Well my wish was granted, I had the last two weekends off and both have had good weather. It’s been so nice to be able to be out doing things.
The last week or so has felt very strange, it’s been busy but is hasn’t necessarily felt like it was busy. Everything feels like it is slowing down for winter now.
The weekend before the one just gone was mostly spent re-doing the goat pen, putting up a new pallet fence and digging out the wet mud that’s built up over the last two wet summers. There’s now paving down over half of it and we’re going to try grass seeding the other half and see how it takes.
We also threw a surprise party for Rhys, it’s his 30th this year and even though his birthday isn’t until this week his party was last weekend as I couldn’t get the hall I wanted for this weekend. It was a good party, lots of his old friends came and he didn’t know a thing about it until me and him got to the hall. Keeping him out the way broke up the time on Saturday in a strange way, when I have time off I hate leaving home unless I really have too as I always have something that I want to be getting on with even if I’m not getting on with it, so we don’t normally go out together much, especially in the day, but it was a nice afternoon. We went and picked somethings from freecycle up and then had a picnic.
Sunday I had a cold and Rhys was hung over so not much work got done. I started cutting back all the caterpillar eaten purple sprouting and sprout plants and sprayed them with a mixture I made up from a recipe out of an old gardening book, boiled tobacco, to see how well it works. The plants have started growing back and I think they will come back but of course they are going to crop late. I’m still not daring to plant out the kale or spring cabbage just in case but I will have to do it this week really, there is only so much growing on they can do in pots and it always takes them a while to settle after re-potting.
I got my strawberry plants; I had bought 50, not 30 like I thought from ebay. I can’t remember which day they arrived, or which day I potted most of them up but they are really nice plants all very well rooted and not at all dried out from being posted. The last few plants are in a bucket of water waiting for me to finish the job off. I started off by sorting all this year’s plants and runners out, I got 5 free plants from a magazine and they fruited well this year, even though they were left in the same bucket I had put them in ‘for the time being’ when I got them last autumn and they’ve produced some good strong runners. We’re going to have so many strawberries next year!
During the week I’ve carried on with freezing courgettes, the plants still have plenty of fruit coming on them and, touch wood, the sweetcorn should be done soon as well. The chickens have started getting on the bed (the old muck heap bed) and seem to like the mystery squash plant that’s on there, I don’t think it’s going to manage to fruit. My bucket of Christmas carrots are doing really well, it looks quite impressive.
I’m going to sow some more carrots in buckets and start them off in the poly tennel, they should over winter in there alright. I’ve been picking a few runner beans as well, the plants went in really late, at the time that other plants put in at the right time started fruiting but they are doing well and still have plenty of flowers on. The bees seem to like them as well.
On Friday I had arranged to go and see a male goat, I need to get a new one this year as my last year kid is ready to breed from this year, but what sounded like a much better one for me came up, so after pottering in the garden, I finished cutting back the sprouting plants and did some weeding, I went to see my half sister and helped her start putting up her poly tennel. It was a really nice afternoon.
On Saturday me, mother, middle-sister and my brothers girlfriend went on a puppet making workshop which was really good fun, then we came home and I ended spending ages washing up, not the normal day-to-day washing up but emptying the cutlery draw and cleaning that out and the plate racks.
And on Sunday, this is very exciting, I got my new stud male goat, Kniteshade. He’s gorgeous. A few years ago I saw a male who I really liked call Holdbrook Ghost, his farther, Fungus was breed champion and also nice but I really liked Ghost. I never stood a chance of getting him though has he was exported to a herd in Holland (or somewhere like that) not long after I had ‘found’ him. When I bought my last male, the breeder that I got him from also had Fungus. I bought a female from him that was put in kid to him, Fuscia, but she started to kidded over a weekend when it snowed, we knew something was wrong with her but we weren’t 100% sure she was kidding. We called the vet but they had just called all the vets back in as the snow was getting worse. We did all the things they suggested, including give her lots of sweet black tea to drink which she now loves and will do anything to drink if you go near her with a cup, but she wasn’t ‘open’ at all so we hoped that one of the kids was just laying in odd way and she was uncomfortable. A few days later she started to kid properly and pushing, but again was having problems and after me, mother and middle-sister had done all we could (me and my sister have been kidding and lambing since we were little and my mother has for even longer) the vet was called again and after a lot of trying delivered three massive male kids, all dead. The vet said that two of the kids had tried to come out at the same time, one over the top of another, and got very stuck. They were all very pretty but none of them were like Ghost. Any way, Ghost is the grand-father of Knitshade, and his great-grand-farther is the half brother of my first goat who I lost during foot-and-mouth. So not only is he gorgeous, I would have had him just for his breeding even if he didn’t look as good as he does.
(Photo of Knitshade taken from his breeders website)