A disappointing May

Don’t get me wrong, we have had some lovely sunny days in May, but overall the temperatures are cold and it’s been a disappointing month weather wise. Normally by now we can look forward to discarding the jumpers and extra layers of clothing but not this year, I am still having to put on a coat in the mornings and taken to wearing a gillet even indoors! The long range forecast predicts a colder than average summer too, not good news for the vegetable plot, things are growing but not at a great rate, I am mindful of the ‘be careful what you wish for’ curse, after all I am the last person who wants wall to wall sunshine, but if the temperatures could lift a little I would be most grateful :) 

In the veg garden I have planted up artichokes, squash, peas and beans this week and filled the poly tunnel with tomatoes, aubergine and peppers, the other tunnel has cucumber and water melon sat on the ground waiting for them to grow a bit more before they can be tied into their climbing apparatus. The rhubarb is continuing to grow well and I have harvested and sold at least twenty bundles so far, the asparagus is a little slower but it continues to push through so not too bad considering. I think fruit is going to be a bumper year this year judging by the amount of blossom and fruit setting, luckily as far as the apples and plums are concerned, I had already put grease bands around the trunks and I have set codling traps in the branches, you may remember that last year the grubs made around eighty percent of the fruit unusable, this year I hoped to have knocked that on the head. The only fruit that is not looking good this season are the Blueberries, for some reason they have not liked the over winter conditions and as a consequence there is very little fruit on them, I guess you can’t win them all. 

The goslings are growing daily, not surprising considering the amount of grass they are eating, they have already been moved to a third grass area. They were in the garden keeping the lawn down for me, it was alright until they decided that veg looked more tempting, I barricaded them in but they always seemed to find a way through  so I was constantly herding them back to their quarters. The Guinea Fowl lasted exactly four days before the wind blew the gate open and they haven’t been seen since, completely disappeared, probably made a beeline for the hedgerow in the paddocks and after spotting a fox the next night at dusk, I doubt they lasted long out there. Bella has still not had her kittens yet but it can’t be much longer, I would hazard a guess at this week being the week, then it will be a game of hide and seek trying to find out where she has decided to nest. 

I find this time of year my time is stretched much more thinly between tasks such as housework, cooking, bookkeeping, gardening, general tidying of the the farm and animal husbandry as a consequence I always feel that I can’t get a job done properly, each job always seems to be ‘important’ although at this time of year ‘urgent’ comes into play as well. If the grass is getting long in the driveway and rain is forecast, that has to go to the top of the list, if it’s left then the grass shoots through making it harder to cut, if it looks like a dry day, the temptation is to be out on the garden all day but then the housework goes to the bottom of the list and I forget to put the washing on, by the time I remember, it looks like rain again, going round in circles like a headless chicken springs to mind. I like order and control in my life and this time of year goes to pot a bit, I will be spread even more thinly when the soft fruits begin to ripen and jam making season is upon us, I will either need more hours in the day or an extra pair of hands ;) 

Have a good week :) 

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In fine fettle! 

Originally posted on frieslandfarm:

I have had a great week this week, the holiday did me good and I have come back in fine fettle :) The brain fog seems to have lifted for the time being and I set to at the beginning of the week to find some female geese, move the drakes into a different pen, set daily tasks and achieve them, missions accomplished :) #feeling smug.

I found some month old goslings in Cheltenham, they were off heat, green goslings, meaning they are eating grass and so no pellets required which is a cost effective bonus. We set off on Saturday lunchtime with the postcode typed in to a full battery phone, I set the navigation app to begin and noticed alarmingly just how much battery it was using before we even got to the Burford roundabout, I quickly decided that as we knew the way to Cheltenham I could…

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Technical hitch!!

For some reason my blog was not connecting to Facebook and so the last two have not been published on there, if you are receiving it by e-mail you should be able to see it. I am trying to sort this out, hopefully sooner rather than later. If by any chance this does publish to Facebook, you should be able to see the links and catch up.

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In fine fettle! 

I have had a great week this week, the holiday did me good and I have come back in fine fettle :) The brain fog seems to have lifted for the time being and I set to at the beginning of the week to find some female geese, move the drakes into a different pen, set daily tasks and achieve them, missions accomplished :) #feeling smug.

I found some month old goslings in Cheltenham, they were off heat, green goslings, meaning they are eating grass and so no pellets required which is a cost effective bonus. We set off on Saturday lunchtime with the postcode typed in to a full battery phone, I set the navigation app to begin and noticed alarmingly just how much battery it was using before we even got to the Burford roundabout, I quickly decided that as we knew the way to Cheltenham I could turn it off until we reached the outskirts. When I turned it back on again lo and behold it could not find a connection, so there we are husband asking which way now, wife getting irate yelling, I don’t bloody know the sat nav is not working, eventually it picked up a signal and we were at least on the right road, almost! After a detour right through the shopping centre in Cheltenham and the battery waining away,  the position of the little red pin was getting closer, I was just hoping it lasted until we got there. We were now off the main roads and down to track, where is it asked hubby impatiently just as I spotted the sign on the right, at this point we were halfway past the entrance, hubby did a Sweeney like sharp right with dust rising all around and we had arrived just about in one piece ( Normally I would take a photo at this point but to be honest I have been out and had one soaking this morning and I am not going out for another ;) ) It was lovely to meet the lady who had the goslings, she was extremely knowledgable about poultry in general and very enthusiastic about what she does, in fact just listening to what she packs into a week made me tired!

