Sunday, 19 September 2021

All New Stuff

 Yes a new look to the blog 

Not just a new look but up the top you can find new links 

To our YouTube channel we’re there is lots of videos from Stickle Tarn including Vlog 001 our first vlog giving a snapshot of some of the things that have taken place through the week. Don’t forget to hit like and subscribe to the channel then you won’t miss anything.

My You Tube

Don’t want to go through the link here is the Vlog 001 

Also a link to Stickle Tarns Facebook page for those of you who like to follow on social media.

Stickle Tarn Facebook

A link to my craft blog that will also be overhauled in the next few days

Craft Blog

And a big NEW yes a new blog that is following our building works here at Stickle Tarn.

Building Work

What else is new well Mia had a new Birthday, she is now 11 years old although sometimes it’s like she is only 1

I have some new trees to plant this coming week, Monkey Puzzle Trees, Scots pine saplings 30 of them, and some Elephant Grass.

I had a go at canning a few new recipes, Tomato based pasta sauce and a Tomato based BBQ sauce, We have done well this year for tomatoes.

I did do a video on making the pasta sauce you can see it on my channel or just view it here

I also tried a new recipe from the Amish Canning Book 

Stewed beef and vegetables

That’s it for today I hope you enjoy all the new stuff

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Cheese and Pickle


I do enjoy making pickles, there is such a variety out there to do, but we haven’t really been eating a lot of them, 
Because they are stored in cupboards out in the barn so they tend to get forgotten about, once the new kitchen is done that will change, having a pantry will mean everything will be at hand.
I used some of the purple cauliflower to make an Old English Mixed Pickle, cauliflower, gherkins and shallots, it looks so pretty. 

To go with the pickles, you need cheese, , I have been having a bit of a cheese making session from our goats milk,

They should be ready for eating at Christmas.
I have done a video showing the process, pop over and have a look, and if you hit like and subscribe you won’t miss any of my future videos.

Sunday, 5 September 2021

It Gives Me A Thrill

 I love growing stuff and trying to grow the more unusual, over the past couple of weeks I have been experimenting with a few new things and this week harvesting some of this years experiments. 

First up is rice, for a couple of years I have tried to germinate various types of rice and trying to get seed in U.K. is like pulling hens teeth 

Well look what I have managed to do,  I almost peed my pants in excitment  ,at last I have found a rice that I can germinate, and I could get it in the U.K., 
This is not the right time of the year to be growing rice, but I am happy to see it can grow, roll on spring when I can do it properly, this is a paddy rice and it needs wet conditions also about 120 days of warmth, but I have a few ideas and will put them into play next year.
At the same time I also managed to get some seeds for an upland rice which dosent need wet conditions, the seeds I had to import making them fairly pricey but hopefully they will grow well and produce more seed, the Upland rice only needs about 90 days of warmth so I am hoping it will do well.

Next ups sugar cane, again something I have been desperate to grow, after a bit of research I found out  it will grow fairly well in the U.K.

I manage to track down some sugar cane chunks and set them to germinate

It was another pee in the pants moment when I saw those roots.

Autumn is the best time to get sugar cane started.

I have managed to get roots on 2 of the 4 chunks, I now have visions of a sugar cane plantation and rice paddies here on on our small holding.

I don’t expect for the moment  it will come into fruition but the trying  and dreaming is what keeps me going.

I did find out that rice and sugar cane are part of the grass family, now I can grow grass it grows all over the place, so who knows.

I will leave you with these that I have harvested this week

A lovely purple cauliflower 

Asian Yard Long Beans

And a lovely little pineapple that was so sweet.

Who says that growing your own food is boring?

