Courgettes, courgettes and many more courgettes πŸ˜œ

Monday: It’s cooler this morning which means it’s a lot easier to be motivated as I’m not sweating doing the morning rounds. I did a bit of watering but we are expecting rain tomorrow so I have left most of the garden, if it doesn’t come I shall be watering for hours 😝 Went to Millets Farm with the grandchildren today to see the animals, fell in love with the Pygmy goats lol, definitely would like to get some one day. 

We had a bird come in the window again today, this time it panicked and flew into the room then into the kitchen, eventually I managed to get it out of the side window, bizarre, it’s radar must be well off centre. We seem to have quite a lot of small birds especially sparrows at the moment, by my reckoning the bird boxes have had two possibly three lots of hatchlings in each box this year which is fabulous but they must be getting pretty full of debris by now and will need a good clean out eventually. 

Tuesday: It finally rained β˜”οΈβ˜”οΈ just a bit overnight, but hopefully we will get more, the grass will be refreshed with just a bit but the trees and the shrubs need more so fingers crossed. 

I have a feeling I am going to have hundreds of courgettes this year lol so I have been looking up recipes, I tried the Parmesan fingers, they are ok but I need to cut them thinner I think, I like them crispy. Also chocolate/courgette cake, I am always a bit wary of these recipes as mostly the veg doesn’t really add anything to the cake but I have found a recipe that uses oil instead of butter so I consider it to be a little more healthy. I am not a great lover of courgette, I add them to stews etc to bulk it out but never really tried much else with them, this is obviously the year to go for it and see what happens. 

While searching through Pinterest I found a recipe for something entirely different that I am going to have to have a go at making, banana and peanut butter bread pudding, mmmmm all of my favs rolled into one and useful as a winter breakfast I reckon, I shall be saving all the end bits of bread for this one πŸ˜€ 

The courgette cake tastes lovely, definitely will do that one again.

I glanced out of the door to see one of our rabbits hopping round the garden, I looked over to their run to see the door wide open and also the door to the orchard pen 😝 we had a child visitor this morning who went to see them but didn’t close and bolt the doors properly, I put Mia in the pushchair and under a tree as it was spitting with rain and proceeded to round them up, luckily they were easy to round up and it was done fairly quickly, lesson: it’s worth double checking the gates even if someone says they have shut them 😜
Well it’s has definitely rained and rained good, thank goodness for that, the garden and paddocks were desperate, I mean really desperate, the raspberry bushes were beginning to die back, the fruit trees were dropping their fruit, the paddocks, especially the chicken paddock was bare and dry and brown but it will have a new lease of life after the rain. Normally we could easily go three weeks without rain but not with the temperatures we have had as well, you can spend hours watering but nothing is as good as a rain shower, it’s charged with energy to start with and blanket coverage means every root gets a drink. 

Wednesday: Got some picking done, the runner beans are getting big enough to pick now, had Mia so didn’t get much else done apart from playing 😜

Went out into the back paddock in the evening, John missed a bit of ragwort so had to show him where it was, saw the little owl while we were out there and discussed having mains electric fencing instead of post and rail as the wood seems to rot away so quickly, either way we will have to spend some dollar 😜

Thursday: Rained a little over night which is welcome. This morning I am multitasking in a big way lol, I’ve stripped the sofas to wash the covers which will take 4 loads, done the feeding, got the sourdough bread on the go and picked fruit and veg, then on to clean the house. 

I picked more courgettes, not quite sure what I am going to do with them all 😝 picked a few runner beans and some purple dwarf beans and a couple of outdoor cucumbers. In the fruit cage I picked raspberries and then some loganberries, these are like large blackberries and they need picking on time as they readily fall off the bush onto the floor. I need to make some jam with them but I also still have ironing to do from weeks ago lol, which activity will win, I’m leaning towards the jam. The sourdough bread is going to take a lot longer to prove than normal bread I think, I have done a fair bit of reading about it all to try and understand exactly what needs doing and why I’m doing it, so far I seem to have got the hang of it but we shall see how the bread turns out before I can say it’s a success. 

In the end I did the ironing so I could watch the tennis at the same time lol, thinking about it I could do with a tv in the kitchen then I would never have to sit down πŸ˜‹

Things were going well, I was getting loads done and then pain struck in the bottom of my thumb joint, you don’t realise how much you use your thumb until you can’t! I must have strained it somehow and it was very painful, took a couple of ibrufen and waited for it to get better which is did but slowly, turning off a tap, lifting a saucepan even doing up your jeans is so much more difficult never mind putting the covers back on or prepping veg.

The sourdough was ok, not 100% but around 90 I would say, I think the mix was too wet as when it was proving it started to spread over the side of the tin, tastes good though and the texture is good, the next one will hopefully be even better. 

Friday: whipped round his morning as have routine blood tests to get to. Later in the afternoon my Friday help came and did some picking, the courgette numbers are ridiculous, I have no idea what I was thinking planting that many! We inspected the chick peas and there are loads of little pods on the plants, happy with that. I did a bit of tidying and some picking, then collected the eggs, the pullets are laying really well and we are getting 36 out of 38 birds already which is helping out in the egg shed massively. 

I was very sad to hear that our local fencing supplier had died, he was ‘old skool’ and a real character, I shall miss him ringing up for duck eggs and giving me abuse if we didn’t have any lol. 

The air tattoo is on his weekend and we have had noisy aeroplanes around all day today, it would be nice if the cloud lifted so we could actually see them and get a free show. 

Saturday: Got off to a flying start, John did the birds out in the front paddock while I did the others then he went off on the fortnightly feed run, meanwhile I cleaned the boot room, burnt the paper sacks and rubbish and started tidying up the back covered area, John helped to finish that when he came back. I had put the wildlife camera out last night up the back and checked out the footage, Mr Fox, no surprise there. Did a bit of veg picking while John watched the qualifying and I had a good haul of self set potatoes, they will feed us for a week or two at least. I spotted 10 apricots on the tree, the birds had already got to a few of them but I ended up with six, not bad considering I thought the frost had got all of them, maybe next year will be better (I say that every year, last year they were plentiful but pitted). Such was the success of the courgette/choc cake I have made another two today along with some more sourdough bread and a regular loaf. The sourdough takes ages to prove, I think I may go back to the old way but not until I have used up the starter and at least I know how to do it now even if I don’t! 

