Tuesday 30 January 2024

Constant Orchard Maintenance

 Having fruit trees, for me, is something that I work  at every year. 

Each year I try to make sure I plant a few new trees, that way I always have some young trees coming on, some medium age trees coming into bearing and some older trees that are cropping. In buying a few trees each year it also keeps me really interested, I can hunt for new varieties or types of fruit. 

I planted three new plums on Saturday and filmed myself putting them in the ground. 

I don't do anything fancy when planting, just dig a hole and bung them in, I've planted thousands of trees in this way, treat them mean and keep them keen! 

Give the video a watch and let me know what you think, this is nothing fancy, no great editing, just 7 minutes of me planting fruit trees while I talk about it. 

Friday 26 January 2024

12 Year Old Apple Tree Pruned

Although winter will never be my favourite time of year, there are bits of it I love. I like the time to get things in order, to plant trees and maintain the ones we already have here. 

One of my favourite jobs is to prune the apple trees. It feels such a privilege to have been able to plant all these trees here and prune them every year. 

 This short video above is me pruning a Scotch Bridgett apple tree I planted here 12 years ago. I love how this tree has grown and how I've managed to shape it over the years to be the right sort of shape for hand picking the fruit. 

Give it a watch and let me know what you think. 

Wednesday 24 January 2024

Carving A Large Panel In Lime

 With a deadline due for a magazine article I was desperate to carve something interesting. I found inspiration at Worcester Cathedral after a visit with my family and some friends. 

So I dragged out a piece of lime from my store and set to carving it up. 

  As I tend to do these days, I made a video. 

Monday 22 January 2024

First Garden Club Talk Of The Year

It makes me so happy when the garden club talks kick off again. 

Last week I went to Stoke Lacy, not too far away from where we live thankfully. It was a cold night but they had a good turn out for the size of their club (about 25 turned up). 

I gave it my all as always, glad to be back up in front giving a talk. I had loads of lovely feedback at the end and managed to sell a few triangle scoops and a bird feeder. 

Saturday 20 January 2024

Passing The Torch For Birthday Cakes!

 January sees two of our children having birthdays. Now normally I always display my cake making abilities on here and show you what I made for the children. Some have been great (My Olaf cake) some not so great (My Peppa Pig cake). 

This year is a little different. Our Middlest child decided she wanted to do them both her self with no help. She also wanted to make the cupcakes they were going to give out at the laser quest part they had as well. 

The youngest asked for a Lego brick, to match what he spends about 70% of his time doing! 

Wednesday 17 January 2024

Fitting A Brinsea Chick-Safe Eco Automatic Door Closer

 Just before Christmas I got sent an automatic door opener from my friends at English Country Life

I've always wanted to try one so thought this was the perfect opportunity to try one out. 

Watch the video above to see how I got on. It was easy to fit, but I did have a few teething problems to getting it working correctly. Namely my new little chicken coop needs to settle in, it had rained lots and some of the boards had swollen up, making the pop hole door not run quite as smoothly as it could normally. For this opener to work properly the doors need to slide up silky smooth, so I removed it, sanded all the edges to make it glide easier then reattached it. Since then it's been working fine.

So a fun addition to my chicken coops, very tempted to get a few more and allow myself some long lie ins! 

Friday 12 January 2024

Small Berry Basket

 I've had quite a few people suggest I should make a smaller basket in my range.

Well I've been thinking about it lots, drawn a few sketches and made a few prototypes, and this is the one I've come up! The Berry basket - Ideal for collecting precious berries from the garden or even collecting the eggs from the chickens. 

I'm really pleased with it, it has the "cute" appeal I was going for, but is also really practical. 

Wednesday 10 January 2024

A Capable Young Lady

 Monday was the last day of the holidays before the children went back to school. 

I had planned to work in the workshop, we'd had a busy few weeks and the children deserved a "chillout" day to take it easy before the madness of schools, scouts and swimming starts again. 

But our Middlest got up early and started to make focaccia by hand, she then shouted up to me to ask if she could light the fire - she was worried the house wasn't warm enough to prove her bread. 

Monday 8 January 2024

January Homestead tour

 It honestly feels like it hasn't stopped raining for months now. So with a few days of clear skies I thought I'd do a quick walk around the homestead and show what we've got going on. 

Of course, compared to summer things can seem a little quiet, but I feel like I have so many jobs to get through, as well as trying to do everything else. 

Saturday 6 January 2024

Alviti Bake Off

 The other day all the children had a friend round to play. 

the girls decided to partner up and do their own version of the popular TV show Bake Off. 

But the baking began before their friends even arrived. 

Thursday 4 January 2024

Forth Diabetic Check Up

So this week we went for our eldest's forth diabetic check up. Good to start the year with the first one done and good that she didn't have to miss any more school to go to it. 

We have to go to the local hospital so they can check all her levels and discuss any issues we have a few times a year. Normally I think it's a time when they get people to adjust levels and ratios of insulin, but we've been adjusting them anyway (we were told we had a good understanding and to do it), so for us it's normally justifying why we changed them when we did. 

I try to make it into something to look forward to rather than dread, so we went out for a little daddy daughter date first - Burger Shop in Hereford never disappoints. The first time I think I've got her an adult sized meal in a restaurant as well! Shows how quickly she's growing up. 

The checks went fine, but once a year they need to take bloods (to check for kidney damage and for potential gluten intolerance - We all fear that one I can tell you). Taking blood made her feel a bit faint though and we ended up staying for quite a while until she felt better. We were late being seen anyway, so with this as well I was glad I put plenty on the car for parking, we left home at a round 11.30 and didn't get back until 5.15! 

What was nice was that although the last couple of weeks have been terrible as far as levels are concerned - too many carbs are around in unpredictable amounts and chocolate seems to make blood glucose levels do crazy things. But they told us that if this was what we thought were bad levels then we were doing really well. I explained what I'd done about changing breakfast to get rid of the morning spike and how we'd increased the slow acting insulin to try to keep the average somewhere in the middle. The new consultant was fine about everything, telling us to look at a few other things, but as always to do changes to ratios slowly and to look at the graphs. 

There are more things I want to do to help. I often cook low carb dinners now, but I'd like to get going with sourdough again as I've read it supposed to be better for diabetics. Lots of little changes add up and as I've said before they do us all some good really.

And of course I'd like her to get on a pump and a closed loop system, but she still seems a little unwilling at the moment. 

One thing that is mad is the disability benefit/allowance she/we are now entitled to, this is to help cover things like all the hypo treatments, time off work to take her to things like appointments, extra bits that aren't covered by the NHS (silly things like stickers for CGM) etc, we still haven't seen a penny. Now for us it's fine, we're financially stable and always run with a little behind us, but for some families it must make it so tough. Let alone you have to reapply for it every three years -  for a permanent disability - and the paper work takes hours to complete, but then you have to wait well over half a year before you'll see a single penny, after waiting the first three months to be able to apply in the first place. Fine that they back date it to the date that you apply, but only fine if you can survive until that point. We're lucky we can, but the government doesn't make it easy for people. 

Anyway, another one ticked off. Soon it'll be a year gone and that seems crazy, I think we need to go out for it, not to celebrate it, but to show we won't be beat by it.

Tuesday 2 January 2024

Books Read 2023

 I enjoyed writing this post last year, so I thought I'd do it again this time around. Makes me take stock of what I've been reading. 

And with nearly half of what I read the year before, I'm honestly a little disappointed in myself. 

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