Sun, sea and sand (not all at once though)

Monday: Another quail died overnight so we are down to 12 now. The weather forecast is set to be fair all week with high temperatures for the time of year πŸ˜€ This morning as I walk round feeding, the sun is shinning and it feels great to be where I am, the day is my oyster 😜 There are plenty of little birds flitting around, wrens, sparrows and long tailed tits plus the ever present robin of course. Rabbits running around at the bottom of the paddock and we have seen an increase in pheasants over the last few days as well. During a cold snap one of the arms on my washing line snapped so I had to go and buy a new one which I will put up today as it promises to be a good drying day I think, and as we are lighting the Rayburn later and later in the day I need to start drying outside instead of inside overnight. Remember when I told you about all the different coats well I have been swapping the winter coat for my gilet in the middle of the day whoop whoop I much prefer to work unencumbered. Spent the first part of the morning cleaning out the rabbit run and sorting them out, I let the chickens back into the penned area in the orchard, I feel much happier about where they are all living now, I also moved the rabbit that lives on her own into the big rabbit run but she is living in a hutch, I figured it was better than not being able to see the others. 

Then onto some gardening, well you have to on a day like this don’t you? I concentrated on the fruit cage, tying in all the raspberry canes and cutting back any that I didn’t want, then weeded it and dug out the couch grass, weeded round the blueberries, one had a branch that had rooted so I cut that off to pot up, I don’t have any ericaceous compost so I mixed in some conifer clippings for the time being to lower the acidity. After that I went into the greenhouse, the temperature was up to a crazy 25 in there, I showed some celeriac and outdoor tomato seeds, it was a bit warm to spend too long in there. I really wanted to stay outside but time was getting on and I still had bread to make so I went indoors and got that started, made some jelly with strawberries I got out of the freezer last night ( they smell amazing) and made some chocolate chip and marshmallow muffins πŸ˜€ what a fabulous day I have had. 

I made John a chicken casserole with some stock I made from yesterday’s duck carcass and I will have chicken with baked potato and some salad bits from the poly tunnel, John will have jelly and ice cream while I will have macerated strawberries and ice cream, we both eat totally differently but it’s ok as long as I am organised enough to sort it out. We both love chocolate muffins πŸ˜€

Tuesday: The old lady duck died overnight and also another quail chick, one other is looking weak despite me keep making it drink and eat. I turned on the turner for the duck eggs yesterday so it’s a waiting game now. Sat outside drinking my morning coffee and today’s garden birds are blue tit, great tit and chaffinch, obviously we always have fat pigeons, collared doves, crows and little brown jobs as my lecturer always called them. I got some jobs done this morning before Mia arrived, put the seed potatoes in, sowed some Swede and parsnip and some perpetual spinach and coriander outside. I have two ton bags of compost from the heap so I planted the seed potatoes straight into them rather than decanting them onto the beds and putting the potatoes there, I couldn’t see the point and as potatoes seem to grow well in the heap they should do ok in the sacks πŸ˜€While Mia had her lunchtime nap I managed to get a shepherds pie made along with a chilli, several portions for the freezer too for the days I am working long hours in the garden. 

Wednesday: The weather is looking ok again today, a misty start and hopefully the sun will burn it off. John and I discussed dragging the big paddock at the end of the week if it stays dry, I will have a walk over it today and see how it’s doing, it could probably do with a top seed as well. I’m am unsure about dragging the chicken paddock, it has a fair amount of moss in some areas so I guess it does need doing really, it’s just that it looks so good undisturbed. 

