Sunday 24 February 2019

Circle Of The Year

Sunday 17th Feb
It was the week end of the winter gardening event, an event that was on for 3 days and I finally managed to get along on the last day for a quick visit
 The event is organised by Farmyard Nurseries local to us who specialise in Hellebore's along side lots of other plants

 The display they set up on the stage was stunning
 A real winter woodland walk.
 I did buy a couple of plants and I am on the look out for tree stumps to add to the garden.
In the afternoon we brought the sheep down and I scanned them with the sonic scanner 
This only gives us an indication of pregnancy, and it looks like the ram did his job, and inspection of ear ends and udders shows that a few are imminent, we were late getting the raddle on him and  it looks like he serviced a few before hand.
Monday 18th Feb
I was clearing bits and bobs from the freezer, 2 big bags of chopped onions, went into the dehydrator 
 then ground down to onion powder
Along with mixed veg, pumpkin, kale, broccoli and courgette, these can easily be added to soups and stews and freed up some much needed freezer space.
Tuesday 19th Feb 
Martin was back off to work, so me and Tess were left to hold the fort,feeding the buffalo has just got so much easier
over the week end we collected some new feed troughs for them
and Martin got them put in place now I can just pour there feed in without watching out for horns and battling to get muck covered feed bowls back. 
Wednesday 20th Feb
In preparation for the new kitchen extension  I now have a temporary food storage area in Martin's workshop, the freezers have been in lace for a few months and Martin put me some cupboards up
All the jars of canned goods
 That have been stored in various locations around the house
are now moved in there
along with jams pickles and chutneys
the chiller that gets used for curing meat has also been moved in there. Its great to have it all in one place.
Thursday  21st Feb
 Happy gotcha day Tess, two years ago today, a lovely sunny day and Tess came down the fields with me to the orchard and we checked on the bee hives
 very pleased to see both hives had made it through winter and there was plenty of activity.
 I had noticed bees out foraging hence the reason for checking. Also planted another 4 fruit tees while we were down there, two apple 1 pear 1 plum, and found our first frog of the year 

Friday 22nd Feb
Today the bacon pig was collected from the butcher
we were really looking forward to this, lots of lovely bacon, three different sausages, Cumberland, Leek and plain pork, gammon steaks and bacon joints,
we had to have bacon sandwiches for lunch and it was lovely.
We don't have enough space in the freezer for it all so another small freezer has been ordered. 
Stanley the Turkey is doing lots of showing off and a few times I have seen him trying to mount the girls ad falling off, It did take Compost a good few tries before he mastered it. 
I do enjoy having the Turkeys and ducks wandering around although at times they are a bit noisy
a short video of them all vocalising.
Saturday 22nd Feb
Another glorious day saw me working outside
 clearing out the last of the carrots and parsnips

so the beds can be topped up and prepared for re seeding.
The second poly tunnel has been cleared down ready for a good wash and topping up the beds, the aquaponics tank has run all through winter, and we still have some crayfish in there, after we lost all the fish during that hot spell last year. 
 The last of the Oca tubers have been taken up
and the last of the sprouts have been picked.
Plenty of new seeds are on the go ready to take there place.
Its the life circle of the year.










Sunday 17 February 2019

A Tantalising Glimpse Of Spring

Sunday 10th Feb
Alpaca Janine had her injections for her poorly leg, pleased to say she is now all better, a good reason to be checking livestock twice a day, spotting problems early and getting on top of them.
In the afternoon  we took Tess for walk around Keepers in the forest
 She had a great time sniffing and exploring everything, she couldn't manage the steps to the bridges
 Martin had to give her a helping hand to get to the other side.
It was a challenging for our oldie, up and down hills
 Every now and then he had to have a rest and a cat nap but she managed the whole circular walk, slept like a baby when we got back.
Monday 11th Feb
We were working with some of the pork we got back from our pigs,
 mincing and seasoning
 and made up a lovely batch of pork chili burgers.
 The skins were salted and into the oven for pork crackling a snack Martin enjoys.

