Stats, Lovage and ‘the carpenters herb’ 

When I published last weeks blog I had a quick look at my stats, I have posted 237 blogs, it is mostly read on a Monday (49%) at 9am (32%) and there are 206 followers on Facebook 😀 how about that.Monday: Foggy start, hope it burns off and we have another fabulous day, I put a duck and some veg in the slow cooker before starting my rounds this morning. By 12 it was still cloudy, where has the sun gone 😕 I got on with some major weeding on the bed where the brassicas were last year. Yesterday we picked up and repaired the cage which had been blown down and broken by storm Doris, I don’t have much faith it will last out a whole season but it was free in the beginning and we have had three years use from it so not too bad. I tried a three pronged attack on the weeding, pulling those with shallow roots, digging those with deep roots such as a patch of stingers and hoeing off any others. It will need another hoeing in a couple of days but for now it’s looking clean and ready for planting probably with sweet corn and squash. The brassica cage has been moved to the other end of the bed as you shouldn’t grow them in the same place twice due to the build up of diseases such as club root. The carrot seeds that were sown outside last week have come up and the asparagus is starting to poke through the soil too. I dug up some summer raspberry runners and potted them up along with some strawberry runners hopefully I can sell them at the gate. ( I’ve no idea what I was on when I wrote about carrots, they are not carrots at all but swede!) 

We now have 2 geese sitting 😀 hopefully the place will be full of goslings this year.

Gave the big poly tunnel a wash in the afternoon to get the green off and let more light into the plants then gave the dog, Mia, a good bath, being mostly white and long haired she was decidedly grubby looking, patch was looking worried but he is taller and short haired so doesn’t get as filthy looking so he escaped for today 😜

Desperately trying to flog eggs now lol as we have an awful lot! Well putting it on the local selling page worked a treat my Facebook pingers are working overtime and sold seven trays 😀 11 trays sold by 9pm 😀 it’s good because we are getting three trays a day and had a bit of a backlog.

Tuesday: Bit of a frantic morning replying to orders for eggs but good to get them sold, John will be delivering for days lol. A vibrantly coloured cock pheasant casually wandering past the front window and across the yard this morning totally unfazed by dogs, chickens, me, gotta love Spring 😀 Tried to chuck some food in for the two sitting geese this morning as they won’t get off the nests even to eat from a bowl I put just inside the door, next challenge is to get some water near them 😆
Got a skip arriving today so we can start clearing up junk and rubbish like the over ordered bags of cement that have now gone hard as rock 😝don’t ever lecture me about too many pairs of boots Mr Pearse, at least I use my purchases 😉

John did some tidying up in the front and finished off cleaning the back hen pen, then he went off to deliver more trays of eggs, have to slow down on online sales now as there won’t be enough for our farm customers otherwise 😂

Wednesday: Mild but overcast with the threat of rain by the looks of it today. After feeding I did a bit of weeding in the poly tunnel, fine weeds so hand plucked them, some of the seeds I have sown are now sprouting, the beetroot, radish, lettuce and there are one or two spring onions peeking through, when they get a little bigger I will sow the next lot. The chick peas I am trying have sprouted, well you expect this as they are for sprouting but I am aiming to grow them on into full size plants and harvest fresh chick peas. The dwarf runners are also growing but the peas I planted straight into the ground don’t seem to be doing anything so I have sown some in pots in the greenhouse as a back up plan. Picked some more rhubarb for selling and the asparagus is poking its head through the soil so it won’t be long before I’m harvesting that.

Picked some cabbage leaves for dinner later with shepherds pie. If you cut a cabbage leave the stalk in the ground and slice the top of it 4 ways you should get sproutings later on. 

Lovage: I grow this as it’s a lovely plant to grow but I never really use it, this year however I am going to make sure I do, it has a flavour similar to celery and the leaves can be used in salads or flavour for soups and stews, the roots can also be use but can cause photosensitivity so I for one will be steering clear of those.

