Thursday, 8 March 2018

Picking up the pace......

For the last five months, since my sudden hospital visit, small holding life has slipped sideways away from me. This has not been with intent, but life forces interfering, and disrupting, the pattern of our farm life.

Now I had not realised that this had happened until recently, when I found myself adrift and without much purpose. Between my hospital experience and the end of the year I had plenty to occupy me, such as getting over the shock of the unexpected hospital stay, and the Christmas choir concerts I was involved with. I had no time, or energy, to look after the farm, Lester was busy with getting used to the work, and routine, of his online work with the UK although he was still managing the animals. We did harvest seven sheep (mutton) for the freezer, but that was about all we did. My larder was full from the canning, dehydrating, and freezing of the previous months of harvesting, which was good, but no more was being added. The supplies were not being maintained. It was winter. It did not matter.

All the Veg Plot plantings of various brassicas, leeks, onions, chard, cabbage, beetroot, and kohl rabi did survive though, but they had been planted during September, before my health faltered. The weather looked after them through the winter, with plenty of rain to keep them watered, and all have grown well. This is the first time we have grown vegetables through the winter, and we shall do so again. The only downside is having to go outside and harvest the vegetables when the weather is cold, wet, and/ or frosty. We did have vegetable supplies. Not as much as I had intended, but at least we had a supply of homegrown produce.

All the seeds I had planted indoors and outside before I went into hospital died through neglect during my recovery time, and the project of growing seeds in the Half Barn never got started, the place intended for this project being taken up the sprawl of my fabric stash.



You can see the seed trays on the table. These are the remains of the Winter Seed Project, which never happened. 

Not to worry, I did not fret and fuss and laze away January and February, because I rediscovered my love of crochet and spent many happy hours making myself various things. I also picked up my patchwork again, and found that through the difficulties of the last few months I seem to have become more creative. The house is starting to reflect this new burst of creativity. It is finally starting to feel like home after having spent the last ten years as 'Work in Progress'. Such is life when living in a renovation project. 

But although the house is starting to look like a home, all that creativity will not contribute to future food stores for us. I think it is best I start clearing off that table and start resurrecting the Seed Planting Project, and also start work on getting some replenishment to the DIY food larder supplies. Making a start by getting some of the dried beans rehydrated and canned tonight. Overnight soaking first, then canning tomorrow. As for the seeds.....my head is totally disengaged from the subject of seeds at the moment, so I need to refresh it by looking at last year's planting files. It would also help if I cleared off the table so I can put the seed trays on it when they are planted. 

All it all, it has been an odd six months, with the weather being awful for most of the time. The sun has come out. Our spirits are lifting. Onwards............

.... we now have five cows.....two calves (one male, one female). Sharing the mum's milk with the calves, and four litres coming into the house daily, the rest going into the tummies of the calves.  Made 4 litres (approx 1 gallon) of yoghurt yesterday.  Getting the cheese making equipment out. Bought 50lbs of  flat weight training weights from Amazon, which arrived today so I can have a 'proper' cheese press instead of using bags of flour and sugar and/or cans of beans to press the whey out of the cheese. I have also started clearing out the back kitchen to make way for the Cheese Making Project. I feel the need to be more organized, which is something I am not naturally inclined to be. 

It is has been a lovely day here today. I spent the afternoon at the Knit and Natter group I have recently joined. Just a group of women, sometimes knitting, crocheting, sewing, but mostly having a chat about things, all sitting in the environment of a small village shop selling vintage products. Offloading life's'cares, sharing the positives, having time out. Lovely!

Thankyou for sharing time with me,
may your path ahead be smooth,
bye for now,

Vx 


13 comments:

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Sorry that the hospital stay threw you a bit off course, but it does sound as if you made the most of things. And at least it was during the slower time of year as far as gardening and such goes. A gallon is a lot of yogurt! What do you do with it all?

Vera said...

LISA, although I got detached from the farm for a few months I do feel that I did not waste that time. but instead reinstated into my life things that were important to me but which had been forgotten during the renovation work. As for the yoghurt..... a gallon makes 12 pots, which means one each per day for the both of us over a 6 day period....unless I have more than one per day, which I am likely to do because DIY yoghurt tastes so much better than commercially made yoghurt, especially if make with the milk from non commercial cows!

DUTA said...

Things that happen suddenly and unexpectedly can indeed be traumatic.
Judging by your projects and plans, you have successfully recovered from trauma. You seem to be doing the right things (like joining the Knit and Natter group).
Good Luck with all the projects on your agenda!

Vera said...

DUTA, having projects to look forward keeps life interesting!

northsider dave said...

Totally agree. Having projects to look forward keeps life interesting. What gets done today gets done. If it doesn't get done today. It gets done tomorrow. If it doesn't get done tomorrow. Doesn't really matter.

Rhodesia said...

Sound like you are pretty much back on track again. I agree it has been a horrible winter and we have been waterlogged, thank goodness we are not near a river and high up. I have had carrots, parsnips and Jerusalem artichoke survive the muddy vegetable garden and luckily with potatoes, pumpkins and frozen beans we have not had to buy any vegetables for home use.
Take care and enjoy sewing and crochet, both of which I also enjoy and must find more time for. I also love painting and my easel stands untouched in my office for longer than I care to think. Have a good weekend Diane

Vera said...

DAVE, what a good philosophy to have, and one that I also try to live by!

DIANE, hope you have a good weekend....perhaps some painting then? or sewing? or crochet?!!

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

While we know that we are only human, we smallholders are always surprised when we become ill enough to be hospitalised! I suppose the enforced break gives us time to be more reflective and , in your case, creative too. You are doing so well and are starting to get back on track, just keep looking after yourself too.
Gill

Vera said...

GILL, such kind words, thankyou.

Theresa Young said...

Sounds like your finding your path. Take Care..

Old School said...

Spring is such a powerful thing, isn't it? Glad you are on the upswing, gathered up in the push to sprout and bloom and bask in the sun.

Vera said...

OLD SCHOOL....very sorry but I accidentally deleted your comment, but thanks anyway. Spring is creeping up on us here despite the grotty weather.

Vera said...

OLD SCHOOL......... and as you can see, your comment un-deleted itself! And I love the thought of 'sprouting, and blooming, and basking in the sun'