Diary

Seaweed / Coriander / LambsRSS feed

Posted: Monday 3 September, 2018

by Rosemary at 4:03pm in Smallholding No comments Add your own

Monday 27 August

Making my monthly shopping list and tidying up the store cupboard – found some out of date apricots and a bag of muesli mix that we don’t like much so Dan made flapjack. Result!

Processed the first twelve meat birds – these were mainly cockerels, a few days past 12 weeks old. Total weight, cleaned 48kg, ranging from 3.38kg to 4.48kg. It’s been a good year. Planning to kill and process the remaining 13 next weekend.

I rescued a particularly dozy toad that leaped into the henhouse as I was closing it up tonight. Dan rescued five from the drain out on the road because the toad ladder has broken.

Tuesday 28 August

Cloudy and breezy today.

Made rice pudding in an attempt to drain the milk lake.

Met with Carole Storm, a talented weaver from Carnoustie, about her running some weaving courses here. Good to go with a beginner’s course on 29th October. And finalized two Christmas wreath making courses with our chum, Rebecca.

Wednesday 29 August

Had a visit from a friend from Fife who took two of our oldest chooks to keep an old one of hers company. That’s what you call a lucky break.

Thursday 30 August

Booked in the tup lambs the abattoir and butcher for end of September. Need to get selling lamb boxes next week.

lambLamb.

Got a letter in exempting us from routine TB testing in 2019. Good news.

Watched one of the ewes havng a good scratch of a tree.

eweJust the spot!

Friday 31 August

Moved the tup lambs to a fresh paddock. They’re still squitty. I think I’ll get them a better mineral lick. They look OK but not fab.

John topped the paddock they came out of, so that’s tidied up a bit.

The tomatoes are coming thick and fast now. Roasted some with garlic, basil and olive oil for freezing but they smelled so good that I ate a big bowlful for lunch with fresh, new-baked white bread. So simple, so good.

Pulled ragwort in Laing’s Field. Very little visible now; we might have missed some that’s gone to seed, but it won’t be much.

A rummage in the rubble bags in the barn turned up the black plastic for the veg beds. Planning to get manure on at the weekend and covered.

Dan found some old photos taken when we first moved here. Photo sorting definitely a project for this winter.

Saturday 1 September

Cloudy and breezy, but really warm.

Killed and processed the last of the meat birds. Thirteen birds (ten hens, three cockerels) totaled 45.4kg and ranged from 3kg to 4.69kg. That means our total for this year is 93.4kg of poultry meat in the freezer. Best year ever. Each kg cost us £2.80 to produce. Not quite two for a fiver, but good for us.

We didn’t hang them this time – we cracked on and killed, plucked and dressed this morning. Won’t do that again. We’ve marked today’s batch and will try and see if eating quality is different. Certainly seemed harder to dress.

Going to either have a second pasture pen for next year or do two smaller batches to give more room.

Dan assembled the apple mill. Pressing is pressing! Sadly, it came without a power cable. Why?

applemillApple mill.

Looking at the seed catalogues. One of the reasons we keep this blog is to act as an aide memoire for us – so here’s a wee review of the flowers we grew this year.

  • Cosmos “Double Dutch White” (HHA) Fantastic; beautiful and lasted and cut well. Same again next year
  • Shasta Daisy (Perennial) Nice but outshone by the Asters and Cosmos. Will probably move to the flower beds round the house.
  • Ten week stock (Annual) Poor show; won’t grow again
  • Sweet pea Erewhon (Annual) Lovely flower and scent; good long stems for cutting. Saving seed for next year
  • Sweetpea Spanish Dancer (Annual) Nice flowers and scent but shorter stems than Erewhon. Will try something different next year.
  • Aster Super Chinensis Fantastic show – and the insects, including honet bees, loved them. Definitely for next year
  • Rudbeckia (HHA) Cherry Brandy Beautiful and loads of flowers.
  • Cosmos Xanthos and Rubinato Mixed (HHA) Didn’t do so well
  • Calendula Indian Prince (Annual) Flowered really well but I didn’t like it much. Too orange.
  • Sunflower Santa Lucia (Annual) Didn’t really like this variety but the insects did.
  • Sunflower Vanilla Ice (Annual) Lovely flower; grows to about7ft tall!!!
  • Ammi Majus (Annual) Grew this instead of Gypsophila. Flowered well and will try a smaller patch next year.
  • Anthemis Kelwayi Yellow (Perennial) Loads of flowers but they were a bit understated next to the Asters and Cosmos. Probably move them into the flower beds at the house.
  • Cornflower Polka Dot Didn’t plant enough or give the enough room. Overwhelmed by the Cosmos.
  • Achillea Summer Berries Lovely, lovely plants; flowers lasted really well cut. Definitely would grow again. Not sure if they will revert to white.

Sunday 2 September

Last night at 9pm, Went out to put Blizzard out, bring Bug in and shut up the hens. Found a tup lamb not looking too good. Put him in the field shelter, called the vet. He had a fluke drench, ABs, steroids. Slightly raised temperature but nothing else obvious. Looks a wee bit better this morning. Fingers crossed. However, that means this one won’t be going to the abattoir on 24th September, so we’ll keep the four smallest ones back (he’s probably the smallest of them all) until he’s past the meat withdrawal period of eight weeks. If he survives, of course. Found some Rumen Support stuff in the feed store so gave him some of that. Can’t do any harm and at least he’ll be hydrated.

Lovely sunrise, then it clouded over. Very, very warm though.

John topped Near Ditch. We’ll stick the harrow on now and give all the paddocks a bit of a scratch, especially where the meat birds were.

Dan made whole milk ricotta; looks much better that the first batch, which he thinks he over- acidified. He then went off to cut wood. Winter is coming and the barn needs a bit of a tidy up. The warm stillness made it ideal for a session in the bees. All seems to be well – four colonies looking strong.

Finally got back into the veg garden. Weeded the carrots – despite a resistant variety, barriers and coriander as companion planting, we still have a problem with carrot fly. I’m not growing coriander next year with the carrots – it outcompetes the carrots and makes it hard to weed them.

corianderCoriander.

Started to weed the brassicas and ended up pulling most of them out. What a disaster; got some reasonable swede but that’s all. The cages we built failed on two levels – didn’t keep the bugs out and made it too hard to weed. Alterations required for next year, for sure. Courgettes still cropping well as are the runner beans and cucumber. Tomatoes looking fab and sweetcorn is ready to eat.

Applied some seaweed.

seaweedSeaweed.

With the turning of the seasons, I felt able to get “Delia’s Winter Collection” out and make a steamed sponge pudding – with a marmalade topping – for dinner. It followed smoked gammon, runner beans, peas, roasted shallots and roast Anya potatoes and parsley sauce – all home produced apart from the flour and butter in the sauce.

Lamb update: still alive. Had a second dose of ABs at lunchtime and temperature down to 40.4C at bedtime. I’m making him green smoothies with added rumen support – actually smells quite nice. So far, we’ve included raspberry leaves, clover, dandelion, kale, ribwort, ivy, mint, parsley, comfrey and ground elder in varying proportions. He’s munching away on the green stuff, which I stuff in his mouth, then he gets the green yeasty liquid via syringe. Gotta try.

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