Sunday 26 February 2023

Baking bread


We now have quite a surplus of milk from Penelope, our new milking goat. Milk and whey have therefore been finding their way into all sorts of recipes. These loaves were from dough made using milk rather than water. They have quite a soft, creamy texture.

Friday 24 February 2023

The ducks start laying again


Last week our ducks started laying. The first egg came from one of the birds hatched last summer (the green one). One of the older birds popped out the beige egg. It reminds me that somewhere in one of our freezers we have a duck egg sponge waiting to be used. Watch out for trifle recipes coming soon!

Leek, potato and goat whey soup


This may seem an odd combination but it isn't. Leek and potato soup is a tradition that uses seasonal vegetables throughout the winter. We have, however, a growing reservoir of whey from the goat milk and we are committed to ensuring nothing is wasted. So, instead of adding water to make the soup, we added the whey. It worked very well.

Tuesday 21 February 2023

More raised beds


We are gradually increasing the number of raised beds we have, made from paving stone boxes. Another 3 have been added to the bottom of our hay field. They are lined with plastic feed sacks and we fill them with garden waste, muck from the henhouses and cardboard. This all rots down to create a rich compost. Most of our raised beds are used for growing strawberries but are more come online, we will be using them to grow vegetables.

Friday 17 February 2023

Storm damage


We are going to have to rebuild our duck pond. Storm Otto paid us a visit last night and destroyed the pond. Fortunately the ducks don't have access to it as they are confined to runs because of avian flu restrictions. We have decided to rebuild it but to use more permanent materials. Another job to add to the to-do list.

Thursday 16 February 2023

Toad in the hole


We now have lots of milk from our new nanny Penelope. The hens are laying in modest quantities as well. So we used some milk and eggs to make batter for toad in the hole. Sadly the sausages were bought rather than made ourselves.

Our first lamb of the year


Our first lamb of the year was born this morning. It's a boy. Mother and baby are doing well, as this video shows.

Wednesday 15 February 2023

Cheese making


Tonight I have started the process of making ricotta cheese, using the milk from our new nanny goat Penelope. The milk has been heated to 92C and a very small amount of cider vinegar was then added. The milk is being left to stand overnight. It is already separating into curds and whey. Tomorrow it will be strained through cheese cloth.

Turning telegraph poles into gate posts


We bought these two telegraph poles last week and used a chainsaw to cut them into 2.1 metre (7 foot) lengths. They will be used as gateposts and we have quite a few old ones that need to be replaced. The gateposts have to be strong enough to hold heavy agricultural gates. They come with two positives: we are able to repurpose something which would otherwise have been thrown out, and they are far cheaper than buying new gateposts made from virgin timber.

Tuesday 14 February 2023

Dandelions on winter


We are still in winter but the first shoots of greenery are appearing. This dandelion poked its way through the soil last week. It is turning out to be a mild winter yet again (except for a cold snap in December), where we are in North East England.

Sunday 12 February 2023

200 mile round trip for new goats


One of our priorities for this winter was to get a new Saanen billy goat. We were also after a new milking goat. We found a farm in North Yorkshire where a good milker was on sale. And when we got there, we found they also had for sale a Saanen billy. We bought both. Well worth the 200 mile round trip to get them and bring them back to our farm. We have called the billy Parker and the nanny is named Penelope (okay I am a fan of Thunderbirds!)

Parker was taken to the spare paddock and we put in with him Florence and Agnes. He hit it off with Agnes straightaway. Penelope was gone in with the other nannies. We is giving us 2-3 litres of milk a day. We now have enough milk to make a good quantity of cheese.

Monday 6 February 2023

Our last Christmas tree - feed it to the goats!


Around 60 Christmas trees were given to us last month. The goats love them - they eat the bark (which is very nutritious) and the twigs. We use the trunks for firewood. We weren't expecting to receive any more trees once we were into February but the photo above was taken of a new arrival just a few days ago. When we took it away and fed it to the goats, another one appeared!

You can see in the video below how the goats rather like to munch their way through the Christmas trees we gave them last month.

Friday 3 February 2023

Mud, ice, eggs and fluke - December update on our plans to live off grid


Our latest update as we try to live off-grid. December 2022 was a mixed month. We were awash with mud after one of the wettest Novembers on record and then saw it all freeze solid. The hens started laying again but the billy goats went down with liver fluke (I suspect the wet weather in November was a contributory factor). Sadly, we lost both of them.