Friday, 23 June 2017
We had our environmental health check on our kitchen on Wednesday for our preserve-making microbusiness. I'm chuffed to report that we got a 4 star rating! The certificate will be proudly displayed on our stall tomorrow at the Kells Lane Fair in Low Fell, Gateshead.
Wednesday, 14 June 2017
For the first time, we have made the back garden of our house earn its keep. The patio is now full of pots and bags growing vegetables. The lawn has been turned over to a polytunnel. We have also installed a mini greenhouse on the patio which is currently full.
Whinnie, the goat kid we have been raising by hand, has been dehorned as we have decided to keep him. He was bred for meat but we have put so much effort into keeping him alive that we can't bring ourselves to have him slaughtered. He will of course need to earn his keep but we aren't sure yet how he will. We had already selected a billy kid to service the nannies. Whinnie is so used to being with people that he could have a role going to shows and fairs. There's plenty of time yet to decide. However, his days as a house goat are about to end. Tonight he will be staying overnight on the livestock allotment for the first time.
The gold top hen that went broody last month abandoned her eggs after a few days. We think the problem was the weather. We had some heavy rain and it leaked into the nest box. The positive news is that she adopted 4 chicks we hatched in the incubator. Mother and chicks are doing well.
Tuesday, 13 June 2017
The greenhouse has been in full swing since the start of the spring but recently we have been able to move most plants out to the poly tunnel or the vegetable allotment. So we had some space left in the greenhouse to use up. We have filled some of it with peppers. We bought the plants rather than grow them from seed but they are doing well and the warm late spring seems to be ideal for them.
Sunday, 11 June 2017
Whinnie, the baby goat we are raising by hand, is making great progress. After 3 weeks of being unable to walk, he discovered his legs and has been making up for lost time. We are gradually introducing him to the herd but he still spend most of the day at our house, some of which is spent in the garden. We will soon however move him fully to the animal allotment. He will have his own shed at night and will continue to be bottle fed by us though we need to get him on to eating solids. I'm hoping that more time spent with the other goats on the allotment will encourage him to start eating leaves.
We found in the freezer a pig knuckle with enough meat on it to do two meals if used sparingly. We boiled up the knuckle, stripped the meat (the bones will eventually be made into bonemeal) which then went into a casserole with some beans. Admittedly, the beans were not grown by us. They were dried and had been in jars in the pantry for years. Time to get them used up.
Our Farside allotment started the year with a hawthorn hedge about 5 metres high. This hedge is about 30 metres long and had not been maintained in decades. One of the big jobs of the year is to get it under control. We've been chopping it down to about 1.5 metres in height. We are now about half way. The branches are fed to the goats - they love hawthorn. Once they have eaten the leaves, twigs and bark, the branches are chopped up for firewood. We now have a significant supply of fuel.
Photo above - the section that has been brought down to size. Below - what's left to be done.
Tuesday, 6 June 2017
We were delighted to find this hedgehog on the path leading to our livestock allotment a couple of nights ago. We have't seen a hedgehog on the Whinnies for a few years so hopefully they are making a comeback. They are great for eating slugs, snails and bugs that otherwise eat our crops!