Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Sea Water and a Birthday

 Something I have been wanting to try for ages is now ticked off the list.

Making our own salt from sea water.

So this is how it was done, first I had to take a trip to the beach, just as well it’s not too far away, I went with some ladies off a group a run 

It was a sunshine and showers day but being the. Day after our welsh firebreak lockdown we didn’t care 
I collected about 5 pints of sea water, also lost my phone in the sea, but it was no big deal, I only ever use my phone for occasional calls and text and some photos but photos and videos are moved off it on a regular basis. 
Anyway sea water collected, I strained it through a paper filter then into a pan it went, brought to a good rolling boil

And left to simmer for several hours, this is were the rayburn is a blessing

It needs to simmer down and the water evaporates away until you are left with a slush

Being careful not to scald and burn the salt, I tipped my slush into a dish and popped it into the bottom oven left overnight to dry off, good old rayburn again, you can just leave it to air dry or even pop it in a dehydrator. 

Then what you are left with is lovely sea salt, I filled my grinder and a small jar. 

I loved doing this and it’s so easy I will definitely be doing this again when salt runs low.

During the week I had a birthday now 61 were have the years gone, there is definitely natly signs of age, joints ache and things seem to take longer, it was a very wet muddy day, Martin was away at work, he left me a card and some money , got lots of chocolates sent to me and given to me, books and some new plants for the garden. I treated myself with the money to these two beauties 

Lucifer and George they are metal garden ornaments, and going to be part of a mystical garden I am planning, now most things are established along with routine on the smallholding I am starting to sort the garden and have lots of ideas I want to implement, I often go through Pinterest in the evening and save ideas that I think I can work with. Over winter I have lots of structural stuff I want to get in place and start some planting, one thing is a planted moon border, which compromises of plants and flowers that reflect the light of the moon Mainly whites and lime green and are night scented, so if anyone has any suggestions or has a moon garden let me know. 

Sunday, 8 November 2020

Chicken Plucking

 A fellow self sufficient friend who lives fairly local and me bought a poultry plucker between us, I am happy for it to remain with her as we are getting ready for the building works now and the less stuff I have about the better.

Anyway we have been having a play with this bit of equipment and to say it’s been a learning curve is an understatement, here is a short video of one of our attempts 

Chicken plucking

It took a few attempts before we had success, 

The instruction leaflet was lacking in proper instructions, lots of you tube videos later, we have discovered the optimum temperature  the water should be for scalding.

I am now out of chickens, but we have some friends with plenty of poultry waiting to be plucked. 

These were the light Sussex birds we raised this year for meat, they are suppose to be a dual purpose birds, next year we are going back to Ross Cobbs for meat.

If anyone else has used a poultry plucker advice is most welcome.  

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Preparing For Winter

 Well it’s been a pretty wild week end with the weather, thank goodness that has now passed and we are back getting some sunny spells.

Yesterday we headed down to Pendine Sands with the dogs, to blow some cobwebs away 

Yes it was very blowy but nice to get some sea air and a change of scenery, everything was closed and there was no one around very much a ghost town. 

I had harvested the last of the apples last week off all our young trees, so three crates later all mixed up we decided to have a go at doing some cider with them 

We have never done cider before, I don’t drink the stuff, I am not even sure that it should be that colour, thank goodness we are only doing a gallon, if anything it can get used for cooking I suppose.

I have got a sourdough starter on the go 

It’s now been going almost a week and I haven’t managed to kill it yet, It’s the one from Paul Hollywood’s book Bread.

I have been busy prepping the poly tunnels for winter 

poly tunnel 1 has been cleared out and Some reflective insulation has been put up on the lower part of the tunnelfirst time trying this.
When clearing out I came across some self seeded tomatoes so I have planted them up and I am going to try and keep them going over winter, not expecting them to fruit but it would give me a head start if they did survive.
Also trying to keep the chilliest and peppers alive over winter.

All the beds have been mulched in a deep layer of Alpaca poo, one side has been covered over as it won’t be used this winter, I have small beds of some veg on the go, and bringing on more plants that will be planted out in a few weeks, pots of tender plants have been brought in to over winter, and the early strawberries have all been brought in. Grapes pruned back and the tunnel has been washed down inside and out. Now I have just have to get poly tunnel 2 done, I have made a start on clearing and cutting back.

Work so far
Before in my little tropical jungle.

Right spit spot work to do.

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

It’s Getting Very Tedious

 Yes we are back in lockdown here in Wales, it’s becoming very tedious every time you start getting some normality back in your life they snatch it away, considering we have such low numbers in Wales it makes no sense. 

Before lock down we started taking Paige and Mia back out the beach, 

It was great being out with them but of course now we can’t go.

We have just been through this years round of TB testing

All went well and we passed, we had the females scanned for pregnancy but only scanned in calf, we will repeat in December.

The light Sussex pulleys are all now laying like it’s going out of fashion, and the silly turkey has got her seasons mixed up and has also come into lay.

On the subject of chickens, we have started culling the Light Sussex cockerels

There weights are not to bad, and they there is a lot of meat compared to bone, not as much as the Ross Cobbs and I think come next spring we will raise some more Ross Cobbs to bulk out our meat.

We made the descion to sell all the Hebridean ewes, we had a flock of 26 and we needed the land for the Buffalo, the last of the ewes went last week end, we still have the rams, there for the freezer this year and three for next year, we may just go down the route of raising a few bottle lambs for our own use. We will see. 
Elvis our Boer Billy is back from his holidays, he was away with some ladies.
Now he is back he is in with our ladies 

He is a big fella, but as gentle as a lamb.

Thank you for all the messages after the loss of of our beloved Tess, 
She is so missed, 
She was a big part of our life here, her legs went completely and we were having to help her up all the time and the crunch came when her front legs went and she couldn’t even get up for a drink of water, we think she had a stroke as when we found her in the morning she was in a bit of a state, so we took her straight to the vet and said good bye. 
They allowed us to be with her, and she went to sleep for the final time in the one place she really loved in the back of the car on my knee. 
We cannot thank our vets enough for the kindness and compassion they showed to Tess and to us. 

She is now laid to rest up in the woodland field beside Sol and Kara and her place is marked with a Sweet Chestnut tree.

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Goodbye Tess Sweet Dreams

 The time came to say goodbye to Tess it was heart wrenching, Tess was my dog, my shadow my friend, now there is a big empty hole that my little chocolate pudding use to fill. 14 years old was a good age, 4 years she had been at my side but it was like she had been there forever.