Good evening all, I am back!
I haven't meant to take time off but last week I devoted to studying for the exam that I had coming up, which I promptly failed. Again! I was gutted to say the least. I have spent a lot of hours to studying but obviously it just wasn't enough on the day. I am undecided as to what I will do, ie resit it or leave it. It's an exam thay would further my work (potentially) but I don't need it right now so I am doing no harm taking my time.
So that is behind me. Moving swiftly on, we've had pretty much a week of dry days followed by some really hard frosts. I think Jack Frost has killed off some tomato plants but I will wait and see what happens. Their leaves have turned purple which I am told is a telltale sign. Yesterday and today we have been back to the rain that we had a couple of weeks ago. Seriously, I don't know what's going on with this weather.
No goslings yet though I did get a sneaky peek at the eggs when she went for a brief wander around. It shoukd be in the next 5 days that we have goslings. The ducks are starting to sit on their eggs too.
My son is well and truly getting into the egg collecting and using his initiative to do it. The horses have had a nice few days out and the hens are laying well. We did lose one of our rescue girls sadly. She went downhill rapidly and went of her own accord. Very sad but part of it I guess.
The rest of the rescue hens are learning to get out of the rain and starting to act and look like normal hens.
We also have harvested our first rhubarb and I used it in a cake which went down well.
We are Tracy & Steven and along with our 2 children we moved to the countryside in the North East of England in 2016. On our smallholding we strive for a more self reliant life by growing our own food, raising our own meat, cooking, preserving & foraging all whilst working full time.
Thursday, 28 April 2016
Where have I been!!
Good evening all, I am back!
Monday, 18 April 2016
Geese advice needed please
Well it's just dawned upon us with a terrifying bump that we may have up to 16 goslings running around the place if all these eggs hatch.
What do we do with them all?
So we have goose house, which is where the trio live at the minute. It's a shed that's locked up on a night and opened again on a morning. They have a bucket of drinking water and a salad bowl of pellets and corn. Yes really, an old salad bowl. Their bed is straw. There's also a mesh door which we don't use but can be closed on its own so they get air but nothing can get to them.
We also have the pond from yesterday's post not far from the shed.
After Googling looking after goslings, we're now panicking. What do we need to do for them? Do we need to pen somewhere off so they can go in and out the shed and have a bit of land? Is the pond off limits? I can put crumb out to feed them but how do I stop them eating mam and dads food? Also shall I put a smaller drinker in so they don't drown in it? My brain is going to explode at this rate but I can't wait! !
Also, here's a tired pony bless him.
Sunday, 17 April 2016
All about my husband
I am lucky enough to have a husband who not only works very hard to bring home a good wage each month to pay the inevitable bills, but he also works extremely hard at home to get our smallholding up and running.
This weekend he has managed to make some new feeders for the hens which will keep the rain off the food and more importantly, keep the hens dry. He has made a brooder in the garage using shelves that were already there. Our youngest chicks seem happy there.
He had also cleaned out the geese pond, which he made himself, including the quick clean function. His design means he needs to move a piece of wood and the water flows our into the beck that runs along side our land. He then refills it using the rain water harvested from the big barn's roof.
So I must say I am rather pleased with having him for my husband ☺.
We have also found our duck eggs! We thought they weren't laying and then discovered that they had buried them. As of today we had 8 of various colours. I am not sure which girls are laying which colours but I am not worried. I'm just pleased they are pulling their weight! I will make something with some this week to see what they are like.
The geese are still laying on their eggs so we are hoping for goslings early May.
Most importantly, it's stopped raining!!!!
Thursday, 14 April 2016
What's happening to this plant?
Does anyone know why this tomato plant looks different to the rest. Is this what going to seed means and if so, is it a 'gonna'?
Today has been a lot nicer in terms of the weather however it is due to rain again tomorrow afternoon so let's hope it isn't too bad.
Tuesday, 12 April 2016
Rain, rain and more rain
Well this morning started off promising. The forecast was for rain early doors but it didn't transpire until about 11am. However, when it started, it came in earnest and hasn't really stopped. We have a river at the bottom of the field which runs along the main boundary of our land. It's normally fairly deep but won't flood given the banks that are in between us and it. However there is a beck that runs along another field to the river. This has been up and down since we moved in but I have never seen it as high or as forceful as it is tonight.
The new cows opposite don't seem to mind the weather though!
To cheer us up we had a lovely warming tea of chicken, bacon, potatoes and tarragon stew. Very tasty and comforting.
