Wednesday, 23 April 2014

NOT a good day!

Hello Friends.
Welcome to Madeline on Bloglovin and.Tracey, a new follower from Australia, who seems to have a similar gardening style to me. It will interesting to read about her planting while we are harvesting and vice versa.

   Let's get the bad news over with. One of our lambs has died. Arkwright happily took his bottle on Sunday morning and gamboled off into the field with his brother and the other two lambs. By lunchtime he was nowhere to be seen and we finally found him standing hunchy-backed in the corner of the field. I bought him in and offered him a various treats and drinks, which he didn't want and just stood around. I put him under a heat lamp, bringing his brother in to keep him company. Arkwight's brother Archie is very small and quite weak, so Arkwiright being the poorly one was surprising. Throughout the evening I gave Arkwright warm water and warm milk by syringe and a herbal medication to settle his stomach which I rubbed to try to help his digestion.
 I went out to see him during the night but he just stood around looking mournful and in the morning he was dead.
 Many years ago you often buried something as small as a dead lamb, or indeed a  hen. This is no longer allowed and any dead farm stock must be disposed of by a fallen stock man or abattoir which have the facilities to incinerate. As it was a Bank Holiday the Environmental Health Offices were closed, so with the help of good old Google I finally found a local Fallen Stock Farmer. We agreed that I would take the lamb to his farm and he would only charge me £5 ! Later in the day I took poor little Arkwright to this farm (don't want to write anymore about that).
 After finding Arkwright, bottling the other three and turning them out into the paddock I set about feeding the hens. The morning didn't get any better when I found a chick born the day before, dead in the run,  with her mother running around squawking. I will never know what happened here.

 I spent the day gardening and trying to spot how Barmy Bonce was escaping from the orchard run. In the afternoon ED , her daughter and husband arrived with a trailer full of horse manure. After unloading this we had a sprockled-together meal of leftovers with bubble and squeak and eggs. YGD was upset about Arkwright so we had some cuddles and I didn't tell her about the chick.

 After the family went home I took Arkwright and then returned home to sit in front of my PC and visit Blogland. I managed to write a post and then sat down to watch Jamaica Inn. I read the book years ago and had been looking forward to watching it. It was very difficult to watch as the inside scenes were so dark you struggled to see what was going on and the Actors mumbled and whispered so that it was difficult to hear it all too. I determined I would try again tomorrow (the second of three nights) and was glad that I already knew the story, otherwise I reckon I would have been completely in the dark.
 After Jamaica Inn I was filling the dishwasher and getting the morning bottles ready when there was a knock at the door. It was my neighbour P.asking if I would mind looking at his ewe who was in labour. He was not happy with how it was going.
Off we set in the pitch dark to see how Millie was doing. P. has been keeping sheep for four years now with half a dozen ewes and has had no trouble before. I have kept sheep for over thirty years and have been on Min of Ag lambing courses, so felt pretty confident to give some opinion.
Long story short, he was right to be worried and after attempting to manipulate the HUGE lamb, whose head (only) was out, tongue sticking out and very alive. I recommended we get the vet. He arrived within an hour, which was very good considering the distance he had to travel and it was eleven o'clock at night. After trying to correct the presentation he had to give the ewe an epidural to relax her enough to manipulate the lamb out. By midnight George was born and a big strapping lad he is too!. Back over the wall to a stiff scotch, a mug of hot milk and my bed, the irony of the difference between the beginning and end of my day not being lost on me!
Incidentally, The vet was FIT!!! ..or so P's wife tells me, I can't say as I noticed (ahem)
 In comparison yesterday (Tuesday) was pretty tame, with lots of visitors and very little done in the garden because of this ! The only downer being that Archie is still not too strong, but at least he is grazing, drinking and cudding.

 Today has been an interesting one, with yet again our plans to finish off the greenhouse and get some root crops planted  scuppered  because...One of our hives Swarmed !!!! It was very difficult to gather because of where they settled and many bees went back to the original hive. We have, however housed a very small swarm which we have fed and will watch to see if it is strong enough to survive. If it does it will be a real bonus.

I realise it is eleven o'clock and I still have much to do before bed. I had better close this post and promise that my next will be of a lighter nature !

Happy Saint George's Day to you all (what is left of it!)


