Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Harry Larry and Mo ... and a little advice from Amelia

Harry, Larry and Mo the Chinese Grey goslings are getting big now, they don't even sleep with Mum anymore, she's got completely fed up with them not walking up the steep ramp into the henhouse at night.  They sit outside the house each night until we go out and gently herd them towards the Goose Hoose (Lovely Hubby is Scottish and the nickname for the house has stuck).

They don't mind sleeping alone, they just seem to need to be escorted there!!

It's very hard to get a photo of them, they stay close together usually but tend to stretch and march in all directions.

They are tall and long now, tall enough to be already watching for danger to keep their chickeny friends safe.  They get on really well with all the chickens, after all they think they are chickens!!

They like our company but don't like to be cuddled, if you pick them up for too long they will poo on you, and goose poo is not like chicken poo as my jeans can testify!!

Getting them to pose for photos is virtually impossible, so I had a word with Amelia the Amber Star...

 ..."this is how you do" it she said .......

"oh...like this" ..... says Harry ....

"should I honk for effect ......

.... or just  look Mum straight in the eye?"

*** *** ***

They've been a wonderful addition to the smallholding, teaching us so much with their funny goosy ways.   Although their names are Harry, Larry and Mo we have a sneaking suspicion that they are all girls....... oh I do hope so, so much easier if they are and think of all those lovely big eggs, now that will make the chickens jealous!

Sue xx

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Before and After with Suky's Help

This was the bed at the right hand side of the front of our delightful little 1930's bungalow yesterday morning.  Lovely Hubby had put the edging boards in a couple of weeks ago for me.

But the bed was still full of dead plants and weeds.  I have plans for it  'Good Life' style plans.

And with a little help from a certain little Suky ...

.. who of course had to check that Mum was indeed filling the wheelbarrow to safe levels ...

... it loooked like this by lunchtime.

Much tidier and almost ready to be planted up......now what do you think will be going in there folks?

All the time while I was doing this, there was a rustling in the undergrowth ...

...on the return stretch it all became clear.......

... it was just Lovely Hubby on his second favourite boy's toy (his first love, after me of course, is his big boys toy, his John Deere 3130, a real tractor).  This one is not ours I hasten to add, it belongs to our landlord and we have permission to use it while we are here, well we do have almost 4 acres of his grass to cut.  LH loves using it so much I see us having to purchase one when we move.

The shopping list of very necessary items for when we move it getting larger.... an Aga for me, a ride on lawn mower for LH..... we have expensive tastes don't we!!

Sue xx

Saturday, 28 July 2012

A Year ago life was different ......

... Tinka, Tayla and Gypsey lived in the paddock ...

.... chickens and piglets played in the Orchard ...

.... enjoying the sunshine of the warm July days.

Our herd of Large Black pigs settled into their new home in the Netherlands ..

... becoming some of the first free-ranging outdoor pigs over there.

My Cauliflowers grew huge ....

... and my Broccoli did their best to follow suit.

Caldwell ruled the roost over his vast harem of mixed ladies.

Life was good, life is still good ...... it's just different.

We move forward in this world all the time, so many changes take place on a day to day level, some tiny almost imperceptable, some more noticable that can brighten our days or make them harder, some so big that they impact on our lives and shift the very axis of our being.  Somehow we come through them, sometimes sadder, sometimes stronger.  Sometimes we feel the stuffing has been knocked out of us and sometimes we have hope in our hearts.

But the thing we have to remember is that we do come through them.  They change our lives and we move forward.  With the right spirit and a hopeful heart we build on what we have and make our lives different, not always better, not always worse..... just different.

Sue xx

Friday, 27 July 2012

When you are.....

So very true!!

Most definitely. My mantra!!

*** *** ***

Be yourself, love yourself, enjoy your weekend.

Sue xx

Thursday, 26 July 2012


This is pretty much our mantra here on the farm.  Not much leaves the farm in the form of rubbish for landfill. Glass jars, bottles etc if not able to be used for jam making or food preservation go into the recycling bin.  Plastic cartons, and tins likewise.  Paper and cardboard are saved for putting under new soil in beds to act as a weed surpressing layer, anything shiny and unsuitable goes in the paper recycling box. 

We feed scraps (food/weeds) to the chickens or the compost bins, when the chickens have eaten their fill their droppings go into the compost bins too to act as an activator to start the process more quickly.  After the compost bins have started the work of rotting everything down they are tipped into the worm beds, and then the resulting compost is put back on the land a couple of months later.  It works full circle.  A good circle.

A good way to think.

As well as guard dogs we have threats!!

I could be doing housework, I could be turning the compost bins out, I could be doing sooooo much, but I'm not, we seem to be having another day of Summer (shhh... that's three in a row, don't tell anyone they will turn the switch and the rain will be back) ........ I'm going out now to sit under the parasol on the patio, watch the weeds grow, drink glasses of icecold water and review the next book for my other Blog.  I wonder what we're having for tea tonight!!

I can't wait to find out.

Sue xx

Wednesday, 25 July 2012


The chickens are one by one coming on to lay.  The young girls that we bought from the last Smallholders Sale are giving us tiny eggs that day by day, week by week are getting larger and larger and are now, mostly, at the size we can begin to sell.

