Sunday, October 18, 2015

Its been a few months and I’m not sure where to start first.

We have had a wonderful yield of fruit and vegetables from the garden. We were lucky enough to crop over 100kg of potatoes from the pig run in the wood. Some are even big enough for jacket potatoes, we planted Duke of York, Juliette, Epicure and Cara. They taste so good. 

I must say there is nothing like home grown spuds they taste so much better.

We have had wonderful runner beans this year, the French beans were disaponting. We have been enjoying so much produce from the garden including, Kale, Chard, Sweetcorn, Leeks to mention a few, as well a wonderful final crop of sugar snap peas. The best all year, which Zalina and I put down to our constant tying as they grew.

The muckheap has been yielding well, we have an amazing crop of Pumpkins, Squashes and Marrow. I will be exhibiting the largest at the East Essex Smallholders Group Pumpkin Competition. I hope to do well.




The pear trees have produced well, not only have the pigs had an abundance of windfalls, but Patrick is also enjoying pureed pear and I have a good stock in the freezer.

The animals are all well, we are starting to plan for winter, the rams are servicing the ewes. We are lambing earlier this year, before I return to work in April. We are using our Oxford Down Ram for the pure bred girls. However to avoid lambing problems we are using a friends Jacob on the crossbred years to hopefully make those lambs pop out easier as he is smaller.

The pigs are currently enjoying turfing over the potoato patch and eating any remaining ones. We are down to three down as whilst I type this Dad and Gareth are in the Fridge butchering the other three.

You can’t beat Oxford Sandy and Black Pork. We believe the tastiest of all the breeds. We have two pigs that are being sold as freezer boxes and the other one is being sold as joints and chops. We have some left if anyone is interested.




The cows are still on Holiday in fambridge although they are soon to return.

The poultry are all good and Christmas Dinner is growing fast. We  did loose one bird. Unfortunately he wasn’t the best bird from hatching, he had a funny shaped neck and then a leg that turned out that got progressively worse. So he was never going to make Christmas so he was an early bird in our freezer.

We are still getting a good crop of Eggs each week.

We have continued making preserves. We have lots of wonderful Jars of pleasure which I will pop a list on for anyone following our preserves.

We have had two lovely outings. Firstly at the beginning of September we attended the Fly In at Stow Maries Aerodrome. Well what can I say what an amazing place on our doorstep. It’s the only remaining World War 1 Aerodrome left in Eurpoe. It has a fantastic array of wildlife including all species of British Owls.

We met some really lovely people, I was amazed at how people landed by air and just hopped off the plane and walked across the runway like they were getting out of a car. Some of the planes were amazing. They also had a classic car club meeting there, I was in ore of the cars they arrived in.

Apart from a huge wasp burden we had a lovely day and look forward to returning  in November.

We also attended the Michaelmas Market in Great Totham at the beginning of October. It’s the third time we have attended this event. Great Totham has such a lovely community. We went along with fellow East Essex Smallholders Members and had a really enjoyable afternoon and again sold lots of our preserves. We hope everyone who brought them enjoys them.



Dad and Maurice are off to collect a new piece of equipment on Sunday and Anzani Iron Horse a real beast. I look forward to posting some photos.

Patrick is growing up so quickly, he is turning into a real little man. He goes out on his bicycle and feeds the chickens and helps Nanna Donna pick beans out of the garden. He is 6 months old at the end of the month, where has that time gone. He is such a good boy, he sleeps, doesn’t cry very often and is now enjoying proper food.




I am going to attempt to upload a video of him in his Jumperoo maybe that is why he sleeps?


video


If anyone has any tips on weaning babies I would love your advice, I want to make as much of my own food as possible.


Anyway I will say goodnight and hope you enjoying reading my update. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Well I hope summer is treating you all well, its treating us very well.

We are enjoying the fruits of our labour from the garden, we have had a huge array of strawberries, raspberries, red and black currants and gooseberries which we are making little Jars of pleasure with.
I think the best creation this year has to be Summer Berry Jam, made with strawberries, raspberries, red and black currants. We stirred it gently so as to keep the red currants whole, when one of those pops in your mouth it gives a lovely sharp tang! It seems to be popular we have made 50 jars and only have three left.

We have had a wonderful day selling the preserves at the Southminster and Bradwell shows, we have met some lovely people and we hope you have all enjoyed our preserves. The mustard is going well. Tomorrow we are adding Garlic Mustard, Peppered Mustard and Country Mustard to our four fantastic sellers we already have, Horse Radish Mustard, Hot Tomato Mustard, Chilli and Garlic Mustard  and Apple and Mint Mustard.
The animals are all enjoying the summer and being out in the sun. Tilly the cow looks like she is having triplets from all the grass she is eating!