 Also a lovely joint of pork roasted for dinner.
Tuesday 12th Feb
Preparations were on the way for lambing
 Our little herd will be lambing outside, so a shelter has been put together using pallets in the paddock near the house were we will move them to.
Another pork session took place
 we made up some lovely looking salami using a pork and buffalo mix.
also some sausage rolls and pasties to go in the freezer.
Wed 13th Feb
It was a day out for me, there is a little group of now 7 crafting sewers who meet up once a month taking turn about hosting and we have a go at new to some a small project, pop over to my craft blog to see what we were doing this month. My Craft Blog
Thursday 14th Feb
For some its valentines day but we don't bother with any of that now, been together far too long. It was a fantastic sunny spring like day, I was up in the woodland field

 I had another batch of young trees to get planted up
 I also cleared a load mole hills. Don't need big tufted mounds when I am scything up there.
 In the poly tunnel, I was getting more things on the go, peas and some broad beans.
Friday 15th Feb
Another glorious sunny day basking in 17c
I gave Martin a hand in the afternoon to put a new haylage bale into the buffalo boys.
 the boys did there bit to help as well
 It was my job to keep them away so Martin could get the bale unwrapped and in the ring.
 a short video of the boys getting excited.
Saturday 16th Feb
Martin went on the lambing course learned hands on about presentations castration tube feeding etc, they use dead lambs to practice on that are donated by local farmers.
We discovered the ducks had made a start laying
 They had made a nest and our first four eggs were there, another few weeks and we will set some in the incubator.
The Chickens are in full lay as well so there is lots of eggs on the menu.
 The Coriander and Basil seeds are coming up great under the grow lights, I have a growing area set up in the spare bedroom, two heated propagators and two lots of grow lights.
 this handsome fella is also up there, its a young pineapple plant I bought in.
Clearing some space in the freezer I dehydrated a bag of chopped onions 
 They were then ground down into a powder
  ready to add spoonfuls to whatever is being cooked, 24 onions in that jar. I am going to go through my jars of dehydrated stuff and get a lot of them ground down. Takes up less space and easy to add to casseroles soups etc.

Saturday 9 February 2019

Pickling and Preserving.

Sunday 3rd Feb 

The Alpacas were due there Vit D injections, a two man job, one holds them and the other has to stick the needle in, it is usually e on the needle end, Alpacas have very thick skin and a few times we have had an Alpaca break free from grip and bounce around the pen with a syringe sticking in there bottom, anyway job got done without any accidents.
 I made a big chicken turkey and ham pie for dinner, it was divided up into 9 portions so a few extra meals put away in the freezer.
Monday 4th Feb
 I made a start with some seed sowing, I treated myself to a new heated propagator back in January, my old one works but is not efficient and it used to belong to my dad, the lid is going opaque and not letting in enough light.
 A start was made on emptying the compost bin
into the raised beds along side the poly tunnel.
Tuesday 5th Feb.
Martin went away to work today, Tess and me had a tip out
The goat and sheep skins we had prepared and salted had to go to the Organic Tannery the other side of town.
 Carol who runs it with her husband, showed me around and explained the whole processes
 The skins are soaked in these big pickling baths about 5 to a bath, the main ingredient used for organic tanning is Mimosa.
 The whole processes with the pickling, washing, drying stretching and combing takes about 5 weeks
 The goat skins a little less, they have a lead time of about 16 weeks so it will be a while before ours are back.
Wed 6th Feb
After the animal rounds I met up with a crafty friend in Swansea for coffee I had a few bits I had pre-ordered and needed to pick up,
 I had bought a box of clementines for  £1 and in the evening sat and peeled prepped and sliced them before getting them in the dehydrator over night.
Half the slices I kept whole for snacking on adding to baking etc, the other half I ground down into powder that can be sprinkled on yogurt, porridge etc.
Thursday 7th Feb
After doing feeds etc I spent the day down the cabin, working on something new, you will have to pop onto my craft blog to see what.
When I did the late afternoon feed rounds, Alpaca Janine was limping badly, well more hobbling around on three legs and the other she wasn't weight bearing on, I gave the vet a call, he checked her leg it didn't look like any breaks but the joint above the foot felt hot and swollen, a few injections given and more injections left for me to administrate in a couple of days.
 Friday 8th Feb
Martin is back, today was the day we collected he two porkers from the butcher
 Such a lot of meat from two pigs,
we are very pleased with it and not too much fat, some of this meat is being sold the reason why we had it done by the butcher.
The third pig has gone to bacon gammon's and sausages  and will be collected in a couple of weeks.
Saturday 9th
Another day of crafting for me along with clearing out junk from the storage unit, 
We had another delivery of shale, we have had many over the past month that we have used in gateways and were tracks are becoming muddied and waterlogged, this load was earmarked for filling in the pot holes along the drive.
Another job ticked off the list.