Saturday, 21 October 2017

Tools You Can't Do Without

A Facebook page I follow posts a weekly question for it's members to answer.  The page is called celebrating smallholdings uk if you search for it.

This weeks question was what equipment, tools or machinery can you not do without? What are your must haves to run a smallholding?

Tough question to answer I feel - depends on what you do and how you do it and even the time of year! 

Here on my smallholding there are many things that are essential to me to keep things running smoothly so I thought I'd list five things that I think are pretty important to me. I'll leave hand tools off this as otherwise we'd be here all day! 

The wheelbarrow is pretty essential to me. I've got three kicking around here. I think all except one have had their tyres replaced with solid rubber ones.

I use them in the garden to move muck and compost onto the beds and weeds back to the compost pile. Every building project has used them in some way, fire wood gets moved by them and children get a ride if they're lucky.  

Now where would I be without one of these? I can go for months without touching it but when I need it the machine saves me hours of back breaking work. 
It can be used for rough construction and fencing work, firewood and tree maintenance, as well as clearing any trees or branches that fall after a storm. 

Couldn't round up the sheep without the "bike". It's not because its fun or anything....

Since getting the sheep there has been a few things that have made my life easier and one of them was some good gates. Last year I brought 10 hurdles and they've made a huge difference, they lock together and make it easy to make a pen or a funnel. At lambing time they made it easier to catch and lamb ewes.
It's a purchase I haven't regretted for a second!

Weed Membrane
Not to over sell it but this has changed my life. I reuse it year on year, it cuts my weed pressure by a stupid amount and without it I wouldn't grow anywhere near the amount of veg that I do!

There are many more things I could include but what would be in your list?

Friday, 20 October 2017

Boy Helping

The kids always seem to want to help, no matter the job.
I know this will soon change so I'll make the most of it now!
Here's the boy helping me to cable tie some more wire round the bottom of one of my chicken coops. He loved it and although it took me five minutes to pick up all the ones he'd dropped it was lovely having him "help" me for this little job! he was so dexterous with his fingers, pushing it between the wire, concentrating the whole time. 
Afterward he walks with a spring in his step, knowing he's helped daddy and babbles about it to his mum when she comes home. 

Do (or did)  your children love to help?

What age does it stop?

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Veg Bag

Mum came over the other day, she always brings something for the kids to do whilst she's here. 
She knows that they love crafts, so it's normally something craft based she can bring with her.
She'd found these bags from a pound shop that came with a set of pens.
The one side you just colour in a picture of some fish but the other side is blank. I told my daugheter she could draw what ever she wanted, I said just draw whatever interests you.
She drew veggies!
On the bag now there's carrots, beetroots, tomatoes, lettuces, sweetcorn, the list goes on! It really made me smile when she did it.

This little girl sure does love her gardening! 

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Raspberry Slice

So many raspberries at the moment it's almost becoming hard to know what to do with them!
But I'm loving my latest recipe I've been messing around with - Raspberry slice! 
Our raspberry patch is about 25ft long and 6ft deep so as you can imagine it produces a fair few raspberries each day at this time of year. I can normally pick a couple of large punnets full every couple of days. I've frozen loads, dehydrated them, made jam, cooked crumbles and I wanted to bake with them more, but not just chucking them in a sponge, that's gets old fast.
So I decided to have a look around the internet and then alter a recipe to suit what I have to hand! 
This turned out really good, everyone loved it and it's got so many raspberries in it it almost has to be healthy!

70g of almond flour,
250g self raising flour,
280g of brown sugar,
200g of butterTwo eggs 500g of raspberries (I used fresh but I think it would work with frozen ones as well)

Mix the flour, almond flour, sugar and melted butter together (I melt the butter just to make it easier to mix together). 
Get about 100g of this mixture and keep to one side.
Then mix in the eggs and pour onto a tray.
Lay half the raspberries all over it and sprinkle on the mixture you held back.
Bake for 45 minutes at 180.
Then get out and add the other half of the raspberries and cook for another 15 minutes.

This tastes amazing!

Great cold or with custard whilst it's still warm. I imagine it would work well with other fruit as well.

Let me know if you give it a try.

Anyone else got a good baking recipe using raspberries?

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