Pigs, more harvests and epic fail on the redcurrant jelly

Our pigs only have 3 weeks left with us now.  They’re going to work with Ste on a Tuesday and will be coming back in a different state.  I’ve got some reading up to do as to how we want to process them so I’ll be checking out blogs on here plus my River Cottage handbook of course.
The pigs have a slap mark on their shoulder which identifies them when they go to slaughter.  It’s one of the marks the vet will look for.  Think of it as a tattoo.
The farmer thinks they will be weighing in at 65 kilos.
Look at this!  A cabbage that I thought was done for!  This is one that the birds or slugs ate and left skeletal.  What a trooper this little thing is.  There’s plenty more where he came from too.  At least these are doing well this year as the cauliflowers are non existent and the broccoli all bolted.
It might look strange, posting a photo of an onion but I grew this!  Yeah!  Really excited, no need to buy any more onions again I hope! 
Now to the carrots.  I have never ever managed togrow carrots before so imagine my excitement when I saw loads growing in my black bin!  I’ve been nursing them daily only to check on them today and discover an ant’s nest.  Well I panicked and pulled them all out.  Only to be told by my neighbour that ants are pretty clean and wouldn’t have eaten them.  He said they like light soil which this bin is.
Another thing I wanted to share with you is this little gadget that my friend has bought me, how lovely is it?  It’s a dibber for planting out and I think it is very thoughtful of her.
The dogs like it too!!
Even after living here 18+ months we’re still finding trees that we didn’t know we had.  Is this one hazelnut or acorn, does anyone know?

For my records, broad beans and first peas have done dreadfully this year!  Aren’t broad beans supposed to be amazingly easy to grow?!  We’ve had some, but not loads.
Oh and the sheep broke into the new chicken area!  Hooligans!
Also a quick update on the recurrant jelly.  It didn’t work!  That’s ok though, you win some and you lose some.  The overnight dripped juice only yielded 350ml when the recipe expected over 600ml.  We got 1.5 small jars when we expected 4 – 5 so something is amiss.  I think it’s going to set solid, so I’ll maybe try to loosen it up and add water and boil up again or if I can slice it (haha oh dear) then I’ll make gravy up adding it, then I’ll freeze the gravy. 

More where they came from though, we’ll get there!  The 2nd lot of strawberry jam was just as amazing as the first though – wahoo!

We’re going on an adventure

We moved into the smallholding on January 15th of this year and it seems there are still lots of places I haven’t yet seen properly and lots to discover that changes with the seasons.  Let me show you what I mean.
I discovered this tree/bush right outside my back door that I had no idea was there.  I believe it is a quince tree?

 
It’s only about knee high, this is me looking down on it.
 
Steven tried it, it was very sour.

To the left of the patch where the quince tree is a gate which a wall now stands behind.  This wall now separates us from the neighbours.  The gate used to lead out to the working part of the farm, the old barns and stables. 
Between the gate and the wall
I’m wondering if this area is too shaded to have as a herb garden?  I’d like to do something with the space but I am not sure what.
 
So many huge pots outside of the very small brick barn.
This was left by the previous owners, we’re going to use the trough for the sheep

That’s the barn infront of Steven, our neighbours house to the right.
The other side of the barn, the wall to the right is newly built and is the neighbours.  I’m not sure why they left this passageway.
 

Part of the woods

Getting ready for Christmas

 

 These photos make up most of my thinking for the weekend.  What could we do with the space, what did people do with it before us?  How to make the most of it all….my mind is overflowing with ideas which is fabulous.
We’re also looking at the area where the polytunnel and new raised beds will go, more on that tomorrow.  I’m off to cook the chicken for our Sunday Dinner – sets us up for the working week ahead.

 

What a lovely day

Today I was lucky enough to be working from home.  So on my lunch hour I went outside and after tending to the horses, I weeded the next veg bed along.  The soil was lovely though clumped together in parts due to the amount of rain we have had.
Today’s “new smallholder” question is… Does anyone have one of these greenhouse temperature controls are, or know how they work?  I suppose I know how it’ll work, I just can’t find the power for the blooming thing.  The wires leave the greenhouse in the general direction of the house but where they end up is anyone’s guess.  It may not even work for all I know.  Though I would be surprised as the previous owner’s have taken good care of the place.
Another ‘what is it’?  Friend or foe of the veg plot?  I am uploading from my phone so for info it is the picture of the bug  I will have a google and find out.
Today sees the start of the fence going up.  We’ve paid for a firm to come in and do it.  It means it will be up in 3 days opposed to the 3+ weeks it would take us.  Here’s what it looked like at 7:30 this morning.  Wasn’t it a lovely bright morning.  It was only a week ago, less even, that 7:30 was still a dark hour of our morning’s here in the North East. Spring is on the way and it feels great.
Our eggs are on day 10 in the incubator today.  I can’t wait until these cuties hatch and are ready to join our 10 in Chickenville.  A while off for that yet of course. I have just realised we will have fluffy chicks for Easter!