Monday, 30 August 2021

Natures Bounty in August

It’s been a great month for field mushrooms, one of the easiest to find 

The trails of Mycelium turn the grass a dark green 

Making it really easy to find them, field mushrooms are very closely related to the button mushrooms you get in the shop, 

We make as much as possible of the harvest as well as having them fried for breakfast 

 I have been getting some in the dehydrator

And a batch of wild mushroom and red onion pate was made and went in the freezer 

For the first time we have had Parasols 

Appear in the Alpaca field

In the sheep field there has been pickings of Cep’s

A friend of ours from the village who also likes to forage, brought us a lovely Puff Ball, Which I sliced and dehydrated 
August has been good to us on the foraging front, now we are turning the corner into September, we are looking forward to see what Mother Nature provides.
She also brought us a Chicken in the Woods and some Shaggy Ink Caps.

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

The Big Courgette Glut

 It’s full on harvest time here at Stickle Tarn, the rewards for all the hard work and preparation that went in at the start of spring, of course this means gluts of many things 

The past few weeks has seen me working through some of those gluts

Courgettes otherwise know as Zucchini 

We all have gluts of those, even though I kept to one plant this year there has still been a glut.

But and it’s a big But I have managed to keep on top of them this year

Shredded up and frozen for using during the winter months, I do find shredding, leaving to drain and squeezing out as much moisture as possible in a clean cloth makes them more user friendly upon defrosting.
Making up courgette fritters mixture and freezing, when I don’t have the time to cook up batches to freeze having the mixture made up helps keep the glut under control.

Chocolate courgette cake one of our favourites, moist chocolate cake , once cooled it’s sliced and frozen, easy to take out a few slices to have with an afternoon cuppa.

Thick creamy courgette soup, soup is a staple in this house, wet miserable days, cold days there is always a soup available in the freezer , just a great warming easy lunch. Even better sprinkled with some chopped crispy bacon or chorizo.
Batches of spicy courgette fritters made frozen and separated with grease proof paper, then what is needed can be taken out , they are a great side with curry, 

Then of course there is also courgettes marmalade, I haven’t made any this year as we still have some from last year, courgette gummies, they were also a big hit, cubed up and roasted with other veg and herbs, spiralized and used instead of pasta, but nothing beats thinly sliced courgette fried in garlic and olive oil.

If you do a search on my blog for courgettes you will find recipes and other suggestions for using up courgettes
Would love to know what everyone else does with there gluts.?

PS have you seen the new page added to the blog?

Sunday, 15 August 2021

I Need To Make More Of An Effort

 Seriously I don’t know we’re the time goes , every day When pottering around I think to myself I must do a blog post on that and before I know it it’s another day, I also think to myself I have blogged about that before, don’t think any would be interested in it again but I am aware there is lots of new people out there who might not want to trawl through 8 years of blog post .

The answer of course is to keep blogging and if it’s repeated stuff so be it or smallholding calander has lots of repeats and most of the time it’s tweaked to suit what else is going on.

I am also building up my You Tube Channel so be warmed there is going to be lots of links in future posts to You Tube. 

Building work is painfully slow, hitting rock bed that took two weekends just to dig out a corner.

Ripping out the sewerage pipe was not on the agenda and an emergency repair further delay things, followed by shorting out all the electric for the house.

Now we are ready to do the return the digging is getting easier, but slow progress as we know this we’re the mains water is.

But progress may be slow but it’s still progress, II have gained a new bin cupboard just across from the back door that holds all ours bins, no more going out to the drive and more Paige raiding bins.

My BIL Sid built it for me.

Who would have thought you could get so excited about a bin cupboard, I love it.still needs another coat of stain, it holds our recycling stuff, general rubbish, the ash bin and the bin for glass.and the household compost bucket.With separate lift up lids.

The cladding has also been finished on Martin’s workshop the wood store and meat preparation area.

It’s looking very smart, we still need to set up rain water catchment, it’s no nice to step out the door and see finished projects.makes you feel like you are getting some where.

Some of the shale that has been dug out of the footings has been used to make a floor tampered down with a wacking plate, means it will drain and is a nice even surface to walk on. Electric strip lighting and power sockets have been installed.

