Thursday 30 December 2021

End Of The Year 2021

 Well that’s another year flown by, 

a wet and windy end to this one, up to our knees in mud, 

Once the rain and drizzle stops we do dry out underfoot fairly quickly, thank goodness.

Christmas Day was quiet and relaxed we headed down the beach with the dogs a friend joined us with her dogs too

Paige and Mia were happy running around making new friends catching up with old ones, Poppy was very scared it’s only been her second trip off the farm and everything is so scary for her.

We took a flask of hot chocolate, some sausage rolls mince pies and this year’s Christmas cake. Newfoundland Cherry cake.

Day after Boxing Day I did spend a little time in the Polytunnel sowing some onion seeds, I did read it was traditional to sow the Boxing Day but I wasn’t feeling up to it, I am sure one day won’t make a difference.

This week we also got the young goats seperated,  the two young bucks needed moving into a new paddock were they will be joined by Elvis in a few days, then the two young does that I plan to breed from next winter will be moved up to the big goat house. Sloshing around in mud is not the best environment to try cleaning down goat houses bringing in fresh straw and hay but we got there. 

The was a bit of verbal objections but they soon settled down.

Last night in a my quest to get rid of one of the freezers, I pulled out 10 pints of stock meat and fish stocks and got them canned up

I had recently bought a cast iron gas ring that I can run off bottled gas, specifically for canning, gives it more control over the temperatures.

So what does 2022 bring.

I will do another post on that as we have a life changing announcement to make.

Hope you all have a good one stay safe and well.

Monday 20 December 2021

‘‘Twas The Week Before Christmas

 And all is fine, life continues on the smallholding animals still need feeding, feeding changes in winter they need more carbs and calories to help keep them warm, and with the Buffalo shut in there winter quarters we add chopped fodder beet to there daily feed

Martin went and collected a lorry load at the week end , we will proberbly need another two to see us through until they go back out to graze in the spring.

The Buffalo go through two large haylage bales every five days so it’s an expensive time of year feed wise for us along with all the straw for bedding. 

The others all get treats too.

Thanks to a lovely friend .

I have had a couple of rough weeks health wise and it’s put the Christmas preps back a bit, but I did get a bit of a catch up the other day.

In the new year we will be announcing some big changes that are taking place on our smallholding, it’s going to be an exciting 2022 for us.

We have had some lovely weather this past week and took the opportunity while out delivering some Buffalo meat boxes to take Poppy to the beach for the first time, she was very scared but after a while she relaxed a bit but is not ready to be let off her lead.

We have had some fantastic sun rises as well, helps you forget the storms we went through the power cuts and torrential rain.

Got some present wrapping to go and finish, Martin is cooking fish chowder for dinner, fire is lit and the dogs are snoozing all is well in our little world hope all is in yours too.

Saturday 4 December 2021

December Rolls In That Means …….

It’s time to get some Christmas preparations on the way,  
My wreath is up

The dogs have there advent calenders
Christmas is a very low key affair here and we don’t buy into the commercial side of it. It is more of spending some relaxed time together enjoying a few treats that we only have at Christmas, hopefully a picnic on the beach with the dogs and we should have a friend joying us this year.

I didn’t get mice meat made this year so I bought a jar of cheap mincemeat think it cost 37p and turned it into a luxury mincemeat.
There is a video showing how I have done it.

Next up was a favourite that brings back childhood memories and something that has always been associated with Christmas for me. 

Over the coming weeks there are more preparations I have planned, 
Involving luxury Christmas coloured cherries

Christmas coloured chillies 
Straw flowers from the garden.

A tiny bottle of honey flavouring
Along with other projects, Christmas sausages, Christmas trees, sweet treats, cookies, keepsake gift tags and lots more, if you want to follow us along with our seasonal preparations pop on to our YouTube channel and click the subscribe button, you won’t miss any of the videos then. There is a link to the channel up the top right hand side of the blog. 
Here is another video link for you Our 40 hour power cut after storm Arwen hit us. 

Thanks everyone for the well wishes, I am still plodding on there is no change and still waiting to meet with the neurosurgeon .

Thursday 2 December 2021

Selling The Buffalo

 I have mentioned a few times that there are big changes afoot at Stickle Tarn

Our first big change involves the Water Buffalo, 

December 2017 we ventured into keeping Water Buffalo, it’s been a great adventure with lots of highs and lows, these big beasts have become part of the Stickle Tarn Family.

They are placid easy to handle and a great talking point.

So why are we selling.

We have had many discussions and decided as much as we have enjoyed having them around and welcoming new calves seeing them grow and establish themselves in the herd, we cannot continue on this route.

