Monday, 22 July 2013

Catch ups

The chickens have found a new dustbath. Unfortunately it happens to be the opened bag of old cement which was waiting to be taken down to the dump. The bag has now been put away out of their sight.  We were not fussed with having to deal with solidified hens. 

Bonny, our calf, has decided to be difficult at night. Wanting to come in at five, and not being able to until her mum is brought in from the other field at seven, she has taken it upon herself to be difficult, which means not allowing us to put her on a rope to lead her back to the Tall Barn. Round the field we chased her the other night until the heat got to us and we abandoned the task, leaving her to stand at the gate with a puzzled look in her eye. Trying to catch animals in this heat is a monstrous task. 

Elise, her mum, has an armful of fresh grass in the morning to help ease her into the awareness that she is going to be milked shortly. First thing, at 6 am, you can find me out in the field scything away. A few days ago I overslept, and Lester had to go straight into milking. But no. Elise would not let him. Backed away from the offered grain bucket. Was in a thorough sulk. Trying to milk a cow who does not let you anywhere near her udder and is in a thorough mood is a project which needs to be abandoned quite quickly. This lasted through the evening milking as well, which also did not happen. It was good for Bonny though because she got two full feeds of milk. The next morning I cut the grass. Graciously she allowed herself to be milked, so back to normal then.

Guzzy, Maz, and Blue took themselves off on a jolly down to our river beach when I was busy in the veg plot. Heard Gussy barking away in the distance, knew they were up to mischief. Do not want the rottweiller girls to get used to going off by themselves, so went and got them. They are now indoors when I am working outside. 

I have a whistle. It is a penny whistle. I have decided to have a go at learning to play it....oops, it is nearly 6 am, so have to go cut some grass for Elise....will carry this on later on..... is now 10.30 pm, and went the day well. Elise milked out alright as did the goats. All gave us in total just over a gallon of milk. Have just received several packets of various types of cheese cultures from the USA. Made a soft goats cheese with Flora Danica-Mesiphillic starter culture yesterday. It is yummy, much better than my efforts with apple cider vinegar. Also made a quart (1 litre) of yoghurt with ABY3 Probiotic Yoghurt culture, and I put that in the dehydrator to set. Four hours later, and that turned out yummy as well. So, having another go at cheddar tomorrow. 

Cut the path to the river which was overgrown with brambles and nettles. Having to plough my way through that lot to get to the river beach was becoming quite unpleasant. Only got a couple of horrid bites but the huge horse fly that buzzed me didn't manage to get a sip of my blood, mainly because I aborted the mission as soon as it started harassing me, but I had cut the path anyway, and it was time for lunch, and it was very hot, and I was cooking quite nicely. 

Veg plot doing alright. Not as good as fellow bloggers, but good enough for us. We have a long growing season, so should be able to achieve a reasonable size harvest this year. Have already pressure canned several jars of new potatoes, next will be the beetroots, soon will be the beans. Gradually we are building a larder. Have not planted lettuce because they bolt in the heat, as do the radish. But the tomatoes are coming along, but apparently need Epsom salts to help them with their  magnesium deficiency, as can be seen by their lower yellowing leaves. Have got two nice green peppers, (not picked), and several hot peppers (which I don't know what to do with), tinsy little aubergine fruits (don't know what to do with them either), and loads of carrots (still in ground). 

Re the larder: Now have several jars of dehydrated mushrooms (on offer at the supermarket), courgettes (on offer), apples, bananas (nearly all eaten), peppers (on offer), celery (not such a success but being used). Now feel experienced enough with the dehydrator to tackle our coming harvests.
Have also pressure canned several jars of various meat based meals, which have turned out quite tasty. 
This has been year of learning how to build a proper food larder, and my Excalibur dehydrator and All American Pressure Canner are now 'can't do withouts'.This smallholding life requires tons of work, but in equal measure gives tons of pleasure. And now I am going to flop into bed. 5am will be arriving shortly!


John Gray said...

I wondered where you were veraX
And plonk
There you were

Denise said...

Sounds like you are being kept ultra-busy, Vera. Still making time for a spot of mischief though, I hope?!

Tommo said...

The cool of an early morning is a good time to work - not that I'd know, of course.

Vera said...

John, x

Denise, mischief is never far away from either me or Lester!

Tommo, bless you, hope you are enjoying your new bike.