My mornings

I am lucky.  I have 2 mornings.  1 at home then another at work.  I prefer my mornings at home 😉 I thought I’d share with you some photos from my morning’s this week.
I go outside around 5:30 making a mental note of what the weather has turned out like (and usually cursing the forecast if they have it wrong).
This week we have had dry mornings, though one was that foggy it felt Autumnal.
Outside our back door
Beyond the trees you see in the first photo
Looking back up to the house from the little paddock
This is where the farmers cows normally are but on this foggy morning, you can’t see them.
Normally they are very interested in what I am doing.
Whilst taking note of the weather, I head straight over to the big barn to feed the horses, saying hi to the sheep on the way.
 
The sheep know that they don’t get fed first, they are in to the routine now, so they generally just look up at me but don’t get up.
The horses are always very pleased to have been fed. 
Ryan, our female goose (I know) sleeps in the barn and she follows me around on a morning until I feed and water her.  She prefers the sheep food to her own.  Typical!
Hello…feed me please
This water looks like mine
I also give the free range chickens (fully free range) their breakfast, heads down, bottoms up.
Notice the dominant cockerel and the less dominant one…
After the chickens, horses and Ryan, come the sheep.  By now they are at the gate waiting for their food.
After the sheep, the pigs are up.  They are usually awake and rootling around when I turn up with a bucket for them.  By gum they are boisterous now.  No manners and you better hope you don’t get knocked over when feeding as I’m not convinced you’d get back up again.  Needless to say the kids are banned from going in there!
The look cute though.
Foggy morning
Sunnier morning
Beautiful afternoon
Once the big animals are taken care of, I open up the chickens, ducks and geese in the rest of the areas.
By now the cows have followed me along the edge of the field and watch intently.  These are young cows and most probably as stupid as last years, so we’re going to strengthen this area as I don’t want them getting into the chicken and orchard areas.
There are lots of them.  The gate in the below photo is where the bridleway (opposite direction to the gate) is, which is at the front of our house. 

 This is the orchard where the hens are, where we don’t want any cow interruptions!

There is a bottoms up theme here.
 The ducks and ducklings are let out (this is before we moved them) and the make their way busily to the pond.

Over on the other side of the smallholding, I make sure the plastic pond is refilled for the geese who are often too impatient to wait.  The sound of running water entices them.  They can be mean, so are separate from the ducks.

The female joins the male.

She sees what he has in mind and makes a sharp exit!

 I make sure everything has food and water, which we usually top up the night before but sometimes we don’t manage to complete them all or ‘life happens’, but I never leave without making sure all is well.
The Vorwerk hens usually settle down anywhere to lay their eggs just as we’re leaving for school and work.  We’ve had some fun times trying to locate where they are laying!  It’s just as well there’s only 6 that free range so much.  The rest free range, but are restricted in their areas.

Once I’ve done this, I get myself, the kids and the dogs sorted, make packed lunches, load the car, forget where I’ve put my phone, dash round for 30 seconds looking and then leave on time, wondering most days how I managed to pull it off.
I wouldn’t change it for a thing though, and no, it’s not too much like hard work.  For now, we have to go out to work as we do to pay the bills and this is how we make the most of it. 

Smallholding is in our blood, I’m sure of it.

Fences

A few weeks ago I mentioned that Jake, one of the ponies decided to hop out of his field and into another one which he shouldn’t be in, so we discussed putting a fence up when finances allowed.  Then on Friday, next door’s cows broke into the field.  It was only a matter of time.  The main problem with them doing this is firstly, my horses were in there and I have no idea how would mingle.  My horses are girls and the cows are forever mounting each other which my girls wouldn’t take kindly too.  The second problem is I don’t have lots of land (compared to the farmer) so cows churning up my field is not on the acceptable list.  The farmer is our neighbour and he was lovely about it.  Certainly nothing more he could have done other than fix the fence and hope it doesn’t happen again.  He offered to move the cows if it does happen again but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. 
We have specific savings that we allocate to jobs like this and we’ve now saved up enough to get cracking with this mini fence project.  It won’t be a super quick job as we need to fit it in around working full time and the usual running of the smallholding.  That said, Steven started on the smaller section of fence on Sunday and all in all it took him only 2 hours to remove the broken stock fencing that was there and replace it with a lovely new post and rail fence.  The plan now is to continue this fence along to the edge of the field, then save up again to do the next section.  We’ll leave the cows and the ponies to dictate which section that will be during the next drama!

I’m really pleased and proud of this job, I think he’s done a cracking job.

Here’s a quick photo to show the ponies making the most of being in their stables after their tiresome antics in the field!

Rain, rain and more rain

Well this morning started off promising. The forecast was for rain early doors but it didn’t transpire until about 11am. However, when it started, it came in earnest and hasn’t really stopped. We have a river at the bottom of the field which runs along the main boundary of our land. It’s normally fairly deep but won’t flood given the banks that are in between us and it. However there is a beck that runs along another field to the river. This has been up and down since we moved in but I have never seen it as high or as forceful as it is tonight.
The new cows opposite don’t seem to mind the weather though!
To cheer us up we had a lovely warming tea of chicken, bacon, potatoes and tarragon stew. Very tasty and comforting.
Oh and there is blossom on the trees, whatever trees they are. Apple I think.

April showers

Today has been a lovely and sunny day up  until tea time when the wind and rain started.
It gave us more than enough time to ride the ponies out and get a couple of outside jobs done. Grace and I gave both ponies a good groom before going in for tea and a little baking session. I made some flapjacks which more often than not I forget I have put them in the oven (yes I used a timer and still manage to forget) and tonight was no different. They are mostly still edible but I could kick myself. I always do that with rice pudding too!
Looking out from the front of the farmhouse, we have some new additions in the field. They are not ours I hasten to add, but it’s lovely to watch these cows frolicking around although the horses weren’t keen on them!
Finally before bed time, Ste made jelly with the kids which I am sure they will enjoy tomorrow when it is set.