Last weekend we butchered two pigs. We have acquired a couple of new customers and we hope they are all enjoying their pork.

We welcomed a group of House Martins to Furzedown last weekend,  it was a wet day and when Gareth and I were finishing the animals they were flying back and forth between the stables and cow barn, not quite as fast as bats but still very difficult to try and snap a shot! Whilst scanning the internet to find what the collective word for a group of House Martins is and failing I did notice Shakespeare referred to them as a guest of summer. You learn something new every day!


We also have some other visitors, HORNETS, they are everywhere four of them were dive bombing Patrick and I whilst trying to get in the car one day last week, I had to pull the car out the gates before strapping him in they were bad. Despite reading a tip for dealing with them that suggested hanging a bag of water with a coin above all doors, I can confirm this is a myth and doesn’t work.

The horses have had their feet trimmed and look very smart, the grass is running out and my days of mucking out are soon to return. However thanks to Father in law the stables are all fixed and they can now be shut in.

Dad and Maurice are due to go on their annual holiday to the Dorset Steam Fayre at the end of the month and will be exhibiting some of the rotevators. We do wind them up saying they are turning into enthusiastic rotevator spotters, they have even been making friends with other enthusiasts!

Well tomorrow I have the task of picking as many Cherry Plums as possible. Grandma and Grandad are looking after Patrick whilst I go to work picking.

I hope to blog with more updates soon.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Summer is here

I love this time of year, it may have been nearly a month since my last blog, but I haven’t been sitting around doing nothing! Quite a lot has happened.

Patrick has grown so much and he learnt how to laugh this week whilst Dad was blowing raspberries on his belly, a wonderful moment! He is currently asleep on the decking whilst I am typing this post!

Both groups lots of pigs are out in the wood and enjoying gardening, we have had quite a warm spell this week so we have been encouraging them to dig a hole that we have been filling with water for a wallow.


The sheep are all well as fat as butter and enjoying the sun. I introduced Patrick to the Oxford Down Ladies whilst I was sheep sitting as Mum and Dad have been away. The Picture says it all!


This week we have been busy making preserves, Red Onion Chutney, Summer Fruit Jam and two types of Mustard, Apple and Mint and Chilli and Garlic a few new additions to our range. The shop in Bishops Stortford has taken 40 jars and we have several events lined up over the next few weeks.

Yesterday we went to our local Pick Your Own and managed to collect 6.5kg of raspberries for an amazing £24.00. Also I acquired an amazing 10kg of strawberries last weekend. Both lots are now in the freezer ready for jam making.


The vegetable garden is alive, especially the fruit, we have a huge amount of raspberries and strawberries at present and everything else is coming along nicely.

Two weekends ago we attended the Heavy Horse Show at the Museum of Power with East Essex Smallholders Group. What a wonderful day, we had sheep and goats there, a bread and sausage making competition, not to mention everyone’s wares for sale, including our preserves, eggs and herbs. Not forgetting much to Mum’s sadness, two of her sheepskins. I did say to her as lovely as they are she can’t keep ten sheep skins! Low and behold two of them now have a wonderful new home.
The hay has been cut and is home, the haylage is all baled and is just waiting for a break in the weather for it to be delivered home.

Gareth’s beer has turned out well and he is gradually drinking his way through it, I hear he is going to put another brew on this evening.

Well I’m off to plant the rest of the squashes and pumpkins on the muck heap.

Enjoy the sunshine! 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Good evening everyone, I thought I would pop in with a quick update. All is ticking along nicely here on the smallholding. Patrick is learning it’s a hard life being a baby here, we have a lot to do. Quinny the pram is allowing us to get everywhere, up the field and down the wood. We can get anywhere.


The garden had really got away from us, however a couple of Sundays ago a team from East Essex Smallholders Group, came over to help get the vegetable garden straight in exchange for a donation towards the trailer they want. I have nearly managed to get on top of the flower beds in the garden. Underneath the weeds there was a huge array of flowers, including a new addition I planted at Christmas, Alliums I am thrilled with them they are really beautiful.
We also used Facebook to help us try and find someone who might like to share the vegetable garden and help with the work load. After one unsuitable candidate we met Zalina. What a lovely lady and both Zalina and Mum have been busy planting and weeding. It looks fantastic. I have also been busy sorting out all of the pots of herbs and starting to take some cuttings.


