Monday, 28 March 2016

Oil

We are oil fueled here for the main part. Here is a picture of how much oil we had on 9th March versus today. Now this is a big tank, over 2000 litres so I am hoping it doesn't go down quickly!
The Aga, central heating and water are fueled on oil and the heating has been on for a fair few days whilst we all had the lurgy so it seems to have dropped more that I would have liked. You can't put a price in health though.
So this post is to allow me to start and monitor the oil use over the year. The heating won't be going back on now thay we are heading in to April so the only use will be the Aga which I plan to leave on during the summer (north facing big kitchen and may change my mind yet) and a couple of hours for the water each day.
I may regret saying this buy I hope that oil amount will last us until August which is when our next order is budgeted for on the spreadsheet!

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Happy Easter

I hope everyone has had a lovely easter. Ours was spent with family and friends throughout the whole day. We're very lucky to have a close knit family who come to visit us. I should really plan in some time to visit them at their houses too but we have been so busy in the new place that it just hasn't happened yet.
I made a huge easter lunch with chicken  and slow cooked beef and all the trimmings and we have loads left of course.
Today I am feeling mighty proud of the seeds that we have growing into fine young plants. So much so that I've photographed them again. I can't quite believe I have managed to grow what I have so far! Maybe we may eat some of our own grown this year after all.
The onions planted outside are showing though no sign of the first early potatoes yet. I have more potatoes here to chit so I'll pop those in the egg cartons tomorrow. Also I want to get a load more seeds in over the next few days. Still too cold for some to be transplanted outside tho.

I was really pleased to see the rhubarb I was questioning a few weeks back growing new growth. I love rhubarb! So much so I have bought 2 new plants. I was thinking about incorporating them into the strawberry bed to split the strawberries and the raspberries up. Would that be OK anyone?

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Goose egg lemon drizzle cake

We are off together for the weekend and Easter Monday. It's been lovely to have some time together even if the weather seems to be against us. It's been raining and wild with the wind so we haven't managed to get too much done outside though yesterday the kids and i managed to go for a lovely walk.
The horses were done first thing today and they got an hour out each before the rain hit.
We had to pop to the shops as we are decorating our first room and need some wall lights. We didn't find any lights we liked but we did get some strawberry plants, 2 rhubarb plants and another raspberry stick. So I was quietly pleased despite meaning we still need to go out to find some blasted wall lights we like.
Instead of being outside, which is always our first preference, I did some baking. I made a lemon drizzle cake using one goose egg and 1 hens egg. Oh my it is fantastic. Now it might just be Mary Berry's recipe, but I like to think it was the goose egg that made it the nicest lemon drizzle cake I have ever made (also the only ;)) I also made a mackerel pate type thing which was a hugh fearnley whittingstall recipe and it was nice but Ste thought it was just glorified tuna! I have a simnel cake in the Aga now which says 5 to 10 hours in Mary Berry's book so I shall see how it turns out after 5 hours. I don't fancy staying up until midnight to wait for the 10.
Tomorrow I am making Easter lunch for my family and in a few weeks we will do it for Ste's side. It'd be too many in one go. Fingers crossed it turns out ok! Happy Easter all.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Contentment and homemade propagators

As I was driving home today I would normally be feeling sorry for myself having had a long day at work and then having to do more work this evening. However then I spotted 2 deer on the farm lane thay runs along to our smallholding and I stopped and watched them for a good 5 minutes. They were more than happy to allow me to stay there. It was lovely. So no I am not going to sit and think how I don't like Tuesday's. I am just going to think how much I love living where we do.
Last night we had a frost and I hope my little seedlings pulled through. They are in the greenhouse and it wasn't a particularly hard frost but even so I am worried they were caught by it.
So in an attempt to make a free hearing system I have bagged up some horse manure which we have in abundance and placed them under the shelf where the seedlings are. Now horse manure gets to some temperature so my plan is to use this heat to put the seed trays on as a kind of free propagator. I think it's a great idea! :)

Thursday, 17 March 2016

We have a goose egg!!!!

