Busy, busy, busy!

We have been so busy this week we have hardly had time to stop! Hubby was on his second week off and now I have a linen cupboard, an extra sink and cupboards in the utility room, extra space in the kitchen (enough to swing the proverbial cat!), a painted bathroom, a wallpapered bedroom, and new cladding all down one side of the Bunk House (which is the building we live in). That is all on top of the usual day to day stuff, he has gone back to work this week ‘for a rest’ 🙂 

We have had the very much appreciated help of my Mum and Stepdad, without them we probably would not have got half of it done. Mum and I spent one afternoon picking and pressing apples in my new press, the pressing part was easy, but before you get that far the apples need to be pulped, I bought a pulpmaster bucket that you attach a drill to which is supposed to be quick and easy, we should have know that was just ‘sales talk’ to be honest it would be quicker to do it in a food processor. We cleaned out and sterilised three 2 pint milk cartons (that was a bit optimistic) and got ready to press, it was quite exciting watching the first bit of apple juice run into the carton, the result looked like cold tea and we managed to get about a pint, but the taste was absolutely delicious 🙂 It was well worth doing and with all the windfall apples around ‘free’ juice is clearly a winner.

The lambs have been up to their usual tricks again this weekend, I thought it was odd to find what I assumed were rabbit bumbles on the drive at the side of the house, we had gone in to have lunch and when we came back out it was just laying there, when I went up to the back paddock to feed the animals later on I was greeted by 2 lambs who had been rummaging around in the stable block, when I looked for the others they had escaped their paddock and were down in the corner field merrily eating away on fresh grass. Chaos broke out within a split second 😛 picture the scene, the ducks and the geese were free ranging and all the animals recognise the purple bucket at feeding time, so I am walking up to the back paddocks with my feed bucket, followed by 7 ducks, the 4 geese look up and start coming towards me, a fight breaks out between the ducks and the geese, meanwhile the lambs have realised I am there and begin to thunder up the field straight towards me and I am stood in the middle of the ‘bird fight’. Sheep have a tendency not to stop until they hit something when they are running, and so they bundled headlong straight into the ducks and geese nearly knocking me over at the same time, luckily no one was injured, just a lot of quacking, and squawking and a few feathers flying around! Peace resumed once I had managed to get the sheep back in their field and shut (and tie) the gate.

I am waiting for a delivery today of 30 chickens, at the weekend we had to clean out and scrub the chicken ark in preparation for their arrival, these will be my permanent laying flock, we did just buy in hens for resale and use the eggs while they were here but found that we would suddenly sell a few and be left with no eggs for our customers, they will be out in the paddocks, free ranging behind an electric fence. We had a visit from the fox last week which took 3 of my Buff Orpingtons, we had not realised that they did not go into the hut before we shut them up for the night and in the morning the trail of feathers was everywhere. We have now got our very own fox trap thanks to my Stepfather and so it will be permanently baited, I can’t risk losing 30 hens to the fox!

On the veg front, since that downpour the runner beans have gone into overdrive! I swear they are growing faster than I can pick them, and I am picking a large quantity each day, I have also harvested a couple of Melons this week which are small but very sweet and juicy, the Tomatoes are finally beginning to ripen, I have picked a grand total of 5 to date!! Plenty of green ones left ready for green tomato chutney (groan), I still have a few jars left from last year. We are digging up potatoes as and when we need them and some of them are huge, one baked potato could feed 4 people! The Autumn raspberries are beginning to be a little more prolific, they are great at this time of year although I think the Summer raspberries have a much better flavour. I have not been out Blackberry picking yet although I have heard that there are plenty ready so I had better make time to do that very soon. 

Any day now we will be taking delivery of our Bacon, you will remember we had a pig living on our friends farm, this was because pigs need to live in pairs and they only needed one, so we agreed to have one as well and they lived together. One of them went for Pork, which we had back a couple of weeks ago and the other went off to be baconed, and we are looking forward to bacon sarnies 🙂

Our two horses came back up from their ‘summer paddock’ in the village and now when I open the back door in the morning, they are there to greet me, it is nice to have them back grazing on our land again, although judging by the rate they are eating it off it wont be long until they are moved again!

While I have been writing this I have noticed something rather odd, yesterday I noticed two very young Doves trying to build a nest and over the last hour I have also seen the Blue Tits trying to get into the nest holes that they use in the spring, Hmmm they are either very confused, or the weather is about to do something quite unusual for the time of year! Unlike the weathermen the animals very seldom get it wrong 😉

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