Sunday 31 March 2019

A Two Week Round Up

Its been a busy two weeks, the sun has been shining and its has been perfect for catching up on those outside jobs.
 Lambing has started for us, our Hebridean's lamb outside we don't bring them in, hardy little sheep that produce hardy little lambs, Our first couple were night time arrivals, once they are up on there feet we bring them down to a paddock beside the house.
 Yesterday this mama decided to use the old pig sty to deliver her twins in.
 The first born was happy taking in her new world while mama got on and delivered her brother.
 Within an hour those lambs are up and about building up those muscles in there legs. 
We still have a few more to lamb yet.
Eggs started hatching 
Even though all the eggs were viable out of the six we only have 2 ducklings, 2 died during hatching and 2 didn't hatch.
Not sure what went wrong, we will have to set more.
They have started laying
 Lovely speckled eggs, another couple of weeks and I want to get Turkey eggs in the incubator.
Poly Tunnel
Lots of seed sowing and planting has been going on
Asparagus in the new bed in the poly tunnel is starting to pop up, I moved some of the crowns from outside to in the poly tunnel so we can get an earlier crop there fore extending or cropping season.
 Back in January I got this little mini greenhouse thingy for £3 in the sale, I have set up in the poly tunnel
 Its perfect for hardening off those plants that have been started off indoors in the propagator.
Tess has taken a liken to mice and has been seeking out nests of baby mice and enjoys them as a snack along with any mice she finds in the traps in the poly tunnels that she checks daily. She is earning her keep by keeping down the local mice population.
 But this is more of  a concern, this is a badger foot print,
surrounded by forest we know there is lots of badger setts, and we don't mind the odd visit from them.
Now we have a love hate relationship with them
This field was for our sheep after lambing, and has been totally destroyed by badgers, it looks like a ploughed field.
We have a lot of repair work to do  as well as a lot of expensive work along the boundaries to try and deter them fro coming in. As well as this field they have also made a start on the Alpaca fields and the hay fields, this is going to be a real issue with gazing this year.
As well as destroying fields, they will also take new born lambs, raid poultry houses and bee hives. Very destructive animals. 
In The Kitchen
I have managed to get a few sessions done in the kitchen
 First up a new food processor, its something I use all the time and my Kenwood that I have only had about 8 years is starting to get t the end, two of the grating blades have broke and the main blade has a split, I have replaced these blades before but is just not up to the job, so a decision was made to upgrade to something that could handle the work, and after looking through lots of info I went for a Kitchen Aid, with a 3 year parts guarantee and a 20 year guarantee on the motor,
 It is a bit of a big beast but surprisingly quiet.
I love the dicing attachment
nice even sized chunks that is going to be great for canning and dehydrating, there are two dicing attachments, large and small.
I put the small through its paces
 making a sandwich pickle. (Branston pickle copy)
 Something else I got this week 
A hard cheese kit
 I have been wanting to do a hard cheese using goats milk for some time.
And my first attempt is on the go, its a Cheddar at the moment is air drying then tomorrow it will get waxed, left to ripen for 5 weeks then ready for Martin to do a taste test.
Making cheese always leaves you with lots of whey
I came across a video of dehydrating whey
 So I had to give it a go
 And yes it worked
powdered whey packed full of good protein that can be added to anything from soups stews to cakes and biscuits
Time Away
We took Tess to the Botanical Gardens on doggy day, 
This rusty old bull is packed full of sheep wool for the birds to use as nesting material.
 I was surprised to see this old tree still standing after all the storms from the last few months, its in a very exposed site.
 When Tess gets tired her back legs go and some one has to give her a helping hand,
 She enjoys going out and it would be a shame to leave her at home, so we are looking at dog buggies, so we can continue to take her out then when she has had enough we can pop her in.
The other day we had to drive over the other side of the mountain, my car had to go for a service.
They were burning the mountain
 The smoke was horrific and caused a complete white blanket across the road as well as filling the car and choking you.
 On our return journey, Emergency services were in attendance, bringing it back under control.
I will end with this picture  
My bike I have actually managed to get out on it early one morning and now I hope I can get it out more often.






Monday 18 March 2019

A Real Mish Mash Of A Week.