I did a happy dance today as when I went to check that the geese had enough water, there was an egg in a newly made nest!  Finally, first goose egg of the new smallholding on 16th March 2016!  What a fantastic memory for us.

We're going to leave it for a few days to see what she does.  Then maybe at the weekend will add it to an omelette.  We are told that geese eggs re quite fatty, so now we finally have one, I'll be looking for advice on what to do with them.  Other than see if any baby geese arrive of course :).

In seed news, I've moved the oldest and strongest seedlings into the greenhouse as we're not due any frost and if we are I will cover them up with a plastic toy/storage box and see if that works.  The next lot are now on the dining room window in their place.  I also have cauliflowers and cabbages growing well in the greenhouse and need to look when to plant them out.  The dwarf bean seeds are coming through thickly, literally.  I couldn't believe the size of the first shoot.  I will get a picture and post when I think on.

It is do lovely to feel the sun on our backs and looking round to see spring seeing off winter. The dogs are still hugging the aga though and the nights are still cold. It's changing though. 2 weeks and long, light nights.  Bliss! !

A few people have commented to say they hope we're all lurgy free now, which I'm sad to say we're not yet.  I took my son to the doctors yesterday after a couple of bad nights and he has strep throat, my daughter has an ear infection and I forgot to get myself checked but I suspect I have a combination of the 2!  So we are spending some much needed time at home with anti biotics and pain killers, however my son vomited tonight too so anything he had in him is now out :(  Sorry if that's TMI!  Anyway, onwards and upwards.  We're in the healthiest place we can be, lots of fresh country air, what better place to get well.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Homemade bread

I have posted before about home made bread and no doubt I will again, many times. I love it. It smells divine.
I haven't been pulling my weight where bread is concerned for this last week or two with one of us always seeming to be out of sorts so tonight I rectified that and popped a large white loaf in the breadmaker. I chose a dark crust but will go back to medium next time. I also sneakily went for white as it doesn't take as long to bake but truth be told, I prefer it over the wholemeal. I know it's not as good for you but I don't care tonight as I am feeling the need for indulgence.
Day 3 of incubator 2 for my records :).

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Spring is here!!!

What a beautiful day. Doesn't the sun on your back put a spring in your step? It lifts my mood, makes me feel healthy and generally makes everything feel easier. The longer, lighter days make me feel less rushed. Today felt like we had all the time in the world and I have discovered that is a truly wonderful feeling.

We spent the afternoon as a family in the vegetable plot, weeding, sowing, discovering and generally having fun. Our daughter grace who is 9 played mum. She brought us drinks to quench our growing thirst and cookies to plug the hunger gap. Our son, jack, dug holes for England whilst Steven and I weeded and tidied. Everyone was happy and then jack  summed it up perfectly by saying "it's lovely when we are all together isn't it?" Never a truer word spoken.

We planted cauliflower and broccoli outside in the brassica bed and peas and broad beans in the legumes bed (check me out!).

This weekend say us take ownership if another 20 fertilised eggs. 3 weeks today and we will have the next round of chicks. The first lot are thriving and amazing us daily by how quickly they are growing. Their laying days will be here before we know it. Those that are boys will serve us up some good Sunday lunches we hope.

Needless to say the geese still aren't laying!  They do however have a new and exclusive pond! Steven has dug a hole,  lined it with pond liner and made them a little place at the side to get in and out. Their apple shaped plastic pond is now empty and awaiting its next owners ;)

Unfortunately we still have lurgy floating around the household but we are determined to shake it off this week. We're due a week of no rain and maybe even a little sun so what better weather to shift the last of the colds and lurgies.

The horses have spent some lovely time out this weekend and enjoyed every minute. We're sorting their new paddock out with electric fence over the next week so that makes life easier for me as they can all go out together (currently split boys and girls).

