Monday, 15 April 2019

Phew One Of Each

Sunday 7th April
Paige is settling well, very relaxed and very playful.
 In the poly tunnel, strawberries are flowering
 The citrus trees are coming back into flower
 and lots of lovely new growth.
 and last years fruit is almost ripe
Monday 8th April
We were back at Pembrey Sands with both dogs
 They had a great time exploring the beach and Tess tried her best to keep up with Paige who loved digging up shells
 and when her legs gave out she was int her princess carriage
 to continue the journey in style.
 after a rest she was back out enjoying herself, having a paddle with her new friend.
 There was one very tired dog who snuggled down to sleep on the way back to the car.
Tuesday 9th April
A day spent in the poly tunnel, the beds have been topped off with well rotted manure and covered over with Silage Sheets. To try and retain moisture, heat up the beds and as I plan to plant through reduce weeding
 climbing frames made from stock fencing have been put all along one side.
 and wrapped over the top of the bars
 The grape vines have been tied in along the bars.
the other side also had the sheets put down and the ropes weighed down with scaffold tubes are being put in place for the tomatoes.
Wednesday 10th April
We have some rain forecast the first in two weeks, so I headed up to the top field that was torn apart by badgers
 and did some re seeding, we got a sack of mixed pasture seed from the feed suppliers.
 I had to hand broadcast it, but hopefully it will take.
The rain was just starting as I finished, by the time I got back to the house it had stopped, the downpour never happened.
Thursday 11th April
Trimming goat feet Wednesday morning and I pulled my back, as the day progressed my back got worse so it has been lots of rest me for a chance to start organising some computer files 
and getting stuff on usbs that I use all the time save me time going through files on the computer.
The sun was out and its time to start hardening off the ducklings
They had a great time exploring grass for the first time.
 Friday 12th April
Martin has gone to Bristol, he had something special to collect, 
still having back issues but it is improving,
 so spent the day baking 
 Chocolate Chip cookies.
Tortilla wraps  and a loaf that over rose and collapsed on me, but sill edible.
Martin got back late afternoon 
and here is the special collection.
Mia, it has been in the planning stage for several weeks Mia coming here to retire, she turns 9 this year and she as placed with a young boy who was Autistic but situations change and Mia had to be removed.
Saturday  13th April
 Its been a day of adjustment and getting to know you day, with three dogs in the house we only ever planned two, 
 Paige and Mia similar age like to play tug of war.
 All three like treats
 A trio of labs one of each crashed out in front of the fire.
 Paige has had her fist weigh in week 1 and she has lost 1kg
Well done Paige.



Sunday, 7 April 2019

A Very Sad Week with Highlights

Sunday 31st March 
Clocks changing and Mothers Day rolled into one, the clock changing always throws me out  for a couple of weeks, really don't see why we have to go though this ritual twice a year as we are very much a 24hr society now.
The Cheese got waxed a few weeks then it can be tasted and decided if its worth doing any more.
Monday 1st  April
Oh my such a sad sad day.
This is Maggie, We have been best friends for 14 years, Maggie lived in Hull and I lived in Milton Keynes when we first encountered each other, we met through a crafting forum and hit it off instantly, 
Maggie was disabled with a genetic disease Vascular Ehlers Danlos  she also had other complications, She had a fantastic sense of humour and out look on life, our relationship was constant phone calls lasting hours, we did manage to meet on several occasions too.
Maggie passed away early morning aged 53. I am devastated and still cant believe she is gone.
With all the sadness of the day we took Tess to Pembery sands, it gave me chance to  blow away the cobwebs and remember Maggie.
 The old wreck on the sands
It is unnamed 
and believed to be from the 18th Century
This photo was taken in 1950.
Tuesday 2nd April 
After the sad news of Maggie, good news was just around the corner, Maggie had an assistance dog from Dogs For Good (formerly Dogs for the Disabled) it was were Sol and Kara came from when they retired, We got a phone call to say Paige who was Maggie's dog was ours, we put in the request on Monday as many a time Maggie had said when Paige retires she would be coming to our little farm, her family followed up on her wishes as Paige is too old to be retrained now.  She was being boarded in Manchester and Martin would be collecting her later in he week.

Wednesday April 3rd
Martin is away at work,  and I got up to this
Snow and it was bitterly cold after the spring sunshine days we had, 
Still muddling through the days and making arrangements to travel to Hull for Maggie's funeral.
Thursday 4th April  
Yet more white stuff what is going on with the weather 
A short video of the new lambs in the snow.
Friday 5th April
Yeah the snow has gone and the sun has come out, spring has come back.
Martin came back today and brought Paige home.

 She settle in straight away
 and made herself at home, she is a bit on the chunky side so this young lady, who we think is 7 we don't have her paperwork yet, is on a diet, the last few months of Maggie's life she wasn't able to exercise Paige and her waist line has expanded. It wont take long to get her in shape, her coat is like velvet so soft and in fantastic condition.
Saturday 6th April
Another sad start to the day, one of the lambs was taken by a fox overnight. It was one of a twin born a few days ago. So now we are waging war on the fox population around here.
Paige has been running around the fields like a lunatic at this rate she will be slim in no time.
She has introduced herself to all the livestock and the ducks were not impressed and saw her off. 
Tess had a lovely present today
As you have seen on the blog, Tess is not good on long walks her back legs are just not up to it. We end up cutting walks short and having to carry her.
 Tess now has her own princess carriage
 So now when her legs give out she can hitch a lift and enjoy the rest of the outing in style.
Its was an exciting day for the buffalo too
here is another short video
After being confined over winter they are now back on grass, and they were so excited.
So all in all a very up and down week, with life comes death, with sadness comes happiness its all one big circle that balances itself out.



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.