Thursday, 25 April 2019

Cob Oven

We were lucky enough to be invited to a friend's for tea the other night.

They cooked some amazing pizza in this cob oven they had built themselves as a family.

Now the idea is taking root in my mind and I keep think about where we can build one and what it would look like.

We had company!

Who on here has built their own outdoor oven or cooking area?

Cob or any other material I'd love to see some pictures or recommendations for more research.

Friday, 19 April 2019

Homestead Shop

A bit of shameless self promotion on this post for my products I'm starting to sell online.

I started making some homestead and garden related products to sell after my mother got me to make a wooden potting tray because she could only find plastic ones online or in the shops to buy.

Wooden Potting Tray

When these started to sell well I decided to make a range of products that should hopefully make jobs easier, be nice to use and look good.

Check out my Etsy shop here or contact me if there is something specific you wanted making related to the homesteading lifestyle.

Harvest Basket

Garden Tote

Wooden Garden Tool Box

Jumbo Harvest Basket

All items are made by myself here on the homestead.

If you have any ideas on other products I could make and sell I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Least Number Of Animals Since 2012

I realised the other day that we currently have the least number of animals we've ever had in the last seven years. 

We're down to four laying hens and a little chick I hatched at the local school who they named "Gary".

That makes a total of five! Which is mad when I think about it. Since getting chickens here the first year (July 2012) we've always had at least a dozen

There have been when I've had sheep and lambs here (nearly 90 animals) plus twenty laying hens and nearly 30 meat chickens!

Gary the chick
Having less animals certainly takes the pressure and workload off a little bit though. This April has been great not having the sheep lambing and has meant that I can try and get some projects finished here, the garden and poly tunnel being the big ones.

I'm still going to try hatching out a few more birds yet and hopefully have a better rate than the one we had at the school. This little guy (or girl) needs some buddies!

I do wonder if I should buy a few store lambs later in the year to fatten up to keep us supplied in meat for the winter? It also leave the question of what to do with the grass, dad says I should rent it out to horses but that's not a route I really want to go down at the moment!

Monday, 15 April 2019

Home Butchery

Like many skills I think butchery is one you can only really learn through doing. 

Last week I butchered four more lambs and as I get into double figures now (total) I'm getting a little faster and more confidant in what I'm doing.

I surprised myself with how fast these got done and how all the cuts looked right. I didn't bother to debone any joints like I did last time, nor take pictures of each cut - although I have a great post from last year showing just that.

The freezers are now fit to burst as we still have loads of chicken left as well. Maybe we need to have some friends round for tea (although with UK law only my family living under my roof can eat anything I've slaughtered myself).

I did end up with a good amount of trimmings as well. The mincer I brought years ago when I was given a whole cow has paid for itself many times over. I decided to mince the breasts of lamb, I've tried many ways of cooking it and every time it's never as good as a burger! and all the other bits and bobs from getting the joints tidy.

In the end I managed to make 26 burgers for the freezer! Even though these lambs were pretty lean they still have a bit of fat in them, I doubt I could cook these over a flame on a BBQ as they would just flare up the whole time. Inside using a grill will probably be best.

Really looking forward to eating some of this in the coming weeks. It taste all the better with how much work has been put into it!

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Dress For The Job You Want...

Whilst putting manure onto some veg beds the other day my daughter's came to help and I couldn't help but laugh at what they consider farming attire.

Dress for the job you want and all that...

Friday, 5 April 2019

Permaculture Soft Fruit?

I've been toying with an idea in my head for a few years now and wanted to experiment.

I garden with many different methods and never really stick to one, but if you're into organic gardening then sooner or later you're going to come across permaculture.

The wikipidia definition of permaculture is:-
"Permaculture is a set of design principles centered around whole systems thinking simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and resilient features observed in natural ecosystems. It uses these principles in a growing number of fields from regenerative agriculture, rewilding, community, and organizational design and development."

One bit I like is the idea of self supporting systems. A forest garden is an example most people know, little input, supposed huge outputs. They take a long time to grow and set up though. I do have an area in the coppice with forest garden type plants and trees, and I do very little to it year on year, but as yet it's produced very little.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

New Growing Areas Created

Well not completely new it must be said.

I'm going to show you all a picture of what was my soft fruit garden and you have to promise not to laugh!

ARGH! You promised!

This is my not so little corner of shame in my veg garden. It's a real shame because the veg garden, with it's 32 even beds and cordon apple trees down the side is looking pretty good these days, then as you get to the bottom you see this overgrown mess.

Yes there is fruit in there but you have to weigh up picking a raspberry against 20 nettle stings. It's just not worth it now. It's gone too far and something needed to be done!

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