Monday, November 25, 2013

Harvesting firewood!

Over the weekend we organised a friend to come over to our forest and help us take down some trees. He works in the forest for a job, although much of the time he is in giant tree grabber machines. He was so fast and took down about 20 trees. We are very grateful for his help as we are not that good with the chainsaw.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Preparing for winter

It has finally got cold and I thought that it was about time that I bought in all of the cabbages. This photo is just one load, we have had a really good year! I dig them up roots with a bit of dirt and store them upright in the earth cellar. They tend to go a bit slimy on the top leaves, but they are fine underneath and in fact they keep better for being a little moister!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Fairies hovering.......

Nico, our ex wwoofer who never left the village  after staying with us, and I were taking down the tarpaulins which covered the bender tents which housed the wwoofers in the summer, and there, hung in the tree was a beautiful fairy. It was, I am guessing, made by the Dutch mother and daughter wwoofers who stayed with us for a month in the summer. It was a wonderful find. They have made it beautifully, woven grasses and rush leaves along with twigs. The trees without their leaves have bought her to life!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Another crazy and rare ice crystal!

I was emptying the containers I use for the various "teas" (sheep poo, and nettle and comfrey) which I use in the garden over the summer and noticed this amazing ice crystal. It is called an ice spike and according to Wikipedia they are pretty rare. I have only ever seen pictures of them and was very excited to see this one growing out of the top of a bin lid. It was about 20cm tall and really fantastic to see. However it was raining at the time so did not last long.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Tomato and long will they last????

My poor tomatoes, I saved them from the freezing conditions of the greenhouse and then forgot about them.... no water, with not much sun in the cool temperatures of the back room. They were covered with dead leaves and looked rather desperate. Oops! I picked off all the dead leaves and gave them a good water with some of the liquid seaweed "tea" I make from my dried and ground up seaweed and they are already looking better!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Curtain decisions

I bought this material over the internet the other day and I really like them all! Now I have to make a decision! I don't normally buy new material but I have been looking for a while in the second hand shops for red material and I have had no luck. It also does not help that I don't go very often to the shops so I miss all the good stuff! I use woollen blankets to line them to make it extra warm and massively more effective.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Amazing nature.....

I never get bored of looking at our view. It changes every day which is wonderful! It looked even better in real life than what this photo shows!

Making sugar, part 3.....and kale and apple mountains!

So, this is what that pan of liquid became when boiled down!!! The peg gives you some idea of scale. It tastes great, it is thick and now I have to wait, and wait, and wait until the crystallisation process starts. In industry they use a chemical, milk of lime, to remove impurities and speed up crystallisation.  A friend the other night said that in some of her experiments in uni when growing crystals she introduced one to start the reaction..... Not sure if I can just put some sugar in!!! You can cook with the syrup as it is and indeed one website said that they often used it all up before the crystallisation actually started!!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Making sugar....part 2

Well, it does not look that appetising at the moment....I hope that it will improve! I had 3 large pots bubbling away on the stove for about an hour. This was to release the sugars which are contained in the sugar beets. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Making sugar, part one....

This year I grew sugar beet for the first time, and this is the patch which has has most of the leaves cut off and fed to the sheep. I have never tried to make sugar but I thought that it would be fun, although rather time consuming!

Friday, November 1, 2013

A shitty day!

Well....well....well. This is the well pump house and it has a layer of water in it which refuses to go away, so I took a metal rod and poked it down the drain hole to try and unblock it. It did not reach the end, so I went and got a longer rod and still it was not long enough. So I went and got another rod, it was now 3m long, and it was still not long enough. So I went and fetched another pipe, this one was about 40m long and this was long enough to reach the blockage but I could not shift it. I had about 5m left of the pipe and thought that this was a very long drain pipe. So I thought about it, and guessed that maybe it joined up with the septic tank outlet pipe. So then I went to have a look at the end of the exit pipe.