Bored….pfftt

I have been asked if I get bored, being here at the farm all day every day by myself, usually by my Father In Law, I don’t think he quite realises how much there is to do. As well as the farm which encompasses animal care, feeding, cleaning, health matters, there is the veg garden, digging, growing, harvesting, processing, the outer paddock areas including maintaining the hedges and verges etc, onto the normal household jobs cooking, cleaning, washing, generally keeping good order and also the accounts for Hubby’s business, so no, bored is not an option! With this comment in mind I decided to voice note one of my typical days, rudely my youngest asked if it consisted of coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, she was of course joking (hopefully) this is how it went:

Alarm goes off at 6.45 and we are pretty good at getting up when it sounds, have breakfast and a morning cuppa, get dressed and go out to do the morning rounds. Turn off the security lights and feed the cats before they pester the life out of me. Let the geese out into the back paddock and refill their water buckets, take the horses some morning hay, feed the chickens in the back pen, collect more fed from the feed room and go round to the duck pen, empty yesterday’s dirty water and refill, fill up feed trough let out the ducks, collect the duck eggs and take them into the boot room to be washed later. Collect more feed and take round to the orchard, refill water buckets and let out the bantams and chicks, give them their morning feed then out to the main chicken paddock. Move the electric fencing to give the hens new grass, fill up the feed troughs, refill the water troughs and let them out, once they have all piled out I go in and scrape the mess off the floor into a bucket, skip out the nest boxes and refresh with new wood shavings, empty bucket, reconnect the electric pick up any windfall apples to chuck in to the hens, check the egg shed on the way back. Feed the dogs and refill water bowls, check the quail and pick up any quail eggs. HAVE COFFEE!

On the way round I made a mental note of how much weeding there is to do and that the main crop potatoes have nearly finished flowering and will need digging up soon on a dry day. The amount of rain we have had lately means everything is growing at a great rate, weeds, veg and grass, the latter we have been waiting all spring and summer for, finally the September flush as its called, is producing results.

Go out to veg garden and pick runner beans, French beans, cucumbers, courgettes, patty pan, tomatoes and artichokes, bring them in and organise the ones for sale, weigh, price and bag up and take to little shed any that don’t look too good put aside for the chickens. HAVE COFFEE πŸ˜„

The early morning sun has now disappeared and it looks like it’s going to rain again, my greenhouse leaks during heavy rainfall and at the moment that’s where the onions and garlic are drying out, or trying to, so I need to move them into the back covered area to prevent them getting damp. While I am there and have deposited the onions I look in the freezer for something for dinner, I decide on chicken casserole for Hubby and think I may have curry.

Take out the rubbish and at that point take a moment to refocus and prioritise jobs because the weather looks like it is set to get worse, get outside jobs done first. I check the greengage plums on the tree which are already starting to split because of the rain yesterday and the wasps are gathering (note to self, pick before they are ripe next year) so I pick what I can and bring them in the check the current supermarket prices, weigh, bag up and put out for sale.

11am go out to veg garden and pull up a large bunch of carrots, to use for dinner later, take the tops to the horses. Prepare all the veg for the freezer that I picked earlier along with most of the carrots, keeping some back for the casserole which I prepare at the same time. Tidy up the kitchen and do a quick tidy around the rest of the house. 

When I blanch veg for the freezer, I don’t change the water in between so beans, carrots etc all use the same water, then if you taste it at the end you will find it makes pretty good vegetable stock πŸ˜„ which can be frozen or used the same day.

As predicted earlier it did begin to rain while I was preping veg, I decided it was a good day for soup so I used the veg stock and made roasted garlic and potato soup which I will have later instead of the planned curry. I also stewed a few more plums for the freezer while I was in the kitchen.

That took me up to 2pm when I sat down in the living room with a cup of tea, checked my emails, had a browse on Facebook and a text conversation with my brother who has just dislocated his shoulder, I also made a much needed appointment with the hairdresser. 

