Rain 😐 more bloody snow 😟 and a new Granddaughter 😍 😍

Monday 12th March: Monday morning and not a very inspiring one at that, the rain hasn’t stopped since late last night and everything is sodden this morning, the paddocks are mostly puddles of dirty water, the yard is turning into a stream and the veg beds, well let’s just say not much point even looking at those yet! On the bright side the reservoirs will be filling nicely 😀 the ducks are very happy 😀 and it’s not cold 😀 I was really hoping to get stuck in to a job or two outside today but I would just be wasting my time I think, I can’t even give the stable a tidy as the rain is making a mess in there too. I just looked at the forecast for the next few days I shouldn’t have bothered lol, rain right through till 11pm tonight, Tuesday and Wednesday are dry (both the days I have Mia) then Thursday and Friday pretty much raining all day, I think it will be a long week, hopefully our new granddaughter will put in an appearance at some point as she is due any day 😀

I am waiting for the pea seeds to sprout and then I could transfer them to the poly tunnel but only one has appeared so far, I’m hoping they are still there I did cover them so they would not get eaten by mice but they may have rotted away with the cold, I shall investigate later. I feel chuffed that I have at last seedlings on the window sill and the aubergine are obviously likening the warm as they have perked up beautifully. I keep thinking if we ever build I will have a special seedling room built on the front of the house at the same time and make use of the south facing aspect.

I went out to the greenhouse in the vain hope of getting something done but the temp is only just over 10c so there is not much point sowing seedlings besides that the compost is in a ton bag at the front of the drive getting soaked, the poly tunnel was next on my agenda but it actually has waterlogging around it and it’s seeping inside, this is very unusual but again means the ground will be too wet and cold to do anything in there. So I came back in the light the Rayburn and that wouldn’t go at the first lighting either, it seems I am destined not to get very far today at all 😐

The onions and garlic I planted back in the autumn are doing well despite the weather and the broad beans and peas that are either in the greenhouse or in the tunnel are both doing well so it’s not all doom and gloom, however the pea seeds I sowed have indeed rotted away during the cold snap, so I will have to put some more in.

Not to be outdone I decided to go back out and see just exactly what I could get done, so I bought in a couple of buckets of compost to dry out in the greenhouse, sowed some more pea seeds, did a bit of cutting back dead herbs, sowed some lettuce seeds in the poly tunnel after I took out the pepper plants I had left in to see if they would continue growing (they didn’t) and that was about it but at least it was something.

Tuesday: It’s not raining, not yet anyway 😝 that’s a bonus for the morning, did the rounds, all seems normal, had a bit of housework to do and some appointments and paperwork to sort out, feeling stressed however as one lot of paperwork is for HMRC and it doesn’t seem to be simple to get it done, e mailed the accountant to see if she can sort it, I can feel my blood pressure rising just at the thought of it all 😩 It’s old paperwork from the wrapping up of the plumbing company so I will be glad when it is done and dusted and I can consign the boxes to storage 😜

Three goes at lighting the Rayburn and I’m still not sure if it’s just going to go out! Eventually got it going and when the sun was shinning in the afternoon I had to open the back door as it was so warm lol, can’t win. Seriously though the sun was a more than welcome event after the past couple of weeks as there was definite heat in the air, we need a lot more to start drying up the ground but I will take today as a good sign 😀

Wednesday: Everyone was up and gone by 7 this morning, I also had an early start and the morning rounds, plus a few extra jobs, were done by 8.10 😀 I even filled up the wild bird feeders before I got dressed, need to look after them since I have provided them with plenty of homes to nest in, there is evidence of one of the new boxes being used as it has a piece of string hanging out of it, nesting material I presume. I also bought the quail some mealworms as they have stopped laying since the cold snap, sometimes they need a bit of extra protein to get them going again.

It’s dry in the sky at least, the ground is still wet and soggy, still slipping on the wet paddocks but getting better all the time.

Out of interest I had a look back at the blog from this time last year, the weather was definitely better, there is hardly a mention of rain and no mention of mud lol, I also appear to have got on a lot further with jobs than I have this year.

Had a productive morning after feeding, I weeded and put weed membrane on the long bean bed, it has been open to the elements all winter to help break it down, cut some evironmesh for the small raised beds, then covered most of one of the bigger beds in weed membrane, 3 reasons, obviously the first is to stop weed growth while it’s not being used, secondly to help warm up the soil and thirdly because the darn cats decide there is not enough room on 5 acres to do their business elsewhere!

Filled up one of the small raised beds with last years compost that we grew potatoes in, disturbed a mouse that was living inside the tonne bag as well, it was a wood mouse, it’s stash of hazelnuts was also in the there, poor thing didn’t know which direction to flee in so tried all directions lol. Then Mia arrived and got suited and booted as it is an ideal day to be outside, she had rides in the wheelbarrow, talked to the worms and chased a chicken round and round the garden, meanwhile I cleared some debris, dug up some bindweed roots and picked up some bits of rubbish. When we came in the fresh air had obviously done her good as she was hungry and ate a good amount of lunch 😀

Thankfully the Rayburn was playing ball today but the fire stick wasn’t! Why is that important, because it has pepper pig on it and I needed Mia to be occupied while I lit the Rayburn, in the end she settled for paw patrol on normal tv so at least I got the fire lit and the washing up from this morning done 😜

Thursday: Our newest granddaughter, Florence, arrived early hours of this morning 😀😀😀😀 Mum and Baby doing fine.

As you can imagine apart from lighting the Rayburn, feeding the hens and some cleaning, today has mostly been about the newest addition to the family, she is bootiful 😍😍😍

Friday: 🤪

Saturday: Cold with snow flurries today, John did the morning stuff then went off to get feed while I got some stuff done indoors, in the afternoon Dad and Sue called in for a couple of hours before making their way to Suffolk tomorrow, Shelley, Martin, John and Florence popped over for a visit later in the day as well. The AA had to be called out for Sue’s car as it wouldn’t start, that does not bode well for the journey ahead and I said it’s because they stopped here, all our rubbish luck for things rubbing off 😂

Sunday: Well wouldn’t you f**ing know it, snow ❄️ bloody snow ❄️ cold temperatures just what we don’t need, I feel like we are getting nowhere fast 😜 Bad moods all round especially after I told John that no matter what the weather he will have to clean out the front hen house, it wasn’t done yesterday and if it didn’t get done today then tomorrow he would be back at work and I would have three days of it to shift and my hands are not up to that at the moment, so off he went to do that while I cleaned out the duck shed which also needs doing. The dog bath had the shower head broken in the last cold snap by someone, can’t remember if I mentioned that but John put a new second hand one on yesterday and that is leaking so no good, coupled with the fact that the repair he put on the hole that appeared has come away and the bath filled up with leaking water then emptied it in the back 😡 ffs nothing seems to just go smoothly at the moment, it’s like skating uphill.P.s sorry it’s late 🤪


Wormer, propagators and Laaaandon Town.