All is well on the rounds this morning, a quail chick died yesterday I think we are left with ten but overnight, no more fatalities. As I was coming back in from the front I saw the sparrow sat on top of his nesting box with a big fluffy feather in his beak ready to line the nest, he looked very pleased with himself and I’m sure the missus will appreciate such comfort πŸ˜€

Had a good morning in the garden, got the washing line post secured, I was going to cement it in but instead I used the spike from the old one as the cement we had was set hard in the bag! Then onto fixing up the fencing that storm Doris blew down, this included a post that I had to use the post rammer to get back in, heavy piece of equipment that is 😜 then I set up a climbing net in the poly tunnel and planted some sugar snap peas for a (hopefully) early crop, I also planted some yin yang beans and some asparagus peas which I have not grown before. Did a bit of hoeing and also took some cuttings from a clematis I have growing over the shed, hopefully they will strike, though I do love growing food to eat, I do miss a bit of ‘proper ‘ gardening. πŸ˜€ I have Mia this afternoon and we are off to ‘soft play’ obviously Nana is going for the coffee and cake πŸŽ‚ 

Thursday: Cracking weather yesterday hoping for more today! Did the rounds this morning everyone seems happy enough, I gave the rabbits some of the willow whips I cut the other day and they have been chewing on them, I must make little bundles for them all through the year, it’s one way to use the whips. I have in the past tried to grow a willow wigwam which didn’t take and used them for edging which did take though I didn’t want it to lol you can’t win. 

Sam came over late morning and we got the tractor and chains out and dragged the paddocks, this does a couple of things, pulls out dead thatch and hay, breaks up and clumps of mud, spreads any poo lying on the ground and tells the grass to WAKE UP and start growing lol. We got the tractor stuck in a particularly wet part but brute force and a puff of black smoke got us out and we avoided that bit from then on. An hours catch up with The Walking Dead and a cuppa then onto the afternoon feeding rounds. 

I took my phone out with me this morning to get some photos then got side tracked with the hay delivery so I will really try to get some photos of anything otherwise just words are a bit boring πŸ’€

Lamb chops for dinner tonight, I think that is the last of them, I will have to start using up breast of lamb otherwise they get left for ages, only because I never really know what to do with them, will have to Pinterest it, unless anyone has any good recipes they can offer me πŸ˜€ I have just ordered a book for 99p from Amazon called ‘it’s raining plums’ which has been recommended by another smallholder blog, seasonal recipes and at 99p it’s a steal. 

There are so many Cade lambs being advertised at the minute I’m almost tempted lol, then I remember about bottle feeding and the routine and wind my neck back in 😜 maybe next year when the grandchildren are older. 

Friday: This will be the last entry from the farm this week as John and I are off to the coast again for the weekend, Shelley will be looking after the farm. This morning after the rounds I gathered up any paper/cardboard rubbish to burn then weed killed the front driveway, it’s surprising what is already growing, from a distance it just a green haze but up close its weeds and tufts of grass. Cleaned the chicken run at the back, put in fresh bedding for the ducks and cleaned the front chicken hut. Then I felt hungry so I decided on eggs and coffee, I scrambled a goose egg, sooo creamy. It’s only 10.30 so I may while away some time in the greenhouse πŸ˜€

Saturday : Shelley and Josh came over to look after the place and we set off for Lymington for an over night stay, we took a detour through the New Forest and saw all the ponies and a few donkeys before arriving at our destination. It was quite nice weather, well not raining at least and the temperatures were warm enough, we wandered down to the old cobbled quay area and to the marina, stopped for a drink and a pasty before checking in to our room at The Angel and Blue Pig, had another wander round the town and then went back to watch the Rugby and eat steaks and drink plenty of bottles of beer. 

Sunday: Up and breakfasted then decided to drive along no the coast to Bournemouth, we stopped at Milford on Sea for a coffee, it was mightily windy lol but nice to watch the waves come crashing in. Then we drove onto Bournemouth, we haven’t been there for over 30 years, I don’t think it’s changed an awful lot, still very windy but pleasant enough. After that we headed on home but via the A roads rather than the motorways, I like to see a bit of the countryside, the change of the colour of bricks and stone that the houses are built from, the difference between, the forest, the plains and the downs, none of which is obvious from the motorway which is a faster but sterile route 😝 and back home ready to start again tomorrow πŸ˜€

The big paddock