2.45pm it’s still raining so I decide to fling the Hoover around the kitchen and living room, hard floors mean visible dust on a daily basis! After that I  decide to try and find the rectal thermometer as the cat is looking a bit off colour, not Bella, she has recovered well this time, but Deisel is a bit lethargic and off his food, I did spot a regurgitated rodent that may have caused some tummy upset, and although I found the thermometer I thought it might be wiser to let the vet have the pleasure. Meanwhile I put on a load of washing and it’s already time to go feed the chickens and ducks their afternoon scratch corn and collect the eggs. 

I collect 53 eggs from the main laying flock in the front and 12 from the pullets at the back, wash any dirty eggs and box them up, check the egg shed to see what has sold, pick up the money and restock. Our eldest daughter arrives home from work and I tell her about the cat looking poorly so we go and find him to give him a look over and decide what to do, he eats the tuna we have bought him as a treat, has a bit of a groom, looks a little sorry for himself but not too bad so we decide to wait until tomorrow and see how he is before taking him to the vets.

Feed the dogs and then feed me, I opt for the soup I made earlier with a couple of slabs of bread and butter, Hubby is working at our daughters cottage after work and so will be late home tonight, when I finish my supper I put his dinner in the oven on low so it’s ready when he comes home.

I plan on giving the dogs a bath as it has been raining and they are now filthy after running around the farm in the rain but my Sister and Brother in Law turn up for a cuppa so we sit around the kitchen table and chat about the Victoria Plum Jam I have made especially for him as he has been unable to find it in the shops anywhere. Hubby arrives home around 8.30pm just as its getting dark, he puts the kettle on again to make more tea for everyone while I go outside and shut away the chickens, geese and ducks for the night and turn on the security lights, that’s it done outside for the day, I just need to wash up and relax on the sofa till bedtime with a quick wee break for the dogs around 10pm and bed for us around 10.30pm. 

And that is how my voice noted day went, not much chance to be bored unless I choose to be! 

Footnote: The cat had perked up no end by the next morning and so no trip to the vet was necessary thank goodness 😸

  
Roasted garlic and potato soup

2 whole heads of garlic, roast whole in tinfoil with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt for 40 mins
3/4 medium potatoes cooked until soft

1 onion chopped and sauted in a pan with some butter

Add cooked potatoes and veg stock to the onion pan along with salt, pepper, thyme and Parmesan cheese to taste, add a cup of milk and squeeze the roasted garlic from the heads into the rest of the ingredients discarding the outer remains, you can add cream if you like and purΓ©e it if you prefer, heat up gently and eat with gusto! 

Have a great week πŸ˜ƒ

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Back to normal……ish

So I have just sat and typed practically the whole blog when I touched the wrong thing and whoosh it disappeared, second time lucky hopefully! 

Hubby has returned to work after his two weeks working on the farm, and I have to say he has worked very hard indeed, he would be able to tell you exactly what he has done but as ever once it’s done I can’t remember what it was that needed doing. I do know that we now have some lovely new doors on the feed room, the skip is full to the brim, the wood shed is well stocked for Winter, the orchard is clear of weeds and debris and the longest fence on the farm has been replaced πŸ˜ƒ By his own admission it was harder than going to work lol, I shall miss not having him around every day but I will not miss the endless cups of tea I had to make 😜

Luckily the tractor was fixed just before Hubby’s time off began because we have used it to do pretty much every bit of heavy lifting work there was and even though the repair bill made us wince it was well worth it. 

We didn’t get everything done and he could do with another two weeks but we made great progress. I did help him quite a bit but I still had my regular jobs to carry on with as well, mostly picking and processing. Autumn seems to be arriving early, the apples plums and nuts are already ripening which is adding to the work load, I spotted Cyril the Squirrel out and about on the farm so I know it’s time to collect nuts and the apples are falling from the trees already so it time to start picking those. On Friday I looked at the plum trees and they were starting to ripen so we spent an hour or two picking them then on Saturday we graded them and I made some jam, put some in the freezer, some out for sale and made a few crumbles with the rest. That was just the Victoria plums, the greengage so are next to be picked if the rain holds off and the damsons will be last.