We have another fly phenomenon in the living room this time, I hoovered up around 30 flies yesterday, we have identified where they are coming from and John has gone to get some expanding foam to fill the hole. The problem is the wooden hollow walls and the rat poison, bad combination 😝 still at least we can fix it, he is also picking up some wasp nest killer as I still have a nest in one of the compost bins and I can’t work near it because they get angry, I will show them who is boss πŸ˜‰ We have a bees nest in the feed room but I won’t be killing them off as they tend to mind their own business as long as we mind ours and we can co exist quite happily. 
Courgette and Chocolate cake recipe

Basically just put it all in a big bowl and stir, then bake at around 160c for approx 40mins or until the knife comes out clean. This make two lb loaf tin size cakes, give it a go you won’t be disappointed I can tell you. I used pecans in the first one and walnuts in the next lot, also olive oil in the first because that’s all I had and sunflower in the second lot. You can buy courgettes in the little shed 😜😜 or actually I have that many that if you are reading this and just ask me I will give you some for free πŸ˜€
I have set the camera again tonight, lets see what, if anything, we get.

Sunday:  Checked the camera and have more video of Mr Fox, I have tried in vain to transfer it from my laptop to the iPad if I actually succeed then it will be on here fingers crossed. In the end I had to video the video!  Nope I couldn’t upload it even then πŸ˜” I will try uploading it onto the Friesland Farm Facebook page and hope that works. 

​Martin came over to do some more to the play pirate ship, just some finishing touches to go now, the smile on Joshua’s face was a mile wide when he went in, Mia and him will have such fun although I think us adults will have just as much, can’t wait to dress up and play pirates, yo ho ho and a bottle of rum. 

Pulled up an enormous swede today, there were a couple more that were quite big and I don’t really want them any bigger so I dug four up and hopefully they will store well until they are needed. A drop more rain this afternoon means I won’t have to water πŸ’¦ yay. A common problem this year is tomatoes not setting fruit, mine included, plenty of flowers but they are not turning into fruit at all, it was the hot spell that caused it, the pollen becomes sterile if the temps are consistently high, there are a few tomatoes on each plant so all is not lost but it would have been nice to have had a jackpot load. 

Life on the farm, warts and all πŸ˜œ

Monday again 😜 Where does the time go? Still no rain and things are looking a bit desperate, I watered the fruit trees we planted in the front paddock as they are only a couple of years old and look like they are flagging. After doing the feed routine and nothing untoward happened, I went straight into the veg garden to do some cutting back and some hoeing. The garlic has developed rust so I pulled that as it’s nearly time, disappointing small bulbs but still useful, it was mostly due to their location under the nut trees and I am going to remove that bed as everything struggles in there. I burnt the garlic leaves and sterilised the secateurs as rust is a fungus that will spread if not careful. Our lovely chap who brings us useful things in exchange for muck has brought some great stuff for making raised beds and I’m already planning where they will go. I’m thinking that they will go on top of the existing beds, which are far too shallow and it’s a struggle to get stuff growing, rather than making a new area, is it sad that I get excited by receiving stuff to make raised beds lol. Picked some dwarf beans, a couple of courgettes and some artichoke as well as raspberries and a few blueberries. The blueberry bushes have been disastrous this year, they had been fine in previous years but seem to have come loose at the roots, they need coming out and possibly replacing or if I can get them back, replanting in new soil. I caught a magpie stealing my cherries, I don’t think there is much hope of getting a crop, they are morello and much tarter than ordinary ones but the birds don’t seem to care they ransack it anyway. Watered the garden in the evening, I am using pumped rain water from the tanks for one half of the garden I don’t how much is left but hope we get some rainfall soon 😝

John spent a couple of hours digging up yet more docks. 

Tuesday: My word it’s very close out there this morning, either that or I am running a temperature! The air is as still as it can be and it feels suffocating, all is well with the animals, I moved Jack onto a bit of long grass to chew it off save me mowing it and I shall spend a couple of hours in the veg garden doing whatever needs doing. If the sun comes out today it’s gonna be hot, good job the tennis is on and I can escape indoors to watch a couple of matches 🎾 

I decided to rescue the blueberry bushes which as I have said are in a sorry state, I dug them up, pruned them right back and have plunged them into a water and rooting powder solution. My first port of call was to test the soil, they need a ph of around 4.5/5.5 so out comes the science bit but the soil seems to be acidic enough so the only thing I can think of is wind rock as the roots were very loose. There don’t appear to be any critters that would harm the roots in the trough and the one in a recycling box on its own is doing fine, so I will see if I can nurse them back to health, if not I will have to buy new ones for next year. I have some tiny little lemons on the lemon treeπŸ‹ nothing on the orange tree mind you but I am pleased with what I have as long as they keep growing. I was thinking of moving them but they seem to like it in the greenhouse and they survived the winter in there although last winter was fairly mild in comparison to other winters, two figs are growing nicely on the fig tree and again I would like to move it but don’t want to tempt fate. I have seen some huge fig trees in the area when I was gardening so it is possible to have a good harvest however the conditions need to be right and they quickly die if it’s not. I can’t see anything on the kiwi and I only have 1 or 2 apricots on that tree. 

Wednesday: 9.30am and I don’t mind telling you I’m flagging already! It’s hot out there and I have managed to do the feed round, water the poly tunnel, pick some raspberries and a few runner beans, sat and shared my coffee break with a red legged partridge. I planted the pumpkin plants yesterday, to be honest I forgot about them and there were about 10 so put some up for sale and sold them, they were doing ok in the greenhouse just getting a bit leggy! 

I think I will be mostly indoors today keeping cool 😎 

Spent the evening watering once it had cooled down enough.