The point of lay hens arrived at the beginning of last week and are selling steadily, it is difficult to get hold of birds this year as demand is so high, these will last us a while but we can’t get the next lot until July, when I started selling you could ring up one week and have them delivered the next but not any more.

The broad beans I hardened off are now in the ground outside, I could have planted the seeds directly but I find they get eaten by mice or birds, the same with runner bean seeds and so now I always start them off in the greenhouse. There are plenty more plants to harden off over the coming weeks, sweet corn, squash plants, artichokes, and plenty of plants to move to the poly tunnel, melons, peppers, aubergines, and tomatoes, I think normally I would have done it by now but it seems unseasonally cool for May especially at night so they can wait a while and play catch up when it warms up.

We had a busy weekend, hubby finished off a bit of fencing he started before we went away, our farm sitters did a bit while we were away as well and it just needed a small section finished. No rest for the wicked and as soon as that was done I gave him the next job :) the grass around the chicken paddock was getting long and compromising the electric fence efficiency, so all the stakes needed moving in , the grass needed cutting and then the stakes all moving back out again, easier said than done when the ground out there is brash but it was a lovely sunny evening and although it meant we ended up with cheese on toast for tea, it was a job well done.

On Sunday we had intended to move the chicken huts and rake the ground but I had spotted the goose grass taking over the lilac bushes by the front gate and so we changed track and decided to start clearing that area of weeds instead before they went to seed. We spent the best part of the day pulling up goose grass, thistles, and cow parsley. We had a coffee break when some friends arrived for a chat, they have bought a small holding in Suffolk, they have not done it before and they pretty much have a blank canvas of eight acres and were looking for tips and advice. There are a thousand things we could tell anyone who is starting out, mainly how many mistakes you will make regardless of how well prepared you think you are, they are really exicted and can’t wait to get started, I am exicted for them and we intend to go and visit them when they are up and running.

I don’t know where you are but it’s absolutely hammering down here at the moment so i intend to find indoor jobs for today!  Have a good week :)

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Just a quickie! 

Back from our break, could not see any signs of disaster and no one has said anything so I am guessing it all went well on the farm :)

Because of the rain, the weeds were astronomical, goodness knows how they grow that fast, it was rather overwhelming to be honest but on Sunday, three of us spent the best part of the day weeding and hoeing and I feel it is back under control for the time being. 

It’s just a quickie because I have plenty to do today, plant out broad beans that have hardened off and rearrange the greenhouse to harden of other plants and sow herb seeds such as basil and coriander. I also need to sort out the duck pen, we have too many drakes in there and it is unfair on the ladies they are suffering from too much attention. I am expecting a delivery of 60 point of lay hens sometime this morning so need to get everything ready for them, as well as all the daily jobs. I have done the washing from our holiday bit there is a pile of ironing calling me from a corner in the kitchen and inbetween that I am sure plenty of other things will crop up.

We are pretty sure that Bella the cat is pregnant and by my reckoning she is due in around 10 days time, I feel a bit irresponsible to be honest because we did not mean for that to happen. She is very young only around seven months and I have never seen another cat about apart from Desiel so I thought she would be ok for a while, I guess not! We will be booking her in as soon as he kittens are weaned off, Patch will also be going in to be done so the vet bill will be big :( 

The carrots and beetroot seeds I sowed earlier in the year are struggling and growing erratically  I imagine it’s the cold weather that is making it difficult for them to get going. The potatoes and onions however are doing really well as are the fruit trees and bushes, they were laden with blossom and now have plenty of fruits forming. The apricot in particular has totally delighted me, I planted it four years ago, last year I had one apricot and this year there are loads :) happy days and lots of apricot jam I hope. 

That’s it for today as I really do have to get on and do some work :) hopefully the sun will shine a little more this week although we are in for a frost one morning though it shouldn’t be too harsh, well I hope not or it will burn a lot of the forming fruits which would be a bit of a disaster. 

  
Have a good week. 

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A picture paints a thousand words

They say, a picture paints a thousand words, that’s only true if the onlooker can interpret or has knowledge of what is being seen. I took photos this morning partly because I don’t have time to sit and write an amount today and partly to prove the above statement I made.

This one for example, just the inside of the greenhouse, you can see the plants coming on, what you don’t see are the many, many hours of work and care to even getting them to this stage. 

  
These two of blossom, one is pear, the other is apple, very pretty and the fragrance is wonderful, I also see a harvest, lots of blossom should result in lots of fruit IF the frosts are not too harsh and the birds don’t peck away at the buds as they form.   

Photos of the fences, the first which has been done, and the second waiting to be finished when there is time. The first shows a lovely scene of the country side, it does not show the time, effort and manual labour that went into it.