I have also picked endless amounts of beans, squash and cucumbers which are selling very well from the little shed. I harvested the second early potatoes some of which were massive, they have all now been checked and those that won’t spoil have been bagged up for storing, those with holes (it never ceases to amaze me that no matter where you plunge the fork in, it always hits a potato) will be used up first. 

The cat, Bella, finally got the all clear from the vet and Patch did very well after his operation, he was no trouble at all. We have accquired some Guniea Fowl, they belonged to my neighbour down the lane and one day I could see the traffic backing up in the lane, someone came to tell me that my Guniea Fowl were causing a traffic jam, I told them that they belonged to lady down the road and at I would ring her and let her know, two days later we came home to find that they were in our front paddock trying to get in with the chickens, the husband came over and said he was fed up with them getting out and we could keep them if we wanted so we let them in with the chickens where they have been happily living for the past week! They are just about the ugliest bird I have ever seen and very noisy screeching at the pigeons sitting on the fence but also amusing, I think they think they think they are chickens. 

At this point I am going to save the draft just in case! 

Phew I managed to find it again 😝

The glacΓ© cherries I began a few weeks ago are now finished although I don’t think I would go to the effort again, it was a long process for little return, however as they are so precious they will be going into the Christmas mincemeat that I need to start thinking about making. I do love this time of year, just like the squirrel I begin to gather up and store goods for the coming months, all the usual veg and fruit produce for the freezer and then the dried goods such as garlic, onions, potatoes but also things like making plenty of stock from bones ready for winter stews and soups, drying herbs and one weird thing that I do which is powdered mushrooms. Hubby can’t digest mushrooms (there is a whole story of years of pain finally resulting in surgery) but he can tolerate the powder so I buy a couple of large punnets and dry them in the dehumidifier then wiz them in the blender and voila mushroom powder to add to stews for flavour. It occurred to me that you could do this with almost anything, a sneaky trick for getting past fussy eaters I reckon so I may try some other things like Aubegines or peppers absolutely anything really that will dry out well could be powdered and they will never know πŸ˜‰

The photos this week are of Hubby,s fence, I couldn’t leave that out, a before and after shot, the potato harvest, plaits of garlic, the glacΓ© cherries and other produce.

Have a great week πŸ˜„

   
    
    
   

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Ooooo take a look at my Melons πŸ˜‰

Hubby has begun his two weeks busmans  holiday, taking a break from his regular job of plumbing and spending his time at home on the farm catching up with numerous jobs that I can’t do on my own. So far this weekend we have finally moved the chickens into their new house, cleared the paddocks of various crap that gets left lying around and now that the tractor is finally operational again, dragged half the paddock while the chickens are in the other half. He has also cleared the wood pile that was growing at the front of the house, cut most of it up and stored it ready for Winter use. The orchard has been cleared of stinging nettles and debris from the trees,  the place is starting to look tidy and it’s only Monday! 

Meanwhile, apart from helping him now and again, I have been picking produce and getting it ready for storage or sale. I have had a bumper crop of onions and garlic, they are now drying nicely in the greenhouse. I decided to have a go at plaiting the garlic, how hard can it be after all I do have three daughters and so plaiting hair was second nature when they were younger, turns out it’s not quite so easy to do it with garlic! I have made a bit of an effort but I think the French would laugh me out of the garlic store, it will be ok for hanging in the back room ready for use over the next few months. Cucumbers are growing thick and fast, I keep thinking I really only need to plant one but always end up planting about four, consequently I have an abundance of them as they seem to grow really well here, they won’t be wasted though, If I don’t sell them or eat them them the chickens will be very glad of them. The tomatoes are just beginning to ripen at long last and I can just see peppers beginning to form, they may produce something larger if the weather stays warm enough. Of the new produce I experimented with this year the cucamelon that I decided to try turn out to be a bit of a waste of time, they are tiny and I mean tiny, about the size of a grain of rice lol, the samphire never even materialised but the Water Melons, oh my, they are a different story all together, at the minute they are the size of a small football and growing by the day, I can’t wait to try them and hope they live up to expectations. 

