Wednesday, 14 October 2020
Monday, 5 October 2020
but I'm taking my time and enjoying it and not feeling forced to be out there all the time because frankly right now its just too wet!
Monday, 28 September 2020
I really am loathe to start with my usual how are you all doing opener. Things are detreriorating with the pandemic in many places just now which is very sad indeed; we really have gone back many steps. I continue to feel very guilty about not wanting to go out more than necessary, yet want the boys to get their education in school as I think that is so important - I can't do a good enough job with the home schooling. I've been shopping and stocked up, sensibly, on top of the shopping trip I made last week so hope to not need going again for a couple of weeks at least apart from fresh fruit an veg if needed until the garden get going with autumn growing.🤞 We're going back a little to how we cooked, baked and ate in the early days of lockdown so I feel this will start to make me feel a little more comfortable. I hope with the nights drawing in that people MAY beginto stay in more and help with slowing the spread of infection but who knows.
I continue to say we're doing our own thing andTracy at Our Smallholding Adventure talks about here in her latest post, what we are dealing with right now IS right now, normal for the foreseeble and we just have to deal with it - keep on keeping on.
Anyway, here's me cheering myself up with inside and out of my little patch of paradise.
If you read my last post the week was set to end with some really warm days and it did, however this weekend there was a distinct change. We'd already lit the wood burner on Friday night...
the decision was made to light the Rayburn; yes, the old girl was fired up!
The woodpile has been ready for this moment for a good few weeks now, even having a third extension plus roof so the Welsh rain doesn't ruin Jon and the boys' stacking efforts, so we're good to go for a lovely warm Winter indoors.
Still seem to be fruiting and just today I saw these others in the poly tunnel. They are some of the runners I've planted - obviously one pot had some seeds in it already which I didn't realise!
My tomatoes are just about coming to an end. They are finally ripenening and read somewhere that laying the plants down can help with the process so giving that a go.
We haven't had anywhere near as many tomatoes as we would have liked but what we have had have been much better quality than in the past so maybe I'm getting there, finally!
That's enough of my ramblings and, as usual, I say stay safe.
Friday, 18 September 2020
How are you?
I'm ok although had a little bit of a wobble recently and today I'm not much better here and there. I'm concerned we're surely heading toward a second wave as infection rates are up everywhere- because of this I am having problems with conflicting feelings.
I'm really happy our boys are back at school as I think they need to be, especially when they were off for so long and also the youngest is settling in so well to his new surroundings. However, I am tentatively preparing for when I really don't want to go out for a while which makes me feel guilty.... We will see how things develop but it doesn't harm to be ready. I don't want there to be another lockdown as the people who will suffer the most are those who are already in financial trouble.
The weather here is glorious for September and set to be so for the next few days.
I've dragged myself outside, yes I know I should have more enthusiasm for my little patch of paradise, over the last couple of days to do some jobs in the poly tunnel before its been getting too hot and things are changing in there. (Sorry this is a bit dark.)
I have something quite exciting - the first squash I've ever managed to grow!
This is the space I have now cleared, for what I'm not sure.
Dough is in the fridge, too, so I can make the pizzas fresh later ✅ and the bread loaves are cooling.
Didn't manage to get outside, apart from to feed the chooks and collect the eggs. Never mind, the weather is forecast to be good over the weekend so I'll get stuff done then.
Saturday, 5 September 2020
Wednesday, 2 September 2020
Good morning everybody.
Well here we are in September with the nights certainly getting chillier and darker quite a lot earlier; I love the colours of the seasons changing, too.
Autumn and Winter are my very favourite seasons and I can't WAIT to get the Rayburn and wood burner lit. The first I think we'll light in the middle of this month. Sooo helps to cut down on winter outgoings as we do as much cooking on and in it as we can, it heats the water and keeps some of upstairs warm, or we put on an extra sweater! The boys love coming home to hot chocolate and cake in the warmth of the living room, curtains shut and I love sitting in there with Jon at night time chatting or listening to music. Even though the TV is only up two steps in a room off the living room it's a lovely quiet space if the boys want to do something else.
