Sunday, 6 September 2020

Did We Have An August


I don’t really recall the transition into August and then September, I just feel like time is so unimportant to me these days that I don’t notice it. It’s like the clock on the wall it is unimportant, the animals are very good at letting us know when it’s time for feeds, the seasons tell us what we should be doing.

BankHoliday we set up the marquee, and welcomed a collection of family and friends to join us for a lamb spit roast, the whole day was done in accordance to Welsh Goverment COVID guidelines, plenty of social distancing, no fingers in food we bought loads of tongs, disposable compostable table wear, we got to catch up with family who we haven’t seen at all this year, and I got to meet my great granddaughters 

While the marquee was in place I put it to use and ran a food preserving taster day for a group of local ladies

We had a great day smoking cheese and garlic

Steam juice extracting grapes that I picked from the poly tunnel

Canning kidney beans

Dehydrating a selection of things that are to be used for our fruit and herb tea blending day

We sent a buffalo off early on in August and we have just got the meat back from the butchers

Our second buffalo went last week, 
We are dispersing the sheep

We need the land for the buffalo, so the sheep have to, we still have 3 rams to cull this year and we will keep on this years 3 ram lambs for meat next year, half the ewes have now gone.

Tess, Paige and Mia have enjoyed trips to the river, we have stayed away the beaches as they have become tourist magnets.
All in all we have just carried on with life, what ever is happening else were has little effect on us. 
I think winter will be interesting, coughs, colds, flu and Covid.
Hope everyone out there is staying safe. 

Sunday, 19 July 2020

May To July

How did that happen suddenly it’s July, although I will admit things have been a tad busy here as always.
Every time I think I must write a new post my time gets snatched away with something else.
It seems most people during lockdown have had lots of time on there hands it hasn’t happened like that for us, in fact lockdown hasn’t really changed anything apart from not going out to do craft fairs, on that subject I am thinking I won’t be returning to the craft fairs and if I do it might just be a couple of big events next year.
I have started setting up an online shop we’re I have been selling lots of my makes, still more to list.
We have been doing all the usual stuff Shearing Alpacas and sheep has been done, Buffalo have calved, ducks have been hatched, pigs being raised for the freezer, new goat kids, started milking again.
Poly tunnels have been busy.
Something new we have been trying is drying buffalo dung pats to use on the fire during winter

We gather up and lay them out courgated sheeting to dry, once dry they are very light weight no smell and burn really well giving off a good heat, the idea came from Martins trips to Nepal Up in the mountains, were they dry Yak dung for cooking and heating As there isn’t a supply of wood readily available.
We have also been trying out a home made log kiln.

The frame is built from scaffold tubes as we have access to those,  it has metal sheeting painted black on the roof, sloping south, we have used heras fence panels for the sides and front, the logs are all stacked in from the back and raised off the ground on a wire floor.
Air circulation is important this set up helps season the wood quicker reducing the moisture content, now instead of waiting a year or more until its ready to burn we can have logs cut during the year ready for winter, Martin checks the moisture content with a probe thingy and when the logs are ready they are moved to the log store. The whole set us has worked really well for us.
Something else we are trying 

Making our own mini silage bales , areas of grass we cut and scythe we bag up all the cuttings into black sacks and wrap them with silage wrap, we hope this winter this will help supplement animal feed.
Back in April /May I had a clear out of flower seeds mixed them up together and scattered them along a section of the field I use to grow animal feed 

There is a good mix of poppies corn flower larkspur and lots of other all now flowering, they will be left to self seed and I hope we will have a nice wild section for years to come. 
Martin has back in hospital for what we hope is the final operation on his shoulder, he has been battling with a constant infection since his first operation back in December, they have now removed a foreign object and we hope things now just move on and we can put all this behind us. He has been very poorly with it all and it has made things difficult here at times.
We have some big changes afoot here, I will post more on them at a later date when things are in place, but I can say we have decided the sheep are to go we are up to a flock of 26 we are selling off the ewes and will just keep this years lamb rams for the freezer and will just get in a couple of bottle lambs to raise each year. 
Lots going on lots of changes here at Stickle Tarn.

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Time Is Flying

Even during lockdown time is flying by, I haven’t left the smallholding for 8 weeks now and don’t feel like I want to go back out there in the big wide world.
There is always so much to do and never enough hours in the day, although I am looking forward to hubby and grandson returning to work and having the place to myself.
There has been more new additions since my last post.
My great granddaughters made a very early appearance, obviously in a rush join the family

