Monday, 11 December 2017

You Have Got To Love An Icicle

 With the arrival of winter
 Temperatures dropped
 Overnight we entered a winter wonderland
 with all the beauty of the snow
 Driving was tricky
 every where was clothed in a stillness
 up here on our mountain top
 3 days of snow still with us
 freezing over night as temperatures drop to -8
It is all so beautiful I love it and feel privileged to live in such a wondrous place. 

Friday, 24 November 2017

Joining The Ranch

In a few weeks we have new arrivals coming.
They are black and four legs.
No one guessed right.
So let me introduce to you 
Lavender, Petunia and Frazier.
A Water Buffalo starter herd
 They big, bigger than me 

But so docile and friendly and with great temprements.
 So this is there story Frazier in the above photo is 6 months old and will be our future sire bull for a couple of generations being unrelated to the females.
Lavender and Petunia are 5 years old and in calf due to drop in July and August, they are now at the end of there milking days as there yields are dropping but can still be used for breeding for another 10 years, any bull calfs they produce will be raised for meat, females will join the breeding herd. Its all a long term plan.
We now have to get all the paperwork done and they have to be TB tested before they can be transported.
They should be here in a couple of weeks I am so excited. 
We have a lot to do in preparation for them coming.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

New Boots and Worms

Wellies I go through about 2 pairs a year they always seem to split in the same place across the top.
I live in wellies and they are very much part of my daily wardrobe but there is nothing worse than getting a wet sock.
Its only the left foot that splits.
so new boots were on the shopping list this week.
I have never had such an expensive pair before £110
but they come highly recommended by other small holders that live in there boots.
Warm and comfy with a good guarantee best of all they keep my feet dry.
We have had a week of popping out a lot,  Monday we had to stock up on animal feeds and get my boots, we then had to drop poo samples from the goats, alpacas and sheep into the vet for them to do a fecal egg worm count.
Instead of just doing routine worming now the vet recommends doing egg counts  and only worming those that need it.
Results were in on Tuesday, only the goats and sheep needed worming and both needed a different wormer. I collected it today and worming will be done on Friday.
I much prefer it this way than dosing up animals unnecessary, it also helps to prevent the worms becoming immune to treatment if its only used when needed.  
Yesterday the Alpacas all had there vit D injections something that has to be done because of the short days we have in winter. They will get there next lot in a couple of months. 
Tomorrow we are off out again, on a visit to another farm, something we are looking into adding to our small holding, more on that after the visit with photo's. 
But I will give you a clue they are black and have four legs.


Sunday, 19 November 2017

Been So Neglectful

Yes I have been neglecting my blog and the blogs I follow, time just runs away with me.
So here is a whirlwind catch up.
 They Hyacinth bulbs have been set, put away some-where dark and cool to grow quietly and slowly then they will be brought indoors to flower and fill the living room with there lovely scent.
 The chimneys have been cleaned with in an inch of the lives ready for all those warming fires this coming winter.
 Throughout the summer I have been drying beans pulses and some peas, all oddments were mixed together in a big jar
 a couple of cup fulls left to soak over night
added to some home made chicken stock, home cured bacon, fried until its starting to crisp, chopped celery carrots onions and garlic from the garden, a good dollop of home made tomato puree
 and big pan of bacon and bean soup is there for a warming filling lunch on chilly days
along with some home made bread followed by lemon curd cake.
 winter time is Rose Hip syrup time,
 This batch is dark in colour because its made with dried berries, but just as tasty.
 I had a birthday last week, Martin gave me my first shot gun, I got my license earlier in the year.
 Had a go at some target shooting and hit 11 out of 12.
 we have had an unexpected visitor turn up, manky sheep with a dodgy leg, she isn't in brilliant shape and arrived one misty morning on her own unannounced, I have notified her owner but there is no sign of them coming to collect her.
 Another job completed all of the vegetable growing area has now been wood chipped, making it a nice clean tidy area and fairly weed free.
 A friend came over this afternoon for a lesson from Martin on dispatching and dressing a chicken, another couple of meat birds were done, coming in at 3kg and 4kg, ours is in the oven and Adrian took his home to have another day.

