Muffins, chicken pox, and pallet projects. 

Monday: The usual morning routine was done without any incident, definitely no sign of rats in the rabbit run now thank goodness. As I was putting out the eggs for sale in the shed I noticed a goose egg on the ground in the paddock and a jackdaw waiting nearby to get it once the geese moved. This is a bit of a surprise and I went in to retrieve it, a freshly laid one! The is unusual because they have been sitting and haven’t laid for ages in fact they don’t normally come back into lay once they have sat, it’s a bonus and I will be having it for my lunch today. I will need to get in the hut and clean it out to make sure there are no old eggs left in there and so can be sure that any more will be fresh eggs 😀Cleaned out the geese then the ducks come indoors make bread, make appointments for blood tests and with the doctor to discuss, get something out for dinner, meanwhile I realise I haven’t checked if there is any asparagus to cut and go out and customers are arriving 😝 

Put in an order for paddock grass seed and seaweed fertilisers for the fields😖 £££ but they are in need not only of rain but something for the rain to nourish! Each year the paddocks are different depending on the weather, this year they are bare and dry, I can’t do much about the dry but I can replenish the nutrients, but I need some rain to help it along. 

The goose egg omelette was delish hoping they lay some more eggs although I would be surprised if they do. 

Planted some more runner beans and butter beans, nearly everything is planted up now, just a few more sweet corn to go in and some more rows of lettuce, radish and spring onions. 

Tuesday: No sign of a goose egg this morning 😔 I was hoping they might carry on laying for a bit.

A lady came to get some horse muck and remarked how lovely that we let the horse wander round 😜😜😜Should have been called Houdini not Jack! Sam quickly put him in the nearest paddock and returned him to his when she had gone. 

Had Mia today and she has chicken pox, still looks beautiful spotty though 😍 while she was asleep I made some rock buns mostly because it was cold and having the oven on would warm up the kitchen 😝 Josh, our grandson is on a dairy free diet at the moment so I set about making something he could eat as well, I found a recipe for apple and oat muffins and adapted it slightly, I was chuffed that they taste great.

Apple & Oat Muffins – dairy free

1 egg

50g oats

1tsp baking powder

A approx 2 tablespoons 

1tsp cinnamon 

150g SR flour

2 tablespoons oil, I used olive

1 grated apple

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, then divide into a 6 piece muffin tin and bake at 180c for approx 10/15 mins

Job done 😀

The honey and the oil are approximate as I didn’t measure it out just put it in and the oven had already been on so the muffins didn’t seem to take long although again I didn’t monitor the time exactly. 

Wednesday: It promises to be a warm day today so after doing the morning feed I went into the garden to get some watering done. Everything is very dry and a bit desperate for rain to spur things along a bit. The squash I planted out has been got by the frost and I’m hoping they will recover, even under the environmesh they have been affected 😫 The gooseberry bushes are dropping a lot of fruit already due to lack of rain, there are plenty of budding fruit on all the fruit trees and bushes but they will start to suffer without a good drink soon. We put the ducklings out into the front paddock, their run fits nicely over the door to a hut I have out there and so it’s an ideal place for them. I think they enjoyed being out with a bigger bath to play in and lots of new things to look at and suss out. 

Thursday: Disaster day! After doing the morning rounds I went into the veg garden to have a look round, disaster the cold has got a lot of the veg plants despite me covering them, beans, squash, sweet corn have collapsed 😖😖😖😖 The cold and the lack of rain are proving to be a thorn in my side this year and I can only hope that the roots have got a good hold and will struggle on to produce some new growth (wishful thinking) Days like these I wonder what’s the point, it was all going so well, I think I might just invest in a massive poly tunnel and grow everything under cover. Honestly it makes me tired just thinking about all the work and time that went into raising them only to be ruined by the weather. Swearing can be heard at this point 😠😖😡😤😫 and then gentle sobbing 😪😪😪 

A day like this just makes me wonder why I am doing this, when you work outside, everything is dependant on the weather, you notice the weather, the weather can lift you up or send you down. When you go from your house to the car and into the office/shop/building you don’t notice it so much, sometimes I think although it would be boring, it would be so much easier and less crushing. So when a message comes through asking if you want to go for coffee the answer is of course yes I do! Back a couple of hours later and get stuck into the housework and cleaning the oven, I know, why on earth did I chose that job, well it chose me really when I need to bake bread but it will smell like the last roast dinner 😜

My grass seed delivery arrived along with the eggs box delivery, knowing it is hopefully going to rain I’m mindful that I need to get it all in or at least under cover, after finishing the chores I went and covered up the seed and bought the egg boxes in, not a moment to soon because finally we got some rain ☔️😀 happy days except it’s at this point I realise I turned the watering system on in the poly tunnel this morning and forgot to turn it off! Days like today can do one 😤Still I’m over my depressing mood now so onwards and upwards 😀

The rain was just a sprinkle and I’m hoping we get quite a bit more, it smells amazing out there tho, there is a name for the smell ‘petrichor’, After the rain, also happens to be one of my favourite perfumes, it’s not an expensive one but I love the smell of it. 

