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.

Nature’s morning

Today was the start of a back to school and work, normal week.  Although school started last week, they were only there two days so I don’t think the teachers do too much with them, knowing that the kids are so excited to see each other again. 

So we have our new routine back in place, getting any homework done as soon as we get in whilst I finalise tea.  The kids and I sit together in the kitchen and complete everything that’s needed, pack the backs back up for the next day and then they are free to enjoy themselves, which includes getting some jobs done on the smallholding of course.  This includes collecting the eggs, filling the feeders up or changing the water.  The horses usually need doing although they are living in the field at the moment so apart from ride and keeping the field poo free, there’s not a lot of jobs to do there.

Can you believe we haven’t picked any brambles yet?  Maybe you can if you haven’t had any yourself.  I was so sure the masses of bushed that are around us would be heavy with brambles but their fruit is so small that you don’t get a bramble off it, it’s really not worth the pickings.  I think we may need to venture to our old bramble spot and get a few tubs full for the freezer.

Speaking of which, we’re going to buy a new freezer this week and hopefully get it delivered at the weekend.  Our kitchen freezer simply isn’t big enough for what we are going to need.  Soon enough we should have some whole chickens and a goose ready to be froze too, which definitely won’t fit in the kitchen freezer.  I’d also like to stock up on some milk as we’re very sporadic in how much we use.  I’m looking at getting a tall upright, opposed to a chest freezer as although I like the thought of the chest freezer, I often hear about people scrabbling around in them having to shift everything from the top to get to the thing they need at the bottom etc.

My husband spoke to the farmer we’re getting our new additions from and we’re told they should be with us shortly so fingers crossed I can post about them soon.

We’re due a lovely week of weather here in the North East and although I’m at work, I’m going to get out and make the most of it by finishing off those jobs in the greenhouse and veg plot that we started a few days back.  Then I need to start thinking about moving some of our rotted manure to the beds that will be sitting empty until Spring and covering them over to keep them protected and weed free.  I’ve also started a drawing for what’s going where in the veg plot for 2017 summer harvest, so I’ll take a picture of the drawing and share it with you this week once I have finished it.

Finally, the most important part of this post.  My kids were chatting amongst themselves this morning and Jack made a comment, I didn’t hear it, but Grace’s response was “the morning’s don’t belong to us Jack, they belong to nature” and although she may not have meant it how I ended up thinking of it.  She’s so right, it will carry on without us, we’re just here to enjoy the ride.  So let’s enjoy every minute – I’m so thankful that we’re getting to do what we love.  Happy Monday everyone J