I have been very busy with craft fairs, I think I have another 4 to do this year. 
That's the update and once again  sorry for the neglect.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Martin's Project

While I have been busy working on things for Christmas Craft Fairs of which we are well and truly in the season of, Martin has been working on his project.
 This ugly building just outside the back door, part covered in rusty corrugated sheets the front we have kept covered in monoflex to keep the weather out, our first kids were born in here, I used it raise the bottle lambs, the Alpacas used it as temporary shelter during the wet winter, it was were we brought Daffodil when she took poorly and died, its a place to store the quad bike, ride on mower, logs drying out and the log splitter is set up at the far end, a useful tatty building, the back of it is on boundary, like all smallholdings every building is valuable not matter what state it is in.
A concrete floor was put into the first half, the difference between the highest floor point at the far end and were the floor was going to finish was 3 foot, that was a lot of concrete to fill in.
 This summer Martin made a start on giving it a new lease of life, the old metal sheets were stripped off the roof and replace with new box metal panels.

 Half way down a partition wall has built a stud frame and sheets of insulation have been put in
Then the end could be worked on, he bought a second hand electric roller door, fitted it and started cladding the surround.
 Then the angle corner metal bits went on
 This week end he managed to buy a second hand brown upvc door locally fitted it and made a start with the side cladding and insulation.
Now waiting on a delivery of some more cladding, once its done it will be stained to match my cabin and will become Martin's workshop garage area, the freezers will be moving in temporary while we do the extension work on the house, all his tools and equipment will have home.
The rest of the barn is to become a big log store and place to do the butchering.
He says he is really enjoying working on it and now when I step out of the back door I don't have an eyesore to look at.


Sunday, 29 October 2017

Getting In The Harvests

As the season winds down, I have been continung to harvest from the poly tunnels and raised beds.
Peppers have done really well this year as well as picking during the summer I picked all these the other day with the idea of clearing out the plants but there is still about half again coming on so I have left the plants for now, these all got chopped up and in the freezer ready to add to meals.
Tomatoes have been very prolific and bounced back well after an early attack of blight, I wont bother growing the Amish again but the Nepal which are the big ones have been brilliant.
These potatoes are from a pallet collar bed I set up, our fourth lot of succession potatoes this year, that is the way I am going to do them I think rather than put a big area over to them and then having to store, I will just grow them successively perhaps having 5-6 harvests a year.
The last of the Blueberries have been picked and added to the 8lb we have in the freezer.
The melons have now all been cleared, they may not be the biggest but they are juicy and sweet, I am going to have a go at dehydrating some.
Kale we are picking as we want it 
same with the carrots, they are a fantastic size, this year I grew them in a double height pallet collar bed, in very very sandy soil that I mixed myself, I did the same for the parsnips and both have excelled themselves.
Now do you remember 8 months ago I started curing a ham Serrano style, well yesterday was the unveiling day
I happy to report it was a success it taste like a Serrano I am over the moon with it, next year I want to do a couple of them.
Here are my blog links to the process I did 
Now I just have to master some hard cheese from the goats milk.






Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Feet Of All Shapes And Sizes.

A regular job that needs doing around here is feet.
The mama goats get feet checks every fortnight 
 Thelma has problem feet and I am trimming them to try and bring them back into the shape should be. She came to us with poor feet and two years on there is only 1 now that still needs regular work. Thelma has a bit of an attitude and tries to show she is boss stamping her feet
 Helen with her dodgy leg is no easy task, standing on only three legs she falls over if you pick up a foot, so I need Martin on hand to hold her up, as she was born here her feet are in good shape and never been a problem as we have done them on a regular basis
 Connie came with poor feet as well but hers are now in fairly good shape, having the goats on the milking stand makes feet trimming very easy, they get groomed every day as well, Connie has long hair and it often has tangles she enjoy being brushed down and smartened up.
 Helen is just Helen and is very friendly she likes to were ever the action is, she is very aware of those horns but has never used them in anger.
 The boys feet are still fine being kids.
 Every couple of months the Alpacas have to have there feet trimmed, its a two person job, yesterday we got them shut in for a pedicure,
 They don't really like there feet or legs being handled, It is usually me at the feet end while Martin holds them still or tries to, they are really strong animals and can easily throw you around.
 Nick Nack who is the best trained I can hold easily then Martin can do his feet, its good that we both know how to every ones feet
Injuries from yesterdays feet trimming were minimal 
One bruise for me, Daisy kicked out and caught the inside of my leg, Alpacas have 2 toes and those toe nails grow like 2 talons, in the natural habitat they are on stony rocky ground that keeps those talons ground down, having there shelter with a concrete floor helps but its not enough.
Martin did his sheep the other day, being a small breed they are easy for one person to handle.
I did the dogs.
Every ones feet are now in good shape to see them into winter.