Monday, 6 August 2018

Good and Bad In the Poly Tunnels

The peaks in temperatures have really taken its toll on the poly tunnels, Here are two videos from the poly tunnels.
 First up is the dry air poly tunnel, this is were I grow all the citrus trees and things like prickly pear, pomegranates, avocado and the canna lilys, the majority of the plants in this poly tunnel like it hot and dry through summer but that in turn has had its issues this year. I have now installed an overhead misting system to try and combat some problems.

  This poly tunnel were I set up the aquaponics has a more humid atmosphere but the high temperatures have lost me the fish. 
Both poly tunnels have big fans in them that are suspended from the roof bars to try and move some of the hot air out, the fans run off solar panels, here is another video showing one of the fans when I first got them.
 A lot of issues have been caused by birds coming into the poly tunnels, although birds do some good helping to control pests, they have brought there own pests and they damage the fruit and veg, dig up the border and have broken a few plants, now birds are banned, netting has been fixed up over all the doors pollinating insects can get in and out but birds are out. 
We are getting some fantastic veg this year
Tomatoes are doing fantastic, we are harvesting them every couple of days along with cucumbers, peppers and chilies are coming close to harvest time and we are now picking the first of the corn on the cob. 
Its now time to start looking at what to grow over winter, although with it being so hot its hard to think of winter. 

 

Saturday, 4 August 2018

A Day In The Life Of A Smallholder

Saturday 4th August 2018
Got up at about 6am Martin was already  up and had a cup of tea ready for when I came downstairs, put a wash load on, got some paperwork ready for the people who were coming to buy the two female kids.Its Martin's turn to do the animal feeds, milking and chores today.
Got dressed another mug of tea and started loading my car up  ready for the village market, put second load of washing on and headed down to the village hall to get set up.
A lovely friend brought along a box of mushrooms for us that she had picked this morning in her field.
 Got home from doing the market about 1pm, made some good sales and picked up a couple of orders for the new range of children's clothes I am doing. Including an order for one of the Turkeys. Car unpacked.
Quick catch up with Martin, the goat kids were collected, I went and checked the new area Martin had set up for the pigs that we are collecting tomorrow.
 
Then headed up to the top field to turn the grass that had been topped the other day and cut some branches for the mama goats and the young billies that have now moved into the goat bachelor pad.
set about cleaning out the fridge while I was having a cup of tea


Into the poly tunnel, planted a tray of potatoes that were sitting in the barn sprouting, they were some of ours from last year.
 They have been planted into the border I cleared earlier in the week

Set up an experimental bed to grow some of the mixed grain  that we buy in for the doves,
It will be interesting to see what grows and how well it does, I intend cutting it for the goats.


 Went round and harvested some of the veg, runner beans, broad beans, black eyed beans, peas, courgettes, cucumber, broccoli and corn on the cob.
We spotted Frasier the Buffalo bull was in the wrong part of the field, he had rolled under the electric fencing, we head off to round him up and get him back were he belonged.
The washing was brought in 
 
Turned the mister on in poly tunnel 1
while that was getting a good soaking I headed back up to the top field to bring down all the cut grass that was dry
Three trailer loads, not the best of hay but it will feed the goats for a couple of weeks.
Martin was cooking dinner on the BBQ while I was gathering in the hay
Lovey dinner of Buffalo rib joint, new potatoes, corn on the cob, corn on the cob, tomatoes and cucumber.
I then switched the watering to the second poly tunnel

 While the watering was going on I headed to the woodland field and cut a row with the scythe
 This will get turned in the morning then several times through the day to dry out. Closed up poly tunnels, turned off water pump.
Finally got sat down with another cuppa 
Wont be long until bed time, how was your day?

 

 

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

There Are New Additions On The Ranch

I have such a lot to post about so I am going to mush a few posts together to try and get things up to date.
New additions we have a few
Lavender and Petunia have calved

 Lavender calved first early morning to a little girl who we have named Lily, Petunia calved a few days later to a little boy named Percy, neither needed assistance we just found them with there calves.
They are now 10 days old 
and growing at a rate of knots
They are both feeding well.
Turkey Poults have joined us, they are a week old.
We have a mix of Bronze and Roly Poly Whites.
Now I just have to keep them alive.
They are still under heat and wont move out for a good few weeks yet. This gives us a bit of time to put together a new run and house for them.
 we have had another Dove hatch out,
 we are up to 5 again now,
and she is sitting again on a nest,
The doves are still living in the fruit cage safe from the Hawks.
we need to get an aviary built and get them into a place of there own.
 We had two new nucs of bees on order for ages and finaly we got the notice they were ready for collection.
 Martin picked them up from Sussex making a detour on one of his trips home, the bees spent a couple of days settling in to new area in there Nuc boxes, we then moved them into there hives.
All settled in now down in the orchard area.
This week end we hope to pick up some piglets more new additions.
We just have to get there house in place and electric fencing set up. 
Its all go here. 

 

Sunday, 22 July 2018

One Man Went To Mow

This is the song that I have been singing just lately
 I went on a Scything training course well worth the £60 it cost
I learnt all about the parts of the scythe the different blades, how to set it up for me, how to sharpen it and how to preen the blade with a jig, and of course how to use it, at the end of the day there was the option to buy the scythe we had set up for ourselves for a reduced price, I bought mine and love it. This is were I went on the course Scythe Cymru
When I got home I headed up into the woodland field and started put my new skill to the test
 the grass was falling beautifully, next morning I was out again and cut another two rows, I have to be careful not to chop down any of the baby trees, 
 once the grass had been turned with my new hay rake I could gather it up and put it into store as hay, the goats are loving it 
The weather has been so dry nothing is growing and there is very little for the goats to eat, the hay rack is filled every day for them  and they clear it every day, along with brambles and branches.
Keeping everyone fed and watered is taking up most of the time at the moment.
We had a go at making some bales of hay with the bits of equipment we bought, it was a steep learning curve and thank goodness for you tube,  this was our first bale of hay, not the most perfect but we are proud of it.
We bailed the field and the bales have been put into the barn until needed, in the meantime we are just trying to feed loose stuff.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

A Bit Of Spending

To run a smallholding you need to spend money and if you want to do it on a shoestring you need an army of volunteer helpers.
We dont have the army of people, we get visitors but then they are here on holiday so 99% of the work falls to me and Martin.
We dont mind after all  this is our lifestyle choice.
Here are some recent purchases
 We got a baler old but working it will do us fine, I have managed to download a manual off the internet.
 This is a windrow, it puts all the dry cut grass in a row for the baler to along and pick up.
 This is a tedder it tosses and turns the cut grass to help it dry ready for baling
 a crane that works off the tractor its surprising how many times we need to lift really heavy things and if there is just you two oldies it can be a struggle.
 A field roller we were looking for one earlier this year to flatten the ruts in the ground were the buffalo had been grazing and couldnt find one, then when Martin went to see the baler the fella also had a field roller, good result.
 Cattle crush, we have had to buy this in new as we needed an extra wide one for the buffalo to get in even extra wide is going to be a squeeze for them, but vets dont like to treat or do TB testing on them without the restrains of a crush, one swing of those horned heads could cause some damage. 
I dont blame the vets one bit, animals are unpredictable and sick or injured animals are even worse. 
So its been a few weeks of spending but its all needed
Martin has been out since early this morning before the sun breaks through and heats things up, cutting the field we to take hay off.