Saturday, 31 March 2018

The year is beginning

It feels like this year has taken forever to get going. It’s already the last day in March and I don’t feel like we’ve got anywhere just yet. That’s ok though as we will soon catch up. It’s still so wet here, we’re due snow tomorrow but come next week I think we will have made it. The weather looks glorious for the second week of the school hols, so I intend on making the most of it.

For now..... I finished work on Thursday for 2 weeks and we’ve got soooo much to pack into that. I had a crazy few weeks before I finished so I was so pleased to see our ewes waited until Good Friday to start lambing!! Look at these beauties.


She’s smiling isn’t she?


Our first ever smallholding lambs!!! Can you believe it was triplets!! We’re ridiculously excited. To be honest, we didn’t do much, they were just there when I opened up on Friday morning. I heard them before I opened the barn door. They were cold and hungry as mam’s milk hadn’t come through. My lovely neighbour brought me some colostrum and we dried them up and bottle fed them the colostrum. Then I headed over to the country store for lamlac milk powder and our own colostrum plus a set of bottles. It’s not cheap!! Anyway, we have all we need now. They’re doing fabulously. Mam’s milk is through but there doesn’t seem to be enough to sustain them. 

We’ve brought the 3rd one into the house as mam rejected her. I didn’t realise quite how mean they could be. Nettle, the now named house lamb, is doing well in the house of couse!!


In between bottle feeding lambs, I’ve finally been able to get some seeds in. Tomatoes, lettuce and squash. 


I’ve also got some peas in drainpipes that are doing well, my broad bean test that so far shows aquadulce and bunyard exhibition doing as well as each other, cauliflowers that I didn’t water enough but hoping will pick up, sweet peas, onion and leek seeds.


Tomorrow is Easter Sunday and we’re planning on spending it with family depending on what happens with the lambs. My mam has a big spread planned which will be lovely.

Monday we’re at a friends Easter egg hunt then at tea time (5pm is out ‘tea’) we have people coming to see the lambs with their children as everyone loves newborn lambs of course. I’m looking forward to that.

Ste is working next week, so I hope to get plenty done. If the weather is as poor as predicted then we’ll do indoor jobs such as batch cooking.

In the mean time, we’re going to check on the ewes overnight as one of them is massive and seems ready to pop. I’m a bit worried it’s one ginormous lamb!!


Happy Easter everyone, here’s Nettle enjoying her teddy!


Saturday, 3 March 2018

Not to state the obvious but snow, in March? 

I have taken a bit of a blogging break without meaning to. We’re not taking a break from the smallholding life though, I’ve just not been reporting as much.

We’re so over this snow now! I hope everyone is safe and warm? Our living room fire has been on every night, earning its keep. Winter is when we work through the stores we’ve made at other times in the year.  The logs are doing us proud and although we’re getting low on coal, there’s enough. We have however, gone through the oil a lot quicker than expected.  The order for the next lot has been postponed by the oil company due to the snow, so we’ve knocked heating the water off and are using the emersion (electric) for now. The heating is off too but we have the AGA and wood burners that are toasty in their respective rooms and getting plenty of appreciation!  Also the emergency oil filled radiators are helping keeping the kids room's warm whilst we wait for the delivery.


  
Due to the weather and the fact it’s winter, we’ve been working our way through the food stores we have. There’s still a bunch of meat to get through in the freezer but the pantry is starting to look a little sparse. I’m going to do a big shop of items we’ll need to see us through to the growing season’s harvest and will get that delivered this coming week. The egg production is on the increase but we’ve lost a total of 15 chickens recently, mostly to the fox, so we won’t see the increase we expected to.

I started some tomato and pepper seeds off a few weeks ago, but as expected they haven’t all made it through this cold spell. As soon as it starts to warm up, I’ll get more sown and just hope it’s not too late to get a long crop.

The peas, cauliflowers, winter hardy lettuce and leeks are coming on well as are the broad beans and sweet peas.

The preserving jam sugar from last year was starting to go hard and I knew I had 1.5kg of blackcurrants in the freezer so I started some jam off this morn using PattyPans recipes for seedless jam.
I did 10 small jars, 2 500ml jars and some left over to use now.  The small ones are for the Christmas hampers to go with the Seville orange marmalade.


Our internet connection is dreadful here lately, so I can't post the final picture but trust me, they look fab!  I hope it doesn't set too hard as I was concerned there's too much preserving sugar as the fruit didn't yield loads of liquid.  We'll see.  If not - I can figure out another use for it.