Thursday: Got up early, and I mean early, 4.15 lol, I was going to get up and have an early start anyway but not quite that early, however, I woke up, decided to go into the kitchen and see what time it was as there was daylight outside and discovered it was 4.15, so I stayed up, had breakfast, got dressed and went out into the garden. It was delightfully peaceful, I had the farm all to myself, no chickens, no ducks, no dogs and no humans, as I was pottering around I watched a snail make slow but steady progress across the lawn, just the pace that life should be. They say it will be around 30c today so that’s why I went out and got started, John got up, eventually 😜, and did all the feeding and watering so that I could carry on 😘 came indoors around 11 feeling knackered lol and still hoping for some of these thundery showers! 

Goodness me what a warm day β˜€οΈ I had a sleep at about 3.30 woke up feeling tired lol shouldn’t have bothered, although I would probably have been grumpy if I didn’t 😝 The air is close and no sign of any breaking so I shall be watering this evening, it takes me a good couple of hours, one hose is on the mains the other pumped from the rain tanks so I can do two lots at once but still it takes forever. 

Friday: Warm again but I didn’t get up early today, did the morning rounds then indoors to do paperwork, the end of year paperwork has be up together for both the farm and the bathroom business, so I made a start on that. 

The egg sales have been mental today and not only have we sold yesterday’s but all of today’s by 5pm! That means there will be no eggs tomorrow until the afternoon. John is off to pick up some more pullets in the morning, hopefully they will be near to laying if not already. I shall be watering again this evening, the situation is getting rather dire, the chicken paddock is brown and bare, the only reason the veg are ok is constant watering, rain needed pleeaase. 

Picked a few courgettes and some raspberries, started off some raspberry vinegar, and a sourdough starter, I’ve been making bread for a while now with conventional ingredients, time to become artisan 😜 I love sourdough and as long as it toasts and make sandwiches John will eat it, so now is as good a time as any to begin. 

Saturday: Fabulous day today, we were up early again because John was taking Charlie and Macca to the airport for their holiday, then picking up some more POL hens,  I figured I may as well get up at the same time, early morning is the best part of the day in Summer. I did some picking and a bit of watering before doing the feed round, the geese needed water and on connecting the hose I discovered some muppet had shut the gate onto the hose, pinching it and causing the metal grill covering it to pierce a hole straight through it so I had to mend that first. I have collected sage and that is in the dehydrator ready to dry out for Winter use, the other herbs are still in flower so I will leave them for the bees 🐝 then cut them back and harvest the new growth to dry. While I was working I could hear an unfamiliar bird noise, and then a return call, I thought it was buzzards to start with but when I went to look where it was coming from I saw two Kite sat on posts calling to each other. They are huge when they are close up, shame I didn’t have time to get the camera, I did call John down from the paddock so he could see them though.

 There are some beautiful flowers in the garden at the moment and I picked a bunch of sunflower, English mace and asparagus fern to adorn the kitchen table, I did think they would make a lovely simple, graceful, bridal bouquet. The cornflowers always make me smile whenever I go past them, I will be collecting the seeds from them when they go over and spreading more smiles around the garden πŸ˜„πŸ˜€ Then the little fairy rose has become a favourite of mine as well this year, I bought them with the intention of putting them in the front boxes but they need a bit of a revamp first so I will just keep potting them on for the time being. 

We spent at least an hour drilling out the remains of the handle in the fork I snapped off in the week, lol,who knew it would be such a tough job, new handle on its way πŸ˜€

Then a sit down to watch some tennis 🎾 

I forgot to mention that I finally got round to sorting out the tools we inherited, there were about ten different sets of screwdrivers and I will never be short of a lump-hammer or nails ever again! I found a few curiosities, well they were to me anyhow, I told John I found a home made mini pick, he looked at it and said ‘that’s a twating hammer’ who knew there was such a thing lol, apparently it’s for glass work. A pair of mole grips was eagerly spotted by himself but I quickly put them away out of his reach, however now he knows they are there I’m not sure how long they will remain in my toolbox 😜 

Our man came with some more useful wood tonight and John was still out in the field at 10pm cutting down docks, while I was watering I spotted πŸ‘€ a rat πŸ€ running along the back of the duck run so I fed him well tonight 😝

Sunday: Today I have had enough!!! And it’s only 10am, firstly, I let the geese out, walk away 100 yards to watch the chickens enjoying sitting in on top of a cabbage I hung out for them, hear a commotion in the goose paddock turn around and the eeffing fox has got my gosling, I chase after it retrieve the gosling but it dies of a puncture wound and shock. Then as it’s already getting hot outside and I am exhausted counting the number of cabbage white butterflies (why are the pain in the arse ones never endangered) I come indoors to tidy up, pick up the raspberry vinegar I have had going for two days and the lid comes off and it’s all over the bloody counter ffs, days like today are deflating and I think, fuck it, I can’t be arsed anymore. There are no eggs for sale as we sold out in 15 minutes flat yesterday, which is good but the customers keep coming and John wants to get more chickens but I don’t as I don’t physically have the time to do anymore especially when it’s hot. Why the hell the fox doesn’t get the rabbit numbers down and do us all a favour is beyond me, the pigeon numbers seem to be going up and they are a pain, knocking over plants everyday that I have out for sale, sitting above the doorway on the telegraph pole and shitting everywhere, the rooks are getting into the houses nicking the feed and eating any eggs they find, rats are back doing the same, the bloody dogs keep digging a hole outside the back door chucking dirt all over, I keep sweeping it up and they do it again, and we neeeeeeeeed some rain, just a little bit will do as the paddocks are nearly dead and the apples are falling off the trees because it’s so dry. I actually cannot find anything positive today ( right at that very minute of writing a bird flew in the window and sat inside on the sill)  a reminder to shut up moaning maybe, today is a strange one for sure 😏 I was going to edit the last bit out, but there you have it a warts and all lifestyle 😜 At least the sourdough starter didn’t get vinegar in it! 

Five minutes later and a knock at the door, can they have some ice for one of the girls who has had a head butt from the horse and now has a fat lip, I told you, I don’t think it’s me, it’s the day itself and not even high noon! 

