Monday, 19 June 2017

Comfort food......

We went shopping this morning. Normally we would buy 'sensible' products like flour, sugar, eggs (until we get our own again), and other equally useful items. Back in the UK we would have also bought items such as biscuits, chocolate, cake, crisps, ice cream, etc, but that was before we became  aware of how unhealthy that food was. Once we started growing and preserving our own produce (meat, veg, and fruit), we realised the error of our ways, and changed our eating habits.
 
...... but sometimes, just sometimes, we lapse back into our old ways, not often, just sometimes,
and today was one of those days.
It is still hot, hotter than it was yesterday. We knew this because we felt the heat as soon as we got outside this morning, the early morning coolness being absent, a hot wind having pushed it away.
So we were unable to physically do too much outside, other than sort the animals out, give the Courtyard a quick water, then put the shade covers over everything, which we don't normally do until mid day. Then out shopping we went...... hosepipes, bins, compost, bought in one shop, Guinness, ice cream (one tub of coffee, one tub of chocolate), crisps, ham, commercially produced potato salad, and commercially produced pasta salad, commercially produced baguettes, mass produced tomatoes (because ours are still green and teensy), and a commercially produced jar of gherkins (because ours are still at the flowering stage).
  I was not going to cook today. Yesterday we had home produced spiced dry fried lamb, a salad from the garden, an egg salad (made from eggs donated to us from a neighbour), and DIY bread. This was all laced together with mayonnaise (shop bought) because I can't for the life of me make mayonnaise. We did have ice cream for dessert, but that was allowable because Lissie has finished giving us milk now so DIY yoghurts have finished until next milking season.
 
Over the last ten years we have been able to produce most of the main ingredients for our meals, it is just the smaller items which we buy in and they are normally used within the structure of the meal and do not contribute towards being all of the meal.
But today they did.
No way was I going to be able to produce anything from the kitchen today.
 
Back to normal tomorrow!
 
Lester has fitted a hosepipe to the tap in the Courtyard so that I don't have to carry watering cans to and fro the nursery, but the well only gave us a third of its normal amount of water so the Veg Plots will have a minor watering tonight, and that will be by watering cans to preserve what water we have available. We also have an aversion to using the hosepipe over everything because it means the weeds also benefit.
 
Meanwhile the chickens are now out and about in their paddock, and the cockerel is starting to talk to Lester. Chickens do have quite a vocal range, and will make an effort to communicate with you if you take the time to start up a chat with them. There is, of course, a problem of communication because neither you or the chickens understand each others language, but then that is a universal problem with all animals including different races of man kind.
 
The sheep are not to be seen at all during the day now, as they are staying in the woodland to keep out of the way of the sun. We are waiting for the sheep shearer to phone us back. We hope he will do this soon.
 
Well, that's all for now. I have not done a thing indoors or outside today (apart from watering) as the heat is stopping me in my tracks, robbing me of the effort to do anything.
Not to worry, it won't last forever, so best to have a rest while we can!
Bye for now,
Vx
 
 

Sunday, 18 June 2017

The cock doth crow!

I am not complaining, truly I am not...... but it is still hot, hot, hot, here, and we are all cooking nicely, including the sheep who are still wearing their winter fleeces because the shearer man has not turned up to shear them yet, the cows who are besieged by loads of flies as they graze out on the field, and the chickens.
 
Chickens?
What chickens!
These two chickens....
 

And once again the crow of a cockerel can be heard at Labartere as he lets all the cockerels in the neighbourhood know that there is a new cock on the block. But I must say that his voice was rather crackly and weak at first, nevertheless we could still hear him indoors. His voice is getting stronger though, and this morning he did manage a full voice crow, which was nice to hear.
   They are Buff Orpingtons, a male and a female. She hasn't laid an egg here yet, but it is hot, and they are both needing to get used to their new home, and they are in temporary housing at the moment which is a bit on the small side, but not to worry, Lester is going to get the last bit of fencing wire up on the Chicken Pen later on today, and then they can be let out so they can stretch their legs.
 
