lb of tomatoes harvested, I have canned a basic tomato sauce, a spicy tomato sauce, a tomato based BBQ sauce, 
Tomatoes are still ripening  next on the list is some tomato base soups.
Apart from the foul weather last week end when our area was battered and soaked and flooded by storm Callum we are still enjoying  some fantastic weather.
There is still plenty more to harvest and put away for us to enjoy during the colder months.

Monday 8 October 2018

That Warm Glow Inside

Nothing feels better than knowing you are all prepared for winter, 
Every corner of the barn is filled with bales of hay for Goats, Alpacas and sheep.
 We have enormous bales of straw distributed around the place for animal bedding
 22 wrapped round bales of silage for the buffalo this winter they are staying in the buffalo house and yard, we plan to put them in December and they will stay in until end of March start of April 
They will be on a deep bed system of straw, and fed silage and cow cake rations with some shredded sugar beet. We got the Buffalo last December and we were feeding them hay as well as letting them graze but with wet weather the fields became rutted and full of pot holes, we are not doing that again.
 The log sheds are full, lots of bags of starter wood, so there is no fear of us not keeping warm.
 Martin has sorted out a method of getting water to those animals not near a water supply 
Back in summer when we struggled with keeping everyone water troughs filled and most of the day was spent carting water over in 60l containers fill a water trough for a water buffalo to slurp it all down in one go or stand in the trough and then tip the whole thing over to make a mud wallow and you would have to go and fetch more, Martin spotted these for sale on ebay and bought them both.
He had a couple of spare IBC tanks 
The tanks are now secure on the trolleys they can be moved around easy with the quad bike or tractor, filled up taken and parked up were needed, we have hoses fitted to the taps so filling troughs is easy peasy.
We still have a few preparations to make for the coming winter but we are ahead of were we were this time last year.  
We just hope we are not having another freezing Siberian one like last year. 



Monday 1 October 2018

Farming Year Rolls On

Harvesting has been in full swing here, anything we that is not coming into the kitchen is used for feeding livestock, the pumpkins this year were fab
 Our biggest one was a real bad boy and weighed in at 74lb, I was only growing normal everyday sized ones, a bit for us and the rest will go to animal fodder then this one just kept going.
 Red cabbages have also been doing really well we have eight decent sized ones and these two big ones who weighed in at 8lb, Tess was sulking because I wouldn't let her eat them, pickled red cabbage is on the go and this week there will be braised red cabbage on the menu a few times.
 Boy these chilies are hot they are Ghost Chilies and even handling them I wear gloves, some get added to sauces and i have these hanging up drying,

Tomatoes I have never had such a fantastic harvest of tomatoes, so far I have picked roughly 80lb so there is lots of tomato processing happening.
A dozen jars of a basic tomato sauce, a dozen jars of tomato based BBQ sauce, a dozen jars of spicy tomato sauce, the store cupboards are brimming over  and I am running low on canning jars.

 I picked sloes yesterday for Martin to do his sloe gin with, again sloes are in abundance this year we might even collect a second lot and do a double batch.
Turkeys are growing well, there run and house is all set up, wood chips have been put down to give them a mud free area
There house has roosts for them and there feeder and water is also kept in there, window has been reinforced and the whole house has been tied down so it wont go over in storms. 
The calves Percy and Lily are growing well, we have our first TB testing in a few weeks, the calves will be tested as well as they are over the age of 6 weeks, we have been getting them use to going through the cattle crush in preparation. 
The weather is still being kind to us, lovely dry sunny days this means we can get lots done outside preparing for the coming winter.


Monday 3 September 2018

The Summer Of 2018

As we roll into autumn I thought I better wrap up summer and what a busy one it has been. So settled down for long post.
So in no particular order here is a round up of summer
 The five female kids have all been sold on and gone to live in new homes, the three males have moved to the bachelor quarters until they reach a good freezer size.
 This years weaners being raised for the freezer are Tamworth Pietrain cross and have all settled there ginger rumps in well.
 Turkeys are back on the cards again, Norfolk Bronze and Roly Poly Whites, the arrived as day olds now off heat and growing well. 
 A new run was built just for them, we are waiting for there new house to come later this week.
The Ross Cobb chicks that are being raised for the table are now
 Full size free ranging and the first will be going this week.
 Compost and Speak No are now young adults Compost is male and his partner is female so we hope next year to have the pitter patter of waddling feet, they are waiting to move into Duckville.
We have had a few excursions out 
 Strawberry Cream Tea down in the village
 I had a few days away at the Quilt Festival stayed at my daughters over night so I was there for my granddaughters birthday
 Three nights away
 Two days spent going around the festival with a friend was brilliant.
 A farm sale were we grabbed a few bargains, a polytunnel for £10 the frame we want to use to make Duckville
 Hay rack £2 never have enough of these
 a lovely old wooden hay rake and old pitch fork for £2 each
There have been a few visits to the National Botanical Gardens, I went with my friend Mandy when she was down visiting, took Martins Mum when she was over from France visiting, today we were there again with Sol and Tess as it was doggy day.
 We took a trip out on the old Steam train
Its all run by volunteers
 Cream Tea on a steam train
 This was our train for the afternoon.
An artist friend of mine had her first exhibition I took some time out to go and visit. 
 A trip to Many Tears Dog Rescue, I had been collecting doggy things and making beds for them, they gave us a lovely tour around the kennels, I was so tempted by this little lady she was so like Tess.
Back on the Trains again this time with Martins parents for a fish and chip supper.
 Flies have been in an abundance this summer
The many baited fly traps we have around have worked overtime
 Wasps have been in abundance as well, this was the result of disturbing a wasps nest I didn't know was there
 It may be a work of art but lethal.
There has been lots of craft markets to attend
 Its been fun going to them and selling lots of crafts 
I am still making lots of cushions for the shop in town 
 I am working on a new range of little ones clothes that is going to be launched next month
 Reversible dresses
 and hooded gilts are part of the range.
The veg garden has done really well this summer
 Lots of courgettes

 Which have been made into everything from Chocolate cake to Marmalade
 My biggest pumpkin to date and its still growing
 Field mushrooms have been popping up every where its been a fab year for them 
Tomatoes have been fantastic and still coming
 Lots of canning
 Lots of preserving.
Oh and the plant of the month, I coldnt justify buying any more plants when a local landscape gardener was selling off over 200 of his stock plants because his well had dried up and he was unable to water them
I was lucky enough to buy them at less than 50p a plant and they are all perennials, I just have to get them all planted out now.

So this about sums up the summer of 2018, now things are winding down a bit as we roll into Autumn I hope to get back to blogging on a regular basis and catch up with what every one has been up to in blog land.