Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Each morning and evening I gather a large armful of willowherb from the Tanfield Railway bridalpath, a short walk from our house in Sunniside. The council no longer cuts the verges as there is simply no money for it so people seem to be happy that I am chopping back the weed that otherwise spreads like wild fire. Gathering the willowherb is also a useful way to spark off conversations about goat keeping and self-sufficiency with people out for a walk.
Sadly, now at the end of September, the willowherb is dying back. The goats love it but I reckon we have only one week, perhaps stretching to two weeks, to pick what is left before it dies off.
Tuesday, 27 September 2016
I was in Brighton last week for a conference so David was in charge of looking after the livestock. My first job on getting home was to visit the goats and chop a few more branches from the overgrown hawthorn hedges around the allotment site. Even though I had been away for only a few days, I noticed that 2 kids, especially the billy, had grown in my absence. The billy is close to being the same size as his mother Georgina. It won't be long before he's bigger and, sadly for him, ready to go for slaughter.
The last swap event of the year at the Green Beans Market at Whitley Bay Metro Station took place on Sunday. I had another event to go to but David went, taking a box of jams and quail eggs. He returned with herbs, kale and bath salts! Oh, and yet more runner beans!
We have lots of marrows and an embarrassingly large amount of ricotta cheese. Our usual response to such surpluses is to have marrows stuffed with ricotta and baked in the oven. Over the weekend, we kept the tradition going.
The pile of marrows hardly seems to have been dented however. I suspect we'll be making marrow chutney shortly.
My brother Andrew has moved house recently. He has been doing some work on his garden, removing paved areas to return the to growing space. The result is that he has bags of rubble, paving stones and bricks all needing a second life. They will find it on the allotment. We are going to replace the 6 small henhouses with one large one, which will be easier to clean. It will have a concrete floor and the rubble will be used as part of it. Alas, we can't start digging the foundations of the henhouse until the large and numerous piles of branches, from which the goats have eaten the leaves, have been chopped up for firewood. We are simply running out of space.
Tuesday, 20 September 2016
Our goat kids have had a great time jumping onto our carefully constructed piles of firewood. They have also had great fun jumping from one henhouse roof to another. Alas, they have managed to scatter the firewood but not before they used it as a stepping stone over the hence into a neighbour's garden. The wood piles have been moved, though keeping with tradition, the kids have managed to turn the new piles into playgrounds and have scattered them yet again. I think we are going to have to build a wood store.