    

Pictures of the poly tunnel with over wintered veg and the veg plot as it stands now, again hours of work go into keeping the crops growing, and weeding to keep the ground clear so that valuable nutrients are not taken up by weeds but go to the plants that need them. 

  

A random picture of the dogs mooching around? No, the dogs either follow me around chucking a ball at my feet in the vain hope I will throw it for them, or, as in this case they pester the cat who has just dived under the caravan for cover.

 

Lovely early morning photo of the geese, well ganders actually, all of them. What that photo does not show is a whole year of nurturing them from day old, feeding, watering, mucking them out, looking after one of them when it was very poorly, and it certainly does not show my sheer disappointment in finding out they were all male one year on!   
The quail, all growing nicely, well not quite because of course it does not show the five that have died along the way and the struggle that some of them have in order to survive, even though they are fed well and looked after for some it is still an uphill battle.  
And last but not least, the beautiful Dicentra, or bleeding hearts, the photo speaks for itself, almost, what it does not say is that this is my favourite perennial flower of all time and that it makes me smile whenever I look at it :)  
So there you go, looking at pictures in all forms, as long as you look deep enough, can tell you so much more than you think. There is always an untold story behind the pictures, remember that when the media put up pictures designed to evoke a certain emotion, what is in that picture that you can’t see or haven’t been told. Have a lovely week, Hubby and I are off on a break leaving the farm in the capable hands of others, when we come back everything will look the same (hopefully) we won’t see the hiccups and problems they had while we were away, unless I look very closely that is! 

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Sold out! 

I am losing track of the blogs, I thought I had done one last week but it seems not so apologies for that.

I will start with today as that is the easy bit to remember, the job that took up most of my time this morning was searching for Bella, the little cat. She is quite a pesky little thing, always around your feet so it was noticeable this morning when she was nowhere to be seen, I fed Deisel, thinking she will appear in a minute, but even after finishing all the feeding she had still not turned up. I began by asking those who had bought a vehicle onto the yard to check that she hadn’t crawled in unnoticed, then I checked all the outbuildings, twice, I walked down the lane and along the hedgerows in case she had been squished. I came in and got the dog on a lead and walked the lane again to see if the dog could smell her anywhere, I went down to the next farm to see if anyone had seen her, nope not a thing. It is very unusual for her to go anywhere other than hang around the stable block so I decided to watch the CCTV to see if I could work out when she was last here. I could see that she was about until 9pm after that she does not appear again even when the dogs were let out for their last wee before bed, and there was no sign of her in the morning when the first livery arrived. By 12 noon, I had decided to give up looking and get on with the jobs I had planned for the day, after sending the last of many texts to the others discussing what could have happened to her, I went outside for one more look, lo and behold, there she is sat on top of the bale as if nothing had happened, huge sighs of relief all round, I am guessing that as she is now nearly 6 months old, this is the beginning of her wanderings and we will have more absences in the coming months.

The weather has now turned quite nicely and we are getting more sunshine than not, however we are lacking a bit of rain, I hate to say it but it’s true, the average rainfall is down for the month and the ground is rock solid! We started repairing and replacing fencing the weekend before last, the winter weather takes it’s toll on the wood and we last did it nearly four years ago, we were surprised however at how much some of the rails had rotted and quite a few posts just snapped off in the ground. Hubby keeps muttering that post ramming is a young mans job, I can’t argue with him there but we didn’t have any sons, all daughters and so all you are going to get from them is cake! Actually that’s not true, as you probably know they are pretty good at turning their hand to physical work and have been helping as and when they can.

The greenhouse is full to bursting with seedlings coming up, some have already been potted on, others are slower to develop, the samphire in particular, I should have know when the label said erratic viability! The onions and garlic that I planted are shooting up fast and the potatoes are just beginning to show greenery above ground. I have been thinking that I may have to water the garden tonight though as there is no sign of rain until the weekend. The first pickings of rhubarb have been put out and sold and on Sunday I picked the first of the cauliflowers that have been growing overwinter in the poly tunnel, we are going to have one with a homemade beef pie for tea tonight so that is something to look forward to.

The Quail are growing well and I have now bought them a food dish that they can’t kick the food out of, there was a huge amount of waste when they were able to get in the dish and scratch it all about. It won’t be long before I can tell if they are make or female and then they will be ready for selling. My bad luck bird story this year are the geese, it turns out that I have five ganders! Not a goose in sight, how did that happen, I am on the look out for females but it will be difficult this time of year as they are already either breeding or laying and so not up for sale :(

The laying flock is doing well and the egg numbers are still up, luckily the customer base has picked up as well and the turnover of eggs is healthy. The point of lay hens for sale have been flying out the door, not literally lol, but we have just SOLD OUT this morning, that was 55 birds in two and half weeks! The next lot don’t arrive until the beginning of May and I already have a list of people waiting. 

Enjoy the sunshine, they say it will be colder again next week, not too cold I hope and if we could just have a little bit of rain I will be very grateful ;) 

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