Hope and Lily arrived 11 weeks early eight games in at 3lb 5ozs and 2lb 9ozs, 

Mum and babies are doing fine after a few days in NICU they moved into high dependency, they are now breathing unassisted and now moved into the nursery.
They are now 16 days old, were does the time go, we hope they will be home in a few weeks and as soon as lock down is over the family can get together and celebrate there arrival.
We have now finished lambing, 12 lambs all arrived unassisted, fine and healthy, all lambed outside.
The boys have been ringed and the girls are all wearing earrings
We also had arrive 
A lovely set of twins from Thelma and our billy Elvis, we are still waiting on the arrival of more kids.
We have been sending Enid goat and the two little female runts from last year round next door to help clear a yard, they have to earn there keep.
They are brought back at tea time
They were all suppose to be going to a new home then the lockdown started and they are still with us but hope to move them on soon.
The usual growing is going on in the poly tunnels, buffalos are being strip grazed so being moved every few days onto fresh grazing, Turkeys have been moved to a new home up by the goats as the men folk had issues with Stanley attacking them, the little chicks are all feathered up and moved to a chicken house and run in the poultry area, and we are getting ready for some piglets to join us in the next couple of weeks.
Grandson had a lockdown birthday
So there is plenty going on, so glad we are here and not in a town, hope you are all keeping safe and bearing up under the current situation. 

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Spring Additions

It’s so glorious you wouldn’t believe it’s only April, I do wonder if the fantastic weather is the result of lower pollution levels with the lock down or is it just coincidence.
We had a lovely new arrival 

Lavender presented us with a son, 
This is Boris son of Johnny and what a little smasher he is.
As he was arriving into the world on the other side of the fence we had a ewe delivering twins.
We still have four more ewes to deliver, we have had lots of lambs this week.
The garden shed got an unplanned spring clean,  I was looking for an attachment that eluded me in the shed and in desperation the whole shed got emptied
It gave me chance to go through everything, de clutter pass on to others what I didn’t need.
Then re organise the whole shed making it easier to negotiate and find things
Plenty of space and the tools are easy to get to, the old wooden units that were damp and warped gone on the bonfire replaced with plastic storage units that have been in storage.
And yes I found what I was looking for.

I have been de cluttering seed packets as well, I have sold a lot on my little stand at the end of the drive, I have been mixing up seeds with some wild flower seeds I have and they have been scattered in a cleared strip in the field it will be lovely if some of them come up.
On the little stand Alpaca poo and herb plants have been this weeks best sellers, we did end up with a wait list for Alpaca poo.
In the veg garden growing area I am setting up new additional grow beds 
A couple of the beds are for growing on natural dye plants,
I have started som Japanese Indigo from seed and bought in. Madder and Woad plant to start things off.
Other new beds as for growing on herbs I have been asked by a local restaurant to supply them with fresh herbs and edible flowers.
Last Year I had a go at growing Gourds for crafting with.

They grew really well in the poly tunnel and the whole effect of them growing up the supports and hanging down was fantastic.
They were harvested in Autumn when the leaves started dying off, 
Everything I read about the drying off said to just leave them a mould will grow over them and the skins would harden, 
Winter is damp in wales and I had doubts they would dry off, above the log store Martin put in a mezzanine floor for me to store fleeces up there, so I laid out the gourds and left them for the winter
 Got them down the other day, all covered in mould and yes under all that mould is a nice hard skin.

Now I am just cleaning them up ready for decorating, I am so impressed with them, I have now got more seeds sown for growing on this year.
We have enjoyed a few treats this week
Home made cream teas, 
Lots of BBQ
Hope you are all staying safe and have managed to enjoy some of the good weather 

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

It’s A Busy Time Of Year

No matter what is going on in the world and as devastating as it is life has to carry on, here at Stickle Tarn it’s doing just that.
20 little fluffy Light Sussex chicks joined our little farm the other day, I have been wanting Light Sussex birds for some time, they are a dual purpose bird, we are going to raise them for meat and eggs they will replace our mix of chickens as they are getting on now.
We have done Ross Cobbs for a few years now a fast growing commercial breed with ferocious appetites, now we want to try with something a bit more slow growing that we can breed from.
 The other month I got a Kumquat tree to add to my citrus collection, it came laden with fruit 
The fruit has now been used for a Kumquat Liqueur, should be ready for some parties when this is all over and things start getting back to normal, the fruits will be dipped in chocolate as a nice tasty treat.

My grandson salvaged an old sign and repurposed it for the end of the drive 
Then made me a stand to put eggs out on as we have a bit of a glut from the ducks and chickens at the moment 
I have been adding herb plants 
Seed trays greenhouse sundries 
Packets of seeds
For the locals to buy when passing
It’s going really well, over the coming weeks I will put out veg plants and then any surplus veg we have.
One of the ducks had to be culled yesterday as she had a ruptured prolapse so crispy duck is on the menu for this week.
Yesterday was a great day for the Buffalo Mamas

Time to turn them out after a winter indoors 
Lily had a great time yomping  around the field the two mamas are heavily in calf so there wasn’t much leaping around from them, Lavender is starting to bag up so it won’t too long before she calves.
We have given them the run of the gorse field which they enjoy using for a good scratch.
The boys will all be turned out later this week and Humphrey will go up to join them.
End of there winter lock down.