We want to concentrate on rearing for meat so it’s time to find a new home for the breeding side.

Frazier our breeding bull

Petunia in calf along with her young daughter Rosie

Lavender in calf

Lily in calf

Are now looking for a new home.

They will make a great starter herd for some one wanting to get into Water Buffalo they are all used to being handled and friendly and the Mamas are from a original milking herd .

Here is a video showing them all.

We are going to keep the young bulls who are raised for the meat market and our plan is to buy in week old male calves each year and raise them to slaughter weight at 2 years old.

The breeding side takes up land that we need for raising the calves and we only have a limited amount of land we don’t want to intensively rear keeping them shut in, we want the calves to have the best life possible grazing and playing in the fields. We have to winter the buffalo under cover because of there size they do poach the land and it takes time to recover, calves we can leave out in the fields being smaller and lighter at foot. 

If you would like to know more and are interested in a starter herd get in touch, come and meet them. 

This is the first of our exciting changes that we have planned.

Monday 15 November 2021

I Have A Leak

 Let me start at the beginning, 7 weeks ago today I was standing in the kitchen talking to our neighbour who had popped round and just out of the blue my leak started.

My leak is a Cranial Cerebral Spinal Fluid Leak otherwise know as a CSF. 

Why am I telling you about this ? Well there is not a lot of info out there and they say it’s rare but it can happen to anyone one at any time, trying to get diagnosed is a minefield because most doctors have never come across it, in the U.K. there is even less information.

So this is my story and if it helps just one person that is great. 

There are two types of leaks, Cranial and Spinal in my own case I have a Cranial leak which basically means the fluid that surrounds and protects the brain is leaking out, yes I have brain fluid leaking down the back of my throat and also out of my left nostril.

Sounds great dosent it, I can’t really say anything about a spinal leak as I haven’t experianced that.

Leaks are normal associated with a trauma with a cranial leak usually a head trauma, but mine wasn’t the result of a trauma, I was just standing in the kitchen, so mine is what they call a spontaneous leak, the reason behind it we don’t yet know. 

Anyway when it started I was thinking what on earth is happening, my visitor had left and then clear water like liquid just started pouring from my nose, like a nose bleed but without the blood. Just from one nostril. The liquid had a salty metallic taste, There was no pain just this liquid, I did a quick google, and there was very little info but what there was pointed to a CSF. I phoned the surgery and waited for the doctor to return my call. While waiting for a return call I started to feel unwell, I had a headache not a normal one but like a band of pressure across the back of my head, I was feeling unbalanced and dizzy, my eyes felt like they were sinking into my head and my vision was going blurry, and I had a pain at the base of my neck between my shoulder blades,eventually spoke with the doctor and paid a visit to the surgery, he examined me and declared I had a sinus infection and a small polyp at the back of my nose was causing an irritation, he wasn’t interested in a CSF as I hadn’t had a head trauma, left surgery with a steroid spray to use twice a day, 4 days later I was feeling ver very unwell returned to the surgery with a sample of fluid to show the doctor how much I was losing 20ml in 15 minutes approx, different doctor, changed the nasal spray and also suggested sinus irrigation twice a day  again, was not interested in CSF. 

Week two very poorly, still leaking, spoke with doctor on phone keep up with sinus treatment 

Week three still leaking updated doctor who said let’s see how it goes over next week

At this point the leak was getting worse, my pillow would end up soaked, I was constantly waking during the night either choking on fluid or from a cold wet pillow bedding mattress, during the day I would become exhausted from constant head ache and lack of sleep, I couldn’t go out anywhere as fluid just continually leak from my nostril, I was going round with a towel draped round me, my mouth was dry from the salty taste, my vision was affected, when I lay down the headaches eased but then I leaked over cushions etc

I dripped on the dogs, I dropped down my clothes, I dropped in my dinner, I couldn’t do any crafting, it was difficult to do anything, if I spent time in the poly tunnel I could only work for very short spells then I would be exhausted, same with cooking, I was trying to get videos done on canning etc, every section was exhausting to do, I was constantly wiping my face as you can see on the videos. 

Week 5 I had reached breaking point everything I had researched pointed to a CSF I phoned the doctor again and demanded a fluid test to see if it was Cerebral fluid, the doctor agreed just to put my mind at rest that it wasn’t. 

Next day fluid was sent off to a special lab to test for glucose and protein that is found in Cerebral fluid and not found in nasal secretions, I already knew glucose was present as I had tested that myself with a glucose meter and I was getting a high reading, nasal secretions do not contain glucose. 