Apologies if anyone received a messed up copy of this weeks blog, I had a malfunction 🤪

Here is the correct one 😀

Monday 5th March: Pleasant enough this morning if a tad colder than yesterday. On the rounds this morning I was thinking we now have a lot of cleaning to do as the snow which drifted into every available area has made it all wet and horrible, the rabbit pens have wet straw on the floor, the goose hut needs cleaning as does the duck shed, looks like a busy day ahead. I also noticed when I was cleaning the floor in the front hen house, a worm, not your common garden worm but I’m guessing one passed by a chicken! So having finished up my last lot of wormer back in November I set about trying to get some more, easier said than done, it seems, as with everything they have now withdrawn the bigger stronger tubs of wormer from sale, this means buying smaller tubs of lesser strength more frequently or buying pre medicated feed. Both of these options are way more expensive, there is a surprise, as far as I am concerned this is another way to squeeze out the small producers making it too expensive to run a going concern. I spent well over an hour trying to track some down to no avail and in the end I have had to order the feed which is approx £3/4 a bag dearer than normal feed, not a problem if you just have a few chickens but when you need 7 bags to worm your flock and they recommend (due to the lack of potency) that you worm every 3 months you can see it will start to get expensive. If we have to go down this route which it looks like we will, then we will have to put up the price of the eggs 😐

I got some beef and vegetable soup on the go in the slow cooker and went off outside to begin the task of cleaning out everyone. Ducks done, geese done, rabbits done and I discovered that the bantams are laying at long last hurrah, I have 4 gold laced Orpington bantams that seem all to be cockerels 😝 and three white silkies only one of which is a cockerel hopefully, well at least one is a hen, that was a rubbish hatch batch! I have a couple of egg customers that like bantam eggs so they will be happy.

AND the Sun is out oh boy happy to see that, in fact I got so warm cleaning out I took my coat off 😀😀 happy days. Couldn’t resist nipping into the greenhouse, it was a whopping 22c in there whoop whoop 😀 I just gave everything a watering, tempting to sow some seed but I will wait a while I think and wait for the weather to settle. I did pot on some of the aubergines to bring back indoors as I think the problem is soil depth they were in a shallow seed tray so I have potted up 6 of them and I will see how they go.

And then the rain came 😟lots of it so everywhere is soggy! On the evening session of putting everything away I also filled up all the rat bait boxes and filled known rat holes with poison, they are persistent little feckers seem to have permanently moved in in one area.

Not sure if I mentioned the glue traps for rats last week, anyhow after some discussion online with people I have decided not to use them, to be honest the picture looked grim and I was reluctant when I saw it and have now been persuaded not to use them so I won’t.

Tuesday: Not a bad morning weather wise, it’s dry for the moment and the temps are acceptable for the time of year. During the morning rounds I checked the rat poison nothing eaten yet so maybe the waterlogging has driven them off, we can hope anyways 😜 I was pretty productive yesterday with Farm stuff and household bits so I am trying to continue the trend today! Busied round and got everything done, then we were given some freshly caught Sea Bream, actually we swapped it for some of our rump steak, the bream is as I type marinading in olive oil, lemon juice, crushed garlic and dried oregano (as I don’t have fresh available). I’m looking forward to tasting it, I will do some green beans to go with it and probably have to do John some potatoes, love a good swap 😀 I have also been busy on social media this morning selling trays of eggs, what with the lack of customers during the snow we have around ten trays that need shifting, does not take long for them to start stacking up when they are laying three trays a day, it’s good to keep them turning over.

Took me an age to get the Rayburn going, I am out of newspapers and was down to recycle rubbish which didn’t go too well, although in the end with much puffing it finally caught the wood and is now going strong. I have put out a call for papers on Facebook, we don’t have them but someone somewhere will have a stack of them I’m sure.

I have ordered an electric thermostatically controlled windowsill propagator, I took the plunge because our house temperature varies so much and the seedlings that were doing well are beginning to flag. It costs £30 but considering how much effort I have been putting in to these seedlings, for them to keel over is a waste of effort and time so that’s where my thoughts have taken me. There are a few models out there but I went for a fully closed in model, some of the other models have up to 7 smaller propagators in a tray all with their own lids, the downfall I feel with these is that the heat base then has escaping heat inbetween the trays.

This is the one I went for

This one is the one with separate propagators which might be handy but the heat source is underneath and so all the spaces inbetween each unit is also being heated and therefore escaping if you see what I mean 😜 Also it is not thermostatically controlled so the heat is constant, it costs about the same but wastes energy I think.

I will at least be able to get some more seedlings on the go, the problem with starting them too early is where do you move them onto if the weather and the temperatures have not got up to a reasonable level and you don’t have a heated greenhouse, by the time it arrives I think it will be a good time to get everything going.

The first real crop that will be arriving soon will be rhubarb mmmm so with that in mind while Mia was asleep I started looking for recipes to compile, rhubarb and ginger jam I will have to try and of course a rhubarb and custard cake but plain old stewed rhubarb and custard is not one to be overlooked in my opinion, always reminds me of childhood days 😀 last year Josh amazed us all by just chewing on a stick of rhubarb, I wonder if he will still like it this year?

Wednesday: The Sun is out 😀 but it was nippy first thing, still it should warm up a little. Did the morning feeding, watering, letting out and cleaning the front coop floor. The nest boxes need a clean as we couldn’t do it last weekend because of the snow and the chickens not leaving the hut lol it is impossible to do it with 100 hens round your feet! I will see if I can get it done tomorrow as I have Mia later today. We are on the Home run as far as the muddy paddocks are concerned, as the sun gets stronger it should dry the ground faster which will enable the grass to come through, it will only grow above 6c and we are getting those temperatures but the saturation of water means it still gets muddy with footfall all over it. The daffodils are beginning to peak out and once we see some blossom on the trees we will know the winter is behind us thank goodness.

The two good days I had have taken their toil on me and I am back to feeling rubbish, stiff joints, headache, generally unwell 🤒 I need to have more bloods tests to monitor the inflammation levels and if they are still high I guess they will investigate why. I was trying to eat healthy and cut out complex carbs, sugar etc but in return I end up with chronic acid reflux instead, at the moment this is a no win situation and I hope it passes soon as I want to be able to crack on 😝 It sure has been a difficult couple of months lately! Lupus is complex, it’s different for every sufferer and to manage it you need to really be in tune with your body but sometimes it gets a little out of control and takes a while to bring back into line.

Made some bread and another batch of fruit buns and a gluten free chocolate cake while I was waiting for Mia to arrive. Anyone who doesn’t know us may wonder why I cook with conventional AND gluten free flours, our youngest daughter who is now 26 was diagnosed a coeliac when she was 18 months old, for all the years she lived at home I mostly cooked gluten free, when she left home I gradually went back to wheat flours and now she is back home for a few months I cook with both again. Day to day cooking is still mostly gluten free, and she cooks for herself most of the time, most things I cook from scratch so I am still in the habit of mostly cooking with naturally gluten free ingredients it’s just bread and cakes that on the whole I use wheat flour for.

