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 :)
 

Polytunnel success

This weekend we were very busy with family joining us on Saturday evening and friends on Sunday.  We had to fit in all of the usual jobs plus put the polytunnel up too.  So Saturday we set to work.  I did the usual horses and house jobs then joined Ste with the polytunnel.  He started putting the frame together in the barn.  The weather wasn’t very kind on Saturday but he soldiered on.  I was asked to hold this, lift that and straighten the other.  In no time at all we had the frame up.

 
 

Buddy helped out where he could making sure he checked the bucket’s didn’t have anything worth eating in them and having the odd drink or 2.

Ryan supervised the whole situation.

Day 2 saw the cover go on.  This is where it started to get tricky.  It was very tight and I can see the zips ripping in no time.  We managed it though and as it has a 12 month guarantee I’ll be sure to keep that in case I need to get a new one.

Then being amazing, Ste knocked up a couple of raised beds and attached them to the frame that’s there (this is how we put the PT up, this is not what’s in the manual).  The weight of that wood will not let that frame go anywhere.  We also dug a trench around the polytunnel and buried the cover in it. 

He then laid the slabs we had stored and they dictated the width of the path.  Lots of rotted muck went in and it was finished. 

All in all I am really pleased.  I think it looks great and it’s ready to provide us some food in the coming year.

In between holding and lifting, I sowed some seeds, clipped off some of the strawberries that I’d taken from runners and forgotten about and gave some of the veg plot a tidy up, giving the chickens their treats too.

I also finally got my potatoes chitting. 

A weekend away

So it’s Monday!
Steven and I spent Saturday lunch time until Sunday lunch time away from the smallholding.  This is the first time in ages that we’ve been away without the kids and from home.  We went to a murder mystery event with a group of friends and stopped over at the hotel.  We had a lovely time (though the murder mystery theme was rubbish) and came home feeling very relaxed, so it was worth it.

A friend who has her horse with us looked after all of the horses and my parents kindly stayed at mine to look after the kids and the smallholding animals.  Everything was all fine when we got home and we even managed to get some Christmas tree lights up on the big outside tree on Sunday.

We settled down late on Sunday night to find we were being watched with a face at the window.  Ste said it made him jump out of his skin!  As you will notice, there is a tree in this photo too, also decorated for Christmas.

We love celebrating through December, especially as it is our first one in the farmhouse.  So from December 1st, there will be a flurry of posts showing you what’s happening that day for us.  Not everyone celebrates Christmas, especially not as early as this, but we do :).  I’m not getting in to politics or frugal arguments.  It is what it is and I hope it makes you smile. 

First ‘proper’ weekend

Although we were moved in last weekend, it was a non stop work weekend.  So this one is our first “proper” weekend in that we would do normal things that we would do most weekends and enjoy our new home.

The front of the farmhouse, with a cheeky little girl sneaking in after their daily hack out.

The only difference to a normal weekend being that we made it to Durham Hens at Tow Law which I highly recommend.  The guy there was so helpful and the views on the way were simply stunning.  We bought 4 new hens (Rosemary, Laura, Felicity and Lilly) that are around 26 weeks old and are all supposed to be laying well, so much so our first egg of the day was a double yoker! 

We also bought 18 fertilised pure breed eggs.  6 Buff Orpington’s, 4 Cream Legbars, 2 Welsummers, 1 Derbyshire redcap, 2 Lakenvelders, 3 Columbian Blacktails.  The 4 layers are hybrids and should lay pretty much all year round.  The pure breeds, if we get any and when they reach point of lay, will generally stop during the winter, according to our experience of our own and what the guy said, but time will tell.

Each one is numbered and the number represents the breed.

We’ve taken a family guess at how many chicks we think we will get and the guesses are 4, 10, 12 and 18.  If only 1 hatches we will be happy!! We have an automatic turning incubator that I bought online, so fingers and toes crossed for a healthy lot of chicks in 21 days time.

My Nanna came to visit today.  It’s the first time she’s been since we moved in and she loved the place.  She’s in her 90’s and is doing amazingly.   I made her some home made bread buns with slow cooked ham, a bought quiche (eventually I plan to have a few homemade ones in the freezer in case I don’t have time to make fresh ones) and a nice pot of tea.  She had a lovely time and really enjoyed it.

Proving (as I now know it to be called).

Freshly baked

I have finally got round to making a cake for the farmer who helped us no end when we moved in.  His eyes lit up at the thought of the cake my DH kindly offered on my behalf 😉 and so I made a chocolate cake per Mary Berry’s instructions.  It was the same as I made for my friend last week, however this time I made a dip in the middle of the cakes before baking so they came out a lot flatter rather than domed (opposed to doomed, which I nearly just typed!).

Back to the grind of work tomorrow.  Menu plan to follow, however tomorrow night will be a one pot, something simple to scoop in to a bowl with home made bread after a first day back in the office. I will keep the memories of this weekend with me to see me through each working day!

I managed to squish in unnoticed.

View en route to Tow Law for the chickens

He wouldn’t let me in…

My gorgeous girl. 

Question/s of the week.  What’s the purpose of a cold frame?  Do you think we will benefit from one in addition to the greenhouse?  Are they not similar in use?