I have to admit to loving the winding down of the year and this year is one that surely needs to come to an end so we can look forward to a better, though I suspect still very different, 2021.
My usual question at the start of proceedings is how are you all getting on? I know a lot of people are describing our situation as lockdown having been lifted, but here on our little homestead we are pretty much behaving the same way, still living the dream in our own way here on my little patch of paradise.
(Apologies for the cement mixer but work in progress!)
We're only going to the shops for things we need, no browsing for fun; August Bank Holiday has just passed and we drove into Aber on the Sunday and it was extremely busy so we got what was needed and, as we say, got the hell out of dodge!
Just now shopping involves getting school supplies for our boys. With one who is 14 the week they go back and currently 5ft 4 it's proving a little tricky getting regulation school clothes as we're on the brink of the age range seeing as he's already in 15 - 16 yrs shirts, and don't get me started on trousers! Things will be very different for them, I think I mentioned I'll be driving them to school but I'm still waiting to hear that we can transfer Alfie to join Harry at his school in Aber.🤞 They will be in school next week for two or three days but we have no dates for attendance confirmed beyond that as yet. We expect there'll be some blended learning ie. home as well as in school but again this information has not come to us yet.
Here on the homestead Jon is continuing work on the new Airbnb listing. It's coming on very well indeed and we are just planning the colours, layout and style and as we plan on having some much missed family to stay with us over Christmas, no not apologising for saying it, we're looking forward to it being very welcoming and cosy for them.
Harvests have really not been too bad this year. Still have lots of carrots to come along with the Maris Piper maincrop spuds which seem to be really good already. I was a little concerned about the spuds due to the little tomato things growing on them again this year but was confident it wasn't blight although they also seemed to be dying back a bit early - my diary said they shouldn't be ready before Sept 19 about. Aaaaanyhow, I decided to cut them down to soil level and when I harvested two plants yesterday I came in with 4lbs of quality produce which I thought was a good amount.
(The bags in the background are the 2nd cropping ones.)
Of course, I have the second cropping ones planted which will be going into the poly tunnel at some point; the growing bags will probably take the place of the butternut squash that took over the corner for so long.
I FINALLY have quite a few tomatoes ripening, from different varieties, too; they seem to have taken an absolute age so hope to pick those in the next couple of days; not enough to process into anything but never mind another year maybe.
I took up my beetroot last week; not loads this year but hope to have a late entry of some I have planted outside. I used the fresh along with some from the freezer which I grew last year. I had enough to make a couple of jars of relish, plus some for tasting, from a recipe by Thane Prince, and it was yummy; this will be perfect to go with cold meats at Christmas, oops there it is again! Not much preserving going on but some.
The outside beds and areas are beginning to look a little bit naked. The empty tyres where I grew my early spuds will be for onions and garlic I think, should be enough space.
One of my great successes this year is definitely the kale. Constantly picking, rinsing and popping it into a bag for the fridge.
Maryline and I from Rural and Rustic were just saying that an eye needs to be kept on poly tunnel temperatures just now to ensure the more delicate things are still happy. I'll be popping out shortly to feed the toms and few other things when I do the rounds; we're having some rain here today so the outdoor plants should be ok.
Right, today is the last no-screen day for the boys and Wednesday is also Monopoly Day; we normally have lunch then start and play until about 3 or 3.30pm.
Enjoy your day and I hope you enjoyed more of my ramblings.
#stayhomeandstaysafe where you can.
Bye for now
Saturday, 15 August 2020
I'm a bit behind as I started this post on Monday!😂 That was the day Jon went back to work after his annual 2 week summer break.! I have a busy life normally but there is always a bit more going on when he is at home all day.
I'm a planner and he is a doer so we fit together very well; I have to take care when asking for something to be done so I can allow for associated mess and clean up time - when I ask he has the habit of starting it fairly sharpish!
