Fences

A few weeks ago I mentioned that Jake, one of the ponies decided to hop out of his field and into another one which he shouldn’t be in, so we discussed putting a fence up when finances allowed.  Then on Friday, next door’s cows broke into the field.  It was only a matter of time.  The main problem with them doing this is firstly, my horses were in there and I have no idea how would mingle.  My horses are girls and the cows are forever mounting each other which my girls wouldn’t take kindly too.  The second problem is I don’t have lots of land (compared to the farmer) so cows churning up my field is not on the acceptable list.  The farmer is our neighbour and he was lovely about it.  Certainly nothing more he could have done other than fix the fence and hope it doesn’t happen again.  He offered to move the cows if it does happen again but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. 
We have specific savings that we allocate to jobs like this and we’ve now saved up enough to get cracking with this mini fence project.  It won’t be a super quick job as we need to fit it in around working full time and the usual running of the smallholding.  That said, Steven started on the smaller section of fence on Sunday and all in all it took him only 2 hours to remove the broken stock fencing that was there and replace it with a lovely new post and rail fence.  The plan now is to continue this fence along to the edge of the field, then save up again to do the next section.  We’ll leave the cows and the ponies to dictate which section that will be during the next drama!

I’m really pleased and proud of this job, I think he’s done a cracking job.

Here’s a quick photo to show the ponies making the most of being in their stables after their tiresome antics in the field!

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.

Summer is here

Summer is such a happy season it seems. In our previous house I didn’t really acknowledge it but now we live here, I am really noticing the seasons changing. The strawberries are turning red and the most delicious tasting, the horses are happily staying out overnight and the hens are almost refusing to go to bed!
My daughter had a lovely ride on her pony tonight and we walked him down the lane to cool off afterwards. It’s just so relaxing and enjoyable living here in the summer. Next week we are back to the usual routine until the kids break up.
Has anyone else had horrendous hay fever this year?

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.

April showers

Today has been a lovely and sunny day up  until tea time when the wind and rain started.
It gave us more than enough time to ride the ponies out and get a couple of outside jobs done. Grace and I gave both ponies a good groom before going in for tea and a little baking session. I made some flapjacks which more often than not I forget I have put them in the oven (yes I used a timer and still manage to forget) and tonight was no different. They are mostly still edible but I could kick myself. I always do that with rice pudding too!
Looking out from the front of the farmhouse, we have some new additions in the field. They are not ours I hasten to add, but it’s lovely to watch these cows frolicking around although the horses weren’t keen on them!
Finally before bed time, Ste made jelly with the kids which I am sure they will enjoy tomorrow when it is set.