Wednesday 20 September 2023

Autumn Winds and Veggie Thoughts

Tuesday 19th September & Wednesday 20th September

The wind howled all night.  One of the dogs followed suit and howled along with it, meaning that I had yet another night of disturbed sleep.  We had relaxed most of the evening after work which was very unusual for us as we are normally busy bees.  The last few week's must have caught up with us and we may even consider having one night a week "off" from doing anything moving forward.  We shall see.

Despite the wind, it is a very warm day today, Wednesday.  There have been weather warnings in place for both days so I knew I wouldn't get much done in the garden on Tuesday evening anyway.  

The apples are coming in thick and fast and I hope by the weekend there will still be some brambles on the bushes as I plan to spend a couple of hours foraging, whilst Steven is at work, to make Winter preserves and tonics.

Now we have the pigs in the freezer, I plan to start Saturday English breakfasts again, a tradition I started when we moved to the smallholding but is dependant on what we have in the freezers.  Everyone enjoys a "fry up" even if technically it's not fried and the Autumn weather beckons for the hearty comfort foods on a working weekend.  In addition, Sunday roasts will be heading back to the menu as we head in to October.  The Aga will be switched on and the log burners roaring, but not just yet.  There's still warmth in the air and a promise of high teens (centigrade) next week.


My thoughts are already turning to 2024 growing season.  I've really enjoyed what we are growing this year and every year I'm learning more and wanting to improve.  No matter how many years I do this for, there's always more to learn.

The issue I have is growing enough to feed 4 mouths 3 times a day.  Realistically, it's probably 2 times a day as breakfast doesn't normally contain food from the garden except when we have berries to add to yoghurt.  I'll do a post on what we need but thinking along the lines of at least one onion a day is 365 onions and you get the idea!  

So the carrots you see above are fantastic looking, time will tell when we harvest, but they won't last 12 month, they may only last 2.  My Winter crop didn't germinate well, so next year I will have to get them in earlier.  

I'll share the plan when I have it, including varieties and expected quantities.

The bramble wine is looking delicious as are the many tomatoes that are coming in.  More to come there.

In the meantime - look at this fantastic freebie!  Just what we were looking for.

Last photos of August for the memories

August was a very busy month

Last few days in photos


The pigs spent their last few days with us.  We took them to the abattoir on the last day of August which was the Thursday of our holidays.  The fence needed securing once they had left us.

It was bitter sweet taking the pigs however on the afternoon we brought home some new chicks which allowed us to continue to plan for the future, specifically our chicken security.

A beautiful sight outside the front door - rosehips.

The brambles that we foraged were turned into jam originally but this time - wine!  There's plums too.


Steven has started the barn project - creating pens in the barn for the animals. 


We had a second (felt like first!) summer and Grace was blessed with a nice day to enrol in college.  

Friday 8 September 2023

August days in photos (2)

Days off in photos

We are being spoilt with sun rises and sets.

Stores continues to develop.  I move the jars on to the shelves in anticipation of filling them up.

I set about making tomato ketchup for the first time.  I followed the River Cottage original recipe and it is delicious.  I added, generously, the optional paprika.

Tomatoes straight from the greenhouse.


I wanted to go foraging and took the kids to get brambles, rosehips and plums.  The rosehips are the big round ones and will be used for syrup.


I made a start pressure canning what is in the freezer to make space for the arrival of the pork.

Winter seeds are direct sown.  Spinaches and mustards.

Taking a break from Stores, Steven collects firewood for the Winter.

Many trees have sadly died as the sheep have destroyed the bark on them, so we make sure they don't go to waste and will keep us warm in Winter instead.

The pigs go about their business, unbothered by the noise of the chainsaw.

These are ready for breaking down in to logs before the harsh weather arrives.

Thursday 7 September 2023

Days off in Pictures

Time Off

I thought I would share out time off the paid job in pictures rather than words.  There would be a lot of both!  I had 2 weeks off and Steven the one.  It was Summer holidays and the kids were off school.

I finally for round to plaiting the garlic.

The pigs were enjoying their last days on the smallholding.  They were booked in the abattoir for the end of August.

Grace and I spent some lovely time together.

With Rodney

and Buster too.

Before his holidays started, Steven was busy working on evenings creating the interior for the new store room.


We purchased scaffolding boards from the Dad of a friend.  They created the tops of the workbenches.


A dusty job.

He varnished the tops with a tin we grabbed from Wilko before it closed down.  
I started bringing the jars in from the garage where we were temporarily storing them.

The poor bloke then went on to fix the fence!

This photo looks like a mistake but it was the day we were on the edge of a cloud.  It rained on the right but not on the left.

Beautiful mornings

The heat brough Lydia out in hives, possible bites but she soon recovered.

I started my holidays in the shed with Rodney, getting some winter seeds in to fill up the pantry.


And collecting harvests that are ready now.

Before sitting down to a proper coffee.  Lovely.

Come back tomorrow for more :)

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