Morning bloggers, I am surprisingly chipper this morning despite the continued cold weather, could be because we had practically the whole weekend off, apart from the feeding routine morning and evening we didn’t do very much at all. Who wants to work out in zero temperatures and wet mud, not me, besides there is nothing that won’t wait until the weather turns although that does not look like it will be any time soon.
The veg garden is still untouched, the ground is at saturation and then frozen solid on top of that, not worth putting anything in, it will only rot away. Traditionally, potatoes would go into the ground on Good Friday, I can’t see that happening at all although I have just checked the soil in the poly tunnel and we may well be able to plant some earlies in there, I have ordered some fleece to warm the ground a little bit more so we will see how it goes. My Mum came over one day last week and we set about repairing the one of the greenhouses that was wrecked by the high winds during the winter months. We have put all the panels back in the roof and used wire and bungies to keep the panels on with a bit of luck. We also put bubble wrap all around the bottom half and fleece on the soil in an attempt to warm it up, we are doing all that we can and now it’s going to be up to Mother Nature to pull her finger out and bring us Spring!
We still have something lurking in the roof despite putting bait boxes down, I have refilled it a couple of times so it is being eaten, I can only think that this is a new lodger! I found what I think is the rats nest outside by one of the chicken houses but even though I have put bait boxes in various places they have not been touched so I wonder if that is an old nest and they have moved into the roof instead.
I bought the sheep in at the weekend, not because they started to lamb but because the weather forecast was so awful that I didn’t fancy lambing out in the field if they started, I thought that lambing at the beginning of April would be ideal as the temperatures are usually good, ha, just another one of the obstacles thrown at us, I try not to take it personally 😉 I am beginning to wonder how we will manage the orphan lambs though, normally the horses would all be turned out and we would have spare stables to house them, at the minute that does not look like it will happen in time and so I need to find a space to rig up a couple of pens to put them in. It needs to be fairly wind proof for the lambs and for me, it’s either that or I turn the Shetland pony out no matter what the weather is, and use his stable.
I can’t help thinking about how the cost of everything is increasing as a result of the weather and it will only get worse, we are still feeding large amounts of hay to the horses and the sheep, also straw for bedding, which would normally have stopped on all but the worst of days by now. The cost of veg is looking set to rise a) because of the very wet summer last year and b) the late planting that will happen this year. I know my local farmer has managed to plough a few acres but he was out in his tractor well after dark a couple of weeks ago in order to get it done. It has been a disastrous 12 months for many farmers and I wonder how many will go into early retirement as a result and they will be the lucky ones, I imagine a great many will have been forced into bankruptcy as a result of poor yields and unusable land that is still under water 6 months on. Bleak outlook, and we could really do with some Sun to help bring us out of the doldrums.
Ha ha, I just re read what I have written so far, I started off chipper and am now in the doldrums, it didn’t take much did it! On a more positive note the hens are still laying like billyo, there has been no drop in egg numbers all Winter really and we continue to sell them and make a profit after deducting food costs, we are waiting for the Quail to come back into lay which should be any time time soon, and the ducks are back up to laying a full compliment. The sale of the latter two is intermittent and so I feed duck eggs to the dogs when we get too many stacking up, the dogs love them and it means that we are constantly putting out only fresh eggs.
I was thinking the other day that I should be washing my Winter coats by now and storing them away for next Winter, instead, I am still wearing it and even having to put it on to walk down to the post box. I even ordered new pegs in readiness, plus a new washing line spike, I ran over the other one with the lawn mower last year and mangled it! I also keep thinking, it always used to be cold in March when we were kids, maybe we have just been a bit spoilt with the Spring weather over the last few years, and hopefully what will follow are those glorious long hot Summers that we also used to get, although in reality it was probably only one 1976 I think, and we just keeping pulling that one back to the forefront of our minds lol.
This is how I remember it: I lived in a village in the days when cars only came through now and again, so much so that when playing ‘chicken’ you might have to wait for over an hour for a car to come! We, that is most of the children in the village, except the ones that went to boarding school, played for hours and hours on the local recreation ground, we went out early and came home at dusk, we spent our hours playing ‘houses’ in a little copse by the stream, we fished for crayfish, minnows, and some fish that began with bull but the rest of the name escapes me now. The water in the stream was clear enough to be able to spot the fish then. Lazy summer days when the only noise to disturb us was the lawn mower running over the cricket ground getting it ready for Sundays when many of our Dads would put on their whites, and we changed the scoreboard in exchange for some of the tea and sandwiches prepared by the wives. We often wandered out of the village past the RAF runway and to what was then an old abandoned railway track and station, it is now an industrial estate. We took our sandwiches and squash with us and played all day without a bit if technology in sight. The walk home was dusty and leisurely, tea, bath, bed and do it all again the next day. Sometimes we played in the cornfields at the back of our houses, we knew we shouldn’t but the temptation was too great, rolling around making shapes and patterns out of flatted crops (naughty). We would also stand and watch when the crop was finished and they burnt off the stubble, it often got out of control and set fire to a hedge and the fire brigade would have to turn out to get it back under control. Just before the beginning of May we would walk from school down to the woods and pick Bluebells and flowers to decorate the May cart, we had a wonderful procession through the village and everyone turned out to watch the May Queen and her attendants, that was followed by Maypole dancing, weaving the ribbons in and out to make multicoloured webs of pure delight, I loved that and country dancing, ‘take your partner by the hand and do the dosey doe’ lol, where did it all go wrong, why have we lost so many of our country traditions. Ours all went out of the window when a new head teacher was installed, she had come from London, Londonitis spread slowly through the streams and rivers and engulfed the country folk, gone were the days of making straw dollies at harvest time, the Mummers play at Christmas time, making butter by shaking cream in a jam jar in springtime and collecting walnuts from the tree in the playground in Autumn. We all became part of the rat race, ironically now many of the Londoners buy second homes in our villages, pricing those young couples that choose to stay, out of the housing market because they want a slice of country life! I know change is inevitable but we should have tried harder to hang on to some of the old ways, after all what we have moved onto is nothing to be proud of , binge drinking, credit card debt and a very demanding generation who have more rights than the parents that bought them into this world!
The world as I remember it and as I see it now, could be a whole new blog! It’s Easter this weekend, enjoy your well deserved long weekend, sadly it does not look like the Sun will be coming out, but if you are confined to indoors, why not revive an old tradition just for the fun of it, make a simnel cake, or paint some hard boiled eggs, find a small hill to roll them down, you could even have a go at hot cross buns, not as difficult as you might think, look up an old tradition that would suit you and yours, I guarantee if you give it a go you will have a sense of achievement which will lift your spirits until the Sun makes an appearance!
Happy Easter 🙂