The more I’ve read about it the more I discover, the seeds can be used like you would use coriander or fennel seeds and best of all a cordial can be made and was traditionally mixed with brandy for a winter sup 😀Time to make full use of this herb I think. 

Another herb new to me is English Mace, I bought it because I had never grown it before, it’s a member of the yarrow family but on researching it an old name for it was ‘the carpenters herb’ because it was known to stem the flow of blood from injury! It’s not great for cooking unless you use the very young tender leaves after that it becomes bitter however it blooms for a very long time providing something for the bees all summer.  

I candled the duck eggs today to take out the duff ones (4 in total) as they are due to start hatching next week. You can see from the photos, an empty egg with an undeveloped yolk and an egg that has developed, the space has filled and has the air sac at one end. 

The black and white photo is the one with the embryo inside. 

Thursday: Supposed to be a fine day today, no sign of it at 9am but it feels warm already. John was home this morning and helped out with the morning feed and cleaning out, I’m feeling tired in the mornings lately and carrying 20kg of feed around in various bucket sizes is not helping so glad of the assistance. The bathroom company has finished now and he is on his own so can please himself about coming and going, he is enjoying the freedom I think 😀

I decided to spend the day doing the end of month/year/company paperwork 😝ALL day and still not finished some of it. 

Got bit to pieces by the evening midges tonight yuk.

Friday: Wet start but clearing up, windy but sunny. It’s beginning to look a lot like spring, the cherry blossom, damson plum blossom and the apricot blossom is all out, the blackthorn all along the hedgerows are blossoming, looking lovely out there. John picked up 25 POL hens this morning for selling on as we have had a few enquiries, they have settled into a nice clean pen this afternoon. Not much else to report really, the seedlings are coming along slowly in the greenhouse and the poly tunnel, I had a look at the asparagus beds today one or two bits that are big enough but not enough to cut and sell. 

Saturday: The sun was shining blindingly into the bedroom this morning when I got up and disappeared by 8.30 😕 hope it comes back again. John did most of the feeding this morning and I cleaned out the rabbit cage and hutch, I gave it to the hens to scratch about it as there was a fair bit of rejected rabbit feed in it, just what the hens like to pick over. John also spent some time putting legs onto the outside quail hut, we will need to move them this week to make room for ducklings 🐥 and the legs will hopefully stop rats getting in and worrying/killing them! It’s now high off the ground, I did joke that we probably needed planning for it, it looks huge. Sold the first lot chickens this year 😀

Sunday: A cold windy start but the sun came out and it was fairly pleasant, John did a few minor fixing jobs and then got the tractor out to move some muck into the veg garden, all was going well when suddenly, diesel starting spewing out all over the ground, on further inspection the pipe had come off goodness knows how but it’s fixed with a piece of wire holding it on now 😝We then fixed up the brassica cage again 😖 we had stood it up temporarily and fixed it but the wind blew it over, anyhow this time we have secured it properly and it is all netted ready to go, I also limed the soil as I had a box handy, from where I don’t know cos I wouldn’t have bought it, must have been given it at some point. I will only grow brassicas if I am sure the butterflies can’t get in as there is nothing more disappointing than growing them from seed watching them come on nicely then get decimated by caterpillars 🐛 this means pegging every side down well and making sure there are no gaps at all in the netting. John also got the water connected back up in the garden, hopefully the risk of freezing is past us, though lots of swearing could be heard as firstly the connector was split, so he went and got a new one from the van, then when he turned it on the pipe was split so he had to go and get more connections and cut the split pipe out, he was swearing about the tooing and froing he had to do. Meanwhile I was busy hoeing, mending, weeding and fixing various bits and pieces. Sold some more hens and had an enquiry for some and they are coming back in the week. The long tailed tits are back, playing in the trees and the wrens have been flitting around on the ground all day. Picked some carrots, cabbage and asparagus for tea to go with lamb chops and also pulled some rhubarb to stew and have with custard 😀


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