Friday, 21 October 2016

Reclaiming Hedgerows

The hedgerows here all need reclaiming, many years of neglect means they have become tree lines instead of hedgerows, its a long job and it will be a couple of years before they are proper thick hedges again, offering shelter to wildlife and protection from the wind, wind blows through trees but is filtered and lessened through hedges.

 As you can see they have been shaped by the wind over the years and hang into the garden, some are very unstable
We have take on a young local man to help with this work, we did the hedge line down the front garden last Autumn and the hedge at the bottom of the garden the Autumn before, as we are taking on more land there is a lot of hedge work to do.
 A lot of brush wood to be got rid off, the Alpacas and goats are doing there bit eating off the leaves
 We do get a good amount of logs as well
 The hedge is starting to take shape, all the rubbish has to be cleared out and I have some willow I have been growing on from cuttings I am going to use to plug gaps.
 This big Ash at the end of the line has to be taken down, its on a very unstable raised area of the hedge, if it was to come down it would take out power cables and also my cabin.
There is evidence on the other side were some has come down in the past, not a risk I am willing to take.

 There is so much more light in the garden now and we get the early evening sun, the spindly bits that are still standing are going to be layered into the hedge line.
Today I want to get up the top fields and get more trees planted, I love trees and dont really like taking them down but sometimes needs must. I just have to keep planting trees to replace them and more.

Friday November 19th 1982
Rained all day, John and Lawrence finished fence up the side of the shed and the drive. John carried on with washing machine, tried to trace stop cock, unearthed pipes outside the house. Connected everything except the cold water.
Rubbed down small metal cabinet, then used some paint stripper on it.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Man In The Kitchen

Yesterday Martin took over the cooking,
 he wanted to have a go at doing some bread
 The recipe is in my head and I was at hand to relate what had to be done, will have to write it down so he can do the bread more often.
 One perfect loaf later.
He also offered to cook dinner, who am I to refuse that offer
When sorting out the barn he came across the Dutch Ovens we have, they are cast iron cooking pots, before the move we use to cook outside when ever the opportunity arose and used the Dutch Ovens to cook all kinds of things. If you go back through my blog to a few years ago you will see how we cooked with them. here is a link to some of the cooking we did with the  Dutch Oven
 Martin got a fire going and threw together some meat and vegetables in the Dutch Oven and it was set up on the tripod over the fire.
 As the sun set dinner was cooked outside, something we used to enjoy and its lovely to be doing these things again on our smallholding.
Sol was there with us although he didn't really understand what we were doing out there in the dark.
I spent most of the day working on some new sewing lines 
but I did get the first sheepskin combed out, 

another few days and it will be properly dry and ready to use, perhaps on one of our cook outs.

Thursday November 18th 1982
Went to Carmarthen, took Blue Boy's head to be analyzed.
Bought fitting to plumb in washing machine £16.
Looked at kitchen and bathroom equipment, picked up feed from Carmarthen Farmers, 4xwhite 2xred.
Lucky's doesn't seem any worse.
John fitted washing machine to hot water pipes, wrong connections for cold water.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Storage Space

As our time here marches on, we have gathered more equipment, we hang on to bits of wood, insulation all kinds of things that one day may come in handy, all this stuff takes up space in the big barn, space we need for storing animal feeds and hay.
Martin being home for a few days this week, got to work utilising the storage space we have.

Using some scaffold boards and tubes he has built a storage space above the dry store unit in the barn.
Not a space I will be accessing as for me its too high up and access is with a ladder, heights ladders and me don't go together.
It is a nice big store area which he is now filling with all the things that are not used all the time but needed for the future.
Another bit of news 
The Doves
They are netted over and confined to quarters unfortunately, not they have done anything wrong, its for there protection.
 Since securing the chicken area from buzzard attacks, the buzzards have turned there attention to next doors chickens, they were locked in after a few losses,  they have now started on the doves, we have lost two in the past week to there Ariel attacks, when the attacks started I did a bit of research and the solution was to enclose the doves for several weeks and the buzzards will move off to another area were there is a food source, there is insufficient wild food to support the buzzards here, we are not the only ones suffering attacks it it becoming a problem in the area, too many buzzards too little food. 
Magpies are also a pest every time the doves laid eggs the magpies would take them, so no chance of building up numbers, we have lost all the females now. 

