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Summer In The Garden

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Foody Fest!

Good morning.

I thought I'd just do a catch up with a few food things.

I've finally got round to some preserving, two jars of the gherkins which have done so well this year, sold a few and given away a couple. The pickled ones are now in the cellar store room, adding to the goodies in there!


I quite frequently make apple turnovers but decided to do cheese and ham ones this time and the boys found them very delicious, so after them trying them I still have a couple in the freezer for another day.


It was our local flower and produce show on Saturday. I managed to make the long journey to the Canolfan (for those of you who don't know I live directly opposite our community hall!) in the rain that was teeming down and had a go at entering one of the baking classes and a veg category with some success.

Camp fire cup cakes...


salted caramel and chocolate


and most surprisingly 3rd place for my cucumbers! They were huge and thought I stood no chance due to them looking more like marrows!


Still working my way through the gifted apples and so far have cored, peeled, sliced and frozen 9lbs! Still as many, and more, to get through. Hope to bottle more in syrup like last year and make cakes and puddings, too.


Ooh, a very exciting thing has occurred recently. I have been asked to contribute to the Thompson & Morgan website as a blogger. Amazed, chuffed, honoured and all that so watch our for my first ramblings! 

Right, better get on as the washer is calling.

Bye for now.

Lou.xx


Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Two Have Become Three.... Somehow!

This morning Jon and I talked about how today it is three years since we arrived at our little patch of paradise. We've achieved so much in that small amount of time but we've also enjoyed becoming part of the community, making the life we had dreamed for ourselves, even before the boys were born, and just loving our life. We still have more to do and more plans but let's see what happened this year.

We have managed to make our Airbnb rooms work - I say rooms as this morning I received the FIRST booking for the new room which is soooooo very exciting, our boys have grown up learning their Welsh and this week Harry has started senior school and Alfie is in his last year at primary.

If you can stick with this fairly long post I'd appreciate you sharing this part of our journey. It
is also a record for me so.... snce we moved here, as with most people I follow, share with etc, change is a massive thing - sometimes by choice and at others times by necessity. We have reached plan A B and C and may even now be on X Y or Z! I look at it as things evolving....

In no particular order but I'll start with what I think are the biggest changes - the outbuildings along with other structures in the garden.

Thanks to friends we now have a fab greenhouse. They weren't able to use it so we jumped at the chance as I've wanted one for soooo long - we decided the best and only place to site it was at the far end of the main veg patch.

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It took a few days in total to get a base put in, actually put the thing together, source and fit the glass, have raised beds built and a lovely bench added. This year it is housing some, hopefully, successful sweet potatoes, cucumber plant and some not so good tomato plants.


I have plans for it over winter, something I haven't really concentrated on before (all advice welcome) but, of course, I also have plans for it into next Spring, always have a plan!

We acquired from the same friends a summer house; it looked more like a beech hut so it had a re-paint and a re-fit and is now the Snug to be used by guests, visitors and us! 




The work Jon has undertaken on the second Airbnb room has been fab. It has been a fairly long process, finalising the layout along with time and finances required, and then I get to dress them for the expected guests after that!








I just love how the outside looks now. Jon built a lovely planter to divide the rooms, too.




It is now listed on Airbnb along with the first room and we hope for our first booking soon!

Inside the house we had visitors after the snow which arrived at the beginning of March.



We loved being able to take care of a couple of orphan lambs from our neighbours flock. Happy to report they are both well grown and healthy now; it was a fantastic experience for the boys to be a part of.




In July we finally managed to re-cover the polyhouse which was damaged by the storms the previous September. Because I wasn't able to use the polyhouse in the way I would have wished due to the weather, sowing and growing was started a little late but you just have to go with it and make the best - this may have had a detrimental effect on things but there is always net year!


We visited the Spring Festival at Builth Wells for the first time this year. We enjoyed the journey there and had a great day.





We had snow in December, too.



In sowing and growing harvests have been fairly good. From my early spuds I managed to get over 15lbs which I was really pleased with - maincrop yet to come...

These round courgettes will definitely be on my list for sowing next year. Love them.



Tomatoes have been a dis-aaaster dharling. Enough said,

....but the gherkins have been fab; however, note to self just one plant next year.




I don't tend to grow flowers but these came on a treat this year! Love it.



We, unfortunately, had our first animal attack but happily now have ten new Leghorn Ladies who are settling in very nicely and giving us a goodly amount of white eggs each day.




Well, as usual I could go on and on, maybe that's why my followers have fallen off.... I hope you enjoyed a little snap shot of some of the things we've got up to during our third year on our little homestead and maybe you'll take a look at some of my other posts. 

And my aim is still the same....


                                           



Bye for now.

Lou.xx


















Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Foghorn Leghorn Has Come Home To Roost!

Image result for foghorn leghorn




Last week we had our first EVER fox attack and lost our six remaining chickens. We had already decided that over the Bank Holiday weekend we would get some extra birds but we definitely had to do now!

