Friday, 13 October 2017

Its All Change In A Few Days

Harvests are still coming and something has to be done with them, I purposely didn't grow some things this year as I had plenty still from the previous year.
 The last of the Bramleys from the old tree in the garden have been turned into apple sauce
 I portioned it up for freezing, once frozen I took it out of the silicon cases and popped them into a bag, Martin is the only one who eats apple sauce I dislike cooked apples, now when we are having pork I can just take a portion out for him.
Tomatoes are still being harvested, roughly 6-7lb a couple of times a week, this lot are destined to be canned.
 Mushrooms are still popping up in the poly tunnels and they get added to dinners or mushroom on toast for breakfast, they certainly like growing in the poly tunnel, next year I am going to set up some mushroom beds in one of the poly tunnels.
 My father in law brought me some of the tomatillos he grew added to some of our tomatoes red onion garlic pepper piquant pepper from the freezer and some coriander
we had a lovely salsa. I didn't have enough fresh coriander as I was out I popped into Thomas and picked up a bunch for £1 also got a couple of pineapples for a £1
they got put in the dehydrator
I do like to nibble on them.
 Martin has got the last of the roof panels onto the workshop barn.
 and made  start on the dividing wall, this is workshop side
 this will be the wood store side, with a mezzanine floor giving a place to store vegetables so they will be close to the house. There will be proper stairs going up no ladders for me, thank you.
 New gates we now have proper opening on closing gates, all the old rusty ones that were just filling a gap and not usable as a gate have been changed, this one leads over to the Alpaca field on the new land
 The fencers have been busy another line of fencing complete, this one divides the sloped field from the Alpacas field, the other side separating them from the hay field was done a few months ago.
The brush is still being chipped, the hay field and sloped field have been cleared, just the Alpaca field to clear then we can start on the dividing hedges and the back fields.
Its all coming together 😀




Monday, 9 October 2017

Moving Homes

The past few weeks we have had an influx of family visitors,
It dosen't take much to throw you out of your routine.
Martin's parents were over staying with us from France, there was lots of trips taking them out and about to see the beautiful area we live in. 
Martin's mum got stuck into brushing out some lamb skins that we had tanned 
 she did a grand job
and chose one to take home with her, they come out lovely and once trimmed up they were ready for the guest room.

 Martin has got himself another tractor, it is bigger than his other one, as he has been buying lots of attachments he needed something with a bit more power, once unloaded the forks were put on and it was put to work
we needed a bigger house for the geese, now the first lot of table chickens are in the freezer we have used there house for the geese
of which we now have three, Gertie has joined Tom and Jerry, they spend the day roaming around the field at night they are shut in there secure house in a secure pen. I hope next year we will will have goose eggs and fingers crossed they will raise a nice little family to increase there numbers, they are Chinese crested geese.
 The younger second batch of meat birds are now free ranging in one of the paddocks clearing up bugs and slugs these Ross Cobbs like slugs, they have also moved into bigger accommodation, the old Alpaca field shelter in the background has been re roofed and the front has been closed in with a door and and pop hole, Martin got it done with the help of his dad.
The Billy kids have now been weaned from there mums they have moved into there own paddock with there own bachelor pad.
 Another field shelter that Martin adapted to a goat house.
 The boat has returned home after being re-tubed and serviced its now all ready to hit the waves.
 Another acquisition for Martin a transporter trailer, its just as well we have space to store all these boy toys.
This weeks project, Martin is re-roofing this barn with new box panels, the old leaky corrugated sheeting is coming off, half of the barn has had a concrete floor put in and will become Martins workshop the rest of the barn is being given over to a wood store and veg store. 
We need it weather tight before winter sets in, the roof will be finished today next job is wood cladding on the outside, as it is near the house it needs to look tidy.
I wont leave it so long for my next blog post everything is now getting back to normal.👍  



Sunday, 24 September 2017

A Week End On The Ranch

It has been a busy week end, as summer comes to a close and we roll into Autumn it time to start making preparations for winter.
Martin bought me a new bit of equipment
My very own chain saw, best of all its battery operated, with a 2 hour run time, we have several petrol chainsaws but I cant start them with the pull start, my wrists just cant do it, I have to resort to using a hand saw when collect branches for the goats or need to cut other things up, but hand saws also give me joint issues, this is just perfect for me, Martin gave me a lesson on using it and we gave it a good try out I took down my first tree, Martin was impressed with it as well, not a toy by any means.
This week end we aimed to reduced chicken numbers, our hatchings this year gave us 3 more cockerels, they are surplus to requirement and have now been dispatched, we keep to cockerels running with the girls to give us fertile eggs, the 3 dispatched have been double bagged and gone into the freezer whole they will be used in the fox trap over winter.
There was also a hen that was not pulling her weight she has been broody through the whole of summer damages eggs by gathering them up so she joined the cockerels in the freezer. This may sound harsh but we cant keep free loaders especially one that causes problems.
Its also time for the meat birds to go in the freezer
at 20 weeks they have reached there maximum growth, they are coming in between 6lb and 9lb the bigger ones are getting jointed up, they have so much meat on them, free ranging has paid off, we have 6 for the freezer the next batch are only 8 weeks so they still have some growing to do. 
Tomatoes are still being harvested 
 Primmabella salad tomato
 Nepal beefeater
 Amish plum tomato
I brought in another 6lb yesterday and there is still more ripening
 4lb of them got roasted
 and turned into tomato puree.
Cucumbers are still being harvested
 These got made into two big jars of refrigerator pickle.
 The goats are still giving plenty of milk 
I used 1 gallon this morning to make some Mozzarella
 I do find it fairly easy to do now
 This produced a 1lb 2oz cheese, I have now found a recipe for a hard cheese done with goats milks, Martin has been given the task of making me a press then I can give it a go.
While in the kitchen this morning I made up some Ranch Style Beans 
we had some on toast for lunch, really spicy, there is some left and they will be used in a chili con carne next time we have one.
This just about sums up our week end how was yours ?




Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Let There Be Light

We have had a busy time with visitors, all gone now until next week when Martin's parents arrive for a visit.
This last lot were a group of friends that Martin knew from school days and I have know for about 30 years 

 we had a couple of trips to the beach giving Martin and his mate to try out some diving equipment
 They were doing a walk in off the beach.
The same friend happens to be an electrician and during his visit fitted up electric in the goat shed
Just in time for winter coming with dark mornings and short daylight hours we now have lots of light to help us with the milking, foot trimming and come kidding time.
also for the running of the milking machine and pressure washer for when we clean them out.
No more extension leads and all out of reach of the goats.
The poly tunnels are still doing well
 The two oranges trees have a good crop of fruit
 The tomatoes are still doing there stuff and have lots of fruit
 Considering they started showing signs of blight they have bounced back really well.
 I have been getting spaces planted up with endive and chicory
 Chinese cabbage and winter salad leaves under the tomatoes
 Beans are now flowering this is the third sowing of cannelloni beans and borlotti  beans
 outside and empty bed has been planted with turnips more chicory and winter radish.
Figs have been ripening up I am the only on who eats them so I have been eating them as they are ready although I have found some have been going missing, caught the culprit read handed, Tess has taken a likening to them as well and has cleared the lower branches.
end of last week we got a lovely salmon, it was cut up and put in brine and then hot smoked, once it was done it was vac packed and into the freezer for future meals, the smell was fantastic and the taste, this lot was smoked with whisky oak chips.
We have a busy week end coming up will update you as we go along.

Alpaca update the twins didn't make it sadly. 

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

New Things & New Additions and A Miracle

I have had a friend visiting for the past few days, my BFF she went home today, in honor of her visit Martin did one of the chickens at the week end for roast
 This one weighed in oven weight just over 7lb
We had a lovely roast chicken dinner on Sunday, Chicken Risotto Monday night, 
 Chicken sandwiches for lunch, tonight was chicken curry there is still a lot of meat left that is now going in the freezer for a future meal along with 4 portions of curry, Martin also made up a load of chicken stock, I did a bit of research on the cost of free range chicken, average is 63p per 100g so this chicken would have cost about £21 cost to us £3.70 to raise it. producing about 12 meals.
some new additions joined us this week 
 American Signal Crayfish, martin has a licensed trap
 He brought home about 50 of them
 There temporary home is in the poly tunnel, I am using this pond to raise the humidity in the poly tunnel to help keep red spider at bay
 The pumps are run by solar panels, one panel is hooked up to a battery so it runs over night and the other panel just runs the pump direct.
This winter I am doing a revamp in this poly tunnel and want to sink in a pond that will run a small aquaponics set up.
I mentioned in my last post about a new bit of equipment
well its here and set up nothing really to do with small holding
 Its a quilting frame and machine and I bought it from the lovely Pam fellow blogger, I was so excited, its something that was always on my wish list and I never thought I would have, my visiting friend was just as excited and we have been playing with it over the last few days.
While waiting for my friend to arrive on Sunday I got a phone call from two friends A & A over the other side of the valley, there Alpaca who they didn't know was pregnant had just given birth in the field to TWINS what should they do, I was shocked, twins in Alpacas is very very rare 1 in 50,000 and even more rare in the UK, my first response was get them in the barn as it was raining and windy and I am on my way over.
 Upon arrival my two friends were in shock, I could see straight away these two tiny arrivals were premature, the white one seemed to be holding its own and I had serious doubts about the little brown one who was rasping badly, I had it tipped up massaging the chest to try and clear any fluid, got them wrapped in dry towels, vet was called out and the poorly one was given a steroid injection, the vet agreed with me that the little brown one was very poorly and had doubts it would survive, while the vet worked with the poorly one I was working with the stronger one and managed to get some milk into it, mum Rosie wasn't producing milk yet, after a couple of hours I left A&A with the vet the plan being they would take them up to the house keep them warm and try and bottle feed small amounts, I suggested they named them Irma and Jose after the two hurricanes that were causing havoc at the time.
A&A worked with them through the night, sadly Irma the little brown one didn't improve and only survived 24 hours, little Jose is still holding his own but it is still early days, I was thrilled to be part of this miracle and still keeping everything crossed for little Jose. A&A are not in anyway responsible for an unexpected pregnancy, they bought the Alpacas 6 months ago and have just found out that Rosie was with her uncastrated brother a few months before they bought her.