Elder / Cherry / Blackberry / FlapjackRSS feed

Posted: Monday 6 February, 2023

by Rosemary at 8:38am in Smallholding 1 comment Comments closed

Monday 30th January

Oh, it’s been a lovely day – sunny and warm, dare I say it. Tom managed to find a spot in the sun. Indoors.

TomTom's spot.

I finally planted the shallots – Jermor, then since I was in the garden anyway, I did 20 minutes weeding and cleared about two linear metres of a bed.

shallotsShallots Jermor here.

weedingTwenty minutes work.

With the lighter nights - it was still light (well, if you eat a lot of carrots!) at 5pm - Dan stopped work for an hour at 4pm and came outside to play. I had started to relay the mats on the walkway from the barn to the fields; so we finished that. We have a big pile of woodchip so I’ll move some of that to the walkway, for the bits the mats don’t cover.

walkwayTidy walkway.

 Then we took down the last beehive – we’ll focus on supporting wild pollinators now. And we moved the 10ft hay rack up to the barn to be cleaned and repaired, ready for sale. Smokey sat on it while scratching his bum – it stood up to that pretty well but needs a few rivets. I’m hoping our friend, Mike, will oblige.

hiveThe last beehive.

We started to make a list of things that need to be done, so we’re having a planning meeting on Friday evening. That’ll be fun!

My last job for the evening was to make a list for our monthly “big shop”. Somehow, I began checking dates on packets. I now know that Dan likes marshmallows in hot chocolate (who’d have thunk) – we have two bags of marshmallows that need eaten. I think they are, like figs, the food of the Devil. There are two bags of figs very close to their BB date that are also his responsibility.  We didn’t bin very much, but I am going to be making a weekly batch of flapjack for a few weeks to use up the seeds and nuts and dried fruit that is past its BB date but that I refuse to waste.

Tuesday 31st January

Nice day again – dry, sunny, 6C in the car – but a good deal colder in the strong wind. Armed with the list, I did the monthly shop. Dan helped unload it but he’s not allowed to put it away because he doesn’t practice strict stock rotation lol.

Ponies were frisky this morning – much bucking and farting around the field. Nice to see Smokey so chipper! I cleaned up the hay rack, ready for repairs.

SmokeySmokey, not frisky.

‘Zausted by 4pm. Shopping wrecks me.

Wednesday 1st February

Imbolc or St Brigid’s Day – the first day of spring.  And we have snowdrops.


And bulbs of unknown provenance – I have no memory of planting these and therefore no idea what they are. Ah, well.

bulbsUnknown bulbs.

Thursday 2nd February

Picked up a load of hay first thing. Started moving woodchip to the barn walkway and tweaked my back. Spent an hour lying on the living room floor, and that seems to have helped.

Made flapjack – cranberries, chopped hazelnuts, sunflower seed, pumpkin seeds. And desiccated coconut. It’s delicious but we’ll need to give some away or we’ll be lardy bloaters.


Friday 3rd February

One of Dan’s long term work contracts is coming to an end – so bottle of fizzy in the fridge to celebrate; another will end at the end of March (another bottle of fizzy) but it’s prompted us to look at our finances. And Dan’s been clearing out old accounts for various things as enthusiastically as I clear out the linen cupboard. He found the invoice for the stove in he living room; thirteen years ago, it was £400. Same stove now is £1100.

We also made a list of “things to do”, particularly those that are time critical.

I drove to the feed store to pick up a bag of minerals for the cows. They have a salt lick but I was concerned that they were not getting a balance of minerals, especially in the run up to calving. I used to give them molassed buckets but they just chomp them – so I wanted a powder that I could add to their feed. I bet Rora doesn’t like it.

Saturday 4th February

Rora picked at her feed this morning. I knew she would. The other three chomped it down but she pushed it around – she did finally finish it.

Well, the list got a hammering today. Dan started by cutting down the black elder. It should grow from the bottom, but we want it to grow as a shrub rather than a tree. I gave the bed a wee weed, while trying to disturb leaf litter, and any wee bugs therein, aslitle as possible

ElderElder pruned.

Then he and Andy started to pollard the wild sown cherry tree in the sunken garden ivy. We can’t take it down because it’s too entwined in the ivy, but at least this will reduce the shading a bit.

CherryThe cherry tree, swathed in ivy..

CherryWork underway.

CherryAnd all done.

The ivy that came down during that job has provided a treat for the cattle. I guess they are simply craving anything green at this time of year.

IvyCows and ivy.

Saturday is bacon roll day  - except today we were going for a variation with bacon sandwich day. Bacon sandwiches, in my opinion (and since I was cooking, it’s the only opinion that counts), have to be made with plain bread. I think the plain loaf (as opposed to the pan loaf) is a Scottish thing and a braw yin it is too. But it’s increasingly hard to get. FINALLY tracked one down – on my fourth attempt, in the Premier in Carnoustie. The sandwiches were worth it – and the hot buttered toast at tea-time that finished the loaf off. YES, we ate a whole loaf. No regrets.

LoafA plain loaf.

I pruned the blackberry; I don’t think it’s been pruned before. Thank goodness for the internet. I did not know that blackberry canes only fruit once – I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, as raspberries don’t either. Anyway, cut out the fruited canes – which were easy to recognise – then cut the new canes to 2ft.  Done.

BlackberryBlackberry before pruning.

And I cleaned up another hay rack ready for sale.

Sunday 5th February

Gracie has a bit of thrush, so we moved their hay rack up to the field shelter, where they’ll be standing on rubber matting rather than mud.

Mike came down to fix the hay rack, so I had a little helper to count the carrots into the cows’ buckets. Then she went off to drive the train to Aberdeen – we thought it was a pile of logs, but apparently we were wrong.

AstridMy little helper.

I got back to weeding; it’s been lovely and the sun on my back was warm but, oh my, the soil was cold. I had latex gloves on but my wee fingers were froze.

The dogs were also cold and tired; we had a chat with a dog trainer today about how to help Gwenna be more relaxed around other dogs. We have a plan.

DogsTired puppers.




Monday 13 February, 2023 at 3:13pm

Hate to say this Rosemary, but was it the blackberry you cut to 2ft? I think you are supposed to tie the newer growth to frame/or wire? its 2022 growth that fruits 2023. unless you have a fancy variety ;-)

just catching up with your diary, I have wood store envy LOL

Saved the picture for he who thinks he should be obeyed. :-)

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