Heating went on and plans for the weekend.

This week has been peculiar.  Not necessarily in a bad way, but having the Halloween party Monday, then the kids had school discos on Tuesday meaning we didn’t get home until late, then Wednesday was the first night the clock change affected us as by the time we get home from school, it’s drawing in meaning we have limited time to get the horses out and do jobs that need daylight.  It won’t be long and we’ll have to do things by torchlight.  However it is lovely to have the daylight back on a morning.  I can’t believe how much more I notice these things now that we live here.  The weather and environment play such a big role on a smallholding.
The temperature dropped to 2C overnight earlier this week meaning that I put the heating on, to come on for a bit on a morning and when the kids are taking a bath at night.  Takes the chill off.

I have a sheep with a bad tummy to look after and a goose to be dispatched this weekend.  We’re also going to a local farmer’s auction as I’m after a tiller/rotivator, another incubator if there’s any on offer and whatever else they may have that would cost a fortune elsewhere.  My parents are coming to visit tomorrow night and we may have a little bonfire going for Guy Fawkes night that we can sit around and enjoy, but no fireworks obviously.  I’ll pick a few sparklers up for the kids so they can enjoy that safely and we’ll roast some marshmallows after our homemade curry that my Dad’s made.  Then Sunday we have some people coming for load of muck.  We’re invited out to lunch on Sunday so that will mean I don’t have to make Sunday lunch and clean up the kitchen afterwards – I’m not complaining.  I do love a Sunday lunch, time spent round the kitchen table with family, catching up, taking time out, looking at each other.  That’s sounds strange to say that but I think life sometimes ends up in a whirlwind, where we might be together but it’s the quality time together that’s the key.  You can’t beat a roast beef with Yorkshire pudding (google if you haven’t heard of them) dinner with bright green peas, carrots, cauliflower and roast potatoes!

What’s people’s thoughts on the traditional Sunday lunch, do you have a roast every week, or once in a while, or not bother at all? 

Growing update

I must have the world’s easiest to look after pumpkin/squash.  It’s growing and I’m just watching from the sidelines.  I did put some straw underneath in an effort to stop it rotting.  If it’s as big as I think it is going to be then I might enter it into a country show as I’d love to do that. 
Here are 2 other pumpkin /quash plants that I am growing.  The pumpkin is tiny but so cute!  Can you say that about a veg?  The other squash is trying to rival my big one and is growing well.
We also have some borlotti beans growing.  I’ve never had these before but apparently they dry well ready for winter stews so I will do that.
I was given a courgette by a lovely lady that I sell eggs to.  It’s huge and will be added to a lot of meals probably in grated form as it’s not one of my favourite vegetables (yet!) but that maybe as I’ve had lots of supermarket courgettes up to now.
This weekend, we have family visiting but no other plans so I will get into the plot and turn over a few beds and get some winter seeds down.  The Grow your own magazine I signed up for (thanks to Louise’s blog Welsh Dreams Now Reality) have 2 packets of seeds with their latest issue.  Land cress and spring onion, so both are being sown this weekend.
I rarely get a picture of all 3 dogs together but as I looked out of the kitchen window the other night, here they were all mulling their thoughts over together so I managed to get a quick photo before the puppies found something else to run off and investigate.

First ‘proper’ weekend

Although we were moved in last weekend, it was a non stop work weekend.  So this one is our first “proper” weekend in that we would do normal things that we would do most weekends and enjoy our new home.

The front of the farmhouse, with a cheeky little girl sneaking in after their daily hack out.

The only difference to a normal weekend being that we made it to Durham Hens at Tow Law which I highly recommend.  The guy there was so helpful and the views on the way were simply stunning.  We bought 4 new hens (Rosemary, Laura, Felicity and Lilly) that are around 26 weeks old and are all supposed to be laying well, so much so our first egg of the day was a double yoker! 

We also bought 18 fertilised pure breed eggs.  6 Buff Orpington’s, 4 Cream Legbars, 2 Welsummers, 1 Derbyshire redcap, 2 Lakenvelders, 3 Columbian Blacktails.  The 4 layers are hybrids and should lay pretty much all year round.  The pure breeds, if we get any and when they reach point of lay, will generally stop during the winter, according to our experience of our own and what the guy said, but time will tell.

Each one is numbered and the number represents the breed.

We’ve taken a family guess at how many chicks we think we will get and the guesses are 4, 10, 12 and 18.  If only 1 hatches we will be happy!! We have an automatic turning incubator that I bought online, so fingers and toes crossed for a healthy lot of chicks in 21 days time.

My Nanna came to visit today.  It’s the first time she’s been since we moved in and she loved the place.  She’s in her 90’s and is doing amazingly.   I made her some home made bread buns with slow cooked ham, a bought quiche (eventually I plan to have a few homemade ones in the freezer in case I don’t have time to make fresh ones) and a nice pot of tea.  She had a lovely time and really enjoyed it.

Proving (as I now know it to be called).

Freshly baked

I have finally got round to making a cake for the farmer who helped us no end when we moved in.  His eyes lit up at the thought of the cake my DH kindly offered on my behalf 😉 and so I made a chocolate cake per Mary Berry’s instructions.  It was the same as I made for my friend last week, however this time I made a dip in the middle of the cakes before baking so they came out a lot flatter rather than domed (opposed to doomed, which I nearly just typed!).

Back to the grind of work tomorrow.  Menu plan to follow, however tomorrow night will be a one pot, something simple to scoop in to a bowl with home made bread after a first day back in the office. I will keep the memories of this weekend with me to see me through each working day!

I managed to squish in unnoticed.

View en route to Tow Law for the chickens

He wouldn’t let me in…

My gorgeous girl. 

Question/s of the week.  What’s the purpose of a cold frame?  Do you think we will benefit from one in addition to the greenhouse?  Are they not similar in use?