As I wrote most of this whilst sitting in the garden on the tree seat, it was a balmy evening and the sky was pale blue mottled with clouds after a day of thunderstorms and rain. There was not a breath of wind, Jon was planing a seat made out of tree trunks for our elderly sheep-farming neighbour and our new sheep dog pup was running around as unsure of the noise.
On evenings as such it is so very hard to remember that Covid-19 and the pandemic are still having an adverse effect on our lives. I say adverse as we are generally still managing to live our lives the way we were before.
I started to think about the following definitions, I think I have them correct, as whilst we have been, and still are, in lockdown we are as ever doing as much for ourselves as we can. I began thinking the other day about these terms and as the UK begins to relax the rules of lockdown.
This is where you produce, obtain or already possess what you need - where you have enough.
This is about your skills and abilities with aspirations of non-dependency, not about having enough of something.
We are no where near totally self-sufficient regarding our food but in lots of ways we are self-reliant. I know some people may think the two are the same but they are a little different. We are almost self-sufficient in the food we like to eat in the Summer months. We are self-sufficient in the wood we need to heat our wonderful Rayburn over Winter as we can acquire timber from the sawmill where Jon works. In turn we are self-reliant in not relying on paid-for energy to heat our home or water and, if we so desire, we can cook all our food and meals with the Rayburn or on the top of the living room wood burner; obviously we have other appliances that add to our energy bill.
What we are truly self-reliant in is various skills around the house and our little homestead so we very rarely need to call a tradesman. Thanks to Jon's talents we never need a plasterer, painter/decorator, locksmith, plumber, carpenter, fencer, builder, tiler, roofer, glazier but sometimes need an electrician. Jon has been know to sweep the chimneys but both the Rayburn and wood burner have had the professional treatment once since we came to Bronllan.
I can't imagine how much money we have saved over the 17 years we have been together!
If I'm being honest I was never happier than in the early days; when the PM made the historic announcement 4 months ago "you must stay at home" I adhered to the rules very strictly.
We live 13 miles from the seaside town of Aberystwyth and are now seeing more people out and about, including tourists. We're going back to not feeling very keen at all on going into the town so I now wear a mask in the shops; there are opinions about the use and efficacy but it does make me feel a bit more comfortable in places where people are not social distancing.
So, as far as food is concerned we're trying harder with the self-sufficient thing especially now we have the poly tunnel; that has been a real learning curve as we had it just at lockdown and I'm already looking forward to producing food over Winter and into next year! Planning, always planning.
I hope to preserve some of the things I grow; I've a dehydrator on my birthday list. I've always thought it important to have food in stock in case a situation arises, as recently. There'll always be dried goods in the house and will persevere in our aims to keep us all provided for, be it through sufficiency or reliance.
Anyway, talking of sowing and growing, here are a few photos from the garden this morning.
I've borrowed some bean poles from friends so I can support the runner beans I'm trying to grow in the poly tunnel, not sure how they will do but whatever! I have little rubber hats on top of the poles to protect the tunnel roof.
I've planted out nine more dwarf bean plants as these seem to be doing better outside than in, again, see how that goes. .
I've fed the tomatoes with my homemade nettle feed for the first time today. I had to dilute it 1:10 before using it and it will last a while as I made 24 pints of it!
My tomatoes are just beginning to ripen; here are some of the variety Black Russian.
In the back right corner you can just see something coming up and they are Snowball turnips.
The corn outside the poly house is coming along really nicely, as are the beans sharing the bed - can't say the same about the squash in the middle!
So, today is Saturday just after 8am. Jon is outside painting the listing with the youngest, I've fed the chooks and looking forward to a day of indoor jobs today. It's cooler outside and I've been and taken a quick look at everything. I'll probably go out later and bring in a few goodies like some fresh spuds, kale, blueberries to add to the others in the freezer and salad for lunch; some is going to seed and this will give up some space for other planting to provide us with eatables over the Winter.
As ever, stay safe, enjoy your weekend and hope the weather is not too hot, cold or wet for you in the coming days.
Bye for now,