I have well and truly flooded the poly tunnel 😝it won’t need watering for a good few days, and the water bill will be a tad higher next time. I do have a timer on it but I can’t for the life of me work it out, it seems to have a mind of its own, besides the water pressure usually bursts any fittings off if you don’t turn it off at the tap, can’t win. 

The plant sales have really gone well at the farm gate I’m chuffed to bits, just need the veg to hurry up and grow, at the moment it’s a few bundles of asparagus and rhubarb now and again and even they are sparse due to the dry ground. 

My favourite magazine Home Farmer is looking for blogs about smallholding/veg growing to publish the links to their site so I have sent them my blog link, fingers crossed they use it. 

Cleaned out the orchard chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs and quail quickly before finally sitting down for the evening. 

Birds nest in the stupidest of places, the swallows have decided the stable block won’t do this year and are nesting in our back area instead, this is ok all day when the door is open but we shut it overnight until next morning, and some blue tits have decided that a stop tap hole in the ground partially covered by a manhole cover is a great place to nest. I fear for them in this rain. I did wonder why every time I was using the tap in the front a blue tit would land close by, then I saw it dive down into the hole. 

Friday: Hooray at last a decent amount of rain 😀 In between showers I did a bit of gardening along with my Friday helper. We sowed some more squash seeds in case the others don’t recover sufficiently, luckily I have plenty of bean plants to replace any that don’t pull through. Interestingly enough they were all outside as well but but not affected by the cold at all. I put together the seed/fertiliser spreader, eventually, the instructions were not that clear so it took a bit of guess work but it’s working as it should so I must have done something right. I did think about spreading the fertiliser in the rain but then thought better of it, we bought seaweed to spread on the paddocks, it seems to be the thing everyone is using at the minute so I hope it works well. The geese have laid again today, yippee, bonus eggs, they got snapped up quickly when I put them out for sale and I was able to put the a carton of quail eggs out for the first time in around eight weeks 😀

I spent the afternoon doing paperwork including the VAT 😖 the last lot of major paperwork from Johns company, we can now begin to shut it down though it will still take a couple of months to tie up the loose ends. In the meantime he is enjoying working on his own again although the planned extra time for the farm has not panned out yet 😂😂 as he is busier than before! 

Saturday: A dead bantam is what I found this morning, in the orchard pen, I’m guessing the fox has managed to get in and out again although he didn’t take the carcass? I have ordered a wildlife camera to see what exactly is happening overnight. 

Had a very productive day today, got the tractor out and moved one of the chicken huts back into the paddock, John dragged it out last year for some reason and it just got left in the gateway over winter because it was too wet to move it. The grass had grown up around it so we let the horse onto that area to ‘mow’ it for us. Then we moved onto dismantling pallets, we decided to save as much as we can and build some kind of playhouse for the grandchildren. While John was cutting up what we couldn’t use I went off to the paddocks to spread the seaweed fertiliser, it came over cloudy so I thought it might rain but sadly not, the fertiliser will sit there until it’s damp enough to disperse it, I did three paddocks altogether with the new spreader, I’ve walked miles 😝 Then I went back to the pallet dismantling, while I was doing that I had a lightbulb 💡 moment, we have some old packing cases dating back to 1965 and I need to make some raised beds in my other polytunnel, they will do nicely. We took them apart and reassembled them in the tunnel, perfect, we will continue putting them back together to make the bed tomorrow for the tomatoes. The plants have been selling really well at the gate, I said to John maybe that’s it, maybe that’s our way forward, plant sales, who knows, I have ordered some more, chrysanthemums this time because I want some for the front boxes, the spare I will grow on and put up for sale again. 

Sunday: The perfect growing weather, rain overnight and sunshine in the morning 😀 delighted that the seaweed fertiliser will have been washed in and the grass can start to benefit right away. 

Another busy day on the smallholding, we got started on making the raised beds out of the packing cases and filling them with muck and compost, I am really pleased with the results although we didn’t have enough to go along both sides but it leaves scope for other things so I’m not too worried. I got the tomatoes planted in them straight away and in the smaller box is a cucumber which will also climb up to the roof bars and hopefully hang down, and some cherry peppers have been planted too. I did the weeding in the big tunnel and planted up some sweet peppers, that and the feeding both the animals and ourselves pretty much took up the whole day, though we did spend a bit of time with the grandchildren and parents discussing the way the playhouse will be built, exciting little project that will be. Tired but happy 😀

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