Monday 31 August 2020

Dehulling Machine Needed!

 I've grown a small amount of Emmer wheat with the hope of planting more of it next year, or potentially as a crop to over winter.

Its proving difficult to hull though. This isn't threshing - this is the act of removing the grain from it's protect hull - something that is a lot more suborn on these "less developed" grains.

Does anyone know of any open source plants to build a dehuller? Or seen a method that works well by hand. I'd rather not use heat as want all the seed to still be viable.

Currently thinking I'll get an old hand grinder and create rubber plates for the seed to rub through, which should take the hulls off. Although I'm open to suggestions!

Saturday 29 August 2020

Preserving Is A Family Affair

As our children have got older we've had to start putting more food away to last us longer. 

Luckily they all love helping and the last few weeks there's been quite a few times with  us all sat round a table prepping a harvest to preserve it. 

Friday 28 August 2020

Big Tomato

Nothing to see here, just a 800g tomato! 

 This is the biggest one I've grown (I normally don't bother with beefsteak ones) and just half of it filled our sandwiches for lunch! 

 Tasted amazing as well. 

What's the biggest you ever grew? 

Wednesday 26 August 2020

Dried Tomatoes

 I was picking tomatoes with my eldest the other day. We picked a huge basket full and I was wondering what we were going to do with them.

She suggested that we dry them and then wouldn't take no as an answer.

Sunday 23 August 2020

Polytunnel Mistakes

 The polytunnel has been a place of absolute abundance for us this summer - but it's not been a place I'd be keen to show people round! It is full to bursting and a complete jungle, next year I'm already planning to do things a little differently in there! 

I did a short video showing you round and also showing you where I went wrong. 

Let me know what you think and please subscribe to my YouTube channel if you don't already! 

For some reason you need to view this in full screen rather than on the mobile app to watch the video. 

Friday 21 August 2020

Recycled Shelves For Canning

Because I've been doing some canning I decided I needed a few more shelves for our produce and had just the space left in the pantry for some. Not huge but enough to really increase the storage a little bit and keep it organised. 

Luckily when I had just the right wood in mind for this project. 

This wood has had a few lives already - many years ago - when I lived on the family farm and worked in site management (briefly) I was working on a site where two carpenters had come up with a problem. They were cladding a communal stairwell and had worked out they were massively short of timber - the manager ordered a load more  and pretty much none of it was needed (they were rubbish carpenters).

Wednesday 19 August 2020

Pasture Pen Nest Box Upgrade

The bucket nest boxes I originally put in the Heras Panel Pasture Pens never really worked very well, They just weren;t quite big enough and could cause hens to break eggs. But because I used these pens more for grow outs it didn't matter too much and I changed the one I used for the layers into a bigger nest box like the one in this post. 

Currently I have all three of these pens with potential laying hens in. So it was time to upgrade the last two pens to have proper nest boxes, which can even stay in when raising meat birds in there as well. 

Sunday 16 August 2020

Sudden Branch Drop

In the middle of last week (just before all these storms broke) I was in my workshop when I heard a massive crash and bang, I rushed outside and saw three very scared children running for the house. 

They had just been 20m away from this giant oak tree picking berries when a huge branch had suddenly dropped from the tree. Luckily far enough away from it to not get hurt but close enough to scare them! This sudden branch drop is quite common during times of drought with broad leaf trees. 

Friday 14 August 2020

Own Meat Birds Get A Step Closer

 So with some really poor hatch rates from posted eggs I decided that it was time to buy a few hens so we could actually start to hatch out our own eggs. I already have some fine Indian Game cockerels to run with them. 

There is a Facebook group about rearing meat for the table and through that I got in contact with someone who had some young Indian Game pullets for sale. So I took a trip into deepest darkest Wales (via a small saw mill that had some specialist timber I was after) to buy some! 

Of course I ended up buying more than just this! 

He sold a trio of Plymouth Rock Hens, which when crossed with an Indian Game will produce a great meat bird (And this cross was used in the orginal Chicken Of Tomorrow competition so I have high hopes).

I also got 4 Indian Game POL pullets so I should be able to keep a pure flock of these going as well. But hopefully the Plymouth Rock hens will lay enough eggs in the next few weeks to get another batch in the incubator and replace our need to order in day old Ross Cobbs! 

There seems to be quite a few pens of chickens around at the moment! Anyone else can't help themselves when it comes to poultry?

Wednesday 12 August 2020

String Bean

Well I figured out why this French bean is called Kentucky wonder... 


I wonder why anyone grows as it's so stringy... tastes good but not worth this effort when there's stringless ones about.

Friday 7 August 2020

I Managed To Can Some Tomatoes!!

Managed to sneak enough tomatoes away from the kids to preserve some for winter! 

I know it's not huge amounts but I'm going on the little and often approach. This time I used my small pot and did one at a time while I was doing other jobs in and around the kitchen. My big saucepan takes so long to heat up I though this might be better - in fairness when I started I only planned to do one! 

Thursday 6 August 2020

Wear A Mask?

There seems to be a lot of debate about wearing a mask at the moment. 

Now I'll be honest and say I only normally go shopping to buy food for animals (and I include the children in that description) and to buy wood, so I'm hardly a big high street shopper.

I'm not sure about the scientific information out there or who is right or wrong - I'm a carpenter and I hope brighter minds than mine are making the decisions (otherwise we're all screwed!). 

All I think is that at the moment that if I don't wear a mask then it might make someone fell uncomfortable, so I'll wear mine to make sure that doesn't happen. Luckily me eldest (with help from her mum) made me this mask to wear so I'm sorted. 

Wednesday 5 August 2020

The Wonderful Achocha?

I've done my talk on unusual veg quite few times now ( a few dozen!), it's a really popular one and one I love doing. I just love talking about all these unusual foods that my kids think are normal yet people have never heard of. In fact I love it so much that I've put together a second talk on the subject and garden clubs seem keen to have me back with that one as well! 

One thing I do get a lot from it is often people telling me they've grown something from the list and didn't like. Normally it's Achochas or Cucamelons. 

Each time I have the same answer -

Saturday 1 August 2020

Summer Harvests

There's certainly something about this time of year and the harvests that it brings. 

The kids are particularly in love with it and keep coming back with huge saucepans of tomatoes and cucumbers. 

I keep (mistakenly) thinking that we'll get to cook with them, but nope they'll eat one of these in a single sitting. The other day my wife had to talk the children out of eating tomatoes for breakfast! They have a habit of eating too much fruit and veg as it is, so to add it in for breakfast would be too much . 

So what's your favourite thing for a summer glut of tomatoes? just to eat them like we do or do you take it to another level?
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