Thursday: It’s a bit nasty out there today, apparently the ‘pest from the west’ lol though we haven’t had the snow that other parts have had, we have had rain and it’s windy and a tad cold with it. I was hoping for a half decent day that would be pleasurable but alas it’s not to be, I wanted to get some work done in the garden but it’s very wet underfoot so best left hopefully the wind will dry it out as long as we don’t get any more rain. I am waiting on a couple of things to arrive so I can start seedlings off in the greenhouse, the compost I ordered is great but it needs to be finer for seedlings and I don’t have a fine riddle so I have ordered one and also I am still waiting for the windowsill propagator then I can start off things like the tomatoes and cucumbers etc. I feel it’s going to be a late start this year for most things, still, provided the weather gets better it should all catch up eventually.

Oh dear, today is not a good day mentally lol, it started with not being able to light the Rayburn, not even the paper would catch to start with, then I got soot all over my sleeve reaching further in trying in vain, eventually it got going but then I dropped the stack of wood I was bringing in on the floor I had just hoovered 😝 The train of thought then goes something like this, what the hell am I doing having to light a dirty bloody fire every day, why don’t I just move somewhere with all mod cons, what on Earth am I trying to achieve, am I achieving anything, ever, or am I just on a bloody hamster wheel going round and round and round! I know when spring arrives I will feel differently but the winters seem longer and harder each passing year, at the moment with various other things going on we are just treading water and trying to keep our heads above it, something will eventually give one way or another. John is flat out trying to catch up after having multiple days off with his Mums illnesses, snow days when he couldn’t finish the job he was on, then came burst pipes and multiple phone calls, he is looking stressed, I am trying to hold the fort here which is fine but the weather hampers everything and I am limited by what I can physically do, maybe we should just sell up, we won’t, it’s just one of those days 😩 I will make a list and a plan, that will help me find the way forward 😋

Did a few bits and pieces, wandered into the greenhouse, the seedlings I planted a while back are coming up, broad beans, cabbage, pak Choi the peas are slow but the temperature is around 20c in there again with the sun shining in but I decided against sowing much else for the time being. It is still very windy but not as cold as this morning.

Friday: Today is a better day all round 😀 even though yesterday felt dire and got worse when John went to deliver eggs and a tyre blew on the car, all very well except that we are off to London tomorrow which gives only a very tight time to get the tyre fixed and John is already flat out trying to squeeze everything else in! That said I still woke with enthusiasm today and the wind has dropped, the temperature is pleasant, as yet it’s not raining 🌧 One of the jobs John normally does is clean out the nesting boxes in the front hen house, normally every weekend but last weekend the snow meant the hens would not go out and so it was impossible. As I said we are away tomorrow so this really needed to be done before we go, we have been trialling these cardboard traps for red mite and it needs regular cleaning to be successful, so first thing before I did any of the other jobs I went out and cleaned them and burnt the old material, replaced with new cardboard, bedding and diatomaceous earth, then I fed and let out the rest of the animals.

The rain came later but I haven’t let it dampen my spirits 🤪 did the usual afternoon stuff then delivered 300 eggs in the evening 😜

Saturday: Today we are London bound to watch Les Miserables and stay over, John got it for me for Christmas and looking forward to it but first the animals have to be done. John went off the check on his Mum than go and pick up a special order of feed with the wormer added that the supplier had round earlier to say was now in, best to get it started as soon as possible. The girls are looking after everything in various measures so we are grateful for that.

I haven’t been to London for about 8 years, lol it’s a culture shock to say the least, at most I see about 5 people a day and I know all of them 😝 this is thousands of people all seemingly coming in the opposite direction, on the phone, gazing up, hell bent on getting somewhere, however I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, we saw the ‘Million Women’ march, went to China Town, watched people dancing to a busker at 11.30pm and of course watched the spectacular show Les Miserable, I confess, I cried at the scene where Jean Valjean was dying and I don’t think I stopped then till the end 😢fantastic show well worthy of the standing ovation. Being there with all those people, tall buildings blocking out the sky and the general pace of things, did make me appreciate our 5 acres of relaxed space and skies though and I returned with a new fondness for home 😀

Just as we were leaving on Saturday my windowsill propagator arrived and so once we had visited our respective Mothers for Mother’s Day and got back and lit the fire, I set about setting it up and sowing the seeds I wanted to go in there. Tomato, 3 varieties, good old Money Maker, a beefsteak variety and a plum tomato which will be great for freezing a sauces. I also sowed some pepper seeds, I know I wasn’t going to but these were free seeds of long sweet peppers so I thought I might as well try them out. I watered everything in the greenhouse and the peas and citrus trees in the small poly tunnel and feel like we are getting nearer to the time when plenty of outside work will get done, the Sun made a welcome appearance for a time today which brings plenty of hope with it 🌞

P.s. there is cherry blossom on the trees in London, obviously due to the higher temperatures there but yey spring is springing finally.

The beast from the East and all that goes with it!

Monday 26th Feb: It is cold this morning but not as cold as I was expecting it to be but time enough for that. Did the morning stuff had to break all the water buckets and was glad we filled them yesterday, though prolonged cold will obviously bring problems further down the line.

Made a shepherds pie with the left over slow roasted beef we had yesterday, I used the meat juices for the gravy and even fried the onions in the beef fat, just what you need to keep the cold out, I also made an apple and blackcurrant crumble again lots of vitamin c and a good stodgy pudding works wonders on the soul 😀

The rest of the day was mostly spent stoking the fire to keep the temps up inside and it’s nice and cosy so bring it on beast.

For the afternoon feeding and egg collection I dug out my duvet coat, a splendid if a little dusty affair, that came from a mountainous, snowy part of the world and is perfect for sub zero temperatures, only it wasn’t that sub zero lol, I found that the hosepipes were flowing freely so it can’t be minus anything just yet, a good opportunity to again top up the water buckets, a little snow flurry added to the ambience but that soon passed over and so we wait and see what happens next.

We are ready for most things except a loss of electric, still not got the generator sorted, the idea is to be able to plug the pump into it so that we can still run the Rayburn, I’ve got a feeling I will be cursing John if that happens and we still can’t do it.

It’s 4.30 and I’m looking out fo the window at the lovely sunshine wondering if this is all going to be something and nothing!

Made some oat and blueberry bars as I had a few oats to use up, trying to gradually use up store cupboard stuff and I will then replenish, anyone have a recipe to use up a tin of refried beans 🤣

Tuesday: Still cold although no sign of the snow that northern parts have had as yet.

Water buckets frozen solid, they take a good hard heeling to break them 😜 all the birds seem quite content and not showing any signs of the cold affecting them. Mia arrived early so it was lucky I had already got everything done except for lighting the Rayburn so I got that done quickly.

We have had snow flurries on and off all day mixed with sunshine!

I am slightly concerned for the aubergine seedlings on the window sill, although it’s warm during the day, during the night time the temp drops and where they once were thriving they are looking a little sad, I have put a clear polythene tent over them so hopefully they will recover, I only need two or three plants any way so it will be the strongest that pull through I guess. There are two melon seeds that have sprouted and they seem fine and strong, hopefully the other 4 seeds will sprout soon.

Putting the birds to bed this evening with a layering of crispy snow that looked blue in the moonlight, pure magic 😀 already -6 at 6.30 though, goodness knows how cold it will get overnight!