John is on the home run digging up the docks, last little bit in the last paddock, I don’t know why we have so many this year, probably because we didn’t tackle them last year or the year before lol. Later this evening he is off to help the chap pick up some more wood and crates for the farm later, there are some large frame crates and I mean 6ft tall, I’m thinking they will make good sheds, love getting stuff that can be repurposed or reused. 

Picked a whole load of courgettes, no shortage this year, I can see we will have a glut, need to find some good recipes for them. 

The rest of the day went without incident I am pleased to say πŸ˜€

Rain promised, waiting for rain, no rain in sight πŸ˜

Hello, I hope you enjoyed Shelley’s blog last week and her experience of looking after the farm while we were away.We got straight back into work Saturday morning, although we had to have a nap in the afternoon! Everything has romped away and I can’t believe how much growth the veg have put on, there are the beginnings of cucumbers, squash and I picked a handful of French beans. The raspberries are coming thick and fast as are the strawberries, I spent the morning picking some of these along with mangetout, a few weeds for the rabbits to munch on, a couple of loads of washing got done and we moved the geese from the front to the back paddock, we chopped down a few docks and thistles, put fresh hay in their hut and filled up the water, then proceeded to herd them round. It went well for the first 2 minutes then the baby decided it didn’t want to leave the only place it had known and tried to get back, I had to pick it up and carry it, this made it easier in fact as the older geese just followed the squawking, although its sharp claws took a chunk out of my hand. 

After nap time 😝 John went into the large side paddock and chopped down docks, the horses have grazed it all off and moved now so it’s a good time to tidy it up, we will put some seaweed fertiliser on when there is some rain forecast. I clipped the rest of the nut trees that shelley started, there is a row of around 12 of them so it’s a big job and I have the blister to prove it. Then tea time, broad beans are the veg today along with a chop and some potatoes for John and salmon and a mixed salad for me, then raspberry, strawberry, blueberry mix for pudding. 

The pirate ship Martin has been building is fab and I have been looking for accessories for it such as a ships wheel and some rope netting, I have an old Bosuns whistle they can use when they get older and I think a spyglass would be a good addition, what lucky children they are, pirate costumes needed as well I think πŸ˜€

Sunday: Today is our 34th wedding anniversary, blimey where did those years go! No rest for the wicked though and we started working straight after breakfast, John did the animals while I got stuck into the garden, I discovered the purple dwarf beans had been busy producing while we were away so picked a good lot of those, some rhubarb, artichokes, broccoli, raspberries and strawberries. I had a large tub of raspberries and had nearly finished when my bracelet caught on a branch and the whole lot went tumbling to the ground, expletives could be heard if you were nearby 😜 John reported that we had a dead quail and a duck who had got stuck in the water yesterday was not looking too good this morning, he gave her some water and I told him to put her in the new shed to rest, she may have had too much amorous attention from a drake, it often happens at this time of year. Visits from all the girls, grandchildren and also Macca this morning, not one of them remembered our Anniversary lol, not to worry we don’t exactly celebrate it either except to wish each other ‘Happy Anniversary’ which is more than enough πŸ˜€ 

Monday: Got a nice early start and the morning was pleasant, I started differently this morning with watering the veg that gets the sun first, it is still cool enough for them to absorb a fair bit of moisture and hopefully they will be happy with that. Then onto the animals, the duck that was poorly has been taken inside to see if rest, feed and water can help if not it will be a dispatch job. I let the horse out onto the strip to eat the grass that has grown on there, we will see if he stays where he is supposed to 😜 if not he will be back behind the electric fencing with hay. I blanched a bit of veg whilst on a coffee break then out to pull the overwintered onions, apparently they don’t store well and can be pulled before the tops turn brown, I will have probably dehydrate a few of them for winter use. I had a look at the garlic that has formed some good bulbs and won’t be long before they are pulled and dried, I still have some left from last year they have stored very well and I would say we are definitely self sufficient in garlic now πŸ˜€ 

Samantha and Mia came over to help, they cleaned out the guinea pigs and rabbits then Sam cut one of the black currant bushes and we sat and harvested the juicy plump currants, the others that had not ripened went to the chickens and the branches that were now stripped went to the rabbits to chew on, all while listening to Sam telling Mia a made up story about a little girl called Mia and her dog Alfie, perfect. After lunch I sorted out some plants for sale and put them out with the prices on, three I put out yesterday disappeared just like that so I had better keep on top of things. 

I felt I had paced myself well today and in the afternoon I decided to make some black currant jam, cordial and some bread, all going well then the front bell rings 😜 how come it’s always when I have jam on the go? The egg shed was empty, how I don’t know, customers are like silent ghosts I never see them come and go and had only checked the shed a couple of hours before, luckily John arrived home at the exact minute so jam saved, I dived back indoors while he collected eggs up, crisis averted. 

Spent the evening picking ready for sale tomorrow, could do with a splash of rain I have to say. Well not too much of the evening as I was getting bit to buggery! Rain is forecast and hopefully it will get rid of the midges. 

I have just seen the forecast for the next few days, looks like downpours why cant it be something inbetween, this means by the end of the next four days I will have a flipping lot of work to do, picking, weeding and the raspberries will be wet and useless if the forecast is true, oh my days 😀

Tuesday: Picked more blackcurrants today after the morning rounds, also raspberries and broccoli, I am mindful of this rain we are supposed to be getting and don’t want to end up with soggy berries or bolted brassicas, everything else could really do with a good dousing so now I’m ready, bring it on 😜 I ordered a new jam saucepan as the one I used yesterday ended up ‘catching’ which is not good, I also ordered a new digital thermometer, I have the old type but the writing has almost disappeared on it so I can’t tell what the temp is anyway, except 200 for chips lol. I have Mia today and Shelley and Josh came over to help with the currants this morning, a nice treat of fresh raspberries for their snack Josh also tried a bit of raw broccoli, the jury is out on that one, bite a bit, spit it out, bite a bit more, eat it with a strange look πŸ‘€ I love being able to give them fresh veg and fruit to try, they won’t like all of it but at least they will know how their food is produced. We heard a chicken making the ‘I have laid an egg’ squawk so Josh and I went off to find it in the stable, I don’t think he can quite make the connection yet but he will in time. 