I had Airbnb guests in and had to actually buy my first box of eggs for their breakfast since we had our first chooks in May 2016!

So last night Jon and his dad went to get ten Leghorns. We brought them home, put the boxes in the shed and clipped their wings before introducing them to the hen house.

Here they are this morning; they are a little bit skittish but settling down now.


I had a bit of fun with them this morning as we're keeping them in the one enclosure, not where the pond is, and I forgot to close the middle gate! OMG it took me a good ten minutes to get them back where they should be, especially the last one which got caught between the fencing. All good now, phew!

After a very low laying rate recently we've had four eggs today already and Jon has secured a 2-box a week order from somebody at work.

Exciting progress is being made on our second Airbnb room; we hope to have it listed and live for bookings by next weekend. Watch this space - eeek!

Hope you all had a good Bank Holiday Weekend.

Bye for now.

Lou.xx

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Sunset, Snug and Sunflowers.

Good morning. I'd sat down to finish this post when Jon arrived back from the saw mill with logs for the Winter woodpile so we have spent half an hour stacking those. Very satisfying.

My little patch of paradise is great right now; this was the sun setting over it the other night. Aaaahh, I soooo love where we live, we are very lucky and must always remember that.



I'm getting fairly regular harvests of things, not truck loads but with the second early spuds Alf and I took up a bit over 5lb from two plants the other day which is fab, but wait 'till the maincrop spuds come in!!



Some are already in flower and I'll be making sure my hessian sacks are clean and ready for storing them in the cellar. Very excited as I love the idea of having our own spuds in the cellar for whenever we want them for the next few months, fingers crossed.

The harvests are enough for me to be proud of and, again, I've really learnt lots this year ready for when I begin planning for next year, and boy do I like to plan.

Things I still have coming through are climbing peas; not sure what the harvest on those will be but I'm giving them a last go.


Talking of spuds, my second cropping ones for Christmas were planted out on the first days of this month and are already showing proper signs of life. I'll keep a really good eye on them in case of blight....


I ordered 2kg of tubers and this proved just a few too many for the containers/grow bags I have so I've given a few away to neighbours but still managed to plant about 17! Nom nom.

In the poly house I have some things growing away nicely; red and green lettuce in the drainpipe..


parsley to hopefully keep over winter...


 mizuma in the long planter..



and I've rather nervously decided to start off some spring Cabbage. It is looking ok just now and it'll need potting on this weekend. I've decided they will be planted out in some of the now empty tyres as I feel I will be able to look after them easily over winter. I hope to be able to keep anything from eating these ones!


I have this and another large cucumber out front to sell as I have plenty coming and need to make sure I have two for the local show at the beginning of September. You really don't have to wait too long for them to get this big, just a bit of patience; these are Marketmore. I sold two at the front door yesterday, too!



The kale is doing ok but not as well as I had hoped; I've it covered over with netting now, perhaps a little late, but this is also protecting some beetroot. Another lesson.


In the greenhouse are my four pepper plants and they have teeny, tiny fruit on so I think I'll move those into the poly house for some extra heat and help.



The tomato plants are still not heavy with fruit but it is coming. I've invested in some good quality feed and hope this will help. 



I've moved two of the plants outside to see if that makes a difference; I covered these over as I was nervous about birds getting them, and still am!



Alongside these two plants are my beautiful sunflowers.



These multi-head flowers are bloomin' gorgeous I think.

Now we have been working on a project that will be added to our Airbnb listings.



This is the summer house we have been giving a revamp for guests, and us, to enjoy.



We have the two comfy chairs, a small table with a little cloth and a fabulous storm lantern with a candle, not LED.



















On a small side shelf we have provided dominoes and postcards for people to send....


along with a radio, a drawing game and a couple of books.



We thought it would be fun to provide binoculars for bird watching, along with my old bird book from school, or for stargazing on a clear night.


We plan on getting a couple of throws for the chairs but right now it is quite warm in there. We really do hope our Airbnb guests will enjoy using it - the room has been ridiculously busy this month with hardly a vacancy which is FAB U LARSE! This is the view from The Snug up the garden which we hope they will also enjoy.



I've done some baking, apple turnovers yesterday with some of my bottled apples


and have dried sage I'd cut back. I love having fresh herbs in the garden and the house.


Harry is back from cadet camp so we are a complete unit again. Whilst he was away Alfie has been a star as I was unwell for a couple of days and he cleaned out my car, moved some things into the shed for Jon and went to the sheep market with our neighbour - properly earned his pocket money and then some. Harry is going to have to keep up!!

Today we may be taking a little trip out to collect a piece of furniture we have won on a well know auction site to go in the next Airbnb room. We are waiting delivery of beds that can be twin or a double to maximise business and then I have shopping to do for bedding and all the twidly bits, love that part of it, so Charlies in Aber look out because I'm a coming!

Right better crack on with something.

Bye for now.

Lou.xx