Morning bloggers 🙂 not quite such a lovely morning as the last two but you shouldnt have too much of a good thing otherwise you don’t appreciate it, pfffft!
This weeks activities have been totally varied and as usual fairly busy. Cleaning out hutches, runs and coops has featured heavily, the small chicken coops were all cleaned out during the week and then on Saturday I cleaned out the dog kennels, both the rabbit hutches and both the quail runs. The rabbits are quite obliging and don’t soil thier sleeping quarters preferring to ‘go’ outside on the floor which is much easier to deal with than crawling in a small dark space full of bumbles. The Quail are deep littered on a floor of woodchip and only require cleaning out once every few months, a bit of a task but great to know it wont need doing again for a while, and the dogs are typical dogs and theirs has to been disinfected in the process!
I had a visit from a friend, remember the one that was taking up Bee keeping, I was delighted to receive a jar of her first ever batch of Honey, I couldn’t resist, took the lid off, stuck my finger in and sluuurrp it was delicious, I intend to eat it on toast every morning until its gone, although I just might make a honey cake with it, that way I can at least feel I have shared it 😉
Thinking about it, the week has been all about friends, we went over to friends for lunch on Sunday, the ones that have our shared cow at their farm. Ebony, that’s the cow, is looking good, she is less scary than the last one we had, I didn’t like going in with her, she always looked like she was about to charge at you at any given moment. She proved to be a bit of a handful as she got older, breaking through or jumping over the fences, this one looks a lot calmer and much more gentle. We are hoping to get another one soon, partly to keep her company and partly so that we have an ongoing stock of beef. This year will be our friends first year for a long time without any sheep overwinter and no lambing, they had problems with illness and various things and decided to have a rest altogether. They offered us the left over vaccine that they had for the sheep and so that will be a new experience for us, vaccinating our flock of two! We still have not heard back about when they will go for tupping but it should be anytime soon.
Some other friends tied the knot on Saturday and I was delighted to see that the weather was glorious for them. It was a lovely country wedding in the next village along and the transport for the Bride was my Sisters old Morris which was buffed and polished and made beautiful for the occasion, I managed to get some photos of them en route and asked the Bride’s permission to publish them on my blog this morning, she agreed and so here they are, I hope you agree that ‘Daisy’ has to be one of the best ways to get to the church on time.
I went blackberry picking again this week, my Mum and my middle daughter and I spent a lovely hour on the old airfield nearby, it is like being in a different world, surrounding by rolling countryside and hardly a sound to be heard. When we got back for a well-earned cuppa, Mum went into the orchard and picked up the Walnuts that had fallen and I had not got round to picking up yet. There has been no sign of the squirrel this year and no rush to get to them before he does, he has either perished under the wheels of a car or moved or he and his family starved last Winter because I raced to get all the nuts!! I hope it was not the latter 😦
The egg numbers have at last gone up a little, proof that I was probably under feeding them, we now have a good stock in the little shed. The customers numbers seem to have dropped though a result of cause and effect I suspect, they keep turning up to buy eggs, find none in the shed and then stop coming, luckily we have plenty of off farm customers too so they wont go to waste. The increase in eggs also meant that for the first time in ages we were able to eat some ourselves, soft-boiled eggs with toast soldiers was on the menu, delicious, I have missed that treat.
Mum and I spent a day on the veg garden in the week, beginning the task of putting it to bed for the Winter months. Digging up plants that were no longer producing anything, digging over the soil and weeding. We moved the Rhubarb to a new spot as it was getting a bit big for the small bed it was originally in, now is a good time to decide what you want to move and how you want to work the garden next year. We decided to make three of the beds ‘permanent’ , the first has Strawberries, Asparagus, Rhubarb and Globe Artichoke in, these remain in place the whole year round and so the beds will only need weeding and topping up with manure each year. The second decision was to make one of the long slim beds a permanent bed for Runner beans, we will put in place a structure that can remain all year round instead of the hazel wood wigwams we have now, they tend to get blown over once the beans plants become heavy and as a result we are unable to pick the last few pickings of beans properly. The third bed is usually in full Sun when Mother Nature allows it, we have decided to make this bed another fruit bed, this one will not need netting as we are planting Gooseberries and dwarf fruit trees in it. I have ordered Apple, Pear and Cherry trees as well as a Fig, the ground underneath will be planted with Alpine strawberries to keep the weeds down. I also have two grapevines that will grow on trellis that will be put up around the outside of the bed, I havent told Hubby how much work he has to do yet so shhhh keep quiet until I break it to him ;p He has also been busy this weekend putting manure on the beds that we have cleared, it will stay there all Winter while the worms and the frost do most of the work and then rotavated into the soil in the Spring ready for new sowings. We also decided not to grow brassicas next spring, instead we are going to wait and grow winter cabbage and cauli, this is because of the amount of work it takes to unsuccessfully keep the caterpillars off! They are high maintenance during the summer months and the result is always the same, chewed leaves and caterpillar poo over everything, so we asked ourselves, why keep doing it? Even netting the plants does not keep them off, they only need to be able to land on netting that is touching a leaf and boom, thousands of little eggs that are ready to hatch into voracious eaters, so we are not going to give them the satisfaction next year!
One other decision we have made is to swap our paddock maintenance system (ride on Lawn Mower) in for a Quad bike. The mower does have all the attachments for keeping paddocks looking good providing the grass is quite short but it can’t cope with any heavy ground or work, a quad bike will do all that and more, besides it will be so much more fun 🙂