The fruit cage is practically harvested now, there are some raspberries left but I found I was competing with the wasps and I didn’t want to risk grabbing hold of one only to get stung in the process. The soft fruit may be coming to and end but we still have the tree fruits to look forward too, I had a quick look at the trees today and there looks like a haul on all three of the plums trees, greengage, Victoria and damson, if I can get them before the wasps. The apple trees are looking good as well, all except the cider Apple which does not appear to have a single Apple on it, not surprising really as it has been heavily laden for the past few years, I guess it needs a rest this year. 

Bella the cat is having to have more treatment after being speyed, she has developed an abscess, not surprising when she removed the rest of her stitches herself and Patch is off to have his off, if you know what I mean, at the end of the week so I will have two convalescing pets to deal with. 

The egg situation is as usual not enough eggs for the amount of customers, I could sell twice as many very easily the only trouble is I don’t have time to look after twice as many hens so it’s first come first served and disappointment for anyone else. 

On the wildlife front the visits from the Red Kite are becoming more frequent, nice to see It in the air such beautiful, graceful birds, we have had a deer visiting the corner paddock, I haven’t told our eldest yet as she is trying to grow the grass in there for the horses 😝 There are an abundance of small birds still around they seem to change though, earlier in the year it was Blue Tits and dunnocks and now we have wrens and finches flittering about. 

I have been looking to buy grass seed to repair the paddocks, you wouldn’t believe how many types of seed mixes there are for different types of ground, I have decided on a mix for clay soil as apparently it will come back quicker In the spring, I have also ordered a seed mix especially for paddocks with chickens, not only does it have grasses and herbs that have longer roots which will bring up vital minerals from the sub soil but it also attracts more insects for the chickens to forage on, all in all diversifying their food sources and hopefully improving their wellbeing. 

The photos are of my Melons, sorry to disappoint anyone who was expecting anything other than fruit! Hubby happily back on his tractor, our growing woodpile ready for the cold months, the onion and garlic harvest and the cucumbers.

Have a fabulous week 😎

   
    
   

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Autumn, in July?Β 

Sitting drinking my morning coffee this morning, I could be forgiven if I didn’t have a calendar, for thinking it’s Autumn! I love Autumn it’s my favourite time of year just not at the end of July! What has happened to summer, it reared its head briefly at the beginning of the month and then went away on holiday. This whole year so far has been odd to say the least, as a consequence the green tomatoes on the vine are still green, the beans are trying to perform as are the squash but they are struggling. Only the fruit seems to have relished in the weather that nature has thrown at it this year, bumper crops of raspberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants, cherries and apricots mean we will eat lots of lovely pies and cakes in the winter months, something to look forward to at least.

With a short or non existent summer comes the realisation that ‘winter is coming’ sorry couldn’t resist and that will only mean something to Game of Thrones fans πŸ˜‰. I am already making plans for the run up to the colder months, trying to get the birds in tip top condition to help them through. They have been given soluble vitamins and cider vinegar in thier water and soon it will be time to give them all a dusting to keep critters at bay from thier feathers. Hubby’s new chicken house is brilliant, well I think so but the chickens are refusing to go in still preferring to go back to the old hut every night. Drastic action is needed this weekend to remove the old huts so that they have no choice but to take up thier new des res.

Bella the cat has been in for spaying, we locked her in a cage as per instructions the night before surgery, in the morning she appeared on the doorstep! After surgery we locked her back in the cage and tied the handles with string, an hour after being put in there she appeared in the stable block, somehow she had managed to get her head collar off, get out of the ‘secure’ cage and rip out a stitch in the process! She is now locked in the toilet, we should have called her Houdini, how she managed to get out of the cage (dog cage type) I will never know but we have always had difficulty keeping her locked in anywhere, I will be glad when she is healed and able to roam free again without the added worry of her getting in the family way. 

I have just started a 14 day process to make GlacΓ© cherries, why, you may ask when they are readily available in the little plastic tubs in the shop, curiosity is the answer, to see if it works and if they taste better than shop bought ones which I am sure they will. It’s quite a long process although a fairly simple, repetitive one, I will let you know the result in due course. 

