This blog is mainly a rambling kind of diary of the transition from smallholderwannabe to smallholder.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Half Term Ramblings

We had booked to go and stay at the farm in Wales where we have been for the last few February half term breaks.  It feels like home from home now.  However, my husband's important meeting changed its date (rather late in the day) to the Monday of half term week so that meant that we could not go to Wales until the Tuesday.  Soooo....

My son and his family went on Friday night and stayed until Tuesday.  We overlapped by one meal and it was good to hear that young grandson really REALLY enjoyed himself.  It was his first time on a farm and to be honest, I wasn't sure how much he would take to all the animals around (and to the five dogs - I don't think he has ever met more than one at a time before) In fact he cried his eyes out because he didn't want to go home.  Son-in-law brought oldest granddaughter down on Monday.  They stayed overnight and then SIL left.  Granddaughter stayed until Thursday evening (getting up at 5.30 each morning to help with the animals...) when SIL fetched her home.  And we stayed until Sunday, giving us two days of peace and quiet.  At least the family all had fun and we really appreciated those two days on our own.

On the Saturday, I went to a chicken wholesaler and bought 5 little brown hens.  I'd taken my biggest cat basket with me to Wales just in case... The farm had a spare run and they set up a hen hotel for me (well, for the hens, actually) for the night. And we came home on Sunday and put the new girls in a temporary run until we get things re-jigged a bit.  They seem happy enough and one of them has laid two miniature eggs this week - about 35 grams and the older ones are laying eggs weighing about 75-80 grams.  Having lost my beautiful bantam crosses recently, I'm very pleased to have some new girls.

We spent most of our few days in Wales up on the moors.  We would have an early lunch and then go and park up in some of our favourite spots, go for a walk and then sit in the car with a cuppa from the flask (and some homemade biscuits) and read a book or do a sudoku in between admiring the fabulous views and chatting to the curious sheep.  We thought it was a very busy afternoon if more than one car/van/tractor passed us : )  We were fortunate that we had showers rather than solid rain so we were able to go for walks.  I was delighted to be able to go for a walk this year after tearing the cartilage in my knee last winter.  For a long time I thought that I'd never be able to go for a walk again...

And now I've been back at work for 5 days and the holiday is rapidly sinking into the "distant memory" category.  I never cease to wonder at how quickly that happens.

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hens and Half Term

Just tomorrow to go and it will be half term.   No school for a whole week.  Yay!! I am so looking forward to NOT being woken up by the alarm clock.

After the recent tragedy of something horrible killing my new little flock of pretty bantams, I'm hoping that I will be able to get some more hens during half term.  I could really use some more eggs as ours are not laying enough for us let alone my few customers as well.  I keep having to go to the shop and buy some eggs, which goes against the grain when I have 8 hens at home all eating well but not keeping to their part of the bargain.  My oldest hen has once again laid 2 eggs this week and 2 more hens, who are about 18 months younger, are not laying at all and haven't for a year now.  Mind you, you can be sure that within a couple of days of me buying eggs from the shop, there will be a little flurry of eggs laid and then I have to go sell them to one of my customers.  Those hens must have been having conversations with my contrary cat... : )


Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Happy news this time

I had a nice email just after Christmas to say that my name had come up in a draw for a box of porridge from Dorset cereals.  It has now arrived and it is lovely.  There are four boxes with ten single serving sachets each of "instant" porridge and two boxes of porridge oats. There are various flavours - with barley, honey, fruits.  My husband doesn't like porridge so I have it all to myself : )  I've been bringing in a sachet with some instant milk powder and making it in a mug with boiling water at school for my breakfast at break time.  It maybe does not come out as thick as making it in a microwave but leaving it to soak for a couple of minutes comes a close second.  Nice!  Thank you to Dorset cereals for several weeks' worth of lovely breakfasts.

Then, when I got home from school on Friday, there was a parcel waiting for me in a Jiffy bag.  I prodded and poked but couldn't decide what it was.  When I opened it, Heinz had sent me a bottle of salad cream (the size which is £2.24 in Asda) because I had entered a prize draw ages ago.  I can't decide why they sent me the actual bottle instead of a voucher.  Surely a voucher would have been cheaper for them than paying for the bottle and the padded envelope, paying somebody to put it in envelope and write and stick on the label and then pay for the postage.  I did have to laugh, though, as a bottle of salad cream was not what I was imagining when I was poking the parcel and trying to guess what was in it.  And I am very fond of Heinz salad cream although normally I won't pay more than Aldi and Lidl charge so this was a nice surprise. Now the weather has just got to warm up a bit so that I can grow some salad leaves and tomatoes etc to have my salad cream on : )