Wednesday: Goodness knows what the temps went down to last night I’m guessing about -10! So this morning I lit the Rayburn before going out and I wrapped up properly, my duvet coat, two pairs of gloves, one fingerless pair under the thermal gloves and my iso therm wellies. The only part of me that got cold was my face and a few gurning exercises when I came back in soon thawed it out 🤪 The water buckets were the most difficult thing this morning, as expected they were frozen solid, right to the bottom on the smaller buckets, I broke what I could which was most of them, just the one at the back that was too hard, luckily the sun is shinning this morning so it should melt off a little bit, the hens are free ranging so they will find the other water buckets soon enough. I checked the egg shed and one of the eggs had frozen and split, the others were fine but if the temperatures stay low we might have to start bringing them in over night. I have put plenty of bird seed out for the wild birds, I moved the feeder so it is now in the oak tree outside the back door which is lovely because I can see them all feeding and there are lots of them 😀

So far the ‘beast from the east’ has been more of a ‘cub’ but plenty of time left in the arctic blast to get bigger. The snow flurries are on, off, on again but the temperature has remained low all day. Went out for lunch with Shelley, Josh and Mia as it’s Shelley’s 30th Birthday today, the kids were in ‘full on’ mode, well behaved but hard work lol, luckily Mia was tired when we got back so I put her down for a sleep and went out to do the feeding and egg collecting. While I was out there I filled 4 wheelbarrows full of cut wood and bought that in and also quickly skipped out jacks stable, put some hay and water in for him so he can just be bought in later. I think tonight might be when it hits us if at all.

Thursday: The ‘beast’ was grumbling all night here, the winds never let up from 10pm till 7am, I was surprised that we didn’t have a blanket of snow. It has been steadily snowing since 7.30 now and the sky looks full, the warnings have been issued, schools and offices are closing from lunchtime, I wonder how bad it will get and I wonder if I will be the only one here tonight if the others can’t get back! As for the morning rounds, they were difficult especially watering, the buckets are frozen solid, the taps are frozen solid, I took out some cartons of water with me for the smaller animals and a bucket for the ducks. For the chickens I have moved the buckets inside, as the hens won’t come out I figured their collective body heat will melt at least a top layer of ice otherwise they will have to eat the snow which is what I guess wild animals would have to do.

From the weather reports I am expecting a white out blizzard I just hope the electric stays on! In preparation, as I have been caught out before I have charged everything up, torches, phones etc. I have learnt from previous episodes to keep an old plug straight into the phone line phone, as the ones that connect via a pod to the electric as well won’t work, all the little cogs in my survival wheel lol.

I have a beef stew in the slow cooker and I’ve made hot cross buns, without the crosses 😜

This was a recipe from the River Cottage Bread book, actually they were so easy I wondered why I had never made them before.

I have been looking at the forecast from RAF Brize Norton as it’s less than 2 miles away and the wind chill factor is -12 in the day time!

Well the afternoon round was a fun event……..NOT! The snow is coming down it’s f**king freezing in the wind and I had to spend the time carrying buckets of water from indoors to the outer reaches, they are heavy let me tell you, at least everything has had chance of a drink but my arms are hurting, pfft I know, weakling, there are times when I can easily carry stuff and times when I can’t, this is a can’t time and it’s not much fun. My blood tests came back from last week with high inflammation markers so that is the reason I am struggling with carrying. I filled up the wild bird feeder as they have gone through a fair bit of seed today, ready to hunker down no doubt.

There has been a red warning issued for tonight in the South, joy, still at least it gives me something to write about, the next few days possibly a week are going to be flipping hard work. While most people are thinking whoo hoo a snow day, I am thinking why the hell would you want to play in it 🤪

Friday: Well most people managed to get home last night and it didn’t look too bad this morning from the window but John went off in the van and came back an hour later after trying two roads out of the village both blocked by cars stuck in drifts of deep snow, he had to leave the van and walk back. So that meant with Charlie not going in either there were plenty of hands on deck as it were, good job because the girls couldn’t get here to do the horses as they were stuck in the lane for well over an hour. The stable block was full of drifted snow and so was the feed room and the hay barn, I have never seen it like this before. We fed and watered everything, cleaned snow off of the top of the poly tunnel, then I made some bread, Charlie did the cleaning and John decided he would sit on the sofa and watch tv. The livery girls got picked up and bought here, the same chap then knocked and asked John if he wanted him to tow his van back with him which he did, an egg customer came for eggs in his tractor lol, a load of sausage rolls in the Rayburn and a nice cuppa, a sit down for a while until it’s time to go back out later.

Just finished the final shift of the day putting everything to bed, it’s cold and snowy, I am sooooo over winter now it can shove off, lots of lovely pictures of people playing out in it bah humbug not me not these days 🤪everything is snuggly tucked up in stables, coops, shed, huts annnnd relax 😀

Some snow patterns lol

Saturday: In terms of the weather it’s quite pleasant this morning lol, the temperature is above freezing and I even went outside without my coat on to put out eggs after some customers came on sledges 🛷 John was here first thing to help with the water though that hopefully will be the last time we have to bucket it across as it is beginning to thaw. His phone has been going as frozen pipes begin to thaw and have burst, I went out and about 20 mins later I saw him coming back and trying to get out another way as cars are still stuck in the lane and village, eventually after going a long way round he managed to get to someone who had been stood with their finger over a pipe for two hours! The thaw will bring different problems including mud but hopefully spring will not be far away 🤞 It seems like we have been snowed in forever but it was only two days lol.

The weather has dominated everything we have done over the last few days and to be honest inbetween feeding and some wood cutting etc we did a lot of sitting on the sofa lol

Sunday: As I sat down to write this in the afternoon the heavens opened and I mean opened, hard, fast, heavy rain lol when will it ever just be normal weather again? The snow is now pretty much slush or it definitely will be now. We went round to Johns Mums first thing then down to the shop to get a few supplies, good job we didn’t need much because there was no fresh produce on the shelves!

Cabbage seeds, cookery books and bird boxes.

Tuesday 20th Feb: Back to the routine today after a short break and guess what, it’s windy! It woke me up around 4.30am something was banging around luckily I eventually fell back to sleep, woke up again at 7 and it’s still windy. The greatest thing about the wind is that it’s drying up the ground so we are grateful for that. I asked John to take the feed out to the front chickens this morning as at the moment I’m finding two bucketfuls of feed too much to carry. I did the rest then went into the greenhouse to sow some cabbage and comfrey seeds, the cabbage seeds I saved from last year but I can’t remember what type they are 😝 surprise cabbage 😀 I watered the peas that are growing nicely in the small polytunnel and then watered the strawberries and beetroot in the big tunnel. The pea and bean seeds I showed last week are just beginning to sprout and the lettuce in the ‘mini greenhouses’ have also sprouted, maybe in a weeks time I will be able to eat a pea top and lettuce leaf salad.

While I was thinking about salads I ordered some more lettuce seeds and some leeks and thinking back to our stay away some mushroom spawn while I was at it 😀

I had Mia in the afternoon but also I wasn’t feeling too good either so not much more got done.

