Monday 15 April 2024

Eat, Drink and be Merry - but now what?

In the words of the old adage "eat, drink and be merry", we can safely say we have done that during our time off the paid job.  As I write this, today sees Steven return to work after his week off and I start my second week.  It's such a shame that it's harder for him to take 2 weeks off with the way his work is.  

After our somewhat indulgent week, this intention for this week is to make a steady start back on to the routines, with healthier meals and more efficient routines.

Our Honesty Stall will become a routine again

Monday needed to start by doing what had been getting put off, you know, the things that would sit in my head for the rest of the week otherwise.  The somewhat boring bits of being an adult and having your own home.  So the pots got washed, the dirty clothes went in to the washing machine, the fridge had a wipe out and the kitchen was ready to receive the goodies from the garden.  I didn't stretch to mopping the floor just yet, after all, teenagers are making up lamb feeds and the floor is often the receiver of some of that!

Thinking about the coming weeks ahead, a priority for me is to have future meals prepped and canned or frozen so that on those days when it's just needed, future Tracy gets a break.

I did manage to meal plan for the week of returning to work and it looked like this:

In addition to meal prepping and planning, I have an abundance of rhubarb to preserve, eggs get on the honesty stall and sell (not to mention eat ourselves), wild garlic to harvest and use plus a lovely and long list of things to do in the garden to keep our food coming for the year ahead.

Last week has been a frustrating one weather wise.  If it's not been raining, the wind has been taking your breath away.  We did have some sun dappled in between the showers but it was few and far between.  It has meant I haven't used the outdoor kitchen as I wanted to, as it's just been so cold.  The warmth and sun will come I know, but the waiting is getting harder.

That aside, let's get on with the day.  Right now, the rain has stopped for now and the sun is peeking through, though I can see the wind is still here, maybe not quite as bad as it has been.  I've already got a lot done this morning and I don't want to feel like I have been at the computer more than I need to (even though I have a list of things I need to achieve today that involve it).  So I'll do that when the rain starts again.  Let's get these eggs sorted and a loaf of bread on the go then see if it's dry enough to head out in to the garden as tomorrow is due to be rain all day.

Monday 8 April 2024

Easter - Good Friday and Easter Saturday 2024

As I type this, Steven is (frantically) looking for our wallpaper stripper.  You know the electric steamer types?  It's a rainy start to today, Easter Monday 2024 and we are getting some indoor jobs started.  Grace, our eldest is at work, our youngest still in bed (pick your battles) and we are at the beginning of our Easter annual leave.  The photo below left was early morning on Good Friday and the dry weather set the tone (for the weekend at least).  It's been dry and bright, bitterly cold in the wind and beautiful in the sun.

I'm taking the opportunity to enjoy some morning walks when the weather is like this.  The views on them are beautiful and I'm so proud to have them on our doorstep.

Friday, being our first day off, meant that was the annual opening of the outdoor area.  We have a bar and kitchen space with a store room created by Steven's (fair?) hands.  It's become a dumping ground over the Winter, for jars that have fed us and kept us nourished.  First job therefore was to get the store room tidied up and ready for action.

The other main job I wanted to get done (Steven was at work Good Friday), was to make a start on getting the potatoes it.  I quite like the idea of getting them in the ground on Good Friday as a tradition.  I got most of them in, there's a few more to do.

The day finished off with a well deserved glass of red from the year's ration (more on that in future posts)

However, the well deserved glass of red meant we had neighbours over and there was a bit of tidy up to do on Saturday morning following the thoughts of "leave it til tomorrow" after the drink started to flow.

So on Saturday morning, what better way to blow the cobwebs away than cracking on with jobs outside.  We are taking down the fencing area of the old pig pens and putting the land back to grass.  A big job but we are making hay whilst the sun shines.


We stopped for a coffee and I got a snap of Ste in the bar, he was told to smile !!

We brought the old fencing up in the wheelbarrows, it's hard work pushing them as the ground is so water logged still.  The brightness of the day was deceiving and you would be forgiven if you thought the ground would soon be dry.  Not a chance of that any time soon.

In between helping Steven, my job is to tend to the seedlings, which will be our food later in the year.  These are those I have started transplanting to bigger pots to get them to grown on before planting out.

We had the little dogs out with us all day, which apparently was quite tiring for them.

A beautiful start to our time off the paid job.

And Annie agreed.

Tuesday 27 February 2024

Week 8 - The depths of February and going strong.

We have decided to put the area where the pigs were a few years ago back to grass.  They did a great job of eating what was there, weeds and all.  We tried to turn it in to a veg area, unsuccessfully for multiple reasons and then covered it in membrane to suppress the weeds.  So now is the perfect time to buy grass seed to spread, ready for when it warms up.