It’s evening and I am sitting wondering if I should go and water the veg or not, dilemma, we were forecast rain around 4pm but as yet nothing, the veg really need it but will I spend my evening watering then overnight a deluge? We were going to fertilise the big paddock but again if we do and the rain is heavy it will just wash it down to one area, the decision is to wait until later in the year when the paddock has put on some regrowth at least the grass will hold the pellets in place while they dissolve and we will probably seed a week or so later. My jam pan has arrived so I could make jam instead………

Wednesday: Hallelujah it rained, not sure how much but it will freshen the veg and the paddocks, in the end last night I watched Dr Who and Broken instead of making jam 😝 I won’t be doing anything in the garden this morning, I will leave it to enjoy its refreshing shower and just get on with the animals instead. I can see that the rain wasn’t enough to soak right in but it has made everything that was brown and dusty look more perky and it’s very pleasant out there πŸ˜€ Yesterday a customer bought me his last remaining quail that he had bought from us last year, sadly the rats have got at the rest, it’s female and laying so that’s a bonus, the poorly duck is still alive, she is very vocal and eating and drinking but she can’t stand up so I will continue feeding her for a few days yet to see what happens, I cant see any sign of injury and she does not have respiratory problems, she is pooing ok and no signs that are obvious of tumour so I’m stumped but will keep looking after her. 

Mum, as you know is away on the canal, she often writes poems to express the days adventures. I have asked permission to use her latest on here as it sums up perfectly going from the dry spell to rain in a way I can’t πŸ˜€

It’s a grey and dismal morning

My shoes are soaking wet

The dogs have had their morning run 

I haven’t had my PG yet 

The green fields and the hedgerows 

Are drinking in with thirst 

A heaven-sent drink of nectar 

Sweetened with each raincloud burst 

The sky darkened, with foreboding 

Filled with heavens spoils 

Gathered through the days of 

Naked , blinding Sun 

Drawing all earth’s moisture from fields and well trod soils 

It’s been a while now 

Since it’s needy thirst was quenched 

But now Halliluyha !! 

We’re absolutely drenched !!! 

Enjoy the rain get out the wellies and raincoats and splash those puddles
I blanched and open froze the broccoli, you can use what you need that way, better than having a lump of green stuff in the freezer, I also blanched some dwarf beans to freeze then got on with making the black currant jam πŸ˜€ I don’t bother topping and tailing as this will be strained to produce a smooth jam, the rest won’t be wasted though as it will go into the Rumtopf pot and have alcohol added, waste not and all that. Black currants are high in pectin so no need to jam sugar, ordinary sugar will do the job easily.
I found this piece of writing to explain the benefits of purple fruit and veg, it’s not just a fad there are real benefits to be had from eating these, if you wonder why bother when, on cooking, the veg go green then don’t waste the water you cook them in as it will have all those benefits contained, use it to make gravy or stock. 

‘Prunes, purple cabbage, eggplant, blackberries, black currants, purple onions, concord grapes: all of these have a natural purple pigment that contains flavonoids, including reservatrol, which keeps blood pressure in control and boosts immunity from certain cancers. The skin of a black grape, for example, has this pigment, called anthocyanin. In cranberries, the purple pigment is seen to benefit those suffering from infections of the urinary tract.’

Had Mia today and we went to soft play with Josh and Shelley, after Mia was picked up I made some more jam, that’s 9 jars so far probably enough for the time being but there are plenty of black currants left to pick 😜 I will have to look up some recipes and see what comes up. 

Thursday: Still no sign of the downpours they predicted πŸ™„ they will probably arrive at the weekend when everyone is off work 😜 Meanwhile life carries on as normal, feed and water routine done I went on to clean out Kai and then pick raspberries, they are beginning to ripen thick and fast now, raspberry jam will soon be the order of the day. The chickens keep scratching the earth away round the base of the fruit trees we planted a few years ago exposing the roots, I had a brainwave and one now has a buster collar around the bottom to try and stop it happening continually and killing the tree. I need a couple more if anyone has some knocking around πŸ˜€ We moved the ducks last night into the new hut, I was hoping this morning that the egg numbers would be higher as I think the rats are pinching them again but there were still only half the number they were producing a few weeks ago. It happens the same time every year, all the egg numbers drop, good job we have the veg and fruit sales to bolster the sales. On Saturday John picked up 25 pullets, 8 have sold already and they are not even laying yet though not far off, hopefully they will add to the egg numbers soon enough. 

Picked the first few courgettes, some broad beans, mangetout and asparagus peas, then had a coffee break and did a bit of research on the asparagus pea as they seem to grow well and keep producing.

This was a good all round article and after reading it I am looking forward to trying them, maybe a mixed veg sautΓ© for lunch? I remembered John was going to the dentist later to have a crown fitted so I decided to make some soup with the bits in the fridge that needed using up, couple of spring onions, celery, tomatoes, I added a courgette some broad beans and mange-tout plus a couple of small potatoes and a couple of runner beans that were the first I have picked, a sprinkle of turmeric, mushroom power, garlic and some chicken stock, smells great and a fresh loaf to go with it, the boy is spoilt lol I blanched the rest of the broad beans and some mange-tout for the freezer, great for soups, stews and casseroles in the winter time. Made a black currant drizzle cake, well it would be rude not to with all these berries πŸ˜€ besides it’s one of the recipes that came up in my search and as I have only ever made lemon drizzle I thought it was worth a try. Had a black currant, banana and honey milkshake for lunch and made a double batch of spaghetti Bol, some for dinner later for me and some to freeze, all of the above was conducted whilst still in my wellies I might add as I never intended to spend my time in the kitchen it just happened! While drinking my afternoon coffee and looking for interesting things to do with the blackcurrants I came across an advert for black currant powder, wow, why haven’t I thought of that before, dehydrated, ground into powder they will be an awesome addition to my store cupboard πŸ˜€ and of course the possibilities with fruit powders are endless, can’t wait to get started now. 

I went to check on the poorly duck and realised how stupid I had been, she now had fly strike, I dispatched her immediately to stop her suffering.