Also a lovely lady over on househoarder had finally got the keys to her croft in Scotland. I can't wait to read all about it over the coming months. Congratulations Caroline and hubby.

Plans for this week are make homemade laundry liquid, electric fence the small paddock, prick out latest tomato seeds, plant more seeds, build new home for next arrivals, train puppies off lead....hmm.  Ahh, I love this life :):)

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Winter ailments and roaring fires

My daughter wasn't well this morning which is very unlike her and ended up staying home from school. By lunch time she was a lot better. The photo I took first thing this morning when I realised that in full health or when we feel poorly, we all gravitate towards the Aga.
Then tonight whilst working for an hour and waiting for tesco to arrive we were sat in front of a roaring fire, something I do love about this time of year.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Easy lamb tagine

Weather wise, today has been a wash out. As I had a study day meaning I was at home, I decided to make a warming tea to see us through the damp and dreary weather conditions. Something comforting for everyone to come home to.  The lamb tagine I made was on bbcgoodfood website and was very tasty though the sauce was a bit thin for my liking.
I made foccacia bread to go with it and it was OK for a first attempt. I did let it rise long enough as I hadn't factored that in to the timing. It was all eaten anyway!
Still no goose eggs!  The geese were the only ones enjoying today's downpour. The ground is sodden, the field is flooded and everything is dirty!
Pig palace was coming along well or so I thought but Steven has decided it won't be escape proof enough and is going to redo it all again! That's OK though as we aren't planning on getting any until April.
Today I also made a basic sponge recipe that was enjoyed after the lamb tagine. Next time I will add something extra to it.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Perfect Monday

Taking in to account that I have to work in order to pay the bills, today has been a pretty perfect day. A great start to the week finished with a beautiful break in the clouds just before the sun went down, allowing the sun to shine through reminding me of an almost autumnal setting. I quickly grabbed my camera but the picture isn't great.
Happy new week, let's see what we can make of it.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Wonderful March weekend

The weekend's fly by anyway however this weekend especially. Friday night we celebrated the birthday of Steven's dad with the family. A lovely night though meant no time to do anything at home.
Saturday I rode out on the morning then it seems I blinked and the day was over! We have had lots of people interested in our horse manure! So both Saturday and Sunday saw us helping people load up their trailers and bags with lots of lovely manure. We have another one coming tomorrow too. So far, even though it is free, people have left us some LED lights for our outbuilding and 18 pigeon breasts for the freezer. Really kind and we shall be trying the pigeon on Friday so if anyone has any suggestions then they are most welcome.
Today we have been sorting out the pigs home for when we get them. We have decided they can live in the copse that we've been taking the trees down from. We will mesh round the trees that are left and have started penning off the area they will be allowed in.
I've also managed to get quite a few more seeds in the greenhouse and half of another bed weeded outside. Beans and peas will be going in that one. In the greenhouse I have purple sprouting broccoli,  cabbages and onions coming through and looking strong. I've put some more tomatoes in, sweetcorn, broad beans and dwarf beans today.
The onion sets we planted a couple if weeks ago, we checked today to see if they had rotted but so far they look ok with roots coming out of the bottom.
Finally we have, well Steven has, cleared out the paving slabs from behind the current compost/muck heap bins and stacked them neatly along side them. This means once we have tidied out the rest of the rubbish bits you can see in the picture,  we will be able to use that as  a compost muck heap too. Great stuff. Lovely weekend though all went a bit too quick for my liking.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Banana cake

I read about banana cake over on Sue's blog, a year without. I have been wanting to try it since and only just got round to it tonight. It was super easy to make and smells divine. I will be trying it tomorrow.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Homemade egg holder


Tonight, DH has designed and created a fantastic egg holder for the kitchen.  It fits perfectly in the kitchen window and looks the business.  He used a piece of wood we found at the back of the barn that the previous owners had left.  I love it!  We’re hoping to have it stocked up pretty soon with fresh eggs! 

We are rehoming some ex battery hens on 2nd April and fingers crossed they will be laying for us.