Monday, 3 September 2018

The Summer Of 2018

As we roll into autumn I thought I better wrap up summer and what a busy one it has been. So settled down for long post.
So in no particular order here is a round up of summer
 The five female kids have all been sold on and gone to live in new homes, the three males have moved to the bachelor quarters until they reach a good freezer size.
 This years weaners being raised for the freezer are Tamworth Pietrain cross and have all settled there ginger rumps in well.
 Turkeys are back on the cards again, Norfolk Bronze and Roly Poly Whites, the arrived as day olds now off heat and growing well. 
 A new run was built just for them, we are waiting for there new house to come later this week.
The Ross Cobb chicks that are being raised for the table are now
 Full size free ranging and the first will be going this week.
 Compost and Speak No are now young adults Compost is male and his partner is female so we hope next year to have the pitter patter of waddling feet, they are waiting to move into Duckville.
We have had a few excursions out 
 Strawberry Cream Tea down in the village
 I had a few days away at the Quilt Festival stayed at my daughters over night so I was there for my granddaughters birthday
 Three nights away
 Two days spent going around the festival with a friend was brilliant.
 A farm sale were we grabbed a few bargains, a polytunnel for £10 the frame we want to use to make Duckville
 Hay rack £2 never have enough of these
 a lovely old wooden hay rake and old pitch fork for £2 each
There have been a few visits to the National Botanical Gardens, I went with my friend Mandy when she was down visiting, took Martins Mum when she was over from France visiting, today we were there again with Sol and Tess as it was doggy day.
 We took a trip out on the old Steam train
Its all run by volunteers
 Cream Tea on a steam train
 This was our train for the afternoon.
An artist friend of mine had her first exhibition I took some time out to go and visit. 
 A trip to Many Tears Dog Rescue, I had been collecting doggy things and making beds for them, they gave us a lovely tour around the kennels, I was so tempted by this little lady she was so like Tess.
Back on the Trains again this time with Martins parents for a fish and chip supper.
 Flies have been in an abundance this summer
The many baited fly traps we have around have worked overtime
 Wasps have been in abundance as well, this was the result of disturbing a wasps nest I didn't know was there
 It may be a work of art but lethal.
There has been lots of craft markets to attend
 Its been fun going to them and selling lots of crafts 
I am still making lots of cushions for the shop in town 
 I am working on a new range of little ones clothes that is going to be launched next month
 Reversible dresses
 and hooded gilts are part of the range.
The veg garden has done really well this summer
 Lots of courgettes

 Which have been made into everything from Chocolate cake to Marmalade
 My biggest pumpkin to date and its still growing
 Field mushrooms have been popping up every where its been a fab year for them 
Tomatoes have been fantastic and still coming
 Lots of canning
 Lots of preserving.
Oh and the plant of the month, I coldnt justify buying any more plants when a local landscape gardener was selling off over 200 of his stock plants because his well had dried up and he was unable to water them
I was lucky enough to buy them at less than 50p a plant and they are all perennials, I just have to get them all planted out now.

So this about sums up the summer of 2018, now things are winding down a bit as we roll into Autumn I hope to get back to blogging on a regular basis and catch up with what every one has been up to in blog land. 


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?