Friday, 26 May 2017

Milk And Honey

Helen is milking really well giving just over 2pts every morning, I did a short video of her on the milking stand yesterday morning
As she has only three good legs, I have to hold her dodgy leg otherwise she gets it caught in the milk cluster as it jerks around a lot, she really has taken to being milked and jumps up on the stand as soon as she knows I am coming.
This weekend we will start weaning the kids overnight from Thelma and Connie  then we will start milking them.

With this hot spell there is a chance the bees will swarm
swarming usually takes place mid to late afternoon,
Yesterday I got three swarm hives set up
 Each hive has a swarm lure attached to the front frame, the lure is a mix of lemon balm oil and thyme and is suppose to attract the bees
 There is also another lure sachet attached to the front of the hive near the entrance
 One hive has been set up in the woodland field next t the willow hedge
 the second one has been set up behind the barn next to a hedge
 the third one in a more area up in the veg garden, all doors are facing south as bees are suppose to prefer that
yesterday evening there was scout bees checking out hive number three, fingers crossed if they swarm they will head to one of the hives.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Hop Hop And Away

With sunny days and a rise in temperatures,
 everything is growing skywards,
 The Hop root I planted last month has taken off and is now on its journey climbing up the back of the shed.
 The cut flower beds are full of promise, the Lilies are shooting up
 The Gladioli are all up with the flowers forming the tell tale sign is the crinkle in the main shoot.
 The Dahlias are forming lovely strong clumps
 Tomatoes are now coming into flower
 every few days I am taking off lots of side shoots, these tomatoes are cordons so its important I don't miss any.
 The flower borders in the garden are full of blooms.
Today I made a new run for the teenage chicks giving them a bit more space, these are the first hatching's of this year, now off heat, tomorrow there little house and run will get moved down beside the adult chickens, a chance to get to know each other, in a few weeks they will be moving in with the adult chickens.
The weather has been brilliant the bit of rain we had didn't get all the IBC tanks filled and now they are running low again, but there is plenty there for the animals who need there water topping up a couple of times a day when its hot like this.
But good weather means plenty of jobs gt caught up outside, you have to make hay while the sun shines. 🌞🌞🌞

Monday, 22 May 2017

Drying Out

I thought I better jot down a post on some dehydrating I did last week before I forget.
I was chatting to Kev at An English Homestead on social media about dehydrating  and I mentioned Vegetable Stock that is used as a base for instant soup,
here it is, vegetables and herbs cooked in water until tender,
 then puree them down add some cornflour and simmer until its reduced to about a third, spread out on silicon sheets
 pop in the dehydrator until its all dried out and breaks up easier
 break it up a pop in the processor and grind down to a powder
 there you have it instant vegetable stock.
 While out getting supplies for the goats last week I saw an offer of 5 punnets of strawberries for £1
perfect for drying out.
 wash and sliced onto trays in the dehydrator
 I think they took about 6 hours, they need to be sort of flexible but dry
All bagged up they will be ideal for grand kids along with the pineapple  I did last week.
We have both had a busy week end, Martin had a group of friends to stay and help out with some jobs around the place, I went to Malvern quilt show with friends on a coach trip.
Next week end we have visitors again 14 of them this time, they are going to be camping down the field.
Right must go and get some sleep I am out again tomorrow meeting with some friends.

Friday, 19 May 2017

An Idea Developing

I do save pictures and web pages to my computer of ideas I like, sometimes they can be implemented or sometimes they just become inspiration for something else.
I was sent some Yam Bulbils by a friend she didn't really know what they were or how they would grow, I did a bit of research I love the Internet for that and I think they might be Chinese Yam's

 as well as the root to harvest the bulbils are edible as Yamberries. 
They need a fair amount of vertical space
This got me thinking were was I going to grow them, I needed to get a move on with an idea as they were already starting to produce shoots.
I went to bed thinking about Yams and then had a light bulb moment, going back through pictures I had saved I found this one 
Yes this is what I want to do make a tunnel to grow my squashes over and the Yams
Yesterday I started putting my idea into action
I had two unused poly tunnel frames these are small ones that came with that green plastic covering with zipped doors, 
I moved the frames round over the box squash bed that were set up last Autumn
 The space between the box beds I am going to close in and grow the yams in those spaces
I still have to cover the frames with some live stock fencing Martin will have to help me with that.
My squash yam tunnel is only 22ft x 12ft not as big as the one in the idea photo.
The box beds are on the south side of the poly tunnel,  by the time the squashes grow over it, they should help to create some shade for the poly tunnel in the hottest part of the day, 
The box beds are being planted with a variety of squashes at the back and a single courgette plant at the front, the beds are filled with compost from the compost bins so should give plenty of depth and goodness for the plants.
The grass area will soon be covered with membrane and covered over with wood chip, there is still room to get to the compost bins.
It nice to see an idea take shape. 



Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Just A Mish Mash

This post is just a mish mash of things that have taken place over the last few weeks, I have been taking photos but never got them into a post.
 Martin built me a water tower that will take 2 IBC tanks behind the poly tunnels, these are reserve tanks and we pump the water from other tanks to fill these and I use them for the poly tunnels,
 The kids have been playing hide and seek in the hollow tree
 The Alpacas using there scratching brushes
 Tess can now sit on command and stay but I cant take more than three paces away from her, not bad for an old blind deaf dog that has never had training.
 I had the chimney alight one evening, for no other reason than I found a wasp nest in it.
 The water tanks were getting very low we didnt have any rain as such for about a month
 The nasty angry broody spent three days in chicken jail, to break her broodiness.
 Broody chickens damage eggs trying to get them all in one nest.
 No sooner broke one broody and we had another, I set up a nest with 6 eggs and popped her in there she is sitting tight on the eggs.
 I picked up a couple of pineapples, sliced them up and got them in the dehydrator
 I have set the tops and keeping fingers crossed that they put down roots.
 The dried pineapple makes a tasty snack.
 I stewed a load of rhubarb as a base for crumble its now in the freezer ready for when we have visitors.
 Made another couple of goats cheeses one is rolled in lemon pepper and the other in smoked paprika with dried garlic
 Went to the plant fair in the village and bought some Irises an Astilbe and a Valerian now all planted
 Playing with a cardboard box
 even Martin had to get inside, Tess did as well as Sol its like having kids sometimes.
Well that is my mish mash of a post showing some of the going on's over the past couple of weeks. 👍

Monday, 15 May 2017

Three Wheels On My Wagon

We were singing that song yesterday on our way home,
Starting at the beginning, when Martin came home on Thursday he told me he had bought a boat and Sunday we were going to pick it up from Rhyll.
After doing the morning chores we got the dogs into the car and headed up north to Rhyll.
We stopped off at Bala lake to let the dogs stretch there legs and have a comfort break, 
We got to Rhyll just after 1pm bought the boat and got back on the road for 2-30, we were taking a slighter longer route home easier for towing the boat, 30mins into the journey and we had an incident a double blow out of tyres on the trailer ripping off the wheel guard on the drivers side  as we went along a busy dual carriage way.
Martin pulled over and had to attempt to get the wheels off and get a spare on, scary stuff as he was crouched down in the inside lane and the traffic was speeding by, I was standing at the back of the trailer so I could shout to Martin to get out of the way of lorries, it was a terrifying moment, a police car was coming and I thought it would stop  but no just sailed on by, eventually Martin got a spare wheel on and we got back on the road, 2 wheels on one side and one on the other.
We got all home safe and sound at about 7-30pm
What a day but now boat owners 
Martin did a boat handling course the other week following on from his diving course and passing the exams.
Soon we can head out sea and fingers crossed add fish and shellfish  to the freezer.
I wave a hello to Sue from New Life in the Country as we went past the gate. 
We were lucky we had fab weather for our day out and saw some lovely scenery but it was with relief when we got home again.





Thursday, 11 May 2017

Part 2 Of Being Fruity

I am going to start part 2 with the poly tunnel,
The grapevine growing on the east end is doing fantastic, it responded well to being pruned in Autumn and has put on a lot of growth.
 The grape vine on the west end is a different story, it got knocked back by a frost, it is recovering and starting to regrow.
 In the garden facing south up against the solid fence is the fig tree, this was grown from a cutting that I took before we moved, last autumn I took off all but the pea sized fruits, the ones remaining are now developing and this year I should be able to harvest them.
Along the same border is also an outdoor grape that moved with us and a kiwi that was taken from a cutting, I forgot to photograph them.

 The blackcurrant pruning's I stuck in the ground are all doing well, I have yet to remove the flowers from them, these are all destined for the new chicken run.
 In the other poly tunnel citrus trees are coming into blossom
 Strawberries are swelling
 But there have been issues, three of the citrus trees dropped all there leaves, they are starting to put on new growth so all is not lost, again its down the west facing end of the poly tunnel, I think there must be cold pocket so next winter I will have to redress this.
 The avocado trees I am trialing I thought had died but no they have new growth, again I think they need a bit more TLC over winter, but they did make it through.
 Now in my last post I mentioned the other end of the fruit cage, 
neglected and overgrown there are suppose to be raspberries in this part
 Redcurrants and gooseberries
 I am so ashamed of this end,
 Yesterday I got stuck into putting it right
 I have been getting more membrane down and managed to get another couple of ton bags of wood chips down, I only have three strips left to do then I will have a nice manageable fruit cage to be proud of. Next time I show the fruit cage I promise it will be done.