Monday, 21 April 2014

Barmy Bonce and Pallet Constructions

   Hope you are having a good Easter break. I have just realised that it is a week since I last posted. What happened to me using this blog as a diary?!
   Before I launch into the random stuff that litters (nay overwhelms) my posts I must say Hello to Sue Smith, Janet Fawcett and Paid in Chickens on Bloglovin. Really good to see you here.
 I have spent some time last week getting the orchard run ready to take all the chickens for the summer. I have put in some more roosting poles around the place and D. has added some more nesting boxes to the large hen house. Apart from half a dozen broodies in the goat house, all the hens are now esconced in the said orchard and I have started to get the gardens ready for planting.
Here is the view over the Orchard fence into the orchard. The strong netting above the fence is tensioned on thick wire and brings the height of the fence to 7 foot. This makes it pretty much fox-proof. You may recognise the fencing. Yup Pallets!

Here are a few of the hens enjoying a spot of sun-bathing in the orchard next to one of the supplementary  chicken houses. This has a small run attached and can be moved around the orchard or outside into the field. Guess what it is made from ? Too easy eh? The ubiquitous Pallets! 

When I say ALL Chickens, I mean apart from Barmy Bonce, who keeps getting out and we can't work out how. She is desperate to get into the garden next door, where Stan (aged 95) puts all the peas (he doesn't like peas) from his Meals on Wheels. it would seem he gets peas with his dinner every day!
Here is Barmy Bonce. I have no idea which chickens sired this weirdo. She clearly has some White Star in her.

 In the paddock garden I have dug two deep trenches which I have filled with some part rotted compost. After raking a few inches of soil over this I placed the main crop potatoes on this soil and then raked enough soil over to cover these well. We are taking a risk with the potatoes this year. we always buy new seed, but after finding a small bag of last year's in store, we are going to risk them as this year's seed. They are Sarpo Mira, which are a fairly new variety that are blight resistant. I also have a few Pink Fir Apple potatoes which I shall grow in pots this year.
 Also in the paddock garden I have planted a few drain pipes of early pea plants (Kelveden) and some broad beans plants (Aquadulce)   Planting has started Hurrah!!

Just in case you haven't heard enough about Pallets .....D. has been busy with his Pallet stash. Here are his latest constructions.
Firstly, here is a new Hive Stand, he did need to buy four new nuts and bolts for the stand at the cost of 40 pence for four. I believe he now has made one new hive and nearly completed another, which he hopes to sell ( compete with bees)
Secondly, he has made a new gate for the side of the house. Yes, I know it needs a good weeding around it, but I can't bring myself to get rid of the Valerian and Violets that have self seeded here ( and I'm not a very tidy gardener either!)

I think that is quite enough for tonight. I have quite a lot of other stuff to share with you, some of it not too good, buy I really need to settle down now. I am going to have a look at "Jamaica Inn " on BBC1

Good Night all

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

living salad, popcorn maker and compost

Hello Dear Frugellers
I notice that my last post was number 200!! I know I don't post very often, but that's still pretty good I reckon. I should have done a give away or something, but missed the moment... typical !

Thought I would share a frugal (tight) tip. A few weeks ago I bought one of those living salad things from Lidl for 79p. I took out a third of the tiny plants, split them and transplanted them into these 2 foot by 10inch planters. I used the remaining two thirds as usual. Here are the plants. I have already transplanted a few of these into the greenhouse, between the tomatoes to grow into full size plants, before this picture was taken. I think you will agree that these plants are nice and strong.
They say that pride comes before a fall.  When I took the camera back into the house, the chickens stripped one of the planters!!
Back in January I asked if anyone knew where I could purchase a popcorn maker similar to the one thatI  had that had broken irreparably. Dreamer and Velia Power directed me to the Whirleypop, which I have finally sent for.    Here is YGD  with the popcorn she made yesterday morning with the new popcorn maker.  Many Many thanks Dreamer and Velia !
D. has been working hard sieving the large compost heap. He has been using the trailer and a new sieve he made from bits of wood and some quarter inch wire.  I'm using it almost as quickly as he is sieving it. His secret helpers are the chickens.. he throws several spade fulls on the ground for an hour or two, the chickens scratch it about, making it easier to sieve. They have full crops and D. has easier to manage compost. Win-win !
D. and the guys were going to dig the potato trench for me today and rake over the brassica patch. That was until someone asked if D. could take down some smallish trees that were reducing the light in their garden. After cleaning out the trailer they set off, to return a couple of hours later with a trailer full of wood, some of the logs being huge. D. tells me that there is a similar amount still to harvest. So even though the digging hasn't been done we have a goodly pile of wood towards next winter and more to come.

