Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Spring update

Hello All
Welcome to Susan Telford on Blog Lovin. Good to see you here.
Alright enough already! Snow, hail, thunder, bright sunshine, frosts overnight. Make your mind up ! It's been very difficult to settle to any job and know what to wear over the last few days. The lambs should be out all day, but some of the weather has been so inclement that we have been bringing them in at teatime and leaving them in overnight until 9.00ish the next morning. On a couple of nights we have even put the heat lamp on for them.
The drive this lunchtime...

I have been trying to deter the hens from going broody and for the most part have succeeded. apart from Mavis who is doggedly sitting in an empty rabbit hutch on who knows how many eggs. The hens are pretty skittish at the moment as the fox paid us a visit a few days go and killed two hens.      ( I'm not in the mood to hear that the fox has to live at the mo!)

My friend's funeral went well. It was good to see a good turn-out. She was of Welsh decent and she would have loved the rousing "Guide me O thou Great Redeemer" at the service. (and also the good "Ham Tea" afterwards)
Sadly, a dear old friend died that same afternoon as the funeral and I am really struggling with this. His service is next week, it will be sad to say goodbye to him. We have known M for 45 years and will miss his calm kindness and affection.

I went my school reunion on Saturday night. It was interesting to see how we have aged, some better than others! I did struggle to find something in common with people. I did resist the conversation I had with someone at a friend's Golden Wedding a couple of weeks ago. We were talking about getting old and what it meant. I said that I feared losing my marbles over everything and he asked if I did anything to combat this. I told him that I read a lot, am secretary of a Civic Society and a couple of interest/ campaign groups, was researching for a local history paper and wrote a blog. I told him about the Smallholding and how it kept me on my toes. I said that I couldn't relate to just going out to lunch (pensioner's specials?) or the occasional game of whist as it sounded like a living death to me. "What do you do ?" I asked. "I'm a member of a luncheon club and play the occasional game of Bridge" he replied ooooh er whoops!

Thought you might like to see the fence that David is building across the veggie plots to keep the dogs off. Made of pallet wood of course and very sturdy it is too. It will keep more than dogs off. As we say here "In the event of a nuclear attack crouch behind....(whatever David has built)"

Cro has a picture on his blog of his Wisteria, it is glorious and he is so much in front of us. This is a branch of ours presently. Way behind.
 The false quince that is next to it is looking good tho'

All for now, will update you on the Radio Derby/chicken saga soon.
Love from a breezy Derbyshire

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Radio Derby again!

 Hello All                                                                                                                                                                I'm about to sit down for a much needed cup of tea after a visit from Radio Derby. They wanted to talk to some chickens! Apparently a study is being carried out about... I'm not too sure actually..., something to do with playing sounds to chickens for some reason. The reporter wanted to know If I talked to my chickens and if I understood the sounds they made. I was somewhat wary, not really wanting to be seen as the dotty old chicken whisperer! He asked if he could feed them and I gave him some feed to sprinkle on the ground as I let them out of their night time run. He then put the mic next to them and asked them to talk to him, which they didn't. I told him that they were well bought up chickens and were taught not speak with their mouths full.! Did I really say that?! I did explain the chickens DO make several different sounds which can be interpreted by us but that it was unlike;y to work the other way round, other than as a Pavlov's reaction ( i.e me shouting chick chick chick as I feed them means that they associate that sound  with being fed.) I have been interviewed on the TV/radio several times for various reasons but this was the most bizarre.
 Tonight we are hosting a meeting of the great and the good about how to fund the reinstatement of the canal through a envelopment site I shall make some biscuits and get out the home made wine and we will see how it goes. I have to assemble and print out the agendas yet and a quick dust and vacuum wont go amiss!
The last week has been very busy but when I leave it several days between posting I lose the momentum to write about it as it is finished and done with. Suffice to say I haven't been bored!

I'm feeling rather mortal at the moment, so many of our contemporaries are seriously/terminally ill,  Last week a neighbour called round to say could I help her with a friend of mine who is also a neighbour. When I got there I found that she was at the stop of her stairs and had been dead for some time. She had been fighting cancer for sometime, but we did not expect her to die so suddenly. I feel so sad that she died alone.
I have quite a bit more to write but some friends have just arrived so will sign off for now
Before I go a warm Derbyshire welcome to
Cafe with kids, Katie Walters, Helen Egg, Rebecca Pick. on  Blog lovin and L Efting on the follower bar .
Back Soon

Friday, 1 April 2016

Hello All
Here I am again after another little break. I am SO rubbish at regular blogging.

I thought I ought to make an effort as today we are off for our first sea fishing trip of the year and it will be Monday at least before I get a chance to post something. My daughter and granddaughter will be taking over the seedling watering, lamb bottling, parrot and cat sitting and egg collecting duties until then.

We looked over the bee hives last week and have lost two, one where the bees had starved only inches from some honey filled comb and one that was abandoned. The other eight are all now fed and looking good so far.

I have cleared most of the gardens ready for digging/rotovating and have some plants set in the  greenhouse, so here we go for another year's gardening. I hope to share some of this with you over the next few weeks.

My 15 year old "Stoves" cooker (seven burner, two oven) has developed a problem that can't be fixed. The terms of the maintenance agreement say that if a fault can't be rectified they will replace the cooker. They were unable to provide me with another Stoves, but have provided me with a Belling on a like for like basis.
Here it is
Adding up 13years maintenance payments and checking the cost of this cooker I have done quite well out of this and I guess that if this cooker lasts as well as the last one it should just about see me out!

