Wednesday 27 January 2021

Work In an Orchard Is Never Over

 I was walking with the children on one of our Lockdown walks the other day, and the route goes through a commercial cider orchard. Very different to what we have, the trees are planted at different spaces, they're pruned and harvested differently, but we could see that the work they do in these places is a constantly evolving space. 

New Tree planted to fill a gap

They had young trees filling in gaps in the rows and some older trees that had been ripped out. it looked like they had started pruning as well - must be quite a daunting task with these fields being about 10 acres or more! 

Monday 25 January 2021

Snowy Days

 The children are a t a lovely age where play is life. Yesterday we managed to take them sledging. Quite a walk to our chosen spot though! about a 5km round walk in total! 

Friday 22 January 2021

Apple Tree Pruning Year 9

 I've not missed a year on pruning these trees, and they're shaping up nicely. Although I still want to alter the shape of some of them massively, I love that pruning trees like this is a constantly evolving project and no tree can ever be perfect, and changes each year. 


After - Lower branch removed to slowly raise the canopy to help with field maintenance. Other lower to be removed either next year or the year after. lots of the straight upright growth removed. Interlocking branches removed to open it up more. 

Tree 2 Before

After - Just thinned this one out with some of the higher growth (which we can't reach to pick the fruit) removed. Branches shading each other removed. 

Tree 3 - Before. This is a younger tree, planted to replace one that was run over! 

After - lots of the upright whippy "water shoots" removed. It seems that this variety, Winter Banana, has quite an upright growing habit so it's good to try to encourage branches lower down. The location is quite shaded some of the day so this could also be responsible.   

I always enjoy pruning tree and seeing them develop. These are really coming into their own now and have produced some good crops for us so far - hopefully there will be many more to come! 

Anyone else on tree pruning at the moment? 

Monday 18 January 2021

Birthday Cakes

Last week we had two birthdays in the house - The eldest turned 9 and the youngest turned 5! 

So that means more birthday cakes to make! I have a little help now as I can't bake without my middle child taking control. I basically leave her to it to make the sponges now! 

Friday 15 January 2021

Growing Up Fast

 My little girl turned 9 this week. I honestly can't believe I've been a dad for 9 years now! 

She is a wonderful human being - full of kindness with a wicked streak of humour. 

Having birthdays so close to Christmas it's always tricky to know what to get them, but she is always helping or undertaking some task on her own (last year she took apart a chest of drawers all on her own as she wanted them out of her room and got fed up of waiting for me) So we thought she might like some tools of her own, she had already talked about a draw knife that she could use on the shave horse (mine is huge), so I ran with the idea and decided to make her a tool box as well. 

Of course having a carpenter as a father has some knock on effects, that's why the tool box is hand made and carved with a Victorian design on both sides! If you go over to my other blog you can see the carving process and my challenge I've set myself to carve or turn something every week this year - 52 weeks of carving!

I was a little worried when we gave them to her on the morning as it is it's not your normal set of presents for a nine year old girl, but she was really happy and pleased with them (she also got fabric for sewing and a lightsabre for fighting her siblings). 

Practical gifts for a practical girl! 

Tuesday 12 January 2021

Simply Preserved - Featured

Just before Christmas I got asked by Rosemary Jameson, who runs the preserving website, Loves Jars, to see if I'd like to write a piece for her free Bi monthly magazine "Simply Preserved".

I said yes, as it's great practice for my writing and I had a free reign of what I could write about so long as it was linked to preserving! I wrote about how much preserving is a part of our life and about my first garden club talk where I spoke about preserving to a room of seasoned veterans!   

 Here's a link to the magazine with the full article in it. I think I will become a regular reader as it's right up my street and has loads of information in there and I do love the meet the artisan section (although I'd never call myself one)! When looking for what style I should write in I went back and read most of the issues.  

Let me know what you think to the article and to the simply preserved magazine - great to have something free to read! 

Sunday 10 January 2021

Parenting Sweet Spot

I'm never going to be great at homeschooling. I'm used to spending my days on my own these days rather than having someone (or three people) constantly asking me questions or saying me my name as they think it's gone too quiet....

But I have landed on a good idea, after lunch we have a half quiet reading time now the girls can read in their heads. The boy can either play or I'll read to him one of his animal reference books, but it's been a great bit of our day.

 Here I'm reading an old book "The Wheel Wrights Shop", my eldest is reading about different breeds of chickens and my middlest is reading Secret Seven. 


Friday 8 January 2021

Lockdown Walks Again!

So as a nation we find ourselves in lockdown again. My plans for work in the workshop or for anyone else have been shelved while I take over childcare and "home-schooling" again. 

This has also put a stop to my regular exercise routine where I run 5km every other day, which I've been doing from September - I figure now is the most important time to keep yourself in shape really. 

So I've been taking the kids for a long walk each afternoon this week (and will while the weather holds) and exploring the footpaths around here again. 

 The children are just as keen as me to get out there and leave the smallholding - think we'll all start to go a bit mad eventually otherwise! And every time it reminds us of what a beautiful place we live. 

Who else is adding walks to their regular daily routine?

Tuesday 5 January 2021

Working With Neighbours - Fixing the Drive

Just before Christmas my neighbour (and good friend) rang me up to say about a soft spot on our shared drive. He suggested that we sort it out, saves getting anyone in and saves a load of money. There's 4 pipes down there so it was a role of the dice as to who it was. 

He got a few fittings in but we decided to leave it until after the Christmas holidays were over so if we needed anything specialist we could buy it easily. We set a date for the 4th of January to get it sorted. 

Sunday 3 January 2021

Folding Duck House

With the avian flu poultry lockdown my ducks proved tricky to keep happy in confined spaces. Used to having the whole smallholding I decided the kindest thing would be to house them in the polytunnel. This gives them plenty of space and with the old sheep footbath as their pond. 

But keeping them in there doesn't protect them at night. And a recent fox attack of a friends ducks hammers this home as he lost all but one of his ducks (which now lives with ours for the time being). 

So time to build them a coop. 

Friday 1 January 2021

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! 

I will do my usual set of round up blog post for 2020 and plans for 2021 soon, as I find it good to take stock of everything and set some goals! 

 Here's to 2021! Let's hope things run a bit more smoothly! 

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