The only thing is that Burdock City has not been cut down yet ....
 

 
...... but I scythed down the tall mass of weeds behind it this morning.
This is where horrids, like snakes, rats, and mice will be living, so I am loath to tackle it by myself,
so Lester will have to help me with this job.
 
Meanwhile our mini nursery is coming along....
 
 

... with lots of little plants having already gone out into the Veg Plots.
 
It remains to be seen how much will survive in this heat though, but I stoically carry on, as do they. 
There is no end in sight for this heat wave at the moment, and this is still early summer.
But I am not moaning, just saying, that's all!
 
Hope your gardens are flourishing, and that you are too..
Bye for now,
Vx

 

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Just chatting.......

It's 10am and I have just come in from doing some scything. The heat is just building up again, so it is going to be another punishingly hot day. Everything is holding up alright though, which is testimony to how living things will fight for life, and that includes things you want to survive and things you are not fussed with having life, such as the beetles who seem to rally their numbers just when we think we are winning.
 
Lester was doing his morning search amongst the potatoes, leaf by leaf, that is what he has to do. Skip a few leaves and you can be sure that  that is where the hatchlings will be. I was having a sit down on the garden chair kept specifically for that purpose, and talking about things.
My eyes were idly roaming.
And they saw that the earth itself was teeming with life. It was like London rush hour. OK, so perhaps that is an exaggeration, but there was a lot of life, the soil was not dead, and was healthy enough to sustain living things. That is why we do not use pesticides or any other types of  '....cides'. A healthy soil means healthy plants which means healthy us.
 
The scythe went through the vegetation like a sharp knife through soft butter, so I did more scything that what I had originally intended to do. There is something immensely pleasing to the soul when the you and the scythe are working in unison, the swish of the blade, the rhythm of the swinging arc of the blade, all this seems to add up to a very nice activity to do.
I was cutting the rampant vegetation behind the back of the house....ground elder, baby and juvenile brambles, large swathes of wild mint, large clumps of grass,  all jumbled together and growing merrily upwards. I shall not conquer all of this patch of wildness this year, but I shall win some ground this year. By keeping the area free of rampant weeds the grass should take over the space, which the sheep will be able to graze during the cooler months.
 
 
Off to Gazax et Bacarrisse this afternoon, to find a house called Guillane, to meet a lady who breeds chickens, and who has a pair of Buff Orpingtons to sell us.
The Chicken Hut is not finished, so they will have to stay in temporary accommodation for the time being. Unfortunately we have not had time to clear the Chicken Run of vegetation, mostly burdock, which has set up a very impressive group of plants which have all combined to capture a good portion of the run. They are huge, with thick stems difficult to cut. And if those stems are cut, the parent plant will then repay the damage done unto it by throwing up a whole lot of new heads from the original stem.
Lester said that the Chicken Run was secure enough to let the new chickens run loose in it, then put them away in their temporary shelter for the night. I said that that this was a good idea but might need rethinking as I know chickens well enough to know that once they see the glorious tunnels running underneath Burdock City, that they will very happily take up residence in them, and that would including nest building and laying eggs.
 
I would have a go at clearing those burdocks would it not be for the rather large snake / snakes which also live there. But..... I have chatted to you for long enough. I need to water the seed trays, seedlings, and juvenile plantlings in the nursery, and then off out into Veg Plot 3 to do battle with the flea beetles. Upon a quick inspection this morning my eyes were also drawn to a very pretty row of orange coloured eggs, one row on top of the leaf, one row on the underneath of the leaf. Oh so now the cabbage white butterfly hatchlings, (caterpillars) will soon be partaking of our brassicas as well!
Not to worry, this life is better than sitting in an office or spending valuable hours of the day commuting to and fro work, this I shall keep telling myself as I brace myself to go face those that would eat our food before we do.
 
Bye for now,
Vx