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Archive for April, 2010

Easy to spot those growing veg eh?

finally some rain, and on the day the first water butt emptied.  We have lots of stored water, but not necessarily in the right places.. and humping watering cans over to the veg patch is seriously unfunny.  We normally don’t water, but when it got so dry, hoeing resulted in a dust storm.. it seemed necessary.

Everything nicely watered in. Pity the slugs and snails like damp weather.

and flystrike.. can’t win – ideal weather for growing veg, is also ideal weather for flies.  Nevermind, the sheep are ok for now.

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flowers

Lots of flowers in the garden at the mo.. the flowering currant is wonderful.

The daffs are still going strong, as are the primroses.

The dandelions and self seeded forget-me-nots are making a lovely display under the PSB!

The tulips and bluebells are fighting their way through the neglect

and the marshmarigolds are out

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I had a nice little salad to go with my slice of quiche with lunch today (meals seem to be heavily egg-based these days!), corn salad, and lettuce thinnings, chives, and.. our first radish of the year.  It volunteered.  That is to say, it was a volunteer plant.

Turns out being slovenly about clearing out the greenhouse has some advantages.. the radishes that had gone over, had truly gone to seed, and I have an unexpected bonus crop of radishes.. and earlier than the ones I had sown on purpose.

I think I might let some go to seed on purpose next year, I’ve not really got into saving my own seed yet, with so many things they wont breed true anyhow – the squash family are very promiscuous, for example, I suspect the same problem would come for beans, and I like to grow different varieties of tomatoes.. dont really want a blend (although developing the colour it green tomato type could be fun). But radish seeds collected from the greenhouse, that seems easy enough. Well it must be, they managed without my help completely..

There’s a lettuce seedling volunteer in the corner too….

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A good weekend.  Friday we slayed the dragon.

Saturday,  we prepared the pig run, as we should be getting more weaners next week.  We also went to a ceilidh, and hence why today, there is a lot of creaking and groaning.

Essentially, having planned only a short list of must do items, and having achieved most of them yesterday, we had the day off .  Well sort of.  We pottered about gardening a little – in the flower garden too – which is mostly left to its own devices.   We also dragged some hedging branches out of the field, did the usual animal rounds, did some planting  etc. Ok so not really a day off -but it was relaxed and unpressurised. It was really very nice, and we got lots done.

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my shop

One of my goals for 2010 was to sell handmade things.  And here is my little online shop.

Fear not, it was never part of my game plan to ‘go commercial’ – the height of our ambition is to cover the cost of the sheep shearer, even better if we can cover the other small sheep keeping costs (some winter feed, foot spray etc)  if we can, then we shall be self sufficient in keeping sheep.  Besides, I love making things, and this gives me a good reason!

We are not natural sales people. In fact it was just an idea until we got a little push.. in the form of a local art shop asking if we would do some handspun wool to sell.  They try to source everything locally, and we are so local we could probably join the shop to the sheep with a length of our yarn! So we spun some wool, and provided skeins in the natural colours of our sheep, black and white, and some dyed with natural materials – buddleia and onion skins.  And some sold the next day!

Since then, we have sold more in the local shop, and  I have dabbled with making other things, such as the felted bowls, and experimented with blending colours to make batts for spinning. I tentatively opened an etsy shop, and have had a couple of sales there too.  Now I have put the items on my main website, so they are available in £s too.

I find it funny how appallingly bad at the sales side I am – I’ve been shy to mention the shop here.  but I promise not to always go on about it.

Please take a little look

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first barbecue

first one tonight – hurrah! – we do like our outdoor eating.

Obviously, no sooner had himself mentioned the fateful word, the skies became overcast, but we didn’t mention it again, and the sun came back out again.

Everything is so dry – its been all or nothing this year – could do with a little light overnight rain to water in the plants and fill up the water butts!

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It’s all part of making the duck run (someday, somewhen) you understand, burning the rubbish around the firepit.  Nothing to do with being a family of pyromaniacs with a tradition of marshmallow toasting.

It was a splendid fire, we built it during the day, then went about other jobs: lawn cutting, hen house cleaning, planting peas, dagging the sheep,  digging, etc.  Then came back in the evening to set light to it. We should have been more organised and planned a bonfire meal. But as always, we just dreamt about it alot, whilst obtaining a ‘healthy glow’ (not to mention smokey hair) due to being close to embers toasting said marshmallows.

Again, today was hot, and again once the sun dipped, it was April.  Beautiful blue skies, and for once, uninterupted by plane trails – due to the volcanic ash disrupting flights.  I know its having a bad effect on so many, but personally relatively unscathed, it was nice to sit in the garden at lunchtime and see the skies unblemished.

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Had the first of the wild garlic the other day in an omelette (or nomlette as we now call them), with cheese and wild garlic.  Delish.  We don’t have any wild garlic growing on our land.. which is probably a good thing given how much they smell (although if the sheep ate them would that make nice flavoured lamb?), but only five minutes away I can pick loads.  About five leaves to a nomlette is about right.  First time I have tried that – so that goes in my 52 recipes list.

Another addition, is we tried making (not findus) crispy pancakes, as per Hugh F-W.  I make a filling from left over roast chicken, mushrooms, stock  and onions, and a dash of cream.  Then made pancakes in the normal way, filled, sealed with beaten egg, dipped in egg, then bread crumbs then fried.  Very nice.  We did have a bit of an issue with the pancakes being too big, but got around this by halving them, which made for nice manageable triangle shaped parcels.

We’ve been eating eggs a lot lately – as the hens are laying well, and we go through patches of no one buying eggs.  They always come back, and we suddenly sell loads at once, but I don’t want to sell old eggs, so I freeze them, and all meals are egg based – not a hardship with either of the above recipes.

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