You may remember that the Aga went off a weekend back.  Ste has tried to fix it a couple of times but it didn't play ball, nor did his back!  So I asked him to hang fire and rest a while before trying again.  In the meantime we realised the flue was sooted and needed cleaning - that leads me on to an email I have sent to the oil company as the oil has been burning poorly it seems.  More on that when they reply.

The reason I am telling you this is because the vacuum cleaner "blew up" when he was taking the soot out (it's a proper work one, not a domestic hoover!) and blew soot everywhere.  The kitchen went black for a few minutes and when we could see again, the black had settled on every work surface, nook and cranny it could find.  One wipe of the wall and I was just moving soot around.  Needless to say, it took a while to clean up but the saving grace is - the Aga is back on and happy!

One evening I snapped this photo, just something that makes me happy. 

I have a new work set up.  It's temporary as we have more plans!  It means I have the open fire to work by, which was lovely.  The temperatures are getting chillier again and we've had our fair share of rain this week.

The above photo isn't a pretty one, but it's practical as I always say.  The ducklings which are in the second brooder in the garage are getting big enough to be moved out so we will pop then in this greenhouse in the barn for a while before venturing outside when it's a little warmer.  These ducks will be for the freezer, we will be incubating more eggs soon.

The plan is to move them on Friday evening so they are quiet, then we will be here to supervise during the day Saturday whilst we work outside.  

A few days later.  The nights are noticeably lighter now.  When I feed the animals after work, it is still a lovely light.

On Saturday we woke up to a bright white frost.  Beautiful!


It was really chilly, just below freezing, but perfect working weather.  We had a lot to get on with after all.

The new beds were covered in a dusting of frost.  So pretty.


The weekend was taken up with more work in the plot.  We had a good tidy up, including removing the fencing that had previously been made in to a pen.  It looks a lot bigger and much tidier.  We also tried some home grown mushrooms, which were amazing.


Steven created some doors for the compost bins to keep everything neat and tidy.

He also laid a new pathway using the rubble stones we have lying around - a genius idea!  I'm thrilled with how it looks.

Whilst he did that, I had a couple of hours sowing seeds.

After finishing my tasks, I harvested a few veggies - come back next week to see what I did with them.  I was thrilled with the parsnips!

Friday 16 February 2024

Snowdrops, Projects & the Moon! Week 4 - 22-28 Jan

The third week of the year saw yet more changes to the weather.  We have had a lot of rain this week and combined with the wind from the 2 storms (Isha and Joycelyn), it's felt pretty damp and grey.  So I took this photo to lift spirits showing the thunderous clouds, sun and blue sky.

After saying on Saturday that the peppers hadn't come through, on Sunday 21st the first of them started appearing!  They are making their way through at a rate of knots.

After a bit of a disaster with ordering the wrong wood for the veg patch extension, which we mention on last week's vlog, this week we ordered the right stuff.  We hope.

It cost £420, a budgeted investment as this will stand the test of time and should outsee our days here.
This wood will make up the new 5 beds in the veg patch extension.  It was delivered for £15 as we had no way of getting it here in the time we have (they close at 5 and we needed it for the weekend).

Steven has worked in the barn on evenings when the horses are outside, starting to screw the 2 pieces together that will make a side of a bed.  That's some seriously long screws he has!

I noticed my first snowdrops of the year.  They are always such a welcome sight in January.

I made an attempt at growing mushrooms - I need to wait 2 weeks to see if they are developing.  I'll update you then!

Tidying something away and I stumbled across this book, ab absolute favourite of mine.  All 3 books in this series are, so I think I'll get to reading this in February.

January's job list was mainly focused around the veg plot extension and week 4 of January saw the completion of making the beds as well as filling them with our own homemade compost.

The 25th saw a Full Wolf Moon, the first full moon of 2024.  Did you hear the wolves howling?  

So if, like me, you have had a strange old week, you can blame the changes brought about by the moon and get back to normal next week ;)

Sunday 11 February 2024

Week 7 - Log Stores and Veg Plots

Now it's lighter later, Steven has been able to get on with work outside.  He has continued working on the log pile roof which is looking great.  He said there's just some guttering to be added to it now.  A job for this coming weekend - I'm writing this on Friday.

Although lighter for longer, it's still very dark when we rise at 5am.  The days when I go straight in to the barn at that time is quite a shock for those who are still in their midnight slumber.

I have also released a tour of the kitchen garden as we call it on YouTube.  Here it is if you are interested:  Tour

Here's a few snaps from the night when I was getting a Thumbnail photo for it.

Eat, Drink and be Merry - but now what?

In the words of the old adage "eat, drink and be merry", we can safely say we have done that during our time off the paid job.  As...