Saturday 31 August 2019

Honey sell-out

Honey for sale Aug 19

The honey we put through the honey press on Thursday and into jars yesterday was a big hit at the Whinnies Community Garden today. We sold about three quarters of it! We are aiming to take the honey off at least one more hive this coming week.

We have lots of pressed honeycomb waiting to be processed. It's time we learn to extra the wax and make candles. Watch out for this new project in the coming weeks.

Friday 30 August 2019

Bean loaf

bean loaf July 2019 (1)

This was actually a meal from a few weeks ago but the photos were forgotten until I discovered them on a memory card. We still have lots of broad beans in the freezer from last year so I made some into a bean loaf. It went well with a tomato and onion sauce.

bean loaf July 2019 (2)

More jam making

gooseberry, plum and apple jam Aug 19 (1)

We are still using up plums from last year which have been stored in one of our freezers. I added them to the last of this year's gooseberry crop and the first of our apples. Result: a rather nice jam!

Honey crop

honey press Aug 19

On Wednesday I took the honey crop off one of our hives. Yesterday we put it through the honey press. This morning I will be putting the honey into jars. Hopefully we will have some for sale tomorrow.

Tuesday 20 August 2019

Goat operation

Goat with horns removed Aug 19

We had to take Perky to the vet yesterday. When he was two weeks old, he had his horn roots burnt off by the vet but it wasn't entirely successful. A couple of shards of horn kept growing. One of them was about 15cm long and had become dislodged. The trip to the vet was to have them both removed and the stumps cauterised.

The operation was over in less than ten minutes. He was revived immediately and a couple of minutes later was eating a lettuce we got in the neighbouring shop. He was back at the goat paddock within half an hour and behaving as if nothing had happened.

Friday 16 August 2019

Hedgehog on patrol

hedgehog Aug 19

I encountered this hedgehog patrolling around the Whinnies recently when I went over to do the lock up. We don't get many of them on our plot but I love having them around as they eat lots of bugs that would otherwise eat lots of my cabbages. So, when we get the new land, I will be making it very hedgehog friendly. There will be hedgehog burrows for hibernation and crops for them which will attract slugs and snails which they will be welcome to eat!

Friday 9 August 2019

Broadly speaking, the beans are now gone

Shelling broad beans Aug 19

The broad bean crop has now been harvested. This is one of the more important crops for us as the beans have a good level of protein. This means we can have beans as an alternative to meat, thereby cutting down our meat consumption. We're not going vegetarian but we need to recognise that meat production is more resource intensive and takes up more land than growing the equivalent arable crops.

The beans are now in the freezer though some will be used tonight in a curry.

Sunday 4 August 2019

We have called her Jolene

On Friday, Spot, one of our nanny goats, gave birth to a baby girl. She is quite feisty and enjoys exploring. We have named her Jolene. We had four of our goats in the holding pen on our farside allotment but we have brought them back to the livestock allotment so they can get used to the new arrival. Jolene has been accepted by the other goats as part of the herd.

Loose ends delay land purchase

Our plans to buy agricultural land near Sunniside, the village where we live, are moving forward at a grindingly low pace. We visited our solicitor last week to sort out come of the issues but we are still some distance from closing this matter.

Update from July

Another month has gone by. This video was filmed last week, towards the end of July and gives a flavour of where we are with our self-sufficiency project. As usual, jam making was underway, gluts of quail eggs were being turned into salads, hawthorn hedges were trimmed to feed the goats, the bees continue to do well, the broad bean crop was picked, the second crop of rhubarb was ready for picking and the hens fell in love with their new roosting perch.

Saturday 3 August 2019

Giving a swarm away

We have had so many swarms this year that we have run out of hive bits and space to house any more. We have this swarm to a friend. We  have gone from 4 to 15 hives this year because of all the swarming.

Friday 2 August 2019

Sawn horn and another swarm

We had to saw off part of the horn stub of Snow, one of our billy goats, as it had coiled round was cutting into his head. Meanwhile, Spot was leaving us guessing as to when she will give birth. And yet another honey bee swarm appears on the allotment.

Thursday 1 August 2019

Gooseberry chutney

gooseberry chutney Jul 19

We have just about got through our glut of gooseberries (just one bowl left to use up). A good quantity was used recently to make gooseberry chutney. This one is good with smoked food, especially fish. As it happens, we have some trout in one of our freezers from last year. Time to get out our mini smoker me thinks.

Keep using the quail eggs

quail egg salad Jul 19

I suspect we will soon be fed up with eating quail egg salads but at the moment that is the most effective way to use up the huge glut we have.

Using the last of the strawberries

strawberry and apple jam Aug 19 (2)

The final strawberries we picked recently were not going to last much longer. I turned them into strawberry and apple jam today. Equal weight of each, brought to the boil, simmered until the fruit had turned to pulp and then same weigh of sugar as fruit.

strawberry and apple jam Aug 19 (3)

First marrow of the season

stuffed marrow Jul 19

We had our first marrow of the season recently. Admittedly, it wasn't grown by us but was given to us by a friend. We had it stuffed with ricotta cheese made from our goats milk and baked. Very pleasant!