Thursday, 8 March 2018

Picking up the pace......

For the last five months, since my sudden hospital visit, small holding life has slipped sideways away from me. This has not been with intent, but life forces interfering, and disrupting, the pattern of our farm life.

Now I had not realised that this had happened until recently, when I found myself adrift and without much purpose. Between my hospital experience and the end of the year I had plenty to occupy me, such as getting over the shock of the unexpected hospital stay, and the Christmas choir concerts I was involved with. I had no time, or energy, to look after the farm, Lester was busy with getting used to the work, and routine, of his online work with the UK although he was still managing the animals. We did harvest seven sheep (mutton) for the freezer, but that was about all we did. My larder was full from the canning, dehydrating, and freezing of the previous months of harvesting, which was good, but no more was being added. The supplies were not being maintained. It was winter. It did not matter.

All the Veg Plot plantings of various brassicas, leeks, onions, chard, cabbage, beetroot, and kohl rabi did survive though, but they had been planted during September, before my health faltered. The weather looked after them through the winter, with plenty of rain to keep them watered, and all have grown well. This is the first time we have grown vegetables through the winter, and we shall do so again. The only downside is having to go outside and harvest the vegetables when the weather is cold, wet, and/ or frosty. We did have vegetable supplies. Not as much as I had intended, but at least we had a supply of homegrown produce.

All the seeds I had planted indoors and outside before I went into hospital died through neglect during my recovery time, and the project of growing seeds in the Half Barn never got started, the place intended for this project being taken up the sprawl of my fabric stash.

You can see the seed trays on the table. These are the remains of the Winter Seed Project, which never happened. 

Not to worry, I did not fret and fuss and laze away January and February, because I rediscovered my love of crochet and spent many happy hours making myself various things. I also picked up my patchwork again, and found that through the difficulties of the last few months I seem to have become more creative. The house is starting to reflect this new burst of creativity. It is finally starting to feel like home after having spent the last ten years as 'Work in Progress'. Such is life when living in a renovation project. 

But although the house is starting to look like a home, all that creativity will not contribute to future food stores for us. I think it is best I start clearing off that table and start resurrecting the Seed Planting Project, and also start work on getting some replenishment to the DIY food larder supplies. Making a start by getting some of the dried beans rehydrated and canned tonight. Overnight soaking first, then canning tomorrow. As for the head is totally disengaged from the subject of seeds at the moment, so I need to refresh it by looking at last year's planting files. It would also help if I cleared off the table so I can put the seed trays on it when they are planted. 

All it all, it has been an odd six months, with the weather being awful for most of the time. The sun has come out. Our spirits are lifting. Onwards............

.... we now have five cows.....two calves (one male, one female). Sharing the mum's milk with the calves, and four litres coming into the house daily, the rest going into the tummies of the calves.  Made 4 litres (approx 1 gallon) of yoghurt yesterday.  Getting the cheese making equipment out. Bought 50lbs of  flat weight training weights from Amazon, which arrived today so I can have a 'proper' cheese press instead of using bags of flour and sugar and/or cans of beans to press the whey out of the cheese. I have also started clearing out the back kitchen to make way for the Cheese Making Project. I feel the need to be more organized, which is something I am not naturally inclined to be. 

It is has been a lovely day here today. I spent the afternoon at the Knit and Natter group I have recently joined. Just a group of women, sometimes knitting, crocheting, sewing, but mostly having a chat about things, all sitting in the environment of a small village shop selling vintage products. Offloading life's'cares, sharing the positives, having time out. Lovely!

Thankyou for sharing time with me,
may your path ahead be smooth,
bye for now,


Saturday, 3 March 2018

Here and gone......

Wednesday 28th we had this. Then we had manic high winds. Then we had megga rain. 
Then we had a severe frost. 
Then yesterday (Friday) and today we have had this.....

...the dogs have been doing this....

----and I have been on this......

The breeze was blowing, the sun was shining and I had a  lovely nap in the sun, spoilt only by my inability to get up off the sun lounger without the help of my husband because Project 'Learn to get up off the floor by myself' is still work in progress. 

Meanwhile..... the sheep were out....

...the cows were out too...

Bonny by the fence, Lissie giving her older daughter, Millie, a lick, and her new calf is beside her, shaded by her body. They were happy to be out. No grass to be had, but at least they could have a warm in the sun.

...and the mud starting to dry up.....

..... and us two waving to you, our shadows brought into life by the sun.

Hope the weather has not been too grim for you all.

Bye for now,


Wednesday, 28 February 2018

It has snowed!

One little hen deciding that she is not going outside today. She has surveyed the white stuff, which is something she is unfamiliar with, and decided that it is too much to cope with. She is retreating from the world, that is what she is doing, but only for a moment....

.... because here she is again, having a look to see if the world as she knows it is back to normal. Meanwhile, a little bunch of hens and  their favourite cockerel have ventured outside, but have tucked themselves alongside the wall where there is no snow. 

They are not happy. I wish I could cheer them up by letting them know that the temperatures are going up to 14C in a couple of days, and that soon everything will be back to normal. 

Out in the sheep paddock.....

...they are asking to go across the lane to the Side Field. No point, I tell them, there is snow there as well. They are not fussed with having to eat hay, but at least we still have plenty of hay left to see us through.....

.... and the Front Field, so no grazing to be had there today. 

so indoors the cows and the new calf will 
have to stay.....

But at least Mazzie and Blue are enjoying the snow..

Two hours later, and more chickens have ventured forth....

but there were still some in the hut having a think about things....

These three have been standing as if rooted to the spot. I think they do'nt know what to do next.

What a pleasure it was to wake up and see the snow.

But it will not last long here, just for a few hours, and then it will be gone. 
I love the snow and the way in which a fresh snow fall gives a different look to things. 
I am not so keen on the wet muddiness it leaves behind.
Fortunately here in SW France we don't have much snow though, just enough to have a quick enjoyment of, and then it is gone. 

Am off to cook up a pot of good stuff for the chickens to eat, hoping it might cheer them up. 
They are doing excellent work for us by laying lots of eggs and digging over the veg plots. so I think they need a special treat. 

Saying bye for now,