Sunday, November 16, 2014

This week has flown by, I was 29 on Monday and goodness me wasn't I spoilt. Gareth brought me a new pair of Le Chamaeu Wellies, they are wonderful. Mum and Dad gave me money and brought us our first baby things, some baby grows, dummies and a rather lovely baby on board sign. 

One of my customers brought me a lovely Victoria sponge from his daughters tea shop. 

Dad has been away working all week, we have really missed him, but Gareth and I have been busy finishing bits in the fridge ready for dad's return each night. Today Dad, Maurice and Gareth has been bust putting up the wall sheets in the front of the fridge, it's really taking shape and we are on track to be finished for Christmas.

Mum and I have made over 50 jars of chutney, marrow and beetroot and mint. The shop we are supplying have sold their first ten jars so Nanny has delivered more this week.  It's been nice having a break from preserve making, but we still have produce to turn into preserves. So it was great to cross two off the list. I have labelled the marrow so just the beetroot left. We have red onion marmalade, pumpkin chutney and rosemary jelly still to make. It would seem the 4 oz jars are the most popular. We are hoping to order Mum a new cooker this week, we really have killed the current one. We had a lovely rather large joint of pork for dinner and it wasn't cooked all the way through so we have put it back in the oven, six hours later and it's still not cooked! Poor cooker she has been a faithful cooker but she is now exhausted and ready for the scrap heap. 

Mum and Dad were out at my grandparents for dinner last night so we enjoyed wonderful rump steak from Dennis, god bless him! 

The cattle have spent all week being hungry, but Red gave us a lay in this morning 7.45 before he was mooing for breakfast. They are really enjoying bananas as one of their five a day. They would do anything for a banana.  

We are off with some fellow smallholders tomorrow to give a talk to South East Essex Organic Gardeners, so I am creating a PowerPoint presentation of photos, so I shall wish you all a good week and carry on uploading photos. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

It's been a lovely weekend, I love it when you feel such a lot has been achieved!

We have been busy preparing for the sheep and cows to come home for winter this weekend.

Saturday saw mother and I moving All the electric netting for the sheep, about 300 meters of it. There is nothing that annoys poor mum more, it gets twisted, she stands on it and I even recall her falling over wrapped up in it once! But we have a good system now, I move it and lay it out flat and Mum pegs it into the ground. A few hours later job done! 

A nice warm up and poached egg for breakfast meant we were ready to prepare the barns for their winter guests. 

Dude and Fred the ram are in their winter quarters in the horses barn. Barricaded in as well as possible. Fred is rather revered up the moment, he should be working by now but as we aren't having lambs he will have to stay in the barn away from the ewes. 

The lambs are now in the barn next to the cows, with a few ewes who will be moved later this week. They will be finished on our haylage and then sold as freezer boxes of lamb. Apart from Peaches who will be joining the flock. 

We collected the cattle Sunday lunch time, thanks to Simon and Sally they were ready and waiting in the horses yard. All we did was drop the ramp and move the gate and and they walked on. They are now snuggled up in their straw bed. 

I can't believe how much Tulip has grown she is a real young lady now. Sadly Red will be departing on the first of December but he has had a lovely summer.

We have filled the Christmas Turkey Pen with bark, it was starting to get a little muddy.

Mum made me and early birthday cake, which was lovely for tea at three! I can't believe I'm 29 tomorrow. I remember leaving school like it was  yesterday!

Two excellent meals this weekend. Jamaican curry made with some mutton from our friend Nigel on Saturday. It was rather warming,  the peppers from the poly tunnel were a little hotter than I thought. But a really delicious way to use mutton. 

Tonight we enjoyed a pot roast Dexter beef joint. Delicious!!!

Anyway I wish you all a good week. 


Friday, November 7, 2014

I thought I had posted this a few days ago needless to say I posted it on the East Essex Smallholders Blog! So second time lucky here goes!

Goodness me what a long time it has been. I have so much to tell you all!

I think our first news should be that Gareth and I are pleased to tell you a new addition is coming to Furzedown in April. No it's not a lamb, piglet or calf but a baby! 

I hope that this place will be a wonderful home for child and we can't wait.

I do think that our smallholding plans will have to slow just a little next year to accommodate our change in life. One of the main things being Mum isn't going to have lambs it's just a little close to me having the baby and as I won't be able to help I think it's a sensible idea. There is no reason why we can't buy some weaned lambs for fattening so we can have some lamb. 

It seems so long ago, nearly a month when we sent lambs off. We had a lovely weekend butchering. Thanks to you tube Dad and Gareth had a go at boning the shoulders. Such a huge task but once rolled and tied looked fantastic.  

I also spent ten days tending and  salting the sheep skins. I did four of ours and five of Nigels. His skins were Jacobs and some cross breed brown skins. I think they will look amazing if the make it through the process.  Finally after two hours packaging them all up they left on TNT.  I look forward to them returning in January. 

Maurice has used his Trusty Tractor to lift some of the potatoes. That machine is a beast she makes him sweat, but what a good job it does. There are still some to come up but we will defiantly be doing it again next year. I have planted some onions and garlic in there now. 

We also hosted the second East Essex Smallholders Group Apple Day . Several families attended and we pressed a huge amount of apples into juice and cider. 

Dad has been working on the fridge in preparation for the Christmas meat to be prepared. It's looking really good.

Mum and I are booked to attend a couple of events to sell our preserves at. Not to mention they are now stocked at  Maldon's Tourist Information Centre.  

Busy weekend this weekend, the cows are coming home for the winter. The lambs are going into the barn for winter. And if time allows the ewes are coming home. 

We are busy taking orders for Christmas. We have a couple of turkeys left as well as Dexter Steak, mince and diced beef. 

Gareth is working nights this week and Mum has been to my Grandparents for Dad and I have enjoyed a lovely roast chicken of ours. I am really enjoying our delicious meat birds.  A definite for next year.