Hubby is off from his regular job for two weeks fairly soon so I have been busy writing him a long list of farm jobs, no rest for the wicked lol, we having fencing to finish and a whole load of little jobs to be sorted, things like realigning bolts on doorways and gateways. It is surprising how much everything moves over the course of the year, resulting in having to lift the gates or doors to shut them, this takes its toll on my arm muscles so I will be glad to be able to slide them shut smoothly with no effort at all, for a while at least. We bought some large water tanks back in the spring and they need connecting up to the others, this will enable us to save at least 6000 litres of rainwater. Most of it is used for the ducks but apparently I am having a pump fitted so that I can use it on the veg garden as well,that will save a bit on the water bill. I try not to use the hose to water the garden if I can help it, only when the plants are looking close to collapsing and needs must. 

I have already started to think about how I will do things slightly differently in the veg plot next year, the strawberry beds are going to be raised off the ground and the dwarf beans need to be higher up too. I am trying to make things easier for myself, as time goes on the difficulties bought on by the Lupus are more apparent, generally speaking kneeling down to pick produce results in pain and so the higher up I can get stuff the better for my health. 

On the whole life is good as they say, and over the past few days I have felt a contentment I have never had before, yesterday was my 51st birthday (woah, where did the years go) I have a grandson on the way, my health is good to middling and the weather is not too bad. My favourite book is Cider With Rosie and these are the type of days I measure against the feeling I get when I read it, if you understand what I mean, I think today will be another Cider with Rosie day, long may it continue 😎

Have a good week πŸ˜ƒ

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“I can smell smoke”Β 

So this week has been exceptionally busy produce wise,  the weather on the majority of days, for me has been just perfect, overcast but warm, this means I can get a fair amount done outside. 

We finally got the tractor repaired or so we thought, so I took it out to move some livestock housing and a mound of earth, but the clunking noise didn’t seem quite right, so I called the tractor man who came back and confirmed it wasn’t! More parts need to be purchased £££££ and it will be fixed sometime, eventually! Back to doing everything by hand then πŸ˜• 

As I reported last blog, the veg is coming on in leaps and bounds and so I began picking, freezing and putting any excess out for sale, well the minute I put it out it sold, which is fab but it turned into a frenzied couple of days picking, stocking and restocking the little shed. Available at the minute are garlic, beetroot, broad beans, runner beans, potatoes, bunches of herbs and raspberries. In the end I was working through the evening picking to get a head start on the next day. I also put out some jars of jam which were very quickly snapped up I am pleased to say.

Hubby has very nearly finished the chicken shed we hope to move them in on Wednesday evening. Last night was quite funny though as he had gone out to finish the door, eventually he came back in saying, I have been shouting you, I didn’t hear him honest. He had screwed the ply onto the door frame, but beforehand had bolted the door through the open framework so it didn’t move ( the bolt is on the outside) and then proceeded to screw the ply on, from the inside 😝 and consequently couldn’t get out lol, the options were to unscrew the ply or shout for help, luckily one of the livery girls was still in the field and eventually heard him πŸ˜‚

Just as the produce sales were picking up, the hens decided to go off lay, when one goes, they all go, well at least half of them. I hate it when that happens as there are never enough eggs to go round and I have to explain to customers there will be a shortage for a while. We are hoping that a change of residence will kick start them a bit and at least a few more of them will start to lay again. Before we move them in we will have to catch them up one by one, give them a dusting of lice powder and put Vaseline on their legs to prevent mites. It’s always a good opportunity when moving them to do this then hopefully they will be bug free for a good few months. I will also begin to put garlic and cider vinegar in their water, all this is preparation for the winter months to make sure they are as healthy as can be before the weather turns cold again. 

The weather always makes a difference to laying hens, you might think that summer is ideal for them but they do not like prolonged dry spells which is exactly what we have had. The paddocks are beginning to look scorched and even some of the trees are beginning to develop yellow leaves,  a good indication of lack of moisture. Each time a cloud passes over that looks like it may rain I am hopeful but usually it passes on by leaving my hopes dashed. 