I am pleased to announce that I have a wonderful article about to go to print in the magazine Practical Sheep, Goats and Alpacas.  The proof arrived yesterday and its going to be two pages. I hope people enjoy reading about tanning sheep skins.
Dad and Maurice have been busy today working out how to fix some new attachments to one of the rotevators. They have also finished preparing the bit of ground for grass seed and its about to go on. So fingers crossed with the rain we are due this week it will germinate and start growing.
The animals are all well, the Turkeys are really showing off at the moment and they look lovely parading around.

Busy week this week, Doctors for my check up after the c section, dentist, Patrick needs weighing  and off to Suffolk on Wednesday to see Gareths Nephew Lewis on his birthday. Combined with a few hours work for Travis Perkins. I am also busy trying to arrange the Smallholders Group stand at the Heavy Horse Show on the 14thJune. We are taking Sheep, Goats and Pigs and having a range of demonstrations as well as produce For Sale.
Gareth and Dad have been fixing our fleet of equipment, everything breaks at once! The new Second hand mower broke and the pull handle on the strimmer broke. So a good afternoon and all was fixed.


We have also been trying to take pictures of Patrick, before we forget and he has grown up!
Gareth has also made two batches of beer, which he hopes to drink in the coming weeks.


I’m on the decking typing this and the lovely smell of the roast dinner Mum is cooking is working its way out here. I can’t wait for dinner. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Patrick Fynnley Adger

Well doesn’t time fly. I am pleased to announce the arrival of Patrick Fynnley Adger born on the 30th April 2015 at 16:04, a mighty ten pound two ounces.
I have to say, No one gave us the what if it doesn’t all go to plan leaflet.
Unfortunately things hadn’t started moving despite bouncing around in a Landrover, gardening, swimming, walking all the tricks suggested for bringing on labour.
So on Tuesday 28th April we set off to Broomfield Hospital for them to start inducing me. I had read the leaflet and understood it was all to do with them giving me hormones that should start the process of baby Adger being born.
To cut a long story short, I didn’t respond to the hormones given on Tuesday, so I started the next type on Wednesday morning. By late afternoon I still hadn’t got going so they gave me another course that evening. That was when things all went a bit crazy. I started contracting and oh my goodness me the pain. They gave me some morphine which made me really really sick and then the babies heartbeat went down and they were concerned so we were moved to the labour ward. Where I was given an epidural, they also noticed I had lost of waters, I’m not sure where? But were concerned about infection. They then started me on a hormone drip and all was going well, Richard the Registrar was off for his lunch and planned to deliver the baby when he returned and hour and half later. However in that time the consultant came in and told me that I was off to theatre.
Within twenty minutes, they had topped up my epidural, my bed was moving through the corridors and I was in theatre that was staffed with about twenty people.  After a short time and in my haze of a drugged up body I heard a cry and Patrick was born.
Thanks to a lovely Paediatrician, Gareth cut his cord and brought him over to see his very hazy eyed Mummy.  I must say I was rather away with the fairies. He was then taken away to be looked after. My plans of those special first moments and skin to skin contact all went by the by.
It took  well over and hour and a half  to stitch me up and then I went into recovery. I have never felt so not in control and I felt like I kept drifting in and out. They put what I can only describe as crazy boots on my legs. They were to prevent thrombosis and kept pumping up and then down. It was a horrible feeling. I just wanted to stand up and breathe fresh air! But has been warned standing was out of the question for at least six hours. Another lady had tried and broken both her ankles recently.
I was then moved to the post natal ward. Oh what fun. Someone was trying to take me blood pressure every fifteen minutes, another was trying to get more drugs going into the IV line in my hand. Another was trying to take my blood, which is a task I don’t envy anyone to do. I’m a nightmare for getting a vein. A young doctor finally managed and it coagulated (went all sticky and lumpy) and the syringe burst whilst trying to put it into viles and covered everyone with one blood. It was like a scene out of a playstation game! At the same time I felt I was so hot, the sweat was pouring off of me, Poor Gareth was wetting paper towel and laying it all around my face and neck.  