Week 6 Monday doctor phoned to check in how I was feeling if I had any sudden change in symptoms I was to call him straight away.

Tuesday doctor phoned again similar conversation 

Wednessday morning doctor calls, again in the afternoon and early evening calls again to say we have the results and sorry to be the bearer of bad news but it is a CSF , was told complete rest don’t do anything, I was trying to clean out the goat house at the time, he told me to stop because with a Cranial CSF you are high risk of contracting meningitis, 

Next morning hospital phoned I needed to go in for some camera work  so they could see were the leak is.

So we’re am I at now, Camera work was done last week, tomorrow I go for CT scan and MRI scan thinghy we’re they inject me with some glow in dark stuff to determine exactly we’re the leak is and how big it is and how they are going to repair it.

I have been banned from farm work, banned from lifting, bending doing anything in fact Martin is at home with me and he has taken over anything that really shouldn’t be doing, I am still getting small jobs done in the kitchen, and editing lots of videos to get up on our YouTube channel, I walk the dogs around the field at a nice gentle pace I am allowed to walk thank goodness.

What I have discovered 

I can go through a box of tissues a day

Facecloths are a great substitute for tissues

Sudocream is great on sore bits from constant wiping and dampness

That brain fluid is clear

Your body produces and replenishes approx 500ml of spinal cranial fluid a day.

If you really believe your doctor is wrong push for a correct diagnosis after all they don’t know everything.

Sunday 31 October 2021

Filling The Store Cupboard And Not The Freezer

 I am so glad we grow and raise most of our food, I do feel there is a shift taking place more and more people are taking an interest in growing there own and learning how to preserve and store food.

storing your harvests is an important part of Self Sufficiency, there is no point in putting all that time and effort into growing and it is a lot of time and effort, then letting it spoil or you give it away then have to buy in. 

I got into preserving food many many years ago and had lots of fails and disasters while learning, the biggest being with freezing, oh that is such a minefield area get it wrong your food is spoiled, power goes off, your food is spoiled, the door is left open food is spoiled, bags get squashed and torn, containers become brittle and break, then there is freezer burn, labels coming off, leaving you to play guess what it is ?

Another issue with freezing food that is becoming important, it costs you every day to keep that food, preserved, Freezers cost money to run and electricity costs are rising and very unstable, If you produce your own power and you do not have to rely on the nation grid, you are going to be more conservative over what you freeze and how many freezers you run.

We have too many freezers, I am ashamed to say we have 6, four large chest freezers  one small chest freezers and a tall upright,right let me put all these freezers into perspective. I am not a freezer hoarder promise.

We raise Buffalo for meat, we keep about half a carcass for ourselves, we also raise goat meat, pork, lamb and chicken. All this meat takes space for storage and the freezer is a convenient easy space to store. 

I want to reduce our six freezers down to 4, one of the large freezers is old and uneconomical to run, same goes for the tall upright freezer, it was one of the first new electrical appliances we bought together. Even though they work fine, there energy rating will be off the scale.

I am now making more of an effort to use other methods of preserving, clear those freezers down reduce our energy consumption.

I am ramping up with Canning





I have started uploading videos on what I have started with,

Canning Tomato Soup

Curing Goat Hams

There is a link on the top right of this page that takes you to my You Tube Channel, or you can search it same name as my blog, hit subscribe and you will not miss any of my future videos.



Sunday 10 October 2021

New Addition to the Family


Meet Poppy
She has just joined our family, ex breeder from Many Tears.
It has been a year since we lost our beloved Tess also an ex breeder from Many Tears who was deaf and blind.

Poppy 5 years old and blind, we are hoping with treatment she can regain some sight.
Her resemblance to Tess is uncanny, we are now at the stage we’re we felt we are ready to do it all again.
Poppy has never lived in a house and she is finding lots of things scary but given time she will settle.

She has a whole new world to discover and together with Paige and Mia she will have lots of adventures 

Saturday 2 October 2021

Just Play Nicely Please.

 This post should have been put up a week ago, but I was delayed because my I pad would not play ball with blogger, its been happening more and more, I have now decided to go back to using my laptop but of course I then have to move photos off phone and I pad to laptop and none of them wanted to play nicely together. 

Then to top it off this week I had health issues not going into details but it made doing anything very difficult and uncomfortable.

enough of my health I am battling through it and getting or trying to get back to normal.

