Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Soil Shifting For Pretty Things

Today has been spent shifting soil
 This pile of soil had come from when we set up the first poly tunnel, nearly two years ago, it has been covered over with a bit of carpet all that time
 I am using it to fill these pallet collar beds,
 They have a single depth of well rotted manure and then top off with barrow loads of soil
There are three double layer beds, and three single layer beds.
These beds I am using for growing cut flowers.
 These I got with some vouchers I had for the garden centre, so they didn't cost me any hard cash. 35 bulbs in each bag, that I will split in variety's.
Charlies had a nice collection of summer bulbs in,
26 Lily bulbs, one of my favourite flowers to have in the garden and house.
 18 Dahlia tubers
14 Begonias, these are going in containers down by the cabin, 
£40 spent altogether, seems rather a lot I know, but they will grow and multiply each year.
I did pick up some seed potatoes from the garden centre
Pentland Javelin a first early, they have now been set to chit,
They did have a lovely selection it wasn't an easy job deciding, 
I might have to go back and get a main crop, haven't decided yet.
I needed some more citrus feed for the young trees that are in pots, this time of year they are only fed once a month, from March to November its every 10 days
To keep track of what gets fed when
 I write it all in the front of my diary for the year
  And other gardening stuff, purchases, sowing, planting and harvesting gets recorded in the main diary page.
So that's it the start of the growing year, I am still deciding on my seeds and growing for this year, it will all be finalised this week.



Monday, 16 January 2017

Pigs Goats and Trees

Martin got the pigs moved to a new pasture at the week end,
 In the space of 24 hrs this is what they have done, they are in the paddock behind the vegetable garden
 They are now being put to work, I have a plan for this paddock, its were I want to have a go at growing feed for the goats, I am hoping the pigs will do a good job of clearing it ready for tilling in the spring, they only have access to a quarter of it, once they have done this bit the electric fencing will be moved so they can go to work on the next bit. There is a noticeable difference in there sizes now, even though they are all from the same litter.
we had a dumpy bag with a load of wood chip in and it has been tipped out into the chicken run, the chooks had a great time scratching through it.
I think we have another two bags of it, again it will go into the chook run, they like having stuff to scratch through.
Everyone likes a treat 
 Including the goats, who are starting to put weight on,
hopefully due to being pregnant, fingers crossed they will due in March.
 I went over the gorse field and cut them a branch of pine that was overhanging the fence, they like a bit of pine to nibble on.
I also gathered some ivy up for them, 
While they tucked into this I got another 17 trees planted up in the woodland area, I still have another 39 to get in the ground, that area will then done.
Martin had to go back to work early this week end, but he did manage to take this photo last night
some-one had climbed up on the sofa and made himself comfy.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Let There Be Light

Yesterday morning I woke to this view from the bedroom window
 wow what a view, in the distance I can even see the Alpaca shelter, before waking I had to get through the night and what a night, I woke with a start at 11-30pm, with a niggly thought, had I left the iron plugged in down in the cabin, now with a thought like that you cannot get back to sleep, on with the dressing gown and wellies, heading down the garden by torchlight, battling through hail stones, yes I had left it plugged in, that could have been waking up to a very different morning, once back in bed, the thundered started followed by lighting, a fantastic show across a snowy background. I pulled the curtains back and watched the light show from my bed.
 One good thing with snow, you can see who your night visitors are,
these are fox tracks, the circled around the chicken house then headed off across the field
 Sol loved the snow and had a mad moment rolling in it and chasing around the field while I got on with the morning feeds.
 More tracks
 These are from the Alpacas, very similar to deer with cloven hoofs, but bigger.
With the growing season upon us, I bought a new grow light, the other I bought a couple of years ago is OK but did not have a good red, blue and white light ratio, this one is a 300w set up and has a built in fan to disperse the heat produced by the bulbs
A bit dearer that the other one, this one cost £55
 The light is fantastic and covers a growing space of 3ft x 3ft
I have popped my bay citrus trees under it at the moment, but in the next few weeks, they will be be moved off  ready for the first sowing's of the year, 
Why do I use a grow light, well even though we have nice deep window ledges ideal for seed trays, our windows are small, therefore seedlings become very leggy, my solution is to provide them with an overhead grow light, to encourage nice sturdy growth, I have set up a pulley on the unit yet so it can be lowered and heightened as needed according to plant growth. I have one of those you use for hanging baskets, but its out in the shed and yesterday in that freezing wind I didn't fancy another trip out there, so will do that today.
Once we have electric set up outside I will have the grow light set up in the potting shed, at the moment it just has to stay indoors.
I might even look at having some solar panels on the shed and see if I can run it like that, but at the moment there is other things to be getting on with. 
We have ordered another field shelter that is going to become a nice big roomy goat house, with a separate area for kids, it will be here in a couple of weeks, more building and concreting for Martin.
Things are really shaping up outdoors now, with proper buildings for the livestock, next is the new poultry area's.
This year will see a lot of out side changes, I keep saying I don't know what Martin is going to find to do next year at this rate.
Right must move myself we are moving pigs to new pastures today. 😃

Thursday, 12 January 2017

It Came And Went

Well the snow came
 It started to settle then the sky started turning blue just before sunset, left us with slush. They say there is more to come overnight, I am not expecting it to be much if anything. I do think with the forecasts they hype it up to be worse than it is going to be, just to cover themselves.
I got stuck into making the Mango Chutney,
 Adding the other ingredients and cooking it down
 After about 30 mins it thicken up
Now in jars cooling down, I didn't bring enough jars in, the chutney that is in the jug will get put into jars tomorrow, my jars are kept out in the barn, now its dark and slushy underfoot I don't fancy going out there again. The link to the recipe can be found on the recipe page.
I made Sol a new bandanna today
This time I made one that his collar can slip into.
I have been busy getting some new things made ready for my stall in February, they are over on my craft blog. 


Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Is It Going To Or Not

Is it going to snow or not, the weather forecasters seem undecided, if we are going to get it or not and when, I get weather alerts sent to me by email, and the past few days, there has been a flurry of them, forecasting anything from a few centimetres to 10 centimetres, even up to 8 inches, it seems they cant even decided on metric or imperial, temperatures are going to drop to anything from -2c to -13c, just to mess things up we are going to have gales as well.
Whatever the weather we cant do anything about it, so just in case I popped out this morning to top up on animal feed
 If the snow comes, they don't grit or clear the mountain road leading up from the village to here, if it is as bad as they are predicting there is a chance we will be cut off for a while, I would rather have enough feed in than risk it, we have plenty of hay and straw, it was just a case of top up feeds for the bins, that were due for a top up at the week end.
 I also went to the fruit and veg merchants picked up several boxes of apples for the goats and pigs another sack of carrots and a couple of watermelons for the chickens at 50p each.
 I spotted a £1 box of mangoes with a couple of bananas, thoughts turned to mango chutney one of my favourites and knowing we had no left, it would have been criminal to not buy them
 once home they were washed and deseeded with the mango slicer
A very easy to use tool for getting that seed out
 The flesh was sliced and diced and scooped off the skin
sprinkled with salt, next stage tomorrow
I am following this RECIPE 
I have never made Mango chutney before and this one seems fairly straight forward to do.
Right now the sky is blue the sun is shining but the wind has got up and the temperature is dropping, torches are charged up, plenty of logs have been brought in, the fire is laid ready for a match later, I have a small joint of beef in the oven for my dinner later, I really fancied some roast beef.
No need to venture out except to feed animals.
I hope you all stay safe and warm whatever the weather brings.