Beetroot / Caterpillars / TapRSS feed

Posted: Monday 13 September, 2021

by Rosemary at 10:40am in Smallholding Comments closed

Monday 6th September

We had a visit from Landscape Resource Centre yesterday – Henry Maitland – with his spiker machine to break up the pan in our fields. I’m torn between wanting it to stay nice weather wise and wanting see if it’s made a difference.

henryHenry and his spiker.

Also on Sunday, Bean and his chum escaped back to the field beside the ewes; the loony Shetland lamb got under the fence, so we had to let Bean through to join them.

I cut some willow for Rosie but picked up some Metacam from the vet, who reassures me that she’s healing but it just takes time. Metacam is effective for about three days and I can’t keep jagging her twice a week.

The Victoria plums are now ripe; the Opal are finished and the greengages are coming to an end. One of our egg customers took some greengages and brought us some jam back, but we’ve found that, delicious as they are raw, the gages don’t seem to cook well.

Bean and his chum are now back in their own pen after the weekend escapes.

Tuesday 7th September

Wow, it’s been an absolute scorcher. First job was to muck out the barn – boy, was I hot. I had a meeting with one of the staffers from the Landworkers Alliance. Very interesting. I’ve joined.

Did some weeding and pulled the vast majority of the beetroot. The variety is Moneta and I used seed tapes, which have worked well. This is about 1m2.

beetrootBeetoroot "Moneta" from seed tapes.

Our wee produce rack was looking rather nice this morning.

standOur wee produce stand.

Our butcher called to say he’d got the bull carcass back; he was rather downbeat, so I’m going down on Thursday to cook some. Mostly worried about taint.

Blizzard sometimes makes hard work of being tied up.

halterBlizzard. Really.

Wednesday 8th September

Another lovely morning, and a glorious day.

My new boots arrived – allegedly waterproof. We’ll see.

Roasted the beetroot and sterilised the jars; I could only get one bottle of red wine vinegar to add to the ¾ bottle I already have and I fear a bodge on at least one jar will be required.

Thursday 9th September

Dull, overcast, windy but not cold – stormy feel, this morning then rain until lunchtime.

The new boots are not waterproof. They are barely water resistant. Walked up through wet grass to let down the hens and my feet were soaked.

Dan and I drove down to the butcher – so much beef. Two hind quarters are hanging, the rest is vac-packed. The sirloin form one side was out so Stuart cut us two steaks, to pan fry to check for taint, and a larger piece to try as casserole. There is no taint; the flavour is terrific, but it’s a bit tough, pan fried. In the casserole, it was delicious, with our own carrots and onions. So looks like a plan is developing.

sirloinHalf the sirloin from Ace.

Managed to find a man who will do AI on Rosie, should we need it.

Friday 10th September

Given that we’re supposed to be trying to reduce the use of wormers, I thought I’d enquire about getting a FEC done on the hens. I routinely worm with Flubenvet March and September, but our hens have a paddock rotation system where grass is rested for two months before the hens go back on it. A FEC is £14 odds plus VAT; I have two flocks so need two tests. Layer pellets with wormer are more expensive than regular pellets; I need 70kg of the special pellets, which will cost me roughly  £28 in excess of regular pellets. Fingers crossed that I’ll test and not need to worm.

Mild, dreich this morning. Bloody smoke detector decided it needed a new battery at 5am. It  freaks the dogs out, so Dan (my hero) got up and took it down.

We have some asters and some late marigolds flowering, so I picked some for the house. Don't want to pick too many, because there were lots of insects on them.

flowersSome flowers from the garden.

We also have cyclamen flowering.

cyclamenFlowering cyclamen.

Saturday 11th September

Very close, making for hot working. Dan took a load of muck to the community garden. And came back with a stash of dumpy bags, whihc is great becasue we only have one empty one left.

dumpybagsNew dumpy bags.

His next job was to restore the water to the orchard and the pig pen. Henry’s tractor broke the alkathene pipe past Sunday, so the water’s been turned off. Dan’s put a better supply to the pig pen, which will allow us to half the size of it over winter,so we can plant willow for tree hay and withies in the other half. Och, it was rare to have it sorted by the afternoon feeding round.

tapNew tap at the pig pen.

I cleaned out the hens and then spent some time – you’ve guessed it – weeding. Dan started to lift the tatties - not the best yield ever, but fairly respectable. And I emptied, defrosted, cleaned and restocked four freezers, leaving two empty, in preparation for getting Ace back.

This is our total harvest of Grenadier.

grenadierBarely a small patrol of Grenadiers.

So far, Rosie isn’t showing any sign of coming back into season. Blizzard is due to calve on 8th October.

bumpBlizzard's "baby bump".

Sunday 12th September

Cooler, but by no means cold,  and overcast but nice for working in. My first non-routine job was to get into the polytunnel and lift the dwarf French beans that have gone over, pick tomatoes and take the spent tomato plants out of the growbags. That’s something -growbags – that won’t be repeated. Isowed some lettuce seeds in the polytunnel - Claytonia, Rocket, Lamb's Lettuce, Winter Gem and Land Cress.

Did more weeding – in bed 6, where the rhubarb and comfrey is. There’s rhubarb at either end of the bed, so I want to lift, split and relocate all the rhubarb plants to one end; Dan’s taking out the remaining comfrey and I’m going to use the bed for flowers for cutting next year.

Something is eating our swede.

caterpillarsSo many caterpillars.

Andy came over and split some firewood; we’re having to buy some this year. Sad, but you can’t do everything.


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