Wednesday 28 February 2018

Moving a bee hive

The current winter storm may have dumped a huge quantity of snow on us but it has given us the opportunity to move the hive we put onto the Whinnies Community Garden last year. The volunteers who run the garden asked us to put a hive where everyone can see it. Since then, they have fenced off an area into which they now want the hive moved. The cold snap we are experiencing now means we can move the hive knowing that the bees will all be in it and will not be leaving it until the warmer weather arrives. In the end the job was much quicker than we expected.

Tuesday 27 February 2018

Feeding the goats and kids in the snow

The winter storm we are currently experiencing has been named the Beast from the East. I filmed this video this morning about feeding the goats and kids in the snow.

Wood fired oven

wood fired stove Dec 17

Our wood-fired stove has been a fantastic success. It keeps the house wonderfully warm and the fuel costs us nothing. We have a huge quantity of fuel. Sticks are used for kindling but we have far more than we would ever need for this purpose. We are now planning our next bit of infrastructure which will also use up the vast quantity of sticks we have. We are planning to install a wood-fired outdoor oven. The project is only at its early stages at the moment but watch this space!

Sunniside chainsaw massacre

chainsaw Feb 18

We have, at last, had the chance to use the chainsaw we bought in December. On Sunday we added the required oils and lubricants and fuel. And then we set to work. We now had a modest quantity of thick logs which will have to be left for another year before we can use them. There are still lots of logs to chop up which I cut from trees and hedges last year. Fuel reserves are about to be increased significantly.

logs Feb 18 4

logs Feb 18 3

logs Feb 18 2

logs Feb 18 1

Monday 19 February 2018

More babies but Pinkie dies

We've had a busy week as both Spot and Pinkie have had babies. Spot had two on Friday. You can see them being born in the video above. Pinkie had one baby on Saturday afternoon. All seemed fine with her and we could celebrate a Pinkie birth that, for the first time, did not require the intervention of a vet. On Sunday morning we found Pinkie was very poorly. The vet came and gave her some injections and we moved her to the new shelter. Sadly, she died through the night. This is a serious blow to us. We adored Pinkie and she was our only milking goat. We are going to have to start the search for a new milker.

Pinkie's baby is quite at home with the other kids and goats. We are bottle feeding him. Fortunately we had taken what milk we could from Pinkie as an insurance policy against her death. It means the baby will be fed milk with the necessary colostrum and antibodies needed in the first few days.

Sunday 11 February 2018

Wood store

wood store Feb 18

A new bit of our infrastructure is now in place. The wood store was build from old fence panels and is now on our patio at home. We will fill it gradually over the next week though once full, we will still have plenty of wood fuel on our Farside allotment.

Chitting the potatoes

chitting potatoes Feb 18

It's that time of year - time to chit the potatoes. In essence, potatoes are encouraged to sprout so that when planted, they already have a head start off. Our seed potatoes have been put into trays in the garage. Some light, relatively cool but not freezing. They will be there for a couple of months.

Hazel catkins

hazel catkins Jan 18 2

The hazel catkins are early this year. There are lots of them about. Hopefully they will lead to a good hazel nut crop. The catkins are also useful for the bees. On warm winter days when the bees venture from the hives, the catkins are good sources of pollen.

Using the winter supplies

potatoes and parsnips for roasting Jan 18

We are gradually working our way through our supplies of winter vegetables. The potatoes were harvested in the late summer and early autumn but we are still digging up parsnips. When roasted they become a favourite for me.

On the right path

path Feb 18

There has been a great deal of path building taking place on the Whinnies over recent weeks and they have kindly put us in a path leading down the embankment to our Farside allotment. Before it went in, we were slipping down the bank and struggling to get up it with wheelbarrows containing heavy loads. At the moment only the foundation of the path is in. We provided much of the rubble and broken stones (which came from my brother Andrew's house in Whickham.) The Whinnies are able to get free sacks of wood chippings and these will be emptied out over the foundations. Hopefully there will now be less mud to deal with.

Roast lamb again

roast lamb Jan 18 1

We are gradually making use of the lamb we got last year. We had this joint roasted recently. For three days afterwards we were reduced to having cold roast lamb with baked potatoes. Shocking!

Friday 9 February 2018

Goose stock

goose stock Jan 18 1

This story goes back to just after Christmas. I took the photos then but have been a bit busy recently so haven't been posting as much as I normally do. Anyway, the bones from the goose from the Christmas dinner were boiler up to make stock. This was then used to make goose and pigeon soup from the leftover meat from the Christmas meal. Three days' dinners were provided from this.

goose stock Jan 18 2

goose and pigeon soup Jan 18

Root vegetables

root vegetables Jan 18

It may be the middle of winter but we are still harvesting vegetables. We gathered these root crops recently from our Marley Hill allotment. Roasted parsnips are one of my favourites!

Vegetable stew

vegetable stew Jan 18

The vegetables that went into this stew were all produced by us. The eagle eyed among you however will have spotted some prawns. Sadly, we have no way to produce them and no fresh water sources nearby either. They came from a local supermarket instead.

Bye-bye Tiny Tim

goat babies Feb 18 (16)

Sad news. The goat kid runt born on Saturday has died. We had named him Tiny Tim due to his size. It's a brutal world but understandable that Georgina, the mother, rejected him. She has two other, larger babies and the natural inclination of her is to focus on them. These two kids however are doing well.

Sunday 4 February 2018

Our first babies of the year

goat babies Feb 18 (9)

Immaculate timing by Georgina, one of our nanny goats, yesterday morning. I arrived first thing in the morning to open up the henhouses and feed the animals and found her in the main goat house in labour. Within minutes the first baby arrived. Fifteen minutes later the second appeared. That, I thought, was the delivery over. Not so. Another 10 minutes and out popped baby number 3. This final one was clearly the runt of the litter and we were unsure it would survive. It is half the size of the other two. He turned out to be quite feisty and made sure he got more than his fair share of milk, even pushing one of his siblings off the teat!

I checked them again just before midnight. All well, as indeed they were this morning.

goat babies Feb 18 (5)

goat babies Feb 18 (3)