Monthly Archives: April 2010

Saturday mornings surprise

Pumkin and her calf - 24th April 2010

This is what mother found when she went to do the early morning checks on Saturday, a little baby heifer. It was more than a bit of a shock as Pumkin isn’t due for another month and hasn’t shown any signs of being that close to calving.

The calf is also red, and we were expecting a black or dun coloured as that is her blood lines but we are very pleased with what we had and both mother and baby are doing just fine.

World of Willow

Willow catkins - 18th April 2010

For a while now I have been looking at getting some willow, the more I have looked into it the more I have liked the idea. After going on the basket making course last year it seemed time to get some. But what? There are some many different types out there, all are good for different uses and different conditions.

I wanted something that would help with drainage in the goat pen, grow reasonably quickly and be useful for making baskets and possibly using as a feed for the goats. After spending much time on the internet, looking at all the pretty colours and all the different uses I came across a listing for a collection of willow on ebay.

From there I found the World of Willow website and emailed Gwen, asking if she might offer me a special offer or collection. After letting her know what I wanted, she went one better and GAVE ME a lovely willow collection!

It arrived at the start of this month and is doing well; there are seven different verities in a range of colours from yellow through to black. Ideal for making lots of nice coloured baskets with. As well as the basketry collection there are also hedging and windbreaks, fuel and short rotation coppice andwildlife and bees collections. With a few more collections for livestock, small animals and bees.

It is now a bit late in the year for buying willow cuttings but World of Willow also run courses, at one of the best prices I have found. When I was emailing Gwen she mentioned that she had just collected a yurt to run them in so it sounds like they will be in a lovely setting as well.

Allotment 19/04/2010 – A tale of three rabbits

It started to rain when I got to the allotment, which pretty much sums up how the rest of my day went yesterday. Everything I tried to start to get done went wrong, I tried starting to convert an old trailer into a chicken house and found the wood I needed wouldn’t fit into the car to take to the field, me and mother went to trim some goats feet and they got out, three times. Me and Rhys went to get the right sized bolts for the new chicken house and got to the shop just as they had locked up. And so on…

It wasn’t an unpleasent rain, and no where never heavy enough to send me home and the visit turned the day around as I managed to cardboard and manure one and a half beds whilst  there. I got something done!

Baby rabbit hiding away at the allotment - 19th April 2010

Whilst moving wheelbarrows full of manure I saw a young rabbit appear from somewhere when my back was turned and run off up the site, I stopped and watched it for a while and then carried on. A few wheelbarrows later and another one appeared, this one seemed to have come from under the plastic sheet we had put down over the top of the muck heap. It didn’t run far and hide under some empty sacks that were on the ground not far away, so I went to have a look.

Looking around to see what has happened - 19th April 2010

I had a look at where it seemed to have come from and found a nest with another dead one in. It was an ideal place for a nest, kept dry by the sheeting and warm from the rotting down manure all around. I moved the dead one to the hedge and the other rabbit went back to see what was happening, before going off up the site like the other one had.

It was a nice little find but I’m sort of glad that they are no longer living on our plots, snacking on our growings just outside their home. I used most of the heap on the beds that I made and then most of the sacks that were up there already as well.

Lastly I watered everything, the onions and garlic are coming up nicely but no sign of the carrots yet, although it was getting dark by that point.

Chloe and Black Foot

Black Foot the lamb comes running over to say hello - 18th April 2010


Chloe runs away, scared of the little lamb - 18th April 2010


"Please come back, I only want to say hello" - 18th of April 2010


"Ok, we won't be friends then" - 18th April 2010

Checking in

One of the pigs, happy to be photographed - 13th of April 2010

No, I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth but ‘outside life’* has been busy for a few weeks. Spring is here and the weather outside has been lovely, it’s so nice to be home in daylight each evening.

I tried to take some photos of the goat kids this evening but they would not hold still long enough so instead a photo of one of the pigs who was only to happy for a close up!

*e.g. none smallholding/home life

Allotment – 04/04/2010

Deciding what to plant; my 99p store haul, chitted potatoes and my plastic bag mat - 4th April 2010

I spent some time at the allotment this afternoon with mother and middle-younger-sister. We have had the plots since a year ago last Friday, the soil on the beds that were manured last year is so nice now.

Whilst we were there I planted out some garlic, onion sets (Setton) and sowed some carrots (two rows of Chantenay Red Cored 2 and one of Early Nantes 5) and planted the first potatoes, Mimi and Charlottes. I used a plastic bag peg loom mat to kneel on, it is one of the biggest mats I have made and was very comfy folded over a few times.

Lent 2010

Well, Lent is now over and I have done it! For the last forty days and forty nights I have given up wheat as a staple food and I’m feeling better for it too.

Both me and my mother gave it up and we have both said that we have felt less tired because of it, which is a nice plus. We decided to give it up as a staple food because wheat production is not sustainable, it uses too much oil to grow and far to much of the world is reliant on it to feed themselves.

When I decided to give up wheat for lent I had thought it would mean eating lots more fresh greens but that hasn’t quite worked out, it just isn’t the right time of year for that. For the first few days I spent a lot of time feeling hungry again not long after eating but that didn’t last for long and the hardest meal has been lunch, I’m not very organised about taking a packed lunch to work and normally I get some sort of wheat product so instead I have been getting microwave porridge and having that with fruit and honey.

Now the harder part begins, I don’t want to give up wheat as a staple forever but I don’t want to go back to being so reliant on it either. There must be a happy middle ground though, so I will just have to work on finding it.

Some sheep photos from March

Just born. Briony with her the last of her triplets just after he was born - 10th March 2010

Briony with her three lambs, all less than an hour old. The girl is the one looking for food - 10th March 2010

Nesta with her lambs out in the field - 21st of March

Being watched in the field - 21st March 2010

Flattie out on the common with her lambs - 28th March 2010

Coming up to say hello, not sure who's lamb this is - 28th March 2010