Booms, Beer and Birthdays

That last week seems to have shot past, the weather has not been up to much has it, cold winds, very cold nights and only one or two days when we saw the Sun, still we make the best of what we have got because we can’t change it!

The most eventful time on the farm this week was of course the ‘sonic boom’ heard and felt over five counties it was a once in a lifetime experience I should think. My very first thought was a colossal clap of thunder, we were sat at the kitchen table when the whole place shook accompanied by a tremendous noise, the horses shot across the fields and I went outside to see if I could hear any more, it was dead silent, no birds singing or flying just silence. The next thought was to check out the back in case of explosion on the neighbouring farm and my daughter suggested I check the home-brew in case that had exploded from its pressurised barrel! Eventually the official explanation was given that two jets were given permission to go supersonic over land and that’s what it was, most people I have spoken to who have heard sonic booms, me included, are sceptical and I guess we may never know, however it gave us a talking subject and an event to remember 🙂

As the home-brew had not exploded and was still firmly in the barrel I thought I ought to test it this morning to see what it was like, not much to report really as I have never drunk a glass of bitter and so have no idea what it is supposed to taste like!! I can only tell you that it does not taste off, or like vinegar, it is drinkable and kind to the palette, I am assuming then that it is a success 🙂 We have a family birthday today so I will pour some off and take it with me, no doubt I will find a couple of bitter experts to give me an opinion. Once I have the thumbs up I will be embarking on my next batch and will probably try lager or wine, something I am a bit more familiar with!

According to the weatherman we are due to get quite a bit of rain this week and it is badly needed all over the South, we had a good rainfall last week, good for the crops anyway and I was informed by my local farmer that it saturated 5 inches into the ground which means that the crops got a good drink, not enough to fill up the reservoirs but at least it did some good. We have put up another water barrel next to the shed in order to collect as much rainwater as possible over the next few months, last weeks rain filled our 1500 litre tank and it began to overflow so I put buckets underneath too, don’t want to miss a drop!

Even though it has been cold I have still been busy outside and have now planted all the potatoes, 1st earlies and main crop, I noted with interest that Monty Don had a bad crop of Red Duke of York last year as did a lot of people including us, apparently due to the weather patterns, they were ok but they just went to mush when they were boiled, so this year I have gone for the old reliable names, King Edward and Desiree for the main crop and Swift and Rocket for the earlies. Mum came over on Friday and planted a few more rows of carrots and parsnips, only the swede are left to go in now at the end of the month. Everything that can be sown into seed trays has been done, some have even been potted on to bigger pots, such as the broad beans, usually these would go straight in the ground but it is too exposed here so this year almost everything will be grown under cover first and hardened off to prevent too much loss. I planted a row of peas straight into the ground, covered them with fleece apart from one patch where the fleece didn’t reach, I inspected it this week and there is no sign of anything growing under the cover but the three that were out in the open are growing fine, I have yet to search in the ground for the seeds but I suspect that this was mice nicking them from under cover! To get over that we have started some off in the greenhouse and they will be planted out later, hopefully by then the weather will be much warmer and they will romp away, providing we can keep the pigeons off! The Asparagus I planted last year had just begun to come through when we had that very hard frost which made the shoots wilt 😦 not to worry though as plenty more will come through over the next few weeks, being only the second year of growth though I can only harvest a third of the shoots, the rest need to be left to help the roots strengthen and provide us with a good crop for the next 20 years!

I have been trying out Eco balls to wash my clothes in this week and I have to say I am quite impressed, obviously they don’t come out smelling highly of anything but cloth but they do actually work! My skin reacts to anything highly perfumed so I thought they were worth a try, I think they would struggle with anything heavily stained or dirty such as Hubby’s work clothes so they still get the chemical treatment but very good for lightly worn and soiled clothing and very economical at £5.99 with they last for 150 washes plus the box came with refills. They work with harmless chemicals such as washing soda and lime and you don’t need any fabric softener as they also contain sodium silicate, they still carry a carbon footprint as they materials are obviously quarried and the balls are plastic but it is a very much smaller footprint than washing powders and fabric conditioners so better for the environment as well as my skin 🙂

The forecast is for quite a bit of rain over the next few days, the weeds will be growing like mad, we did make an effort to weed most beds at the weekend but they are relentless at this time of year especially the thistles 😦  Today however seems to be a bit warmer than the previous few days and the sun is shining so I had better go and get on with a few outdoor jobs while I can, including more weeding!

A last note is a big Happy Birthday for yesterday to my youngest daughter who is discovering life in Australia at the moment, if she gets bored reading this before she gets to the end she will never know, but we hope you had a lovely day, love you lots x x x

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