Sunday 10th March
Another storm blowing in means a day spent indoors, I was down the cabin preparing for up and coming craft fairs, in the evening I was shelling more walnuts this time to make us some walnuts in honey.
we have this on yogurt.
Monday 11th March
The sun was shining the storm had blown over, once the chores and animal feeds were done  we had a big warming bowl of vegetable soup (trying to use up veg in the freezer before new harvests start)
then we
 headed down the beach with Tess
 collected some cockles
and we even got Tess to have a paddle another first for her.
Tuesday 12th March
I was meeting up with the sewing ladies today, before going we had to get the generator set up
There was going to be a scheduled interruption to power and we had eggs in the incubator, the power went off at 9-30 and returned on at 2-30pm, could have been fatal to the developing eggs.
 I headed over to pick up Jennie and we headed out to Ponterderwe,
we were doing lots of weaving things. I didn't get home again until gone 6pm.
Martin got the water troughs complete in the goat house
They are self filling and run off the IBC tank that fills with rain water off the roof of the goat house.
Wednesday 13th March
Another stormy day blowing through, 
We had a special delivery

Our maternity bat box we have to have this in place before they will give us the license to start the building work
 Inside is these brick things separating compartments for the nursery
 the entrance has an alighting platform to make it easier for the youngsters to get in while they are finding there wings. 
Now we have to get some scaffolding up so we can get it in place.
In the evening after dinner we went to the Smallholders meeting, tonight's talk was about Poly Tunnels.
 Thursday 14th March
A day in the poly tunnel for both us.
The crayfish are doing fine in the Aquaponics tank
The watercress in the grow bed is still going Strong and we have harvested lots from it 
I set some lettuce and spinach seedlings in the grow bed 

 We got some new beds prepared

We decided to board up the sides of the beds so we can increase the soil depth and it all stays clean and tidy
Friday 15th March
More time spent in the other poly tunnel this time
 I have been tidying up the strawberries
and potting some on, these are going to stay in pots this season.
The peas growing in the guttering are about ready to plant out.
This poly tunnel is next to get boards along the borders.
Saturday 16th March 
Its been a day of willow, I needed to get a big ring made from willow whips to start forming the shape of the roof on the willow dome.

 the long side shoots are getting fastened into the ring, 
I still have all the sides to weave in, but my hands were getting cold. I might make some smaller rings and put them in as windows.
Its taking shape and I am looking forward to seeing it in full leaf this year.
I will leave you with this little video I took of the Turkeys.







Monday 11 March 2019

Stormy Days

Sunday 3rd March
Another storm was set to hit us  this afternoon, It lashed down with rain, the wind blew, hailstones joined the party. Not the weather for doing outside jobs.
We fared the storm came out the other side with very little damage.
The usual broken branches, wind is natures way of pruning the dead and weak branches.
And we had a tree down
 It was one we had marked to come down, It had Ash die back a disease that is devastating the as trees in the UK.
 The stump I have plan for in the garden, the rest of it will be firewood.
Monday 4th March
After the storms and all the rain that fell much to the delight of the ducks Compost and Speak No, new puddles sprung up for them to explore
 Tuesday 5th March 
Martin is away at work, had a long chat with a friend on the phone got the washing done and other bits and bobs around the house.
Candled the duck eggs that were put in the incubator last week
They are all viable, that dark blob is a little beating heart 
The weather still is very inclement 
The Alpacas have been grazing over in the sheep field, at feed times we only have to call them and they come galloping back.
Wednesday  6th March.
I had to pop out to the fruit and veg wholesalers this morning to pick up some fruit and veg for the goats  
I got 2 crates of grapes for £2
A crate of tomatoes for £1
A crate of ginger for £1
as well as some boxes of apples for £1 for the goats
The Grapes I put through the steam juice extractor
 remove from stalks give them a wash
Then onto the stove for an hour
 Three and a bit bottles of grape juice. Which can used for drinks, lollies, jellies or even wine.
Thursday 7th March
 The grape pulp after extracting was left to cool over night then they went in the dehydrator 
Raisins, that I can use when baking.
The tomatoes were sliced and dehydrated over night
1 crate sliced filled 7 trays

 reduced down to 3 pints
then blitzed down to a jar of powder, spoon fulls can be added to soups and casseroles etc.
Friday 8th March 
I had a new book arrive
 I didn't need another vegetable book, but this one is special as it has been beautifully put together by a local gardener and I am all for supporting local business.
 The whole book is illustrated with lovely clear photos
 Easy to read and understand
The author Huw Richards lives in Tregaron just up the road from me. He also has a fab you tube channel Huw's Nursery. The best price on the book I have found to be Amazon 

Saturday 10th March 
I pottered around sorting out a few things and getting on with some crafts starting to build up stock for up and coming events
Pop along to my craft blog to catch up with what is happening there