Saturday, 2 January 2010

Review of The Year 2009 - Part Two

LH 'weighing' a pig!
The month of May came up on us fast, we had full diaries and so much to do. We started the month setting off for the village of Chitterne to do a pig course and dip our toes in the waters to see if we could be pig farmers. The day long course was brilliant, meeting lots of like minded people. It was a full concentrated day of learning to look after pigs, marketing your pigs and it set us on a path we are enjoying thoroughly.
The week after this we jetted off for a well earned holiday to Alcudia for a week of sun and relaxation, we knew we had to make the most of this, there would be no more lounging around when we got back. Jason held the fort and continued the work on the farm. It was slightly surreal to be lying baking on a beach discussing the merits of pigs for bacon, pork or just breeding, but this gave us the sudden realisation that we were turning into farmers! Hey ho, hey ho, it's off to build a chicken house I go!
Then it was back to work, with the building of the chicken house to fulfill the next part of our plan. Work went on right up to the wire, and in fact the chickens arrived before the house was finished.
New arrivals being inspected by Sophie and Archie But we mucked in and they became part of our family in some very unexpected ways! June was a lovely month, we had eggs from the chickens every day, nasty Mr Fox tried to run off with Latte but my Hero (Lovely Hubby) and his sidekick, Sophie gave chase and rescued my lady from the jaws of death. We helped organise a surprise party in Manchester for my parents 50th anniversary. And on the 10th our Welsummers hatched from their eggs in the little pet shop in Thame (I visited them every week, not really knowing they would be mine, but hoping). We sold our first eggs - result, and built ourselves a shed.

We harvested beetroot and early potatoes and then to finish the month of June we picked up lovely mum-in-law Jessie from Luton airport to spend a fortnight on the farm. Although registered blind and almost 80, she mucked in and helped with household chores to free us up for outside work and washed and sorted our hundreds of harvested potatoes. Truly a country girl at heart.

Alan went to Thame and bought me the last four Welsummers whilst I was out doing a Farmers Market, so I came home to a lovely surprise, at first they lived in our new little Eglu and formed the tight little band that they are today.

And right at the end of the July a very special little girl arrived - Rosy. Followed one day later by my parents for a one week working holiday.

And work them we did, during the first week of August we erected the polytunnel, with LH virtually singlehandedly putting up all the framing and supports and then they helped to fill it with raised beds, manure and soil.
Almost complete - just needs doors.

Then the 'piece de resistance', they moved in the tomato plants.

We spent the rest of August planting out the polytunnel and putting in some late crops in the outdoor raised beds. We went to Derbyshire for a family wedding and turned it into a little mini break, thanks to Jason's farm-sitting skills. The only low point of the month was the main chicken house getting infested with Red Mites and a battle to eradicate them was begun.
We ended the month churning out jars of damson jam from our inherited trees, the first of our preserves for the winter months to come. All our veggies were from our own land and the thrill of eating our own crops has never diminshed. Every meal contained mostly home-grown food and our tastebuds could tell!

Part Three will follow tomorrow.

Sue xx

3 comments:

  1. Fascinating for latecomers like me to get the 'backstory' like this, Sue. All that effort! Even if he has an engineering background, putting up a polytunnel single-handedly is very impressive. Two of us struggled with ours..!

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  2. I can't believe it was July that Rosy arrived really doesn't seem that long ago. Enjoying your catch up, take care, Sarah x

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  3. I love reading this Sue, you both deserve pat's on the back, look forward to the rest.

    lynn xx

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