Wednesday: The wind has dropped today thank goodness and it’s quite a pleasant morning, I bimbled round and did the feeding and watering, I made a horrible discovery, not horrible in any way other than I was horrified with myself. You will remember we let the baby rabbits go, most were from the large run but one was an older boy rabbit from before, we had two in a separate cage and I am keeping one of them but the other was set free, we closed the hutch door to enable us to catch the rabbit, went off down the paddock, let them go, then went away for two days completely forgetting to open the door to the hutch so that the remaining rabbit could get to it’s food and water. I thought it was odd that he hadn’t eaten his carrot then noticed (horrified) the door was still shut, luckily he had plenty of hay in there with him so didn’t go hungry but all the same I can’t believe I forgot 🙄

Still feeling under the weather so keep popping the pills, hopefully it will pass soon, not that I have the luxury of resting up until it does, jobs still have to be carried out.

Thursday: I am up at 5.30 this morning, not because I have something to do but because I don’t feel well, I’m not sure at this point in time if it’s a Lupus flare or if I have a virus or possibly menopausal or all three! I ache and shiver and sweat all at the same time and the welcome cool air of the half opened stable door is refreshing at this time of the morning. I have bloods tomorrow, mostly to check that my meds are not damaging me in any way but if it’s the Lupus they will show up inflammation markers and if it’s not then I am just poorly (that’s what I would prefer). It’s quiet, it’s quite nice, normally I wait till everyone has got up and gone to work before I get up so that I can then just get on.

Once the painkillers and anti inflammatory kicked in I felt totally normal so got on with the jobs in hand and sorted out all the eggs for the shed. I put an extra board roadside to advertise the goose eggs, what normally happens is that people come and ask for them well after the geese have finished laying or begin sitting in earnest, so this way I can notify anyone who is interested that they are available now. I lit the fire and then had the intention of going out to do something but after 10 mins out there I decided it was too cold and there was nothing urgent in the garden or greenhouse that warrants getting frozen for.

I decided to do a couple of jobs that have been nagging at me for a while now, one was my cookery book shelves, they all needed coming off having a good clean, sort out and putting back and the other was the kitchen window blinds. Most of us opt to have the kitchen sink in front of the window but boy it does make it difficult to clean, kneeling on the draining board is a bit ouchy but not too bad but trying to lean over the sink area means training as a contortionist! The blinds haven’t been done properly for a year so took a while to get the dust off, very pleased with myself, in between the two jobs I got out some tomato soup from the freezer that I made back in the summer, what a treat and a great reminder of the growing year ahead😀

Going through the bookshelf was a great exercise, I had forgotten some of the great books I have there, I shall definitely refer to them more this year rather than turning to google, as convenient as it is.

Well of course I didn’t stop there suffice to say that some areas of the kitchen look gleaming 😀

Friday: I don’t know what happened to Friday, I have no notes lol, I had bloods done in the morning and had coffee with Shelley and Josh, Sam and Mia came in the afternoon apart from that we had some off cuts of wood delivered ummm nope can’t remember!

Saturday: It’s a cold start and I’m glad John offered to do the morning rounds, I stayed inside and did a bit of clearing up, then went outside where some more wood was being delivered. This wood is all old cut up pallets etc but it still needs cutting smaller to fit in the Rayburn, it is a mountain of wood, literally poor John will be there for the rest of his life cutting it up 😜 I spotted a lot of it that would be the perfect size for making bird boxes so that is what I started doing, marking them up, getting John to cut the pieces then I put them together, now I know I’m never going to win carpenter of the year 🤪 but I reckon the birds will be pretty chuffed with their little houses and I intend to make as many as I can for all round the farm. It was bitterly cold mind so I had to keep coming in to warm up the ends of my fingers and toes, the workshop area faces North, not so good for working in the Winter.

I made six in total one of which is a robin nest box and they are now in situ waiting for the first occupants of the year 😀

The weather warnings are beginning, the beast from the East is apparently going to hit us hard, oh the joys and it’s a prolonged period of cold probably with snow, just when we thought Spring might appear lol.

Sunday: Lovely sunny but cold morning again today and we have been mostly preparing for the cold weather that has been forecast. First the routine stuff then the cleaning out and bulking up of extra bedding for the rabbits, quail and orchard hens, filling up all available water buckets and vessels as the pipes will be frozen and at least if we have things filled up we can break the ice to retrieve water. On cleaning out the rabbits I found two more newly born babies, I half expected this as the rabbit that was out before we caught her was bound to get knocked up in between times, the saying is certainly true!

I could be heard shouting ‘John, you dickhead’ as he had come in to the orchard pen to bring rabbit feed then locked me in and gone off to do something else 🤪

Then is was my turn to be called something rudimentary as John discovered I had left the rain water hose on to fill up a tub which I estimated would take about an hour, came in and had something to eat, then Shelley, Martin and Josh popped in and I forgot all about it, result, overflow 🤪 ooops at least it wasn’t mains water that we are charged for but still 😜

I also prepare the greenhouse and the citrus trees in the poly tunnel, all with extra fleece covering just in case, I don’t want to risk losing any of the plants or seedlings that are underway so better to be safe than sorry.

While I was in the greenhouse I scattered a bit of mushroom spawn into the hotbox and covered them with soil, I have never been successful growing mushrooms this way but willing to give it another try, you never know.

I think if it does pan out to be as cold as they say I shall mostly be baking and cooking next week, it keeps me busy and warm at the same time 😀

Wind, a fence and some much needed R&R 😀

Monday 12th Feb: What a fabulous day, after the endless miserable weather we have had today was welcomed with, let’s get busy, thoughts. To begin with it was still frozen but without that cold wind, so I began tidying up, putting away, picking wind blown paraphernalia up. By mid morning it was thawing but still frozen so into the greenhouse, which by the way was a balmy 17c thanks to the bubble wrap 😀I potted on the blueberry bushes, some primula and pansies, sowed some pak Choi seeds before going on to dig out a huge patch of stingers that have taken over the orchard area. Before I did all that this morning I had put up some temporary fence and let the orchard pen birds out into the whole of the orchard, they had a great time as I was digging and pulling up nettle roots.

Also inbetween all that I had lit the fire and got the dinner ready for tonight, a slow roasted breast of lamb, well it was supposed to be slow roasted except that the Rayburn was in full flo today and by the time I came back inside the oven was up to roast and the lamb was cooking too fast 😩 I have come to the conclusion that you can either work outside and neglect inside or you can work inside and neglect outside but trying to do both doesn’t work very well. The lamb will be fine in the end I’m sure but the best laid plans and all that 🤪

I would have carried on until I had done all the nettles, there is a small patch left to do, but I though I would have an hour sat down before beginning the afternoon session, good job or the lamb would have been crispy 😝

Tuesday: I’ve got wind again! Nope it’s not something I have eaten 🤪 it’s outside battering the heck out of the farm. Winters, I find, are usually defined by the weather that prevailed the most, you know, it was a wet winter, it was a dry winter, it was a cold winter, well this is the first time I will write, it’s been a windy winter, I have never known so many wind storms and strong ones at that. The weather, always a constant topic on this island and even more so among those who work outside, is not as reliable as it used to be, even going back eight years you could work around what was likely to be but these days nothing is certain, climate change or weather patterns that stretch over millennia? I personally think a bit of both, I mean, you can’t say that all the weather deviations are caused by climate change and ignore the greatest power on Earth, Mother Nature, and although we as a species are always pushing the boundaries of knowledge, there is so much more in the Universe we don’t understand yet. 🌍 we’ve had Ice Ages and mini ice ages, I know those could not have been stopped even by the greatest of brains, what if we are now on a naturally warming cycle, ok we would be contributing to it massively but we wouldn’t be able to stop it. Who knows, not us because ‘since records began’ is a tiny nano second in comparison to the age of the Earth.