Friday: Still no downpour so I will definitely be watering this morning. After feeding I went straight into the garden to get started, picking first before I water, picked raspberries, strawberries and blackcurrants to go into the dehydrator, dwarf beans and a couple of early runners and some pentland javelin new potatoes I think we will have them with a steak and the beans for dinner tonight πŸ˜€ 

While I was quietly picking currants off the cuttings a wild rabbit hopped into the garden, oi get out I said and off it went, we have a large rabbit population this year probably due to the mild dry winter, I really need to get someone in to reduce the numbers. 

Did a bit of tidying in the garden, the artichoke plants are huge and heavy I’m sure you could build a house with those stems! I have identified a fair bit to do at the end of the season, dig up most of the strawberry plants as they are just a tangled mess now, cutback the artichoke instead of leaving them to grow again, I have perennials in some boxes that need digging out, dividing and replanting, the raspberries need an overhaul, I have far too many rows the list is endless lol. 

Sat and watched some angry wasps when I put nest killer in the plastic compost bin where they have taken up residence, then for some unknown reason I decided to pickle eggs! We have a back log of quail eggs and so I boiled up 3 dozen and pickled them in a concoction of cider vinegar, curry powder, turmeric, sugar and some cardamon pods, hopefully they will taste great πŸ˜€

John came home and went to feed the birds, the wires were off both crocodile clips on the battery to the hens and there were feathers inside the pen 😞 we have a daytime marauder because it was fine this morning. And just looking out the door I see a baby rabbit in my veg garden, I thought I saw something this morning but wasn’t sure, we are plagued with bandits 😝

Saturday: John did the outside stuff while on got on and did some cleaning and washing 😝 then he did the feed run and ordered 25 more pol chickens for next week, we have sold a few but we thought we should get some more so that the egg numbers stay up as the egg customers came thick and fast this morning with an actual traffic queue in the driveway! Family BBQ in the afternoon and it was nice to relax and enjoy ourselves. When we came home in the evening John decided to get the air gun out and see if he could take out a rabbit or two, he is not the worlds best shot and the answer is no he couldn’t lol. 

Sunday: Spent the morning in the garden, picking, watering, weeding while John did the animals and then dug up some more dock plants. I cut some broccoli and cauliflower then had to process it for the freezer. Meanwhile the currants and fruit I put in the dehydrator were coming to a finish so I set about grinding them to powder. I probably wouldn’t do it in the machine again as it took a very long time and it would be better to use the warming drawer on the Rayburn, it also was quite a process getting the stuck berries off the grilles 😜 however the smell of the currants was amazing and I now have black currant powder and raspberry powder, the strawberries were not so good and the bananas are probably best not ground as they are not brittle enough. 

Shelley’s blog πŸ˜€


What a lovely sunny morning it is to welcome me to Friesland farm!

So first things first, don my work clothes and jump into the bosses wellies, and my goodness what big boots I have to fill this week, let’s hope I am up to the task?

The very first job is to feed, water and let out all the animals, ducks, geese, chickens, quail, rabbits, guinea pigs, cats, dogs, the list goes on….making sure they all have plenty of water as today is set to be hot hot hot. After the animals have all been fed, back inside to feed ourselves πŸ™‚ very thankful to my dad for making me a bacon sandwich and a cuppa! Back outside to water the pollytunnel and all the veg/plants before it gets to hot!

On to check the egg shed is topped up as the customers are coming thick and fast today, nearly sold out of all the eggs, broad beans and artichoke!
Whilst josh slept in his pushchair under the tree I picked broad beans and strawberries and very much enjoyed shelling the broadbeans sitting in the sunshine with nothing but the birds song for company and a little bunny scampering across the field. Once josh had woke up we went inside to take cover from the midday sun. You quickly learn a lot here and 2 things I have learnt already are 1. Do not leave the quail eggs on the counter where your toodler can reach, said eggs are now all smashed and on the floor and 2. Don’t leave broad beans in a basket on floor as if you turn your back for 2 seconds there will be rather a lot of bite marks in them lol.
Lunch was of course a broad bean affair with mint from the garden, lemon and tomatoes, popped on top of a piece of fresh bread with garlic and olive oil, delicious, even if I do say so myself. After lunch all the animals got checked for water and general wellbeing, my son is obsessed with horses so trying to drag him away from them is difficult.

Once the sun started setting I watered all the veg/plants and pollytunnels, it’s only when you start looking properly at someone else’s garden do you realise the shear hard work they put in, the amount of veg and plants that have been planted is massive and the upkeep must be tiring for mum.

Unfortunately I think I may of overdid everything in the sun today as had what I think may of been heatstroke, was very poorly in the night and despite wearing Pyjamas, a blanket and a duvet, I was shivering!

Still unwell this morning, so my kind husband did the rounds with Josh.