Oh and there is blossom on the trees, whatever trees they are. Apple I think.
Monday, 11 April 2016
Today has been a lovely and sunny day up until tea time when the wind and rain started.
It gave us more than enough time to ride the ponies out and get a couple of outside jobs done. Grace and I gave both ponies a good groom before going in for tea and a little baking session. I made some flapjacks which more often than not I forget I have put them in the oven (yes I used a timer and still manage to forget) and tonight was no different. They are mostly still edible but I could kick myself. I always do that with rice pudding too!
Looking out from the front of the farmhouse, we have some new additions in the field. They are not ours I hasten to add, but it's lovely to watch these cows frolicking around although the horses weren't keen on them!
Finally before bed time, Ste made jelly with the kids which I am sure they will enjoy tomorrow when it is set.
Saturday, 9 April 2016
Time to move
Remember the chicks we hatched 7 weeks ago? Well they are ready to move outside now. We have had them off the heat lamp during the day for a couple of days and then we switched it off over night too. So Saturday night saw us move them in to their newly penned off area in Chickenville. This morning I opened their coop and they all had a peek outside and decided to stay indoors for a few hours. Eventually, they plucked up enough courage to venture out of the coop and soon were coming and going although they wanted to spend most of their time inside still.
The rescue girls are doing well. Every day sees them venturing further, developing a personality and gaining in confidence. One of them, Miss Marple, is as bold as brass. She comes over and feeds from out hands and pecks away at our boots without even flinching when we move.
Steven's been working super hard taking the latest lot of trees down from the copse. The wood pile is building up nicely and combined with the coal we have bought, should see us nice and snug through winter 2016.
This weekend we haven't had much time to ourselves but the time we did have was well spent in the vegetable plot. The strawberry plot is coming on nicely. These may look quite close together but they are measured out at the recommended distance and if we need to, we can thin them out. The broad beans and peas that I sowed a few weeks back are finally started to look like real plants growing through. I have some in the greenhouse which are a few weeks ahead of them and look fabulous.
This coming week will see us both at work as usual and the forecast is dire from Tuesday so hopefully we can make the most of tomorrow evening. Although the kids are back to school so they will probably be tired tomorrow night.
Grocery wise we should have enough in to see us through to pay day on 25th as per the plan.
One thing I would really like to concentrate on this week is taking in lunches to work again as I have got out of the habit of it.
Monday, 4 April 2016
Need to get organised again
I seem to have got out of sync with myself. I do this every so often. I feel like I am forgetting things and generally not on top of everything but rather chasing my tail and marginally scraping through.
This month I have an important exam, one which I have already failed once and need to make sure that I don't fail again. So what better time to get organised?
On a normal school day Ste is out to work early doors so it is just the kids and I. We obviously have the animals to do and ourselves to get ready. I don't, though should, prepare tea for the night. Maybe I need to do this the night before?
It is this kind of thinking that I need to put in place, listing all jobs out per day, so that I can focus on what's to be done.
Further examples are washing work wear timely so it isn't a last minute panic, make packed lunches the night before, washing my hair on a night as I can never find the will to on a morning, empty the bin instead of trying to see how full it gets before it splits! Not to mention cleaning, it jist doesnt happen. The list goes on.
So fellow bloggers. What organising tips do you have? How do you manage to stay on top?
Sunday, 3 April 2016
Quackers, hens and Big Red.
Meet our latest additions. Our gorgeous girls and a boy, ducks. We know very little about them to be fair but they will hopefully have a happy life with us and in return we might get the odd duck egg or two. We better! Ste made the duck house from wood we found lying around and bits we had to buy. I am seriously impressed with it.
Also we have our new girls who are rescue hens. 12 of them believed to be around 18 months old who first saw daylight the day we picked them up. At 18 months they are deemed past their working life by the big production companies and were on their way to slaughter. So hopefully these 12 will have happy lives with us too. These girls are being kept separately from the original flock and will only be kept for their eggs, not for meat. We have had 11 of 12 eggs today.
Another addition was Big Red, our new cockrel. He is stunning tho isn't used to going away on a night so that left Ste and I changing him round with a make shift net tonight and I can honestly say I haven't seen anything funnier this year!
Finally we have 6 chicks that hatched overnight and during today too and we hope to get more tonight.
What a fantastic weekend.
Last few days in April
Welcome to the last few days in April. Here in the NE of England it continues to be changeable weather, raining again as I type this, and ...