I ordered some grass seed today for the chicken paddocks, we have different seed for different grazing, the poultry mix has a short ryegrass which is hard wearing and grows pretty quickly, combined with clovers and fescue we have been really impressed with how well the grass has stood up to the weather this winter, as it grows quite quickly and goes to seed fairly early it also is thickening up the ley as it does so, providing the hens don’t eat all the seed!

Wednesday: Crap weather again, did the basics outside in the morning, went to lunch at Shelley’s with Sam, did the basics in the afternoon and John put the birds away, well most of them as there are remnants on Thursday morning of chicken feathers 😟

Thursday: Nice sunny start, soon started spitting with rain 🌧 I will be honest I’m struggling, physically and mentally today. This thing with my hands is becoming a nuisance, I have to take anti inflammatory in the morning just to be able to get stuff done, not good, coupled with trudging/slipping my way through the feeding rounds. I have buckets of eggs to wash but after carry heavy buckets of feed and scrapping the hen hut floor my hands are just not willing and neither am I 🙄 I’m tired after being awake half the night with chronic acid reflux, my own fault as I spent a couple of hours bent over cutting up felt pieces for some craftwork, should have used a higher table. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day 😐

Gave my arse a kick and cleaned out the geese, the sun came back out 🌞 makes a difference.

Friday: After doing the usual routine I spent a lot of time in traffic going to and from the hospital with Shelley and Josh as Shelley went for her 36 week scan 😀 I am amazed at how technology has come on, in my day you could only hear babies heart beat now you can see pictures, see what sex they are, tell if they have hair and roughly how much they weigh amazing! Josh was convinced it was a hippo he could see on the screen instead of his baby sister 😜

Saturday: Had a more productive day today, I cleaned out the ducks while John did the rest of the feeding, then some tidying and clearing outside, that’s all we seem to do and don’t get anywhere! I then decided I needed a small fence round my plants outside the back door as the dogs keep knocking over the pots and digging holes in the dirt so I set about making a fence as you do lol. It turned out ok and serves the purpose I need it for.

John cleaned out the front hen hut and cut up some wood plus got a few wheelbarrow fulls inside for next week, we are slowly getting through the wood mountain.

This morning we also caught up all the baby rabbits and took them to the far corner paddock where we released them into some scrub, it was that or raise them for meat and I didn’t really want to do that, if we lived a frugal life I would have but we don’t need to so they can run free. The babies that were born under the decking or shed I’m not sure which, have not been seen for days, I did find remnants of one in the stable block so I’m guessing that the cats have caught them, along with a headless pheasant I found in the stables too, now if they could just catch a few mice and rats that would be awesome 😀

Tomorrow we are off to The Pig in the Wood for an overnight stay that the girls bought us for Christmas so we are looking forward to a bit of R & R. The girls will be looking after the farm and taking over from John looking after his Mum so a huge thanks to them all 😘😘

This store room at the place we stayed was amazing, all the produce that was grown on site then pickled, dried or made is store here until needed, I am so going to have one of these 😀

A game of cat and rabbits

Monday 5th Feb: Crikey when I looked at the date I wondered where the last 5 days have gone! Been busy this morning, finally got my welly on, I had to really as John is busy with his Mum so morning routine was down to me. I got the birds and rabbits fed and watered, cleaned out the front house floor, John did the boxes yesterday, then sorted the recycling and burnt the paper rubbish along with feed sacks etc. Then a few minutes in the greenhouse checking the seed I have already down and I used some clear boxes with lids, the type apple turnovers come in, to sow some lettuce seeds, I’m hoping they will work like mini greenhouses, inside the greenhouse. Then on to light the fire and get some washing on a bit of tidying up and putting away and then coffee time so I can write this up. I took a photo this morning, have a look at it and see what you can see, not much? Well there is a lot more going on here than you realise, the rabbit on the grass and the cat on the fence but the cat is not interested in that particular rabbit what she is interested in is the baby rabbits that at a guess are under the shed! The babies in the run are now moving about a lot exploring their surroundings, I’m guessing the others are of a similar age and doing the same, Molly certainly thinks there is something interesting to watch here and knowing Molly, she is thinking 💭 breakfast 😀 Unless I can catch them it will be natural selection situation I’m afraid.

Tuesday: Is it just me or is everyone’s life chaos at times? This morning was one of those mental half hours, Mia arrived early, that’s fine I have done everything outside and lit the fire, she sits to the table and eats her ready brek (which I’d had forgotten gets bloody everywhere and is a pain to clean up because when you think you have finished you find bits stuck to your hand) Ok get her down now she is cleaned up and I am having an omelette for breakfast so I start that, then the septic tank lorry turns up, gotta now get the dogs inside so I am shouting them before the lorry starts to reverse into the driveway, dogs locked away, Mia is crying as she wants something I can’t quite understand what, I think at this moment Peppa Pig will sort the situation out, the fire stick decides it’s not playing ball today, frantically clicking on it and it finally kicks into life, the phone rings (a customer of Johns) I talk quickly to the tank driver, the phone rings again (John, this time) meanwhile my omelette is still cooking, I make tea for the driver, put wood on the fire before it burns down too far, eat my omelette while I can smell the product of the tank emptying 😝 meanwhile Shelley is messaging as she is coming over to collect Mia and take her back to play so i am arranging that and then almost as quickly as it started, the lorry goes, Mia is still watching Peppa Pig and sanity resumes 🤪🤪

Mia went off with Shelley, John came home after collecting the feed and I decided to make a cake, I really like this Mary Berry recipe, it’s easy, doesn’t take very long to make, I put everything in the bowl then mix it up and it tastes great even when you alter the ingredients slightly.

Wednesday: I was hoping to have a bit of time in the garden today after doing the morning feeding etc but it’s too frozen 🙄 I couldn’t even pot on the blueberries as the ericaceous compost was frozen solid, my fault I asked John to put it out by the greenhouse, I should have had it put inside really. The aubergine seedlings have come up on the windowsill in the kitchen the problem now is making sure they get enough light so they don’t get ‘leggy’ so I have taken the cover off and the tray will get turned a couple of times a day especially when the sun is shinning. I have some mini daffodils (paper whites, which always remind me of a friend that I know loves them) in a pot that I was given for Christmas, they are also on the windowsill and the green tips are just peeking through. I find it an exciting time when everything starts to grow again but I need to beware as the temperature can plummet drastically as we have seen overnight.