As you know today has been so hot, so apart from looking after the animals we have not been out in the sun, although me and Josh did take Daddy to the pub for a cold beer to celebrate Father’s Day!
The egg sales have been very slow today, I am guessing maybe it’s to hot for people to venture out or perhaps everyone is in the pub garden!
As the sun started to set I really cracked on with the jobs, I think if this weather keeps up it’s the only way I will manage, I believe this is what mum does too πŸ™‚ so tonight I gave everything a good watering, picked broad beans, strawberries and raspberries, blanched the veg and froze it and Josh ate all the raspberries as they are his favourite! I have also been tending to the broccoli, wiping away the eggs from the leaves and squashing the caterpillars so they don’t eat them, one of mine and Josh’s favourite books is the very hungry caterpillar, funny how quickly you can go off things!
Another hot day in store today, 29 degrees at 10am!
At 7am when me and Josh did the rounds we saw Vicky taking the horses to the stables, she said it was too hot for them to stay out today so that was why, Jack however has a field shelter so he will be fine, although normally I am terrified of horses I have been getting better what with feeding and giving water to jack and I am proud to say this morning I went in his field, rather than hanging the hose over the fence! Although my husband, martin is still on poo picking duty as that’s a bit to much time in the field for me!
I am sad to say that on my rounds today I encountered 2 deaths, one was a poorly chicken which had curled up in the shade and passed (mum had warned me that he was unwell) and the other was a small wild bird that had drowned in the water bucket, I laid the small bird to rest under a tree as martin got rid of the chicken.
I tried my best to water as much as I could early this morning and also tidied up round the greenhouse whilst josh slept under the tree.
Again it was too hot to manage anything this afternoon, so I cleaned up inside and then we took to the shade and the paddling pool in the afternoon.
This evening I picked lots of strawberries, watered and weeded as much as I could in the veg patch. When undertaking all the tasks today the same thought kept popping onto my mind and that was, how on earth does my mum do this everyday? Granted it’s not normally this hot, but throw in keeping the house in order, having 3 children (who are always calling in) 2 very active grandchildren, Lupus and the daily activities on a normal life, I just don’t know how she keeps up! Also did I mention she bakes homemade bread every other day and is a good 20 years older than me! I know my dad works extremely hard too everyday so just don’t know how they manage!
So this morning I had a mini brainwave…normally whilst doing the morning rounds I start with the ducks and end up with the chickens, the whole process takes around an hour and by the end it is very hot a Josh is getting cranky and hungry for his breakfast, so today I started with the chickens and the geese as they are the biggest job, this way it was nice and cool for Josh and for me scraping the floor and we ended with the horse (this made josh very happy as he loves the horse)
After breakfast we went out to water everything whilst it was still cool enough and had a general tidy up.
For lunch my friend Heather popped round (she is expecting her first baby in a matter of weeks so it was exciting to have a catch up and have a bit of a break) I picked mounge tout, radish and lettuce from the garden and we had it with homemade mackerel pate, a very refreshing dish on a hot day.
When she had left Josh splashed around in the paddling pool whilst I watered some more plants that were in the shade.
In the evening the hard work began, I have clipped back all the trees by the front door to let in some much needed light (a job my mum doesn’t enjoy as it makes her hands ache the next day) it’s no mean feet either, all in all it took around 3 hours! More tidying up, weeding and watering and sorted out all the eggs for the shed. Egg sales have been slow this week, I believe due to the weather, you really don’t want to be going out in the car unless you have to.
I really feel like I am getting into the swing of things now and trying to concentrate on one area a day, so that if I don’t get so much time for that area the next day I don’t feel so guilty.
I have also come up with a little invention today, for anyone that has to fill big buckets of water up, you will know how irritating it is when the hose falls out, you come back from doing another job and see a flooded floor 😦 so I figure some type of magnet device to hold it in place would work wonders….maybe I will save that one for my next adventure.
Tonight is the first night we have sat down on the sofa of an evening, although it is 10.30pm and bed will soon be calling lol
Did the animals in the same fashion as yesterday this morning and again it worked wonders, this morning paying particular attention to the floor in the chicken coop as it is getting messy (although done everyday) I picked some broad beans, and artichoke this morning and Josh munched his way through the basket I was collecting (although if that’s the way to get your child to eat veg without a fuss, I say crack on)
Although today was supposed to be the hottest day so far, it didn’t seem it this morning, after doing the rounds and putting josh down for a nap, I decided to make a curry with mounge tout as the main star! (I know I must be mad) 
After lunch we cleaned out the ducks and when i say ‘we’ I mean Josh watched whilst I worked up a sweat in the midday sun, I scraped every inch of their hut as I am mindful of maggots with the weather! After cleaning out the ducks we went on a wander to check the rabbits and quail were doing ok, they are kept in the orchard and at the moment the only animals there (normally home to chickens) there are a few empty huts, I was checking the quail and Josh had gone quiet (any person who has had or had a toddler will know that this means trouble) well I nearly keeled over laughing when I spot 2 little legs dangling out of a hut! As soon as he knew he had been caught he jumped down with the biggest grin on his face, it did make me chuckle.
This evening I spent a good few hours in the veg garden, picking, weeding and watering! I don’t think i have mentioned but my husband is building a pirate ship playhouse for the kids, so that’s what he has been doing each evening on his return home from work! 
Tomorrow is suppose to thunder and rain and although I may sound like a party pooper, I hope it does, they veg need it so bad and a clear air will do us all good!
Today was house tidy day before Mum and Dad get home, stripping the beds ect ect.
We also had a walk round of the farm, tidying up as we went, sweeping, collecting rubbish, raking up leaves ect ect.
This evening, we enjoyed poached duck eggs on toast for dinner and they were absolutely delicious, egg sales have also picked up again so I am pleased with that, must of been the weather lol.
It was a much cooler evening this evening so a bit easier to get on with all the watering and picking, picked another great big basket of veg (its growing like mad) bagged some up for the shed and put some in the fridge for mum and dads return.
Anyway my time is nearly up now and I have to say we have had a fantastic time looking after the farm, I’m brown, I have worked hard and I feel proud to have got everything done (although I am sure I have missed something)
Frieslands Farm, it has been a pleasure – until next time πŸ™‚  
All I will add to that is a huge thank you to Shelley, Martin and Josh for looking after everything, it’s a massive commitment and they have done an excellent job, I know the place is in safe and capable hands when I go away and that makes all the difference to relaxing and enjoying my time off πŸ˜€ 😘😘

Guest blog

I have a treat coming up for you in the form of a surprise guest blog. We were away last week and Shelley has written a blog of her time looking after the farm πŸ˜€ its fab and I will have to raise my game in writing my future blogs lol. I will post it Sunday as usual. 

