Brief chilly spot

By gosh it’s been chillier morning than it has been for a while.  Not cold, but still a shock to the system.  It’s due to warm up again though so I am not dwelling on it or making any changes!
Last night I was supposed to ride out but when it started raining I quickly changed my plans to allow me to get into the field and start over seeding it.  It needs to be done when the ground is wet.  Basically I am trying to improve the health of our grazing land as we don’t have a lot versus how much some horses have so as I’ve said before I need to take good care of it.  Combined with the daily task of taking out the muck, over seeding, weed pulling and fertilising all play their part.  So do sheep apparently.  Can you see where this is going?  Tonight we popped over to our neighbour across the fields to see what ewes with lambs they have in the hope that we can come to an agreement to take 2 off his hands.  Sheep are good for walking the grass seed in to the ground to help it root in and they also have other health benefits to horses and grazing land.  I’m being sensible and not asking for 6 or 10 and starting small with 2.  After all, another farmer friend reminded us the other day – that’s how you do it, start small.  I’ll update more tomorrow.
The poorly duck is doing a lot better, she’s able to keep up with her friends when they’re waddling around now so hopefully after a week of restricting their access, we will be able to let them out on Saturday.  I’ll just keep a close eye on the geese so that they don’t make a bee line for her again.  I think they see her as the weakest link now.
Our latest acquired duck, called Richard, has settled in just fine.  He is huge for 3 weeks old, however as he’s an Aylesbury breed, I’m not surprised given that they are a heavy bird.  He reminds me so much of Ryan when he was born and rejected by evil mother goose.   I don’t have a photo of him yet but in the mean time, here’s Grace with our home grown cockerel youngster.  He’s huge and so gentle so far, unlike the previous ones.  He’s called Little Red.
Speaking off beelines, Jack my son (6) was stung 5 times by some angry wasps last night.  3 times on his head and 2 on his hand.  The kids were playing near an apple tree, no doubt disturbing the apples and from the screams Jack made you’d think something horrendous had happened, which is what it felt like to him poor soul.  I was in the field so came running as fast as possible and when I got to him the bl**dy thing was still in his hair trying to sting him.  I got rid of it but it kept coming back!! So I ran with him to the barn as it would not let up and I kid you not, it followed us and started at him again.  Steven came to see what was going on as he’d had his earphones in working out, and the wasp turned on him and stung him on the face.  I whisked the kids inside and left Ste to deal with it.   I have never experienced anything like it.  It was in attack mode!  Grace said there were 3 on his head when he got stung and thankfully that was it as I’d hate to think there was a swarm after seeing how brutal they are. 
We will get some wasp powder or such like and if there is a nest, get it dealt with.  I know wasps help pollinate but they have overstayed their welcome after doing that.

Fences, cooking and veg box delivery

This morning I was pleasantly pleased when I got up to do the animals as the ponies were still in the paddock I had left them in.  Sounds normal right?  Well one of the ponies jumped out of the paddock the other week and I worried he would get caught up in the stock fencing, so it’s on my mind every time they use the small paddock.  I set about letting the ducks, geese and hens out.  Everything was fine so I headed in the house and got on with my morning jobs.  At 7:25 just before we were due to leave for work, I dashed out to put a pile of hay in the paddock so they had something to keep them occupied whilst I was at work.  The field is sparse.  Anyway, I noticed a pony poo in a place where ponies shouldn’t be.  Turns out Jake had snapped the electric fence (this one isn’t on and they’ve never been interested before, plus we don’t have another battery for it) and gone for a wander round before retuning himself ‘present and correct’ in the paddock!  Dashing around I brought the 2 ponies in so they are now sulking in the stables until I get chance to fix it.  They won’t be going out any more in that paddock when I am not there.  We have plans to put a new fence up but finances and timing is against us.  Steven is working double shifts effectively for the next 2 weeks and being a butcher, this is physically draining, so he has nothing left in his when he gets home and it’s not fair to ask him to start putting fences up when he’s in pain after work.  He’s taking a few days off at the end of July so hopefully it’ll get done then.  I’m going to use the time in between now and then to overseed the paddock and get the grass up so I don’t have to supplement it with hay.  We managed to leave the house at 7:40, which given what happened, wasn’t bad going!      

I’ve still been working on my grocery / menu plans.  Steven’s asked if we can put a loaf of bread on every night, or every other night, as what we don’t eat, the hens will.  So last night I put a wholemeal loaf on and we had fresh bread toasted this morning with the strawberry jam that I made.  It was lovely.  I made a couple of mistakes with the jam which I will remember for next time and avoid.  It only made 2 family size jars though and that was 1kg of strawberries.  I will pick more this weekend and see what else I can make.  We have family over on Saturday night so I plan on making strawberry shortbread with extra thick cream – a recipe from Caroline on The House Hoarder.  It went down well with her builders so I think it’ll go down well here too!

Tonight I am making rhubarb and gooseberry jam, something we haven’t tried before.  I also desperately need to harvest the cauliflowers and turn some into cauliflower and cheese soup and blanch the rest and freeze. 

We are due our first veg box delivery today which I am ridiculously excited over, so I will take some photos and let you know how impressed I was (or wasn’t) with it in tomorrow’s post and will also update more on the grocery shopping thoughts I have been having.

Finished product – strawberry jam, only gets 8/10 from me though!

The toad that pops out to see me when I am locking up on a night.

My 2 Lakendvelder’s and Jake, looking innocent!

Geese playing follow the leader when I let them out this morning.

Last night’s small loaf from the breadmaker.  I don’t make by hand as can’t find the time so this is the next best thing.