I always think I would quite like a heated greenhouse for this time of year but it goes against my ethos, I can’t really justify it and keep looking for ways to heat it up for free. There are some good ideas online in various places it’s just getting round to doing them lol, one if making use of the muckheap and having a pipe run from the bottom of the greenhouse, through the heap and back into the top of the greenhouse though I’m not sure this would work entirely as warm air rises anyway so it would probably all escape through the roof!

So after getting the fire lit and looking at a few you tube vids I decided that the hot bed probably would work fine though it hasn’t really up till now, but that’s because the manure in it was fairly old and so cooked itself through. The solution was to put more, fresh stuff in there so I ripped up a newspaper and spread that, then some kitchen compost waste, tea bags, banana skin etc and finally some cleanings out from the rabbit and quail runs which should bring it back to life and raise the temperature. I also added a bucket of multipurpose compost and stood a black bucket filled with water on top. Looking at the dirt floor, which is always colder than anything else, it needs a layer of something on, either cardboard or even straw though I think I would find the straw annoying so I will opt for the cardboard as we have plenty of it about.

John came home late afternoon asking what jobs need doing 🤪 look around, bloody hundreds lol, you can start by collecting up all the buckets and cleaning them, I’ll use the power washer he says (any opportunity to play with a toy) I don’t think that is necessary I say just clean them with a brush or sponge, he sulks, ten minutes later he comes back in, I’m going to use the pressure washer as there are TEN buckets, TEN buckets oh well you better had then otherwise you will be there all week long, I roll my eyes and retreat, pretty sure that is overkill but if it makes him happy 🙄

Thursday: Phew what a day, busy, busy, busy, we did the usual morning stuff then started on tidying and clearing the back. John and I spent pretty much the whole of the day tidying stuff up, putting stuff away, throwing stuff away, putting stuff up for sale or giving it away and building a new worktop area and storage under. How long it will stay like that is anyone’s guess 🤪 but for now it looks like a clean, tidy, usable space. Oh and John and one of the liveries managed to catch the loose rabbit now that her offspring are able to fend for themselves, if we can catch them up we will, if not they will be on their own!

Friday: After winds last night then downpours during the night it’s sunny though a cold wind with it. Did the morning rounds and the bubble wrap for the greenhouse arrived yesterday so I am going to put that up this morning, I’m determined to get this greenhouse warm enough for an early start.

So I ordered 50m of 2ft wide (large bubble, they let in more light than small) bubble wrap and used nearly all of it insulating the greenhouse, it took about an hour, I haven’t done the bottom half just the sides and top to stop the warm air escaping. I really hope it makes a difference lol, it cost £25 but I should be able to reuse it again next year. Of course what I would really like is a new greenhouse lol, but replacing like for like would cost a few thousand so I am happy to limp along with this one until the wind blows it down 💨 it’s been repaired so many times and is not the best but it still works in a fashion, I will put one on my ‘dream’ list.

I got really cold and couldn’t warm up for the life of me, then ended up with joint pains oh the joys of Lupus 😜

Saturday: It’s cold and raining 😐 John did the birds in the front and I did the birds at the back, we relocated the ducks back to their original pen and will feed them inside their hut as it’s not really fair to keep them in the stable unless absolutely necessary. John then went off to sort his Mum out and I decided to make some pickled eggs as we have got plenty of them! I looked for a pickling recipe but couldn’t quite find one I liked so as usual adapted one, white vinegar, salt, sugar, juniper berries, coriander seeds and a pinch of mustard powder all went in, we will see how they taste in a few days 😀 a packet of crisps, pickled egg and a beer is supposed to be beautiful lol.

Got the Rayburn going early, she has been a bit of a pig to light over the last few days taking me nearly an hour to get her up to speed, it’s one of the things that I have a love/hate relationship with 🤪

We are finally getting round to clearing up some of the things that have been lying around for ages, yesterday someone came to collect some big sheets of insulated metal we were given (don’t like to say no lol) we didn’t really have a use for them so we passed them on to someone who does. Now just got to get rid of our old sofa and Charlie’s mattress and I can start making the front look attractive, I never could put flowers etc out there before because Kai would always dig them up, now he has gone I can 😀 I always wanted a lavender hedge out the front so time to put some plans into action.

It’s such a cold wet depressing day I decided I’m not doing anything except sit in the warm lol. I looked through all the old photos and can’t wait for the place to look spring like and warm again, I found old videos of little lambs, photos of the garden when it looks at its best, roll on better weather, it’s at this stage of the year it feels like it’s been winter forever.

Sunday: Cold again 😟 we’ve had wind, rain, sleet, hail and even a touch of sun all a 24hr period! I haven’t been outside at all today, John was up early and has done all the outside jobs while I warm the house, cook the dinner, do the chores lol. He is really earning his keep at the moment, 7 mornings and 5 evenings a week he is seeing to his Mum, in between he is fitting in the plumbing work and keeping up with his farm chores and doing a sterling job to boot.

Man down and ‘the hobble’

Monday 29th January: It’s 10.45 and mission accomplished this morning, after doing the feeding the job was to fully secure the rabbit run and make sure that when the babies start moving about they can’t get out! We have 2inch square welded mesh around the run so the adults can’t get through it BUT baby rabbits can and do or did last time but not this time mwaahaha I have boarded and wired every escape route (hopefully)

I really need to have outside shoes to hand as I had just come in taken off my coat and wellies made a coffee and the bell rang at the gate 😜 even if I nip out in my indoor shoes they get covered in mud and that is the second time in 24hrs I have de robed only to have to go back out.

I had a wonderful view of a buzzard ‘big bird’ as we call him or her, sat on the fence outside the bedroom window this morning, the photo is not great taken with my I pad but I went to get my proper camera and the battery was flat. This bird is the one that is around all the time especially in the early mornings, either in the paddocks or sat on the fence, I will try and get a better picture, I should carry my camera round with me, there were deer in the field to the side of us the other morning it would be great to get some photos of the wildlife around us.

Tuesday: Hard frost this morning and brrr very chilly but the sun broke through so that was nice to see.

Did the usual morning feeding and egg collecting, nothing amiss thank goodness, then did a bit of tidying up outside before coming in to light the fire and make some soup. The long tailed tits have made an appearance this morning, nice to see them back again though I always say they indicate bad weather 😝

Had lots of visitors today, Sam dropped off Mia before going to work, Charlie was here on her last day off before returning to work, Mum, Gill and Zeri came for tea and cake, Shelley, Martin and Josh came round later to pick up some things for Charlie and Luke arrived later to pick up Mia so ‘full house’ today. Lucky I made cake in the morning, I used the orange and sultana recipe except that Charlie had a dried toffee apple/nut concoction that was out of date and she was throwing away so I used it up in the cake instead, smelt amazing and tasted pretty good too 😀 I made some chicken/veg soup in the morning which was also pretty good. John came home early and got some more wood in from outside and did the birds.

