Sunday, 5 April 2015

Veggies? Um........

Everyone else seems to be pushing on towards the new growing season, getting the land ready, the compost sorted, seeds bought and some planted, and there is a general air of busyness in the blogging world especially in regards to smallholding / homesteading folk. But not here. We are still trying to catch up with ourselves, although we have bought some seeds, but not all. The land has not been tilled, but we have cut the front grass, but the flower beds remain full of things which are native to this part of the world. In other words, they are full of weeds.

Oh dear. Normally we are raring to go, often planting ahead of when we should in our eagerness to get things growing and sometimes paying the price because the weather has done a downturn and rotted the seedlings.

So why have we been slow this year? Because our minds have been occupied with other things, all of which are mostly connected to the house, although the pigs have shown a consistent naughtiness about wanting to get out of their paddocks as do some of the lambs and sheep when they are out in the field. If there is a weakness in the fence, then they will find it. The weather has been unfriendly as well, which does not encourage us to make the effort outside. But really, in truth, the mental effort of getting the house sorted out is taxing our energies. Not to worry, once this phase of building work is done, then we can relax and enjoy being snug and tidy, and already I am feeling more organised in the kitchens, with the back kitchen / larder area starting to develop specific working areas which speed things up a lot. The front kitchen is not finished yet, but already it is looking better than I ever imagined.

The dining room / music room / snug is coming along. All the walls have been sorted out, and the floor is now having its tiles laid. All the old cupboards, which were inset into the walls, have been refreshed in plaster and oak and are going to be open bookshelves. We have bought the doors for the room, and they are in oak as well. The white walls, oak ceiling, oak woodwork and oak door will be a good backdrop to the patchwork furnishings which I shall be making. The room should look warm and cosy, and wrap itself around you so you will feel protected from the outside world as if you were in a cacoon.

Meanwhile, with our head spaces being taken up with the indoor work, the smallholding is wallowing in a trough of non-doing. Not to worry. Our meat supplies are very, very, good, with more supplies to come from our animals this year. This we are doing well with. But we do eat a lot of vegetables, and this we are not going to do well with this year because there is too much else to do. Not to worry, hopefully next year we can reduce the high crest of our meat yield, and pull up out of the trough our vegetable yields so we can be on a more even keel with both types of produce. Such is the life of a smallholder who carries both meat and veg.....getting the right balance requires a steep learning curve, with inexperience making for lots of errors of judgement.

I have also caught up with myself in regards to the high workload that running a smallholder's kitchen requires, and am finding that I get easily bored if I have nothing to do. This I found out after a short spell of ill health brought on by the  amount of wood dust in the house recently, which I couldn't help but inhale. Lester insisted I do nothing for a couple of days. I lasted one whole morning before I was back on my feet, shuffling around for sure, but I could not for the life of me stay in bed and slouch. It would seem that smallholding life is addictive, that the long list of things which have to be done each day at first seem endless, making one feel bogged down with the weight of things to do. But over time this work becomes an enjoyable way of life so that even when I was given time out I didn't take it. As I say, I have become addicted to this way of life..........

Somewhere amongst the days ahead I shall be squeezing another birthday in and I shall be landing up two years short of seventy. When I was younger seventy seemed the most ancient of ages to be, but now I have arrived at this age it hardly seems any age at all. People often look back on their lives, saying that they would prefer to be this age or that age. I don't. I always seem to have been striving towards a settled future, which I have never had. Perhaps that is the key to not allowing age to be a noose around one's neck, to keep on accepting the challenges that the Universe lays down before one which makes for a very interesting life indeed. It would be nice, when one's eyes are to be closed for the very last time, to look back and think that one has got value out of this particular lifetime.

Anyway, must be on with the day. Going to do a bit of painting on the ceiling of the Half Barn and front kitchen, Lester is going to be sanding the beams in the dining room/ music room, I want to go out and do some work in the front garden, we shall probably have an after lunch nap because it is Sunday, I have a fridge of milk which needs sorting out, and I want to start on the curtains for the front of the oak kitchen units.

I hope you have a lovely Sunday, and wishing you a happy birthday, belated or otherwise, because we are all going to be one year older this year! WahoooO!

Bye for now.

Vx

PS. Tim, thanks for the nudge. x






18 comments:

DUTA said...

Happy Birthday to you!
You've accomplished quite a lot in your smallholding.
May you achieve whatever goals you still have, inside and outside the house, smoothly and efficiently!

rusty duck said...

I am similarly torn between house and garden at the moment, it is impossible to do both well. There has to be an element of accepting that something will have to wait!
Have a very lovely birthday Vera.

northsider dave said...

I missed your posts Vera. Glad to read your making plans on your smallholding.

Rhodesia said...

We are also behind in the garden this year. It has been too cold for me to get out there. I have cut the grass once but it needs doing again though at the moment it is too wet.

