Friday, 24 March 2017
Kingsway community orchard which I helped set up 6 years ago in Sunniside, the village where I live, had a recent addition of 100 trees, thanks to a deal I was able to strike with environmental charity Groundwork. They had a huge number of fruit trees they wanted sold so I was able to negotiate a deal for 100 trees for a total price of £200. Given that a fruit tree typically costs about £25, this was definitely a bargain not to be overlooked. Gateshead Council's Local Community Fund paid for the trees and officers arranged for the Princes Trust volunteers to plant them on Tuesday. The orchard was therefore able to extend onto the wasteland next to the trees that have been there for 6 years. Hopefully this will grow into a great community asset in the years to come (though it will be quite some time before there will be any fruit.)
Wednesday, 22 March 2017
Spotless made a rapid recovery last week but then the spotlight switched to Pinkie who, on Friday morning, was looking poorly. She refused to stand up and leave her shed. She was off her food. Later in the day, the vet was called. There was a second visit from the vet on Sunday. It now looks as though she could have a lung disorder. And she is probably not pregnant. She has gone quite thin and boney but now that she is feeling better, we are giving her lots of extra food. In a sense, I'm pleased she isn't pregnant as it would be too physically demanding on her. It does, however, leave us with a problem. The chances are that we are now going to be without a milking goat this year. Spot, our youngest nanny, daughter of Georgina, is a cross breed and will be kidding for the first time in the next few weeks. We have no idea if she will turn out to be a milker. If she doesn't, we may start the search for a ready-to-milk nanny.
My brother gave me lots of broken paving stones from his garden recently. Not wanting to overlook the opportunity to turn waste into something useful, we are now using the stones to create a paved area for the goats. On our livestock allotment, most of the ground surface is soft earth. The natural habitat of goats is rocky hillsides. Therefore their hooves are worn down naturally. That doesn't happen on soft earth so we have to clip their hooves, which is a challenging job.
So far we have used only a small number of the stones so this is a work-in-progress. The goats however do seem to like the paved area, especially today as the ground is so wet following heavy rain.
We have now gone through three generations of quail since we got our first quail hatching eggs in 2014. We have decided to broaden the gene pool to avoid too much interbreeding and have therefore ordered 24 hatching eggs from a completely different source to the one we used 3 years ago. The eggs arrived this morning and have just gone into the incubator. In 16 days they should hatch.
Thursday, 16 March 2017
We found a couple of pork chops in one of our freezers on Saturday. They were from the last pig we got a couple of years ago. We defrosted them and had them for dinner on Sunday. The bones will be dried out and made into bonemeal. The fat and skin have now been rendered down to make lard. Nothing wasted.
For a number of years we have grown Jerusalem artichokes. Sadly, the goats and chickens wrecked the crop we would otherwise have dug up over the recent winter. We have now bought 25 tubers which were planted today on our farside allotment. I love this vegetable, despite its ability to make you a gold medalist in the flatulence Olympics. A great winter food.