Wednesday: Well I am so over Winter ❄️I was trying to get everything done in the house so was a bit later out this morning than usual, I spotted the biggest black cloud and thought I might just be able to outrun it and get the front birds done, nope, bloody hailstones smacking me in the face like someone firing peppercorns through a tube at me. I slipped in the paddock spilling the chicken feed all over the ground, not the best start to a day, please hurry up Spring I am trying to be patient but it’s wearing thin 😝 We have plenty of eggs as the hens have now ramped up their laying, chicken, duck, goose, quail just waiting for the bantams to start as well. Some Salvia seeds I ordered arrived today, White Sage, I am hoping to grow them for smudging bundles, we will see how it goes, the blueberry bushes I ordered also arrived these are early fruiting to prolong the picking season, just need to get some ericaceous compost to pot them into unless I can find the right ingredients to make my own, pine clippings usually does it but not sure how much I would need and how long it would take to bring the ph levels down, apparently, oak leaves and coffee grounds will also work but with the time constraints it might be easier to go and buy some for now 😀

Sometimes when I write these blogs what you read is all about the swan gliding steadily along the river 😜 what you don’t read, because on the whole I don’t write all of it, is the feet furiously paddle away underneath the water trying to get somewhere! Today is one of those days, I have numerous tasks to do including keeping the Rayburn going, looking after Mia, meanwhile the phone is ringing multiple times, the doorbell is ringing, I need to make an urgent phonecall and then wait for a return call, the dog (not mine) keeps jumping the gate every time an egg customer arrives, a family situation that is very stressful, to deal with over the phone and internet…………I have a headache 🤕

Thursday: It’s dry but the wind is cold brrrr. After feeding etc I cleaned out the single rabbit run and the baby boy rabbits, still no idea what we will do with these 😜 and now more of them! After doing that and sorting the egg shed with today’s eggs I did a bit in the greenhouse. Its still very cold in there so can’t do much but I did sow the white sage seeds and the pomelo seeds, they are now indoors on the windowsill as they won’t germinate out there. I made a bit of a boo boo though because there was I gaily putting seeds on the warm south facing windowsills completely forgetting that the glass in them stops the UV rays doh, still they will get light and the indoor warmth so that’s better than outside. I ordered some more blueberry bushes which have now arrived so I unpacked them and they are in the greenhouse until I get them planted up. My old plants struggled last year and I have no idea why, I tested the soil it wasn’t that, I will have to wait and see if they come back this year, they have been fine for about three years so I’m at a loss as to why they failed.

I put new batteries in my small camera and took it out with me this morning, I took photos of the rabbits and the runs and a cheeky hen who is always right under my feet no matter what I’m doing. I also took photos of the greenhouse, garden and large poly tunnel, my thought is to take them on the first of each month and have a round up later in the year to see the progress over time.

Then I came in for a coffee and to warm up my toes, I’ll wait for the sun to warm things up a bit before going out again.

Did a bit of tidying up and lit the fire and then things went tits up about 2.30! I was just going out the boot room door to get some more wood for the fire, put my foot down straight onto a 5”long, 2” round stick that the dog had left there and went over on my ankle with horrible pain, then crash down onto my kneecap with horrible pain and ended up in the dog bed and dog hair in my mouth not that it mattered as I first shouted f***ing dogs, at that point they scarpered, then the pain fully kicked in and all I could do was let out loud primal moans. At this point I could not stand up and proceeded, after moaning for a good minute or so, to drag myself back inside the kitchen and half up to the table to grab my phone and call John who luckily was on his way home anyway. 3 hours later, I have iced, rested, elevated and compressed the ankle, taken painkillers and arnica and assessed that I have not broken anything as far as I can tell, but badly sprained the ankle and bruised the kneecap.

Friday: Not the day I planned to have, the weather is going to be better than yesterday and I had planned on getting the veg garden tidied up 😩instead I am doing what can only be described as ‘the hobble’. Everything takes three times as long so simple tasks like going backwards and forwards to the recycling bin, getting wood for the fire, anything really is slow. First thing is to do the morning routine, John can’t because at the moment he is going round to his Mums to get her up and I can’t load any more stress onto him this week! It is painfully clear my welly won’t go on, nor will Johns which are 3 sizes bigger nor Maccas which are bigger still, so the only option is to wear slip on garden shoes, good job it’s not freezing out there today. The ground is fairly dry and hard though that has its problems because it’s lumpy so having to be very careful where I tread, I did the bare minimum needed and the only thing I couldn’t do was clean the front hens floor because the mud in front of the door is still wet and deep enough to cover my shoes, never mind the slip hazard!

Then it was time to put egg in the shed, well this would be interesting as I needed to carry trays of eggs lol, luckily the eggs and I survived the hazard trip negotiating 3 gates and a shingle driveway. It becomes evident how much you actually do when suddenly you are encumbered and are only doing half a job.

I sat down with a coffee after that and will rest it now for an hour or so before I start again, plenty of resting bits in between and anti inflammatory/arnica and I will be swinging from the trees before you know it. I have ordered an ankle strap and put out a plea to the family for a pair of boots that might be suitable oh my days life is complicated sometimes.

All the birds have ramped up their laying but we seemed to be short on customers, last week the sales were down and so far this week it’s the same, I hope they come back soon lol, it’s typical when you have limited eggs the customers come thick and fast and when you have loads of eggs you are eagerly waiting for them to buy 🤪

Sam and Shelley came over in the afternoon and did some of the jobs for me while I pretty much rested my ankle, then John came home and did the afternoon feeding and egg collecting and got me some dinner 😀

Saturday: The resting did me a whole lot of good as I can walk around fairly normally now, however I still can’t get my wellies on so John did the morning routine and then went to his Mums and I got on with de cluttering and cleaning our bedroom. I had decided January was going to be the month to get sorted and get rid of stuff but never got round to it, so today seems like a good day, a bag full of clothes that i never wear for the charity shop, some for the rag and shoe bin, some stuff for the dustbin and voila it’s done. Meanwhile John is getting barrowfulls of wood into the back area and Macca is cleaning the bathroom, happy days 😀

Sunday: Still no chance of me getting anything other than a slip on shoe on this foot, bearing in mind the mud out there it means John has to do the morning routine again today. Poor John is working flat out at the minute, looking after his Mum having to do what I can’t do and he is not even complaining 😐

I have been doing what I can inside including up dating the chalk board we have out by the egg shed, well I would if I could get the last lot of writing off! I scoured the internet for tips, tried everything from nail varnish remover, hob cleaner, white vinegar, a rubber and plain old water but there is still ‘ghost’ writing. I have ordered a ‘magic eraser’ to see if that helps but what is the point of a board that you can’t re use? I can’t use water based chalk pens because that will just wash off in the rain, ah well there are bigger problems to have I suppose. I made fresh bread, did the washing etc etc, if the ground would only dry up enough I could be outside 😀 I bought some ericaceous compost yesterday for the blueberries but I will have a go at making a batch to see if it’s worth doing, the biggest problem will be getting the ph right and seeing how long the ph levels stay like that because from what I have read without peat it reverts back to neutral after 4/6 months or so which is not a lot of good.

This is fanny, she is a pain in the butt, she is constantly under my feet when I am in the orchard pen, she follows me round (very closely) pecking at my feet, coat, hands wherever she thinks she might get a morsel or two 😝

The little birds that have taken to roosting in our boxes all winter, there are loads of them, they even roost in the vent from the hob extractor hood and behind loose house boards!