A little bit of everything 

Veg plot update
Our onions that were planted in the Autumn have done marvellously in the last couple of weeks and I would say will be ready for lifting mid July to August time at the latest.  The plan is to plait and store these as it worked brilliantly last time.  Those that weren’t plaited properly didn’t last, so it’s worth taking the time to do.

We have Spring planted onions in too, in the same bed as the leeks.

The Victorian Colossal climbing peas are doing brilliantly at growing – I just hope the actual peas are as good as the plant growth so far.

We have hundreds of tomato plants!  I kid you not.  When we were sowing the seeds, we thought we would have the new commercial size polytunnel and sowed enough seeds to fill 2 rows.  As that was postponed, we now have too many plants and not enough space (ready to plant in at least).  I’m giving some of the spares to a couple of schools for their gardening clubs.

The cauliflowers have lots of leaf growth and now waiting for the heads to form.  It’s a key watering time I think, and given how dry it is now, that’s not an easy task.

The broad beans I grew were Bunyard’s competition and Aquadulce – so far they both seem to be on par though a lot of the pods are formed and don’t seem to have any beans in them, or very small ones.  Maybe I’m not waiting long enough.

The courgettes are fabulous as always, I’ve only grown yellow ones this year and we had the first ones last week.  Delicious they are too.

The soft fruits are forming, with a handful of strawberries ready each day.

The asparagus is almost over now, so that will be left to grow into ferns.  It was lovely whilst it lasted.  We’ll maybe have one of 2 more meals from it before leaving it alone towards the end of June.

On the Smallholding
When we moved here, our poutry flock was 60 or so chickens, 15/20 ducks and 8 geese at our peak and has now depleted.  As I mentioned in my last post, we’re down to 14 chickens now.  We’ve decided not to replace them and just to have enough eggs for our family.  I was selling the eggs, but the fox won’t stay away now, so we need to make a run for them to keep try to keep it out.
We are shortly getting more Ross Cobb birds which will stock our freezer back up come 3 months time. Hopefully we’ll have 20 and will keep them outside this time – always our preference.
Those of you who have been with me a while will remember last year’s terrible efforts at hand shearing my sheep!  Well this year, we went straight to our friends who came on Friday and sheared the 3 ewes for us.  Not the lambs though, they don’t get done their first year.  We all had a lovely catch up over a couple of beers and some slow cooker pulled pork and sausage buns.

In the kitchen

We’ve harvested a boat load of rhubarb and we’ve frozen a lot of forced rhubarb.  We didn’t blanch it, just cleaned, chopped and froze.  Today’s harvest kicked off the wine making season.  3kg of rhubarb was added to 2.6kg sugar and is now being left for a week in a food grade bucket.  This was my favourite wine last year, added to lemonade.  Rocket fuel!

We’ve also made a rhubarb gin which is currently infusing in the pantry.  After a couple of months, we will strain and bottle it.
This morning, whilst it was dry and the sun was out, we rounded up the troops and went for a wander along the bridlepath as the Elderflowers are ready now. 
They are late this year but everything seems to be a month behind here.  We picked a couple of carrier bags full (classy, I know).  I used what I needed to start the Elderflower cordial recipe and froze about 50 heads for other recipes.  We were sure to leave more behind to feed the birds and to ensure we have good pickings of elderberries later in the year.
In the house
Friday night saw us with a houseful of kids (whilst sheep shearing!) so I played taxi, negotiator and cook!  The kids had a late night and we’ve paid for it throughout the rest of the weekend as they really do need their routine and sleep, but it’s nice for them to have a break from everything too.
Our bathroom is 99% done.  It’s gone from this to this. 

I’m really pleased with it, it was becoming dangerous in that the sink was pulling away from the wall and overall was very dated.  Bathrooms are the only rooms that I want modern features.  The house was built around 1850 so we’re bringing it in line with modern day without going over the top on modern features!  It’s only taken 4 months or so! 😉
Now that we have our holidays out of the way, it’s time to rein spending in and think about the next 6 months.  We are throwing a summer party in a few weeks, just to get people back together that we’ve not seen in ages.  Spending can easily get out of hand there, so planning will be key.  We would alsi like to get the polytunnel saved for, bought and put up before winter.  That needs some planning to see if it is doable.  Then it’s going to be birthdays and the C word.  I love C more than anyone, but mentioning it now might get me shot!  Financially though, it needs to be saved for.  So this coming week will be considering all aspects of the budget for the next 6 months, including the grocery budget, household, smallholding and savings.

