Monthly Archives: November 2012

Chillies and Self-Watering Planters

Last week I harvested my small crop of chillies and repoted the plants back into their self-watering planters.

Chilli Harvest; a little dried after a week on a kitchen worktop - November 2012

Chilli Harvest; a little dried after a week on a kitchen worktop – November 2012

The harvest wasn’t anywhere near as big as some of those being paraded on the growing groups and forums but a small pot full is enough for to add the homegrown touch to some chilli jam, not that I would say no to a larger harvest of course!

The repoting took place a I realised that the original ‘draw rag’ had rotted away and so the compost in the top was drying out, other than that one small problem these planters seem to be working well and the repoting and harvest (and maybe the heating being turned on had a part to play too) has bought the plants back into flower so a winter harvest might possibly be on the cards?!?

Apache; this chilli seems to be doing the best on my windowsill set-up - November 2012

Apache; this chilli seems to be doing the best on my windowsill set-up – November 2012

Out of the three plants that I have ‘Apache ‘ has been the best, producing the most fruit and continually flowering when the others had stopped. The fruit has also kept the best being the plumper fruit in the photo above and didn’t start drying out on the plant like the others. This is a dwarf variety so perhaps it is better suited to being grown in pots.

I’m hoping that these with overwinter happily enough and be ready for the all go in the spring but I’m thinking I might like to add a couple more plants next year too; just need to have a look and see what is about and if I can save the seeds from the plants I already have as they are grown next to each other.

And the winner is…

I have been a very lucky girl of late, helped by having nothing of really meaning to do during the evenings at work other than facebook surf clicking the ‘like’ or ‘share’ button for the many give aways that are taking place at the moment.

Sheep Book for Smallholders by Tim Tyne

Sheep Book for Smallholders by Tim Tyne

My first win arrived a month or so ago from the lovely people at the Goodlife Bookshop and I am told is excellent although I didn’t manage to hold onto it long enough to do more than flick through the first pages before it was ‘borrowed’. The Sheep Book for Smallholders is a recently released book written by Tim Tyne, I’ve never read any of Tim’s other books but all of the books I have read published by the Goodlife Press have been full of information in an easy to understand format, which is what they seem to specialise in.

My second lovely prize was a gorgeous relax basket from Green Heart Gifts, it arrived last week and I opened it last night and the scent is amazing.

Relax Basket from Green Heart Gifts

Relax Basket from Green Heart Gifts

Everything in the basket is so thoughtfully put together; from the items in the basket to the packaging that it comes wrapped up in almost all of which is recyclable, even the film on top of the bamboo soy candle is compostable. As well as the candle the basket contains bath melts, 2 bars of handmade soap, a lovely wash clothe and a CD of relaxation music.

And the third and final prize gifted to me was a photo shoot with Outline Photograthy in Ross-on-Wye. Me and my sister went and spent a very enjoyable morning being a bit silly and wearing all the clothes we have that are unsuitable or too nice to water the goats. We get to go and see the results in a few weeks and I’m sure they are going to be brilliant!

October; another one done and dusked

Well October is over and November is here and with it winter. No chance of an Indian summer now I guess but crisp, bright morning are just as good for being outdoors.

October was a bit of a sad month; somewhere near the start I got a text from mother to let me know that Knightshade had slipped a disc in his back, most likely playing ‘silly buggers’ with one of the girls coming into season. I didn’t like having to be away for the rest of the week and not being about to see him myself, it’s one thing being away for births and getting a happy text saying how many and if it’s a girl or a boy but not being there when someone isn’t well is completely different.

He was ok and when I got home to see him he was just his normal self apart from not being able to stand; he wasn’t too bothered so long as he got lots of visitors and we set the house up so the girls could go and share his extra thick bed of straw and watch grey days go by, he got lots of human visitors who would bring him treats, push and pull him about the house and every few days stick a needle in him and he just seemed a bit mystified as to why standing up didn’t happen as it use to.  

The vet had said nothing would really happen for the first seven to ten days and at the end of this time I got a chiropractor to pay a visit; it was like watching magic and by half way through her visit he had regained movement in not just one but both of his back legs. The chiropractor left being very positive but explaining that he may take a while to be up again but she didn’t see a reason why he wouldn’t make a full recovery. Things carried on in this way for another week or so and then he stopped eating and just wasn’t himself. It seemed most likely that where he hadn’t been moving around his rumen had stopped working; we tempted him with treats and gave him a drench to start his system working again but he didn’t pull through.

It’s a very sad loss and has possibly changed the way we are going to keep goats; this year we are going to try artificial insemination instead of getting another male goat. There are lots of reasons why this might be better; I already have two (three including Delta who is for sale) of Knightshade’s daughters Bella and Briony and so Knightshade wasn’t the best male for them to be put in kid to although it didn’t really matter as it just meant their kids had a ‘double-dose’ of Knightshade’s breeding but keeping any of their kids and him would be out of the question. Keeping our own male means that we can put ‘people’ into kid when we want to but really as we have always kept our boys and girls together it meant we did end up with mishaps and kidding being spread out over months, not a problem really but it would be much easier to have all the babies almost the same age so as there is less bullying at feed time or first babies living on their own for weeks (they don’t live on their own, they live in the kitchen and are carried around wherever we go). With AI we can have kids from different males for different goats and it will work out no more costly, possibly even cheaper than keeping our own male and lastly it will leave more room and time for our girls, walking them as we did when I was younger will become much easier, the branches and other greens we collect will go much further with fewer goats and even growing some of their feed becomes more possible and keeping on top of cleaning out will be easier too.

It also leaves more time for raising a calf which is something me and mother would like to do again this time in the way we know works and with a breed we know we get on with resulting in a bomb proof beauty like Primrose again.

Aside from the goats I’ve been getting on well with the garden like I’d planned; onion sets are in and I have bought some more too. Most of the leafy greens are in and, touch wood, have so far escaped any attention from the dreaded slug plague of this year. Leaves have been collected for leaf mould and are waiting in sacks for me to find a more suitable place to keep them over winter. I finished filling the first bed this week and have bought my amazing amount of crocus bulbs which are waiting for the next flower planting day I have off in a few weeks. I haven’t got round to buying garlic sets and I’m not sure that there is time to now either, the first light frosts are here now and I’m not sure how long it will be until my ice pocket is frozen over for the majority of the time.

I house-sat whilst mother went to visit her mum for a few days and spent some time working the veg garden at home and that has helped consolidate my ideas for my garden and be able to see all the small bits I have been struggling to bring together as a much bigger picture.

Hopefully I will have time to put them down on paper ready for sharing and can sort through the photos I have collected on a few different cameras to post on here in the next couple of weeks.