With it being so dry the one worry we always have is fire especially living in a wooden building! The other night we went to bed and at the minute we have the window open a little, I had gone to sleep but woke up when I realised Hubby was sitting up, “whats the matter” I asked him, ” I can smell smoke” he said, “yep now you’ve said it so can I” was my answer. We got up and went outside for a quick scout round, it was fairly strong outside but did smell more like a bonfire than burning buildings. We got back into bed but a few minutes later the smell was stronger so Hubby got dressed and went out for a better look this time, he checked over all the surrounding fields just to make sure they hadnt caught, satisfied that we were not in danger he came back to bed and we were still here the next morning 😁

We still have to re home two of the kittens and get Bella in to be done as soon as possible, I am ringing the vet today before she ends up pregnant again! I am hoping that an operation and some recouperation time will break her rather stupid habit of sitting in the middle of the road down the lane, otherwise I can see the op being a waste of time and money if she ends up squished! 

In the next few weeks I hope to be picking apricots and morello cherries, apricot jam is one of my favs and as I have never made cherry jam before that will be exciting. I have also been looking into the process of making my own glacΓ© cherries as I use them in fruit cake, it’s a two week process though but worth it in the end hopefully,  I will let you know how it goes. 

The pics are of the cherry tree, apricot tree, veg garden, shallots  drying (that are more the size of onions ) and Patch in his favourite position, laying down 😜

Have a good week 

   
    
   

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Too busy, too tired, can’t be arsed!Β 

Sorry, for anyone who likes the farm updates, I have either been too busy, too tired or can’t be arsed to blog! However, it has been at the back of my mind the whole time, and as I have stopped for coffee this morning I thought now was a good time.

As you can imagine lots of things have been happening especially in the veg garden, well the fruit garden to be precise. I have spent countless hours picking and prepping Strawberries, Raspberries and Blackcurrants, the jam store is chocka block and on one particular day all I did for around eight hours was make jam until I was sick of the sight of it. 

I have just started picking broad beans, runners, courgettes and patty pan, any gluts will be for sale in the little shed. I need to freeze a fair amount to last the Winter months but first I need to sort out the freezers, you know how it is when stuff just gets shoved in on top of other stuff, you have no idea what is actually in there and end up just grabbing what you can see if front of you, replacing the space with more stuff. In the big freezers I have plastic sacks to organise the bottom half but at the minute it is all in the baskets on the top! 

We finally managed to a) see the kittens and b) get them down from the roof space. We had seen three and so that’s how many we got down, then heard another crying so there were four all together. We put them in the stable and left a space over the door for Mum to get out, the next day they were gone! She was not happy with the other cat, Desiel, hanging around and had moved them, we located them in the hay barn and returned them to the stable making sure that this time there was a barricade and she has been ok with that ever since. They will be ready for new homes soon, two have already been reserved but there are still two to re home if anyone is interested. 

We have lost a few birds, as it stands is 2-2 to the fox and the dog! The fox came marauding one evening and had a gosling that had got out of the paddock, then a couple of nights later he had a cockerel. The dog has had his two in the last week, both of them were ones that sleep up in the trees, they came down early on different days and went into the front compound where the dog patrols at night, his kennel now looks like a feathered nest and we are down a cockerel and a hen πŸ˜”

The hens that were sat on eggs finally hatched them out, one had 10 which are still going strong the other had 2 one of which has since died for no particular reason. The one with ten was in a stable but eventually became so ferocious every time I went in that I have put her outside in the orchard, she is still a bit feisty at times but a lot better than she was, good job I always wear my wellies or I would have battle scars on my legs πŸ˜›

Hubby, in between all the other jobs, is busy converting the field shelter into a hen house, it will be much easier to clean out than the old huts, much as I love them, they are around 100 years old and although still fit for purpose, I am not and can’t crawl around inside anymore. Over the last three months I have had some Duke of Edinburgh volunteers once a week to clean them out which has been a tremendous help, but now they have finished I need to make life a bit easier for myself and standing up to clean them out will go a long way to saving my aching bones. 