We got round to  having the two weather goats slaughtered, and got a great lot of meat, we don't normal keep them on to this age but its been a challenging year and time run away with us, but we needed to press on as we don't want to be housing and feeding animals over winter that we should no longer have

following on from the success of lamb bacon earlier in the year, I did a load of goat meat bacon 6lbs of it

it has been some the most tasty I have tried, short video above of it being cooked, hear that sizzle. There is a full video of the whole process over on my Youtube channel, link up on the top right corner. 

We are also making some Country Hams with two of the legs, video to follow soon, and I smoked the bones to make into stock.

I did manage to collect a load of Elderberries and turn them into a syrup.

and I was gifted a lovely lot of Rosehips


They have gone into the freezer until I have a spare moment to turn them into syrup.

I have been clearing bits of space in the freezer too, making room for goat meat.

all the packets of bacon bits got canned up.

along with some of the Buffalo meat.

I will be uploading a new Vlog tonight on YouTube I have to do it overnight as our connection is not the best, 

It would be great if you could subscribe to my channel as lots of stuff gets uploaded there that perhaps doesn't get mentioned here.

Sunday 19 September 2021

All New Stuff

 Yes a new look to the blog 

Not just a new look but up the top you can find new links 

To our YouTube channel we’re there is lots of videos from Stickle Tarn including Vlog 001 our first vlog giving a snapshot of some of the things that have taken place through the week. Don’t forget to hit like and subscribe to the channel then you won’t miss anything.

My You Tube

Don’t want to go through the link here is the Vlog 001 

Also a link to Stickle Tarns Facebook page for those of you who like to follow on social media.

Stickle Tarn Facebook

A link to my craft blog that will also be overhauled in the next few days

Craft Blog

And a big NEW yes a new blog that is following our building works here at Stickle Tarn.

Building Work

What else is new well Mia had a new Birthday, she is now 11 years old although sometimes it’s like she is only 1

I have some new trees to plant this coming week, Monkey Puzzle Trees, Scots pine saplings 30 of them, and some Elephant Grass.

I had a go at canning a few new recipes, Tomato based pasta sauce and a Tomato based BBQ sauce, We have done well this year for tomatoes.

I did do a video on making the pasta sauce you can see it on my channel or just view it here

I also tried a new recipe from the Amish Canning Book 

Stewed beef and vegetables

That’s it for today I hope you enjoy all the new stuff

Tuesday 14 September 2021

Cheese and Pickle


I do enjoy making pickles, there is such a variety out there to do, but we haven’t really been eating a lot of them, 
Because they are stored in cupboards out in the barn so they tend to get forgotten about, once the new kitchen is done that will change, having a pantry will mean everything will be at hand.
I used some of the purple cauliflower to make an Old English Mixed Pickle, cauliflower, gherkins and shallots, it looks so pretty. 

To go with the pickles, you need cheese, , I have been having a bit of a cheese making session from our goats milk,

They should be ready for eating at Christmas.
I have done a video showing the process, pop over and have a look, and if you hit like and subscribe you won’t miss any of my future videos.

Sunday 5 September 2021

It Gives Me A Thrill

 I love growing stuff and trying to grow the more unusual, over the past couple of weeks I have been experimenting with a few new things and this week harvesting some of this years experiments. 

First up is rice, for a couple of years I have tried to germinate various types of rice and trying to get seed in U.K. is like pulling hens teeth 

Well look what I have managed to do,  I almost peed my pants in excitment  ,at last I have found a rice that I can germinate, and I could get it in the U.K., 
This is not the right time of the year to be growing rice, but I am happy to see it can grow, roll on spring when I can do it properly, this is a paddy rice and it needs wet conditions also about 120 days of warmth, but I have a few ideas and will put them into play next year.
At the same time I also managed to get some seeds for an upland rice which dosent need wet conditions, the seeds I had to import making them fairly pricey but hopefully they will grow well and produce more seed, the Upland rice only needs about 90 days of warmth so I am hoping it will do well.

Next ups sugar cane, again something I have been desperate to grow, after a bit of research I found out  it will grow fairly well in the U.K.

I manage to track down some sugar cane chunks and set them to germinate

It was another pee in the pants moment when I saw those roots.

Autumn is the best time to get sugar cane started.

I have managed to get roots on 2 of the 4 chunks, I now have visions of a sugar cane plantation and rice paddies here on on our small holding.

I don’t expect for the moment  it will come into fruition but the trying  and dreaming is what keeps me going.

I did find out that rice and sugar cane are part of the grass family, now I can grow grass it grows all over the place, so who knows.

I will leave you with these that I have harvested this week

A lovely purple cauliflower 

Asian Yard Long Beans

And a lovely little pineapple that was so sweet.

Who says that growing your own food is boring?