When the old kitchen is ripped out, some will be repurposed here, the sink will be connected up to the water supply, storage cupboards and work surface for preparation. We also going to fit the smoker in here and put an external vent pipe on it.

The main use of the air is some where we can hang meat carcasses ready for preparation with good air flow and water and we can close it off from the dogs.

Above the wood store is a mezzanine floor with a stair case leading up, it’s wear I can store fleeces and store vegetables.I have two storage racks up there.

It has all be insulated and clad on the inside making it a very pleasant area.

Long term plan will be to all the outside area leading from the house down to here will be hard standing.

The rest of the shale we are digging out from the footings is being repurposed in gate ways and a track going across the fields.

That’s it for today I promise I will be back soon.

Sunday, 18 July 2021

One For Us One For The Freezer


The morning milk round every morning regardless of the weather for six months of the year at 7am is my job, Martin likes the goats but just can’t get on with milking and unless for some reason I couldn’t do it which hasn’t happened so far this year he avoids it, we are only milking two this year, Thelma who is 7 years old and one of our originals and Bunty who is the daughter of Connie who we lost after kidding this year.

This years kids are now fully weaned and we have three does looking for a new home, the two bottle reared does we are keeping to join the milking herd, the two young billies will be raised on for meat.

We practice ethical milking  when the kids reach about 5-6 weeks  old and are eating hard food and not so dependent on there mums we start separating at night, starting late night and then milking in the morning before the kids go back and gradually separate earlier in the evening, after a couple of weeks they happily run into there stall for there food we are then full on milking in the morning, it’s time to wean completely at about 4-5 months we do this by watching kids interact with there mums, they don’t rush to feed off mums in the morning they are more interested in what other food is about and the mums are starting to push the kids away, this is when we know the time is right, the kids are moved to there teenage accommodation in another none adjoining field, they have there house a shelter, climbing frames and plenty of space, after 24hrs mums and kids settle well with the separation , we are getting roughly 5 pints a day from the two mums in the morning, we only milk once a day.

We have a good relationship with all our goats, the mums have there own stalls , they go in them for feeding and are shut in while eating, this stops any bullying over feed, Bunty eats very quickly and Thelma is a slow eater if they were fed together Thelma would not get the ration she needs, also feeding apart when they have just kidded we can increase the food they need the same goes when they are getting nearer there time, they eagerly come on to the milking stand in the morning, there is no pushing pulling or shoving them, once on the stand they get an extra food ration this is in according to how much milk they produce, Bunty will give about 3.5pints were Thelma will only do about 1.5 pints, while on the stand they also get a bit of grooming and it’s a good opportunity to check them over and do feet trimming.

We have a good relationship with our goats, they come when called, they are very wary of strangers and like there routine, 

We add a natural wormer to there feed the first week of the month which means no milk withdrawal, we dry them up by reducing the milk taken over a couple of weeks then stop , ready for the Elvis our Billy to come visiting, before mating October November time we do a Fecal Egg Count with the vet and use the appropriate wormer recommended, making sure they are in tip top shape before coming into kid, 

Elvis stays with the girls until Christmas making to make sure he catches there cycle , in between we hire him out he is very good at earning his keep and loves going on holidays visiting other ladies. they come into season every 3 weeks we aim to have kids in the spring when the weather is better, , just about every day we collect forage the goats and they love have branches to chew stripping off the bark, it helps to keep there teeth in good shape, brambles are another favourite along with anything from the veg garden that has gone over. come spring we are kidding again and the whole cycle starts again.

Elvis is Red Boer and the  ladies are Boer Gurnsey cross. 

Friday, 2 July 2021

A Month in Photos

Poly Tunnel number 3 is up 

Willow dome is looking good

New Baby Buffalo

Raising Meat Birds
Running workshops again

Garden is shaping up

Noise and Mess from building work