Finally things calmed down and our little boy was returned to us at about 9.30pm. I felt so useless, he needed dressing and  I couldn’t stand to do it. He also had a tongue tie which meant sucking was hard so he had had a stomach tube put in to be fed on. My plans of breast feeding went straight out the window as he just didn’t have the suck due to his tongue. Poor lad.
However things all sorted themselves out, thanks to the wonderful care of the team at the hospital. Both of us had really high infections, and Patrick was having antibiotics morning and night through an IV line in his hand.  Poor lad even had to have a lumber punch.  I was having two lots of antibiotics four times a day via drip. Patricks tongue tie was snipped when he was three days old and his stomach tube was removed. Despite trying to get my milk going by expressing I think all the drugs and loss of my appetite had just made my body say NO, I’m not making milk! So Patrick will have to be a formula baby! It was one of the things I really wanted to do and am so disappointed that I can’t feed him myself but hey ho at least I have a healthy little boy.
After eight days in hospital we were finally given the all clear to come home, I cried!!!! Hormones I think, but two inches of fresh air through a window was tough for me. I do think I needed the stay in hospital, your body is just knocked for six having a caesarean but as each day passes my goodness I feel better.  Not to mention I have lost nearly three stone. I am fitting in clothes that I couldn’t wear even before I was pregnant.
We have been home for two weeks today, Patrick is a good boy and we are settling into the routine of home life. Last night he managed to go for four hours between feeds twice. I can now walk faster and longer and managed to take him down the bottom of the wood on Sunday.
We have had lots of visitors and Patrick is a very lucky boy, we have had so many pressies and cards. Truly blessed to have so many wonderful friends and family. Not to mention he now has £254 to go into his first bank account. Not bad for a young lad!
Whilst we were in hospital everyone was great helping with the animals. Grandad looked after the goats, cows, pigs and chooks. My brothers friend Coral, looked after the horses. What a great job they did thank you! As time was ticking Dad and Gareth with the help of Simon moved the cows to Sally’s for summer grazing. I have never missed moving the animals around, but we just accepted every offer of help, not a lot I could do in my condition laying on a hospital bed!
Now we are home, we have a Quinny pram for outside thanks to Lou who works with Mum, its perfect we can get everywhere. No stopping us. I am hoping to for the first time muck out the horses myself today. Being careful of cause and I won’t be pushing the barrows to the muck heap.  All seems to be healing well and I can do more every day. My belly does feel numb a lot of the time, but I’m told it improves as the muscles bond back together.
I was shocked that when I went into hospital there were no leaves out on the trees, but when I returned they all had them. Strange what a difference a week makes.

The animals are all well, Dad helped with shearing and most of the sheep have gone off for summer grazing.
The pigs are growing well and another six Oxford Sandy and Blacks were delivered yesterday.
Mum has managed to hatch four of our turkey eggs under one of her hens, which I am thrilled about.

I hope you are all well, and enjoying spring. I am just going to have a cuppa and feed Patrick and then we shall be off outside for the afternoon. It’s a hard life being a baby! 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Well today is officially my due date, but so far our baby isn’t ready to come into the world! With the help of Nigel we have been and collected our first two pigs of the year. Oxford Sandy and Black cross Pietrain. Something a bit different but nice and local in South Woodham Ferrers. Nigel has given me a good fast bumpy ride in his landrover which he hopes will help me along my way. I’m not sure on that one, I think the baby will arrive when its ready!


Everything is ticking along nicely on the smallholding, although I have lots of weeds in the garden, I am thinking of offering to cross one of the young lads in the village, palms with silver to get him to come and bend down and pull some weeds out for me.

The main flower bed in the garden has tulips, daffodils and forget-me-nots all in bloom as well as a couple of other things that I’m not sure what they are, but they are very pretty! You can tell I am a flower gardener!!!!

There is plenty going on in the poly tunnel, with peas, beans, kale, chard, carrots, beetroot and so much more sticking their heads through.



I had nurtured some leeks over the winter which I have now hardened off and hope will give us some early leeks, we really enjoyed them last year. The ones that have over wintered in the garden are doing incredibly well they are nice and chunky and fingers crossed in a month or two will give us a nice Sunday dinner.


Maurice, Dad and I planted half the potatoes last week, its still a little wet so we didn’t manage to get all of them in, but it’s a start.



The entry forms for Dad and Maurice to enter the Great Dorset Steam Fair have arrived. So I have been snapping pics and arranging their insurance this week. They are very excited. They are going to take the Howard Gem, Trusty Tractor and Diesel Rotevator. Well that’s if all three are still running!

I have tried to cut back on work a bit this week and put my feet up. I’ve had a few terrible nights sleep due to my new found need to snore. Poor Gareth, payback for all the years he kept me awake! I do hope it subsides once the baby is here, otherwise I might keep the baby awake!

I have managed to sort out wormers for the horses and chickens and they have arrived in the post today.

The field that we rent is due to have the hedge trimmed this week, once complete we can access the damage to the fence and hopefully get the animals out as the grass is growing nicely.

Well I feel its time for a little snooze, I hope the next post I write will be introducing you to the new addition to the family!


Happy spring everyone!