Happy Easter and I hope you are feeling better. Diane

Ohiofarmgirl said...

happy upcoming birthday!!! i never want to be younger - or another age - either. i'm happy where i am. i'm very excited to hear about your work inside - i think you've finally hit a momentum and need to keep it up. i'm hoping to work outside today.. so i'll be one of those veg bloggers soon!
:-)

Kev Alviti said...

I agree with you about the addiction of it all. The more I do the more I want to do! I wouldn't worry about not gardening much tgis year if you haven't got time but I'd be tempted to buy some weed fabric to cover the area to stop the weeds taking hold and to make it easier next year.

Vera said...

Duta, thank you for your kind words. I tried to have a read of your blog, but although the blog itself came up on the screen none of the actual blog itself did. Will try again later....

Jessica, thank you for your best wishes, and I am so glad that someone else has trouble with trying to everything that needs doing!

N Dave, I have missed being touch with what is happening on your patch as well!

Diane, it has been warmer here today, but there is still a chilly wind hanging about which makes us keep our thermals on......thanks for your best wishes, and I hope that your grass does not romp too far ahead of you and your attempts to mow it!

OFG, I like my age, and I am glad that you also feel the same about your age. It means that we are in a good place in our lives. Great read over on your blog about the car throwing a sicky, but sorry about the unexpected expense it gave you. Vx

the Goodwife said...

Happiest of birthdays to you! I feel the same about age. I don't look back, only forward, forward. I've never in my life understood those folks who say, "Oh I'd give anything to be back in my 20's or back in high school." I have no regrets, and am so thankful for the life I've been given and wouldn't go backwards for anything!

Ps, I can't wait to see the pictures of your finished room. It sounds so beautiful with those white walls and all that exposed oak wood!

Vera said...

Kev, good idea about the weed fabric, but we have pigs who are keeping the weeds down, plus are acting as rotovating machines!

The Goodwife, thanks for the birthday wishes....and I think we are so blessed to be always looking forward and not back. Keeps me young, and as you stack up the years you will also stay young in heart!

Horst in Edmonton said...

Happy Easter Vera, its nice to here that things are coming along at the smallholding. Spring is starting to settle in here and it won't be long before we can get in the garden. Hope you get to put in your veg garden soon so that you can have some great vegetables to eat this fall.

Tim said...

Not nudging... just concerned...
now...
buy yourself a PanicSonic and join the rest of the "bread when you want it" fraternity...
and Hippo Birdies in advance...
I'm three years behind you towards the end of this month!
And put down green manures on the unworked bits of the potager...
and, for this year, do the allotment thing and grow the things that are unavailable, unless you grow your own...
or too damned expensive...
and loads of tomatoes, because they are the most useful fruit of all!!

Vera said...

Horst, nice to hear from you and hope you are well.

Tim, bless you as ever, and thanks for the good advice. I don't think you realise how much you inspire me to carry on, and I much value the comments you make as I also do my other fellow bloggers. It can be a bit of a ploddy pathway sometimes when one is building a smallholding and renovating at the same time, but this year should see an end to a lot of the work so hopefully next year we shall be at full steam ahead for veggies, writing, and everything else we hope to achieve! And a happy birthday to you too, for whenever your birthday is this year.

Vera said...

TIM......Happy birthday for the end of this month!!! Have just re-read your comment.....

Tim said...

Vera, when you get the room to house someone else...
get onto the Workawayer website.
A friend put us on to them...
you provide board and lodging and the Workawayer returns that with 25 hours of work... a week.
We have just got our first one...
absolutely superb...
that extra pair of hands has enabled us to achieve in the past week...
what would have taken a month.
He's doing three and a half days for his twenty-five hours... and went to La Rochelle for the w/e.
It isn't always the case that they are good...
there are always freeloaders... but you can just ask them to move on...
and leave a bad review on the site...
thus warning others...
we are going for "older" people...
but the 79year old is fully booked for this year...
however she is taking bookings for her 80th year...
her reviews are amazing!!
But my feeling is that it wouldn't half make us feel inadequate!!!!
If you are mainly Organic growers, you could also get yourselves a Wwoofer!!

Anonymous said...

A Happy Birthday also. Wish I lived in the neighborhood for I'd come and help you weed-but alas I live in Connecticut. I always check for an update and am glad to see you're back!

Kerry said...

I'm always torn between the house and the garden, but when the sun shines I have to be outside. Have a wonderful birthday and don't forget to treat yourself to something special x

Vera said...

Tim, thanks for the info, and have had a look on the website. It looks most interesting, so we are thinking about having someone in to help once we have the downstairs bedroom done, which should be in a couple of months. It would certainly help with our workload this year. We do have a lot to do apart from the normal smallholding and renovating work, and having someone in to help would definitely make things easier for us. Thanks, you are truly a gem.

Vera said...

Anonymous from Connecticut, hi, and thanks for your offer of helping out!

Kerry, we managed to get outside today after having spent the weekend indoors painting, and it was lovely. As for my birthday treat.....I think a stroll around our farm will be all I need to have!