Wednesday 17th November  1982
Overslept up at 9-30am, Lucky still not calved, David and Margaret went home, did some washing, cleaned through.
John measured up pipes for washing machine, packed away more things upstairs, made 3 loaves with new yeast and 6 rolls.
John had bath, rained all day wind got up in the evening.
Did some patching on John's jeans, put a pocket inside green quilted jacket. Found Lucky with punctured bag.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Just Popping To The Shop

Just popping to the shop, its something I often to say to Martin, although our shop is just across the garden,
The choices are vast
Yesterday preparing dinner I had to pop to the shop for vegetables
What to choose
Broccoli, Kale, Sprouts, Chinese Cabbage, Chop Suey Greens, Sweet Potatoes, Peppers, Pak Choi, Courgettes, Parsnips, Leeks, Carrots, Beans, Swiss Chard, Beetroot, lettuce, spring onions were all on offer and looking lush.
I settled for Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes
The shop of course is our own growing area and that is what was on offer yesterday, I am popping to the shops has been a regular saying here.
We have several shops to choose from, there is the shop with fresh produce, Poly tunnels, fruit cage and raised beds.
The dry store which has potatoes, onions and garlic.
The frozen food  shop, were I get my meat, fish, unseasonal veg, ready meals, etc
One of the ready meals, they are proper dinners that are made up when I cook meals, Martin takes some back with him and I might have some through the week.
We also have the pantry store
Were we have all manner of canned goods, pickles, jams, pasta, rice, flour, sugar 
Many are bought in bulk and stored in airtight food bins.
I have 10 of these food buckets and 6 of the yellow barrels they are all full of dry goods. I decant smaller quantity's into containers in the kitchen for every day use, one day I will have a big walk in pantry and it will all be together there.
Our shops are always well stocked with a good variety of supplies ready to add to any meal. 
If I don't want to browse through the shelves, I do have an inventory of everything, in freezers and cupboards.
Tuesday November 16th 1982 
Lucky still not calved, John concerned in case Mastitis, called vet in this morning.
Margaret and David went into Carmarthen shopping.
Vet came in the afternoon, left two bottles of calcium in case milk fever trouble with Celandine, vet not concerned about Lucky, seems to think all OK.
David and Margaret took us down Forest Arms for a drink, had a good laugh, went out to inspect Lucky at midnight, everything all OK, posted letter to mother, Margaret made bread.






Friday, 14 October 2016

Just Waffling On

I found out last night Martin was not coming home tonight, work commitments, they joys of running your own business I suppose, He will be home late tomorrow evening, he will be here until the end of the week, all this change throws me out.
To commiserate this evening I made waffles 
 I had a couple with some raspberries and maple syrup
 There is still plenty left for Martin this week end
 If I dont eat them all in the meantime.
Today I was getting the first poly tunnel ready for winter
 The borders have been cleared and manured,
 Paths have all been hosed down, the Basil is still growing well, along with the citrus trees, next month I will put fleece over the citrus trees to give them some extra protection, I have started moving in pots of plants that need some winter protection.
 Along with the odd lettuce still growing and some Radichio there is also Chop Suey greens and Chinese Cabbage in this tunnel.
 Any pots of plants coming in from the garden are treated with Vine Weevil killer, I have in the past lost many plants to this pest, so now treat before it becomes a problem in the poly tunnel, unfortunately there is no organic alternative for vine weevil, this is the only pesticide I use.
 Out walking with Sol today took this photo of the valley as the sun broke through.
I did get the sheepskin out of the tanning solution
 The solution has been rinsed out of the fleece and its now hung up to dry
I have it hanging in the open barn so the air can circulate  around it, the fleece is almost done, I will start fleshing the other one tomorrow.

November 15th 1982
Up at 7-30 am, went out to Blue Boy but sadly he died during the night. Molly and Douglas went home early afternoon, David and Margaret went into Carmarthen shopping.
cleaned through house, did washing sunny but cold.
John moved more machinery under shelter
Man came from water board about low pressure, expense is ours to have new larger bore pipe put in.