My little family and our new ways

Since we moved to the smallholding, life has changed.  We had a vision of the lifestyle we thought it would be.  A lot of that has come true which is simply amazing.  What we didn’t realise, is how we would change as people, nurturing our new way or life, our values, what’s truly important and what really just doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.  We’ve been through some ups and downs as we figure this out, but it’s always worked out.  We have a strong family bond and the smallholding is developing that even further. 
So I thought I would share a couple of things that made me smile recently.
Ste made crispy cakes with rolo chocolates to finish them off.  I’m told the kids helped too 😉  They’ve been taken each day as packed lunch treats.
He’s also started making Sunday lunch for us.  I’m seriously jealous of how well these Yorkshire puddings turned out!!  He’s got a job for life there.

Ste and I collected nettles from the paddock recently and I made nettle soup!  This too is a first and despite my brain thinking otherwise, it was actually ok.  True, I wouldn’t choose it over butternut squash soup, but given its health benefits, I’ll happily eat it seasonally. 

It had a slight tinge of leek and potato – the recipe was from River Cottage website.

I moved on to nettle tea as I’ve read some excellent things about it’s medicinal values.  Only a small batch to start with.  I washed the nettles, boiled then simmered them for a few minutes and strained through a muslin cloth to get rid of the residue.
 It was very palatable!  I was shocked actually.  This is something I will turn back to, maybe drying nettles to allow for all year round availability.  Or can you use nettles any time of the year for tea? 
Grace is also finding her green fingers.  She has a natural curiosity with seeds and plants and enjoys sorting through the seed tray.  She asked me only just this morning if the rhubarb was ok as there’s a ‘big green thing’ growing in it.  I smiled and told her “hopefully”…after all, we’re all learning, so only time will tell! She’s sown some seeds for me too.
Jack likes to take his bike everywhere he goes on the smallholding.  Here he is, a dab hand at carrying a chicken feeder on his handle bars and taking it to get refilled at the feed station.

 Once the animals are fed, he collects the eggs, using any bucket he can lay his hands on to do so.  This one being an empty horse supplement bucket that Jill uses who keeps her horse with us.  It’s a job he can do himself and I like the sense of achievement he gets from it.  Looks like he does too?

So even though some days are hard, most days bring a huge happiness to us all.  Steven and I both work full time as well as run the smallholding, so we like to make sure we step back and smell the roses every now and then, and enjoy what we’ve built up and how our lives are changing.  It’s truly amazing and I welcome every minute of it.

Free fun

I simply had to tell you about my son’s latest adventure.  He wanted to play on his computer, which given the chance he would do all day every day.  Of course I don’t want him to do this and although I’m sad that he would choose to spend time locked in his room instead of being outside with us, I don’t blame myself for this.  Kids are kids and they’re exposed to these things if we like it or not.
So on Saturday, I decided to bribe him to come outside (rather than threaten to take his technology off him permanently 😉 ).
I made him a treasure map which basically was a walk around our smallholding.  We packed up a bag which included a flask and some fruit and a biscuit as adventurer’s need sustenance.  He took his telescope and a spare pair of socks.  Loaded up he went on his travels and I’ve never seen his face beam so much.  He had 3 tasks to do on his travels.
Find an intact leaf, look for goose/duck eggs and find a daffodil but don’t pick it yet.  He also did a tally chart of all the animals he found.  Slightly worrying, he found 4 sheep when we have 3, but let’s move on.
He completed his adventure and found his treasure was a mini egg in the greenhouse, that his Granny had bought him when they babysat the other night.  He chose to sit in the greenhouse and ate it.  Happy days.

He didn’t know I had taken this..awww
Checking off his list
Counting mole hills (he’d be there some time)
 If anyone has any other ideas for a 6 or 10 year old, free fun – I’d love to hear them :)
 

Where have I been!!

Good evening all, I am back!
I haven’t meant to take time off but last week I devoted to studying for the exam that I had coming up, which I promptly failed. Again! I was gutted to say the least. I have spent a lot of hours to studying but obviously it just wasn’t enough on the day. I am undecided as to what I will do, ie resit it or leave it. It’s an exam thay would further my work (potentially) but I don’t need it right now so I am doing no harm taking my time.
So that is behind me. Moving swiftly on, we’ve had pretty much a week of dry days followed by some really hard frosts. I think Jack Frost has killed off some tomato plants but I will wait and see what happens. Their leaves have turned purple which I am told is a telltale sign. Yesterday and today we have been back to the rain that we had a couple of weeks ago. Seriously, I don’t know what’s going on with this weather.
No goslings yet though I did get a sneaky peek at the eggs when she went for a brief wander around. It shoukd be in the next 5 days that we have goslings. The ducks are starting to sit on their eggs too.
My son is well and truly getting into the egg collecting and using his initiative to do it. The horses have had a nice few days out and the hens are laying well. We did lose one of our rescue girls sadly. She went downhill rapidly and went of her own accord. Very sad but part of it I guess.
The rest of the rescue hens are learning to get out of the rain and starting to act and look like normal hens.
We also have harvested our first rhubarb and I used it in a cake which went down well.