It's been no hardship not being able to sell all the eggs up to now, we have enjoyed so many wonderful meals with these small, but perfectly formed wonders.

They all took to eating corn pretty quickly, I give it to them in the afternoon to make sure they get their fill of Layers Pellets in the morning.  They need Layers for the nutrition they contain to support their little bodies through the energy involved in laying eggs.  But it is the corn, and the greens that they find naturally in their foraging through the grass for tasty titbits of weeds and bugs that give the eggs the wonderful almost orange coloured yolks.

So many sizes and shapes, this picture shows one of Lofty's eggs (she's a mature Light Sussex) a Hyline egg and a Lavender Pekin Bantam egg.

I could wax lyrical about eggs for ages, I love the feel of them, the look of them, the taste of them in the many things you can make with them,.  What other food compliments so many others, whether it be winter or summer, whether you are wanting a snack or a full and filling meal.

The first egg we found after adopting our initial rescue birds back in May 2009 was a joy.  It never diminishes that thrill of opening the henhouse and seeing the eggs nestling in the straw, sometimes still warm and with that fresh wet tinge of the bloom that sets the colour.

Some eggs we keep forever, this was the first egg laid by one of our Welsummers and is still in it's little egg cup to this day.  (Don't worry they don't smell, if you never crack them the contents simply disappear and the egg is just a shell surrounding air - so perfect!)

Putting all your eggs in one basket could be said to be risky ....... but I love it.

Sue xx

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Holiday Pics

Just a few pictures of our holiday last week, so you can see what we've been up too!!

The top picture is the view from the ferry as we approached Sark, we had a wonderful day there, the highlight of the holiday (we spent the rest of the time on Guernsey).

Cars are not allowed on Sark and the only forms of transport are bicycle, horse or tractor.   This is the Doctor's tractor, there is an ambulance or a fire engine that can be towed behind it for emergencies.

We toured the gardens at La Seigneurie, Lovely Hubby found a gun to play with.....

.... and I did my ET impression, pretending to phone home!!

We found our way around the maze, with LH getting to the middle first (and sneakily giving me directions from his vantage point in the tower).

Then we stopped for lunch, as usual our table number followed tradition, very accidently.

After lunch we strolled the island sticking to the main road.  The whole island is only 4.5 squares miles, so it didn't take us too long to get back to the port.

Where we sat soaking up the glorious sunshine and listened to the seagulls flying low over the rocky coastline.

We had a wonderful time.

The rest of the week was spent doing a little shopping, we went to the museum and to some lovely gardens, but mostly we revelled in each others company and the complete break from routine.   We ate some wonderful meals in pubs and gardens and we bought end of day bargains from good old M&S and picnicked in our hotel room watching some of our favourite tv shows or reading books (I managed to read almost 3 books during the six days).

All too soon it was time to return home.  This is our plane, the chap in the hi vis vest is our pilot welcoming us all aboard.  There were 16 of us on the plane, and that's including the two pilots.

We knew our luggage wasn't lost ... it was in the cupboard just near the door at the back of the plane. 

A wonderful holiday, marred only by our sad, sad news on the Friday.  But we have returned, rested and refreshed, thank you again to Mum and Jason for watching all our animals and birds and giving us the chance to get away for this much needed holiday.

Sue xx

Monday, 23 July 2012

Introducing My New Blog

After starting the Harcombe Diet a few weeks ago I came to the realisation that the best thing I can take from this is the need to eat Real Food, that is not processed foods, just good home cooking made with real ingredients and made well.

Glancing to the side of me as I Blogged one morning I looked, and I mean really looked at my vast collection of cookery books and the idea came to me that I should use them ...... actually work my way through them, deciding which books I needed, wanted and were actually useful, and which books were simply sitting on the shelf looking pretty and bought because they were just something I fancied reading.

I have collections of my favourite cooks and foody peoples books.

I seem to feel the need to own all their books, something I got from my Dad, although his field was science fiction and history.

I love books, we're a booky family, I introduced my children to the love of reading from an early age.  My younger son  has a vast collection of crime and scientific books.

I see absolutely nothing wrong with having loads and loads of books.

But not just for decoration, they should be read, used, and appreciated.

And I want to make sure that my collection of cookery books fulfils that criteria.

As a Blogger through and through I decided that the best way to chart my progress along the shelf would be to Blog about each book I go through it deciding it's fate.

I guess it will take some time, I haven't actually counted my books, on these two shelves alone there are 153 cookery books (yes, I just got off my chair and counted).  I have others, some in the kitchen, some in the living room, even some by the bed, they are literally everywhere.

So........ The Plan.

 Over on my brand new Blog see HERE, or click on the picture link at the top of the sidebar of this Blog,  I will each week choose at least one book, photograph it, read through it, choose some recipes to follow from it, photograph the results and give my honest opinion on the book and the food.

Then I will decide whether the book has earned it's place on the shelf or whether it will be relegated to the dusty box in the corner of the shed, where it will await it's fate at the car boot sale or charity shop.

Well that's the plan, now to choose the first book!!

Some of you have already found the Blog through the link on the sidebar and have been popping over to check for progress, well the good news is, from today you will at last have something to read.  Thank you for your interest and special thanks to the lovely  folk who have already signed up as Followers....you lovely little eager beavers!!

Sue xx