13 thoughts on “ A little bit of everything 

  1. Oh chic. What a lovely post. Love how you have done a total round up of what is going on down on The Farm! Your onions look glorious and your climbing peas are the same variety as mine! You really did go for it with the tom plants but great that you are donating some. Well done you. Good luck with the broad beans and caulies; I don't really have enough space to grow them along with really necessary edibles and I think you are really brave, too! Fruit and veg are all looking fab along with the \”shaun sheep\”! Good going with the drink you'll have in stock ready for the C word (you know I LOVE it, too). And finally yay for the bathroom.x


  2. Very interesting blog, I am in Suffolk and made elderflower cordial about a month ago so just goes to show how later things are where you are. This year seems to be going so quickly, we have no grown half as much as you as trying to get animals sorted you have done so well.


  3. Hi sweetie, your growing garden looks absolutely fab. I have some elderflower gin, rhubarb gin, rhubarb and ginger gin on the go at present. OH has decided that he is quite partial to rhubarb gin. I like mine with lemonade and ice cubes. I also have elderflower wine and elderflower cordial on the go. Being at home means I am getting to the veg shop more and getting more goodies stashed away. I am sorry about the chickens I really am. My grandfather always had a large run for the chickens which incorporated about three old apple trees and he always used the wire rubber coated fencing (think it was cheaper back then) but he always dug about a foot and a half into the earth as Foxes are notorious at digging as well. They also had a very large hen house which was always closed up with the chickens in at night. I have about six Gardeners Delight and two yellow plum tomatoes on the go this year. I do however have about six cherry plum hanging baskets as well. Hope the poly tunnel comes sooner rather than later and once that is in hand I think you really will be going great guns (not that you are not already). Catch up soon. Pattypanxx


  4. Wow, you have been busy. Everything is looking very lush. So sorry about the fox attack, I hope he doesn't come back. What will you do with all the tomatoes you are going to have?


  5. Your garden is looking very productive. I was late starting and then we have had the long dry spell and nothing is doing well, despite being well watered daily. I'm on my 3rd sowing of peas – only half a dozen germinated from the others but now they're all shooting up. I've got most things in tubs as I can't get outside much in June due to pollen levels affecting asthma badly.The bathroom is looking lovely. K has a frozen shoulder so our shower-room revamp is still on hold, shower cubicle needs tiling yet.Our elderflowers are mostly pollinated now and setting but I grabbed a few heads yesterday to make handcream with. If I can find a late one I'll cut some more heads – hadn't thought about freezing them, only drying them . . .


  6. Hey hun – I'm going to stick to that kind of format for now and see if it works for me as I get back into the swing of things. I'm so excited about the caulis! They are really coming on. 😀 xx


  7. Hi Paulette – thank you for your lovely comments. It has been such a long winter and I think we feel like we're just getting going but then autumn will be here before we know it so I plan on making the most of each day before we lose the light and heat. I do love the growing so much, it's just learning to not take on more than we can chew!


  8. Hello lovely, thank you. I'm going to do elderflower gin now you're mentioned it, I bet that is delicious! Me too on the lemonade and ice! How come you are at home, I've missed something I am guessing? Oh yes, the polytunnel will take us to another level for sure! I can't wait x


  9. Hi Janice, lovely to see you. Sadly, he's been back a fair bit. I have plans for the tomatoes to preserve in lots of different things. Sun dried is what I'm most looking forward to! Also lots of prep for stocking up on sauces for winter


  10. It's Mary Berry who said about freezing them. I love the idea of making handcream that sounds lovely. Sorry to hear of the frozen shoulder! My daughter is suffering with hay fever, apparently elderflower cordial is good for it but she doesn't blooming like it!


  11. Hi Tracy, been made redundant after nearly 22 years. They got rid of the Department I worked in Document Production for a firm of Solicitors (I am a Legal Secretary by trade) of some 32 years experience (I was a Directors Secretary in private business before this). There were three jobs available and seven girls applying. I am a bit of a workaholic anyway and so it was agreed with OH (as this is the fourth time I have been made redundant) that this time I would not rush into the first job that comes my way. I have worked for 40 years been made redundant three times before and only had three days out of work so I think I am sort of overdue a rest. It is taking a while but I am actually starting to enjoy my time at home. I have plans to set up a small business from home if I can but it depends on Landlord. If I cannot do it from here will find somewhere else. This will very much be a learning curve for me and if it thrives or fails but at least rather than dreaming about it I will actually get to have a go once the house is sorted out a bit. That's the outline plan it could change but we will see what happens. In the meantime (and I am not rubbing it in) I am enjoying the weather and trying to get the garden sorted a bit. Because I have had a rough winter health wise I was late in starting the garden, but hopefully what I do this year will stand me in good stead for next year, something to build on. I have just done two big batches of Gooseberries – one of OHs favourites. I have lots of Strawberry things on the list as well. Gin seems to be very popular at the moment and the flavoured ones are extremely expensive to buy. Think will carry on with doing my own and experimenting. Have some Gooseberry on the go as well. Catch you soon sweetie and take care.Tricia xx


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