The lambs are growing and eating grass readily now. I reduced their feeds to three bottle today, making looking after them even easier ( it really hasn't been difficult this year).

Spring is springing here, with lots of blossom fro the bees to visit. I missed the programme about bees last night as we had a Civic Society Committee meeting. D. has put it onto series record, so I will catch up. Something I did manage to catch was the Allotment "competition " tonight. Mmmm. not too sure yet. Good idea, but I think it is going to be a programme that I shout at!
Did anyone else watch it?
All for now, off to pick D. up from the pub

Saturday, 12 April 2014

of mangles and liberty bodices

Hello Dear Frugellers!
Hello to Amy Thorpe on Blog Lovin and Zoe-Lee and Rachel Parry on my Follower bar. As you don't link to a blog I can only guess where you come from and what your interest are. Post a comment and tell us about yourselves!

My comment about liberty bodices in  my last post stirred a few memories. For those of you that are NOT of a certain age a liberty bodice is a warm vest with or without sleeves, fastened by ribbon or rubber buttons.  These buttons used to get very sticky after many washings and we used to sprinkle talcuum powder over them to dry them up. The best thing about the rubber buttons was that they didn't need to be removed when the bodices went through the mangle, as with bone and shell buttons. All children used to wear liberty bodices at one time. Which of course had to be clean in case we got run over!

Removing buttons and then sewing them back on again after mangling was a real bind on wash day.
 In my little book of  "Labour Saving Ideas for the Home"(1924) There is a hint re. shirt buttons to help alleviate the button problem... .." For shirt buttons....When making shirts at home, instead of stitching the buttons on the shirt, stitch them on a narrow piece of shirting at distances to correspond with the button holes. Fasten in position with tiny safety pins at top and bottom. They can then be easily removed when washday comes round and there will be no more broken buttons"   So there you are then ..easy !
Here's another useful hint for you   "How to discover a dead rat..... To locate a dead rat in a room catch half a dozen blue bottle flies and slip them into a glass jar. Let the flies out in the room where you suspect the rat is an sit dowm while they fly around. Within an hour they will have scented the rat and all be buzzing around one spot. That is where your rat is. You can then take up the board and remove the pest"
There's more to share from this great book .

EGD and I made some Bean, carrot and cumin burgers a la " A Girl Called Jack" and very tasty they were too. We decided we would like them a little crunchier next time as they were a little soft for our liking. But the taste was great and we will definitely make them again. I costed them out at 10 pence each, without the cob. We also added some home made tomato chutney and leaves from the garden.

Speaking of the garden, We have been working hard in the garden for the last couple of days. I will give you a run down of what we got up to in my next post. I have just realised that I have a date with D. to watch "Philomena" on the big TV downstairs
. Must dash..Back soon

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Cornwall Again!

Hello Frugellers
Nice to see you all here.
Welcome Geoff to my follower bar and to Jo on Blog lovin. Do comment whenever the mood takes you.
  Back from Cornwall by 2.00 on Sunday and twelve for tea ( and three dogs) by 5.00. You should see my kitchen floor!! The rain has turned the garden to mud again Grrrr. Yesterday I had a few hours to myself and cleaned and dried the floors. I feel better now and happy to receive visitors again. Mind you the carpets are rubbish as my Dyson seems to have broken. I need to get D.(aka Mr Fix it) to look at it.

The first sea fishing trip of the season was a mixed success. Though they caught nothing to eat, D.caught the first Conga of the season and at least they got out in the fog and wind and reformed their little fishing group for another year. The weather was atrocious with fog and Cornish Mizzle all weekend.
Here they are coming back into Looe Harbour - can you see them yet?
 There they are!!

