Saturday 27 January 2024

Well, that's a bit cheeky! Week 3 on the Smallholding

The week started out a bit crappy.  Literally.  Sorry, I hope you're not eating or have a sensitive nature. 

Our septic tank had an issue so Steven and I spent a couple of hours getting it sorted.  It was due to be emptied anyway so once we had it sorted "enough", we left it for the pros.  The came 2 days later and all was well.  The cold had played havoc with the soak away. Cost for that was £185 to be emptied.  We are going to get it done again in October this year to ensure empty over the winter and go from there.  That means I need to change our savings to ensure we have that saved for October as it's currently set for February's.

The days continue to be cold and frozen but we are enjoying being outside more as it is still not raining yet!  It's due tho.  Sonic, the pony, is enjoying his time outside but tells us when he's ready to be back inside.

Evenings are spent in a variety of ways.  We've played some games, trivial pursuit which Steven is very clever at but I need the kids questions!  I'm completing a Christmas gift I was given, a paint by numbers.  I am enjoying it so much!  The farmyard scene is wonderful.


The aga is in full flow, cooking, drying and keeping us warm.  I am really enjoying the simple meals we create here on the smallholding.  The aga is perfect for germinating the peppers seeds too.


Our weekend was spent Steven and I again, with the kids doing other things.  After 3 weeks of carnivore dieting, Steven was ready for a cup of coffee and to see what a dent he had made in the freezers.  We think we are good for another 8 months with what's in here.

After the freezers, we worked outside on the weekend again, fed and cleaned the animals as usual and then had a really fun project of putting up a new bird house Steven made.


If you'd like to see this come together in a video - please watch this -->  Weekend Vlog

Friday 26 January 2024

A Cold Front Passes Over - Week 2 on the smallholding

The week of the 8th of January was a cold one.  Most nights saw temperatures drop between -2 and -5 Celsius.  Despite that, there were a few rays of sunshine to be had and no rain!

It has been a while since the dogs felt the sun on their faces through the window.
To stay warm, we had hot milk and hot chocolate heated on the aga in my lovely milk pan from Beamish.

The shed is back open for business after a quiet time over Christmas.  It was lovely to be working back in there again.  The day was kind to us too, cold but good working weather.  Steven worked in the "new" orchard area which is now part of the veg plot.


Rodney is back out in the shed with me after having a dental in December and since then has been in the house as he had to restart his vaccinations that had lapsed.

The work Steven is doing really opens up the space.  The veg patch looks dreary at this time of the year but my mind is already thinking of how bountiful it will be later in the year.

Below is where the gate is we put in some time back.  The gate hasn't moved but you can see here how the trellis now runs down to the perimeter fence to open up the plot whereas it was 90 degrees in the other direction earlier that day (right photo below).


It was all getting too much so Steven choose to hide in the hedge.  Just kidding - the hedge has grow around the trellis he was trying to remove and causing him headaches!

This is the first harvest of 2024 - very pleased I am with it too.

We took some time out to warm up around the bonfire.  Still without a glass of wine though!  Dry January, February and March for me.

Looking back up at the house from the field.

Lydia can't wait to get back out in to the field I am sure.

Finally, we were invited to celebrate our neighbours birthday so we scrubbed up and headed out for a little party.

Thursday 11 January 2024

Week 1 - eggs, plum trees, canning & compost bays.

January 1st went out with a bang!  No I don't mean fireworks.  I mean metaphorically.  As I mentioned, we started as we mean to go on and got 32 ducks eggs in the incubator.  The ducks have been laying fantastically during December so we had plenty spare.

The chickens have been laying though not as well.  We did find a nest where to 2 or 3 escapees have been laying.  

We won't be incubating any chicken eggs until the new ones start laying which will be March (time all being well)

January is about getting back to healthy, home cooking after a month of indulgences.  I make the kids a white loaf and looking to make this one for me.  Ste is on the carnivore diet so can't have any.

Needless to say. eggs are featuring on the menu daily, Ste's too as he can eat them on the diet he's doing.

As we are working through the food left over from Christmas (I don't mean turkey here) I have one eye on what's in the garden as that's what I'll be relying on soon.

Steven managed to get the new compost bays finished and they look amazing.  We are going to add a pathway in front of the bays to allows the barrow down and make it 'sweepable'.


They are a great size and I think will stand the test of time.  He's done a grand job and are going to add so much value to the veg garden.


Mid week I sent this photo to Lou, my besty over in Wales.  It's funny what makes you happy as you get older 😂 but she got it!
It means we'll stop piling the recycle up on the counter top.

Before the purse snapped shut on January 1st I had bought this lovely 2 litre cast iron pan (this is it if you can't resist either: )

The first meal I made it in was a salt of the earth meal, mince and taties with carrot and red cabbage.


Ste brought some bones home from work to make bone broth.  These are beef bones and we roasted them in the aga.  The bones were then added to water and cooked for 24 hours before pressure canning them to put on the shelf.


It hasn't been as cold as previous January's but its still cold enough to have the log burner on.  There was a ground frost on the veg beds this morning.


I wanted to share with you something that my daughter Grace got me for Christmas.  Isn't it beautiful, you can't beat a nice basket.

How lovely to be able to get the animals out in the day light.

Lou also told me about a baked oat recipe that sounded lovely, so I looked online and got the details to add to what she had sent me.  It was really nice - I made it in the video we did for this weekend's vlog. Vlog Link 

After a lovely breakfast I met Ste outside for a few hours of work, part of which was to get this plum tree in.  It's a Victoria Plum on a semi dwarf root stock.

I also managed to get some Chilli pressure canned which is great as that's now a meal on the shelf.

I hope the first week of the year was productive for you.


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...