Windy weather, pests and a parsnip incident πŸ˜›

Monday: So our guests have returned to Wales, it was lovely to have them for a week and they were no trouble (almost, there was the parsnip incidentπŸ˜‰) I shall miss the washing up being done every time I turn my back, got to do it myself now lol. Sue had asked if she could do a bit of hoeing in the garden for me, naturally I said yes that’s fine and she is a keen gardener (flowers and shrubs) so I thought it would be safe 😜 Later on that day when we were having a drink in the pub she said ‘you didn’t have anything else other than broad beans in that raised bed did you? ‘ ‘ um, yes there were parsnips around the edge’ ‘ oh’ she said, ‘well there were’ I said and added laughing, ‘ we don’t eat parsnips very much anyway’ then she asked, ‘there weren’t any other plants in various places were there?’ now at this point I realised, as I had said in previous blogs, that I had been putting veg plants in every available space and someone who doesn’t do veg gardening may not necessarily recognise pepper plants, ‘yes there were pepper plants in the herb garden dotted around’ ‘oh’ she said again and went very quiet, we spent the evening ribbing her about hoeing down all my veg plants πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ as it happened when I inspected them on our return, the pepper plants were intact and a row of parsnips had survived, I’d like to think of it as, thinning, πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Today the rain has set in and it’s cold for the time of year, the weather has been very mixed over the last few weeks, all or nothing. Anyway the rain is a good thing, I don’t need to water and everything should put on some good growth, I did pick some baby broad beans last week but have left the rest to swell and mature. Except the beans in the ply tunnels appear to be getting eaten, mice is my best guess, I have beer traps for the slugs, I may need to set a mouse trap, they really have stripped every broad bean in there and I don’t want them starting on the dwarf beans and peas so need to sort the situation promptly. 

I’m thinking I’d like to dig out the recipe for rhubarb and custard cake and make one of those this week sometime, I’m sure I had put it on a blog last year but can’t find it, luckily I have a hard copy πŸ˜€

This is the recipe I use, I’ve tried making it with homemade custard but the thick shop bought stuff is a better result. 

The globe artichokes are coming thick and fast and I have sold a few, however I’ve not really tried them myself properly so I need to remedy that, I mean, I can’t really sell something I haven’t eaten myself can I lol. They always seem a bit of a faf for not a lot of vegetable but I am going to give them a fair trial, I will try a couple of different ways of cooking them and see which I like the most. I boiled them then finished them off in the oven with some Parmesan and a bit of olive oil, they are a faf 😜 but strangely morerish. 

Weather has got worse, it’s foul outside, I did the feeding in between lashings, June, phaa β˜”οΈβ˜”οΈβ˜”οΈβ˜”οΈβ˜”οΈ I decided that the horse would be better off in the stable than out in this, he will churn up the paddock and get a soaking so lucky him, he is in with a big pile of hay πŸ˜€

Tuesday: It’s still pouring down this morning 😝 so a quick round of feeding, muck out the stable, top up his hay and put the horse back inside, then off in doors to make some bread and cakes as it’s Johns birthday tomorrow. First the bread then a recipe for a gluten/lactose free cake, in the family we have two coeliacs and one that is lactose intolerant can’t leave them out πŸ˜€ Orange and almond cake for them and I think I will make an apricot and walnut cake too. 

Wednesday: The sun is shining this morning but it’s still windy, after the feed round I went to have a look round the garden to see how it had faired. I depressed myself slightly as all that was covered was now uncovered meaning the pigeons had been pecking at it, the brassica cage has been comprised in the wind meaning that the bloody butterfly’s have probably snuck in and laid eggs, the wind is still strong so I cant remedy that properly yet. The runner beans are looking a little bit ravaged but I guess they will recover, feels like a battle today, it will all be fine with a few days of ordinary weather and rain, fingers crossed that’s what we will be getting. I wonder how on earth the world gets fed when there are so many problems for growers to deal with, if I had the money I would build a walled garden, that at least would protect it from the wind and cold just leaving the pests to deal with 😜

This is roughly the problem here although the gradients are not that extreme, here it’s more of a soft undulation, it still has an effect on the veg garden, should have picked a better spot 😝looks like I need to dig up the paddock. 

Somehow Thursday has no notes lol and I can’t for the life of me remember what I did! Abducted by aliens I expect 😜

Friday: The weather is still unsettled, raining one minute then the sun comes out, but the worst thing is the constant wind, urrrgghh, its a pain to work in keep being buffeted, it’s affecting the taller plants and blowing off coverings that are there to protect the plants from every living thing that seems to be attacking them at the minute! I had a ‘I don’t why I bother’ morning, I’m up against, mice, chickens, pigeons, black/white/greenfly, woolly aphid, caterpillars, slugs, snail, cold winds, cold rain, sometimes I really think it would be easier to just nip to the shop 😝 and sooner or later it will be blight. I really need a holiday, thank goodness we have one on the horizon, that first glass of bubbly will be very welcome. 

Saturday: A busy morning in the veg garden, planting out all the remaining veg plants, weeding a couple of rows of seed in the tunnel which didn’t come up, a hard cap has formed on the soil, there is a clay seam that runs through so I decided to plant some spare cauliflower plants there they like firm ground so should do well. I went into the brassica cage and found a few clumps of tiny caterpillars so squashed all those and was chuffed to see the small heads of broccoli forming though the cauli have not formed yet. Sowed some rows of carrots and radish. It’s still windy and cold for the time of year although the early morning was lovely and sunny and I got very warm moving electric fencing for the horse and chickens. 

In the afternoon we went to my Uncles 70th birthday, sat in the pub garden with family and a pig roast doesn’t get better than that πŸ˜€

Sunday: Up early to get the animals done as we are off to the seaside for the day with the kids and grandkids πŸ–

Monday morning: I know I don’t usually end on a Monday but we are going away next weekend for a week and I don’t think I will have much time for blogging and certainly won’t have an internet connection to post! Overnight the fox has had the lonely goose up in the back paddock and the guard dog has had a chicken that I could not for the life of me manage to restrain behind any fencing, great start to a week πŸ˜” I need a recharge of batteries as all I seem to focus on are the negatives at the minute, a bit of warmth, a few bevvies and some time to clear my head will be just the tonic.

See you on the other side πŸ˜€πŸ–

Photo blog

I didn’t have time to keep notes for a blog this week with visitors here so I have taken photos this morning instead. As you can see everything is growing away nicely including the gosling and ducklings. The horse is making a pig of himself and bust through the electric fence so I have opened it up, as long as he doesn’t touch my fruit trees he can stay there for a while. 

Grey morning with lots of rain forecast so I shall be staying inside and doing house stuff lol.