While D. was fishing and my friend J. was volunteering I worked through my "to do" list. I hit the shops in Callington with a list of things I needed and some I wanted. Whenever I'm in Callington I buy a Ham joint from the Spar shop which also has a butchers. I bought a good sized joint for £6.99, a very large savoy cabbage for £1.00 and some reduced bread for toast this week. I bought this years tide tables for D., which made him a happy bunny.
I then hit the charity shops. My wish list was for some work shirts and a going out one too if possible. I also needed another pudding basin. Bingo ! At first shop they had a kitchen display with a stack of pyrex basins. I bought four of different sizes for four pounds. I then picked out two quality shirts that still had their labels in, for £2.50 each and a nearly new M&S one for £2.00. I then found the bargain rail and found a lovely lined River Island jacket for a pound! I bought this for YGD who now has a new job and needs to be smart casual at all times. I thought that for a pound if she didn't like it, or it didn't fit I had lost little. She loves it and it fits like a dream.
At the next CS I bought a new cardigan for £2.00 and some new shoes for £5.00 Neither of these were on my list, but were such a bargain that I could not resist.
Back to J's to do some prep work on J's laptop for the Civic Society's AGM this week. I also prepped some sauces for Sunday's ham tea, before relaxing with a spot of hand quilting.
 Not a bad day. J. and I went down to the harbour to pick D. up, ate a fish supper in the car and back to J's for spot of reading and a small (ahem) scotch.
Before we travelled down on Friday a friend bought me a book from the CS which he said had my name on it.. it is called "Labour Saving Hints and Ideas for the Home" published in 1924. It's a great read and I will post some quotes from it on my next blog. ooh the days of mangles and liberty bodices!

Off to do some printing for the AGM  this week. As Secretary I have much to do.

Back Soon

Thursday, 3 April 2014

For Arnie read Arniette!

Hello Everyone !
I haven't posted for over a week as I have been so busy. I'll bring you up to date without giving you a blow by blow account of the last week.
But firstly, A warm Derbyshire welcome Judith in N.Z on my follower bar and Shirley, Penny and Su on Blog Lovin

The lambs are coming on really well. As this blog title suggests we have had a bit of a gender issue here. Arnie is older than the other three and his tail and gonads had already fallen off when we bought him. When we banded the other three's tails last weekend we looked to see if Arnie had a clean site where his balls had been. Oops ! Girly Bits ! Arnie is a girl!. We've only been keeping sheep for 30 years, how were we to know?!
A few posts ago I put up a recipe for Mincemeat cake. This has been really popular with us and with other bloggers. However, I made a batch of three a few days ago and they needed a lot longer in the oven than those I had made previously. As I had used a different oven to the one I usually use I thought that might be the reason. I then had a comment from J>Moose to say her cake was undercooked too. I wonder if the kind of mincemeat used will also make a difference, with everyone's mincemeat recipes being different. If you having a go at the recipe I advise that you do the clean knife test to ensure it is cooked properly.

 The bees are flying well and we are starting to allow ourselves to believe that they really have all made it through the winter. D. is working really hard to build enough spare hive parts so that we can sell a couple of hives in a few weeks time when the colonies have built up. He is also enlarging the chicken house and increasing the number of laying boxes in the orchard chicken house. There has been much hammering and banging in the workshop this week

My friend J. who lives in Cornwall has been staying here all this week and she loves to work on the bee frames - mending, assembling and putting in new wax foundation. this has been really useful and has helped to put us in front a little more. She has also been barrowing horse manure from the paddock. This has been thrown over the fence by our neighbour, who has a horse in stables. You will gather that J. likes to be busy and useful.
She and I have been to Derby to have a trip down memory lane. It really has changed and I realise that I am truly a country hick now!
J. and I met when we crossed the road that divided her house from mine when we were both three years old. Let's be accurate here, I was two and a half and she was three - I continually remind her that she is older than I ! That was sixty five years ago.You could play in the street and cross a road in those days. I remember a few years later we would sit in the gutter with a piece of paper (soap wrapper) and a pencil taking car numbers, we even had time to note the colour down too as there were so few. We would sit there, picking at the melting tar with lolly sticks, listening for the sound of an engine, pencils poised.
   Many years later after qualifying as a nurse, she followed her sailor husband to Cornwall when he was stationed in Plymouth. She now lives in Callington and we stay with her on out frequent sea  fishing trips in Looe.

And speaking of Fishing, J. goes back to Cornwall tonight and we set off tomorrow for the first fishing trip of the year!
So the next 24 hours will be spent getting packed and making sure that the house and animals are ready for YD who will decamp to ours to look after the small holding while we are away. We will be back by Sunday afternoon (in time for the family to arrive for tea) This trip YD will have 4 lambs to bottle four times a day too. What would we do without her?.. she is a star!!

I have just realised that if I write about everything I have to say, this post will be far too long and I will probably get little else done. So I will close for now and get on with my huge list of jobs.
Back Soon