My youngest granddaughter and I went to the fodder rooms today for more lamb milk replacer. They asked if we wanted a BIG bag of carrots for a pound as the bag had burst? Of course we did! There was approx 30lb of carrots and now I have to think of what to do with them - ideas on a postcard please!( as they used to say)

Next week sees me buckling down to organise a public consultation to attempt to capture local people's views on our Civic Society's newest campaign. This means a newsletter to write, print and post to 400+ housing ( I don't do all the posting!) a public meeting to organise, with all the attendant issues. No pressure there then!

Anyway bloggy friends after another random blog I'm off to pack the fishing rods and sandwiches for the trip.
Back Soon

Friday, 18 March 2016

Adorable X 8

Hello All
It's that time of year again...
So meet..
Cookie, Cocoa , Cheeky, Cheese and Chives  the girls
 Chester, Corbyn and Cameron the boys

Yes I know some of the names are weird, but I didn't name one of them!
If anyone is passing all eight are on bottles and help is gratefully accepted!
Back  Soon

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Meat bargains and other stuff

Hello All
Thank you for your comments on my last post. I love how so many people are interested in bees.

I have done quite well for meat bargains over the last few days.
The first pic is of the 1kg £1.55 "cooking bacon" from Lidl The 2 pieces, as you can see, are quite lean and actually weighed a little over 1kg. I cooked these in the slow cooker. They kept their shape and were not in the least bit salty. I cubed one piece to add to a quiche and a couple of omlettes and sliced the larger one for sandwiches for ourselves and our granddaughter's packed lunch.

 My next bargain was a lovely piece of brisket. I bought this "yellow sticker " joint weighing 1.4kg for £4.89, marked down from £9.77 from Tescos. As you can see it is a very lean joint. I pot roasted this. Three of us had this hot for dinner last night and there is nearly half of it left to eat cold in sandwiches.
 Here is something I didn't get round to showing you after Christmas. The girls clubbed together to buy me this beauty.....
 I am looking forward to making cider later in the year. I also have several large bags of grapes in the freezer and will be having a play with these soon.

David and the guys have been working hard at stacking wood and moving a trailer load of chippings that we were given a few days ago.  "That's that parking space cleared " he announced smugly on tuesday evening.
Yesterday (wednesday) our godson arrived with a truck full of pallets ! hey ho. I'd hate David to get complacent and it keeps him off the streets (as they say)
I bet you pallet buffs are making plans in your heads as to what you could with those pallets. The guys will be carefully taking some of them apart today.

The hens have now started laying in ernest, which means that I can put the signs out. Hurrah! Yesterday I made a quiche, an large egg custard(without pastry) and boiled half a dozen eggs for sandwiches. Love it when I don't have to skimp on the eggs..
Off to Lidl now as a request has gone up for meatballs when the family come for tea this weekend and I have no mince in the freezer.
Back soon as I seem to have got my blogging mojo back for the moment.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

New beekeeping ideas

Hello All
Another blogging hiatus from me. I'm rubbish this year.
Thanks for the replies about moth-proofing. Cedar wood it is then. Pensive Pensioner mentioned cedar wood rings, which thread onto the coat hanger and I have found some on the internet at a reasonable price. Brilliant!
Cro and Fast SOS asked if we had problems with moths and yes, in the past we have, both in an Aran sweater and a wool Berber carpet. As the jacket cost more than he has EVER paid he wants to ensure he has it for years and years.

 I was talking to my godson in the pub the other night. He is a beekeeper of three years, while David and I have kept bees for forty years now. I reminded him that he has introduced us to two pieces of equipment that have improved and/ or simplified our beekeeping. Never too old to learn eh?
The first is a varroa floor. Varroa is a mite that lives in the bee hive on the bees, many hives have been lost to this little blighter and there are various pesticides employed to kill the mite. The varroa floor is a mesh floor that allows the mites to fall through and out of the hive, but not to return, where they die. A piece of white card placed under the hive enables you to see the mites and allows for a count to give an idea of the degree of infestation.
The mesh floor also means that the hive is well ventilated, thus keeping it dry and healthy.

The second piece of equipment is for feeding the bees. Prior to using these feeders it was necessary to remove the roof from the hive and place a round covered dish type feeder over the hole in the top box (an extra empty box was needed above this box to allow room for the feeder under the roof. This  is an manouver that necessitates pretty good weather as you don't want to chill the bees, nor shake the hive, thus risking shaking a cluster of bees (bees cluster to keep warm) All in all feeding bees or checking the feeders in winter can be quite invasive.
Let me introduce you to ....
Sugar syrup is poured into the cup, the lid is clicked on and the feeder turned upside down and placed into the door of the hive thus...
Even though the feeders are orange you can actually see the level of the liquid from the outside, so you know if they need filling up.  The feeder is removed when the bees are tucked up at night, refilled and replaced..bish bash bosh! How easy is that ? and they only cost  £1.25 each !!!

Incidentally Fast SOS if you are reading this (I saw your comment on Leigh's blog), the placement of the hives two foot from the garden wall and under (trimmed) trees is, I believe an ideal setting for bees, offering protection from heat, extreme cold and high winds and a convenient place for swarms to settle. The trees behind the hives have each had swarms settle in them last year. I really am not a fan of hives staged in open fields or lawns.
I am sure you have all noticed how beautifully, smart my hives are! Some of the boxes and roofs we made only last year and some are over twenty years old. Either side of these three hives are a further seven of equal beauty!
Off to the pub, back soon

Wednesday, 24 February 2016


Hello All
David has a new tweed jacket and is concerned about moths. I have bought some moth balls, but they smell of...mothballs! I won't know if they keep the moths away as I shall be nowhere near him if he smells like that!
So fellow bloggers.. any ideas, recipes, etc. to keep his new jacket safe from the little blighters?