Patch, the puppy that we ended up keeping has grown as you would expect, he is taller than either his mum or dad and he likes to play with a football, or sleep, typical boy child, he is lovely natured though and not full on like a typical collie so the two of them are a nice mix as Mia is very typically collie, full on and obsessed with chasing the ball. In the picture you can see that she is looking down, not an accidental, oh I didn’t get her looking up, she is focused on the scrappiest bit of left over toy and waiting for me to throw it! 

  
  
  

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Summer is coming, definitely, probably, well maybe.Β 

Summer is on it’s way apparently, it’s just been delayed, no shit Sherlock (my fave saying at the minute) May was, wetter than average, colder than average and had less sunshine than average, all in all a weak and infective month for growing anything including grass. Customers are asking, when will there be any veg? When the Sun pulls it’s finger out is what I am thinking when I am stood there, of course what I say is ‘it’s just been too cold and wet for anything to get established’ fingers crossed the fireball will make an appearance soon. 

This week, apart from standing in the plot and willing the veg to grow, I have weeded (they grow no matter what the weather is doing) , planted out a few more things in the vain hope they won’t get blown away by the wind or drowned in a torrential burst, or eaten by pigeons, and, well that’s it actually,  it’s a waiting game now.

The animals have been at the forefront of activity this week, the cat has had her kittens, but she has had them right up in the roof space which is double roofed so no chance of seeing how many or what colours at the moment, she disappears for the best part of the day so I can only hope she is looking after them properly as she is only young herself. I lost 17 quail in a massacre, from the CCTV it looks like something small has bitten a hole in the wire, although I can’t tell what, it’s probably stoat. I can see from the footage the quail are agitated for a couple of hours, then the dog must hear the goings on, pushed the gate open and finishes off any survivors, all this right under my bedroom window and I didn’t hear a thing, the wonders of double glazing :( 

For the life of me, I can’t actually remember what else I have been doing this week, I know I gave the kitchen a deep clean one day but as for the other days it’s a mystery!

This morning I thought I had lost the goslings, I let them out and went off to feed the rest of the waiting menagerie thinking I will shut them in the paddock when I’m done. I left them out to pick at the weeds as they seem to like it better than grass, when I casually wandered up there with my coffee half an hour later there was no sign of them, but I did spot the Little Owl taking off from a fence post close by. The owl has been hunting in our back paddocks all weekend and I have seen it on numerous occasions, as there was no sign of the goslings in the back area at all I began to wonder if the owl had taken them one by one. I began a detailed search of the hedgerows and nearby paddock and field shelters, nothing, I looked all the way down the paddocks to the front near the road, nothing, I looked in all the nooks and crannies round the stable block area, nothing and I looked in the front drive, nothing, nowhere to be seen. So I set off and searched again, all areas covered, I resigned myself to the fact that they had gone, actually it was a little more than that because at this point, with the quail episode, the Guinea fowl disappearing, the veg not growing and ending up with five ganders this year, I just about decided to throw in the towel and give up :0 I made a coffee, went outside to drink it and right In front of me in the side paddock were six little goslings happily munching away on the grass, as I was looking for them they must have just been out of sight somewhere. I could tell by the way they quickly waddled back to the paddock, with me behind them, that they knew they were in trouble, nervous breakdown averted I went in to make more coffee ;) 

Pintrest is one of my favourite apps at the minute, besides Candy Crush of course, and I have been busy pinning all kinds of things from recipies I hope to be able to use, to ideas of how I want a seating area in the garden to turn out I am fairly certain the recipes will be used long before the ideas get put into practice. At the minute I am collecting strawberry recipies for the vast haul I am sure I will get this year, hmmmmm, actually despite the under achieving weather I have spotted the first red fruit in the patch, I will have to taste it later and see if it will be a vintage year for jam. I may or may not have told you and if I haven’t here comes the confession, but strawberries are the one thing I do not sell at the gate, it’s my favourite crop and I indulge myself by keeping them all for me, well not just me, sometimes I let the family have some ;) most of them go into jam making, if the crop is good some of them get frozen for use in the winter as a splash of colour and the rest get used in old favourites like strawberry torte or strawberries and cream, and some for new, yet to become favourites, from Pintrest :) 

Have a good week x

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