February thoughts

We don’t want to waste a minute of our new lives.  Time goes by so quickly that we are making sure we embrace every minute we can.  With both of us working full time, that’s especially hard, though it does allow for some thinking time.  In addition to everything we want to do on the smallholding, I want to ensure a good quality relationship between us and the kids.  Making sure we find time each day to listen to their day, enjoy a game or two and generally be in each other’s active company.  That includes making time for the cheeky dogs who are not allowed to sit at the table despite their sweet looks towards me.

Without wasting any time then,  the sourdough starter that I referred to on my “we did it” post didn’t ever activate.  So I tried Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s method in the River Cottage Everyday book and by gum it’s worked!  I put around 100g wholemeal flour in with a bit of warm water to make a paste and whizzed it with my hand blender for a good few minutes, covered it up with cling film and left it in the kitchen.  After 24 hours it was bubbling a bit so I added a bit more flour and water and it’s well and truly away now.  I am really drawn to this type of bread as it’s made from the wild yeast in the air meaning it’s truly our smallholding’s bread. 

This morning, the wind was stormy again, however when I left the house at 7:20 I was amazed that it was light enough to see and without the need of my trusty torch.  I stopped to take a couple of photos of the vegetable patch.  I can’t wait to get in there and working on it!  It won’t be until this weekend, or even next before we can realistically make a start on it.  This weekend it’s my daughter’s 9th birthday so the focus is on that at the moment.  However it doesn’t stop us planning what we’d like where and trying to identify what is already there. 

When we viewed the house, I thought there was rhubarb but I can’t see any shoots so I wonder if they took it with them.  Surely not!  There is a bed of Asparagus which I need to identify and mark down as one to leave.  Also raspberries and blackcurrants I think.  Some items (not sure what) have ash on them around the base, so I need to read up on that too.  Hubby bought a new raspberry and blueberry cane to see if we can bring those on.

I also have seeds en-route from Thompson and Morgan that will be ready to plant as soon as they arrive.  We plan on staggering their sowing period to hopefully keep us in veggies for a period of time opposed to a huge glut.   Those that we planted last night are in the kitchen, greenhouse or utility depending on what temperature they require! 

Tomatoes – cherry and beef

They are taking over already!  Seeds due for delivery today are:

Pea ‘Terrain’
Broad Bean ‘Jubilee Hysor’
Dwarf Bean ‘Golden Teepee’
Leek ‘Autumn Giant 2 – Porvite’
Broccoli ‘Aquiles’ F1 Hybrid (Calabrese)
Carrot ‘Amsterdam Forcing’ (not dispatched yet)
Potato ‘Rocket’ (not dispatched yet)

Our electric fence has arrived, ordered from Mole Valley Farmers so that needs putting up in the main field to hopefully keep the horses in.  Something we have never done before, so that will be interesting.  We can’t afford to put a new post and rail fence up yet so this is the next best thing.  It is to stop the horses getting down in to the river which is down a bank at the bottom of our main field. 

It’s always nice to come in and warm your bum on the Aga