Saturday 30 March 2024

Make A Wooden Wheelbarrow

I managed to get a project I've been thinking about for many years done the other day - I made a wooden wheelbarrow!

Now this isn't a typical wheelbarrow, it's more of a flat one. I wanted one I could move seedlings about with, or other jobs around the smallholding. 

Thursday 28 March 2024

Insulin Pump

So we're over a year into our diabetes journey and our eldest has made the very big decision to switch from MDI (Multiple Daily Injections) for a pump on a closed loop system.  

So yesterday we went into hospital to go through loading a pod with insulin and fitting it, connecting it all up and working out the levels everything needs to be (this is after a visit to hospital last week to change the sensors over to a different type - dexicom). 

So as I type this, the pump is upstairs on my daughters leg slowly clicking insulin in at different interval. We're watching her CGM as her blood glucose find their levels in this new system. 

Wish her luck! I'll keep you posted on how it goes. 

Sunday 24 March 2024

Carving Tuition

 So at the weekend I gave my first days carving tuition. It was to a couple that had seen my videos on YouTube and enquired if I'd do some carving instruction. 

I was hesitant at first, it's not something I've done before, except with my own children. But I got talked into it via email!

As the day ticked around I was really looking forward to it. Something a little bit different to my day to day in the workshop. 

Wednesday 20 March 2024

New Chicken Keeping Rules - Mass noncompliance needed - Resist

We need to take a stand against Defra's new rules on registering all poultry in the UK. Not just flocks of 50 birds or more. 

This was as the result of a consolation they did last year where the view was massively weighted by those who took part to keep things as they are. Yet in their wisdom they decided to do what they want anyway. What a surprise. You can see the results here. 

But they need us all to comply with this if it is to work from them. We need to stand up together and oppose this. Mass non compliance. Don't register. 

Flocks will "have" to be registered by October, although they've not updated all their web pages yet you can find information here - Government link

Tuesday 19 March 2024

Planting a Gooseberry Hedge

I'm always walking around my plot looking at where I could squeeze in some more plants and increase the productive areas. 

One area is the orchard. I have one half planted up quite traditionally, but I also have one area where the trees are much closer together. In there is about 16 plum trees, plus a n area where I tried an experiment with soft fruit. The experiment worked, but not enough to make me think it was any better than any other way. 

I decided to change it over. the fence near the top needed a hedge (to my mind) and I had been thinking hard about putting in more gooseberries. A gooseberry hedge could be an interesting addition. I went and purchased around 15 different varieties and put them all in 3.5ft apart. 

This should give us plenty of fruit and enough different types to see which ones do really well here. Gooseberry is always going to be one of my favourite fruits, so it's nice to increase the amount we can grow here (I also put in a lot of rooted cuttings from the 14 bushes I already have here). 

Saturday 16 March 2024

Be A Real Man

 This is a video that isn't mine, but I liked it and it made me smile. Hugh and Fiona are going through a tougher time due to Fiona breaking her leg quite badly. It talks about the discuss of roles in a relationship and how you need to be able to step into each others shoes should you need to. 

I think it embodies how I feel about some things. Sometimes when I give my talks I discuss the fact that I went from doing a the very "manly" (traditionally anyway - I know anyone can do it) job of being a carpenter, to becoming a stay at home dad. and how that made me feel and how I saw other people's attitudes to me change, especially with my wife being the bread winner. 

Changing my days from working on roofs and hanging doors to looking after the children and making sure I had tea on the table when my wife got home from work. I left what is quite often a toxic industry when it comes to male chauvinistic attitudes. The guy who trained me to be a carpenter still won't cook tea, even if he gets back before his wife from work and never does any of the housework. 

I like to think we share our workload well here and that my wife and I are a brilliant team (unless you judge us on how tidy our home is - lol). I don't like the unfair split that sometimes exists, although sometimes I'm sure we may feel a little that it is one sided here, especially when things are busy. I like that our children see us equally in any of the household tasks, and yes we have things we're better at, or recipes we won't do because our partner does it better, etc. 

The children are involved in this as well. If I have to go off in an evening (a regular occurrence at the moment) I won't ask my wife to complete the chores I need done, instead I'll normally ask the Middlest to organise it, she'll drag her brother and sister along and get what needs doing done. They all understand helping each other in our family unit makes it easier and makes it so we can do more. 

What really choked with the video above was the mention Hugh gives me at the end. I'm never quite sure how you're meant to feel as a parent, a lot of the time it feels like I'm winging it, and only sometimes does it feel like you're getting it right. So it was great to have a nice mention, hopefully it'll push me to be an even better husband and father in the future and keep on pushing. 

Wednesday 13 March 2024

Hand Pollinating Our Peach Tree

A few years ago I put in a peach tree. The first year I thought it had died, but the next year it came back - it seems to still be living through the neglect I give it. 

This is the first year I've seen any blossom on it though. As my middle daughter and I were cleaning the plastic on the polytunnel we couldn't see any bees. 

It's still early in the year and the polytunnel might not look very inviting to something buzzing around. 

Monday 11 March 2024


 On Saturday we had a great day completing the 12km "ShireHike" with the Scouts. 

It was a big event with some 700 scouts of different ages attending. There were different length routes, we did the 12km (plus the 1.5km to get to the start), there was a 5km for the beavers (we couldn't get enough leaders to run the beaver walk as well), a 24km for the scouts (our scouts are all quite young so they stuck to the 12km cub walk) and a 37km walk for the explorers! The explorers group set off really early. 

We walk on the hills plenty and it was all routes we knew, but it was still a fun thing to do on a Saturday. The weather was kind. 

Friday 8 March 2024

Unusual Greenhouse Clips

My greenhouse has been up about 10 years now, second hand when I got it, older than me and still going strong. 

I have been struggling with the clips though. When I glazed it I had to stretch the clips out a bit, using a few less than I should of. I've looked everywhere for some replacements but unsure what they were even called (I searched greenhouse band clips and got some similar) it was hard to search. 

"unusual" greenhouse clips

In the end I joined a Facebook group called "Greenhouse Spares Group" and A guy on there told me what my greenhouse was (BACO) and that he had some clips for sale. 

Tuesday 5 March 2024

More Seeds In

This time of year is so full of promise, especially when my enthusiasm has been knocked back by the weeds yet!

I've been busy sown little and often. 

In the greenhouse I've put the little 1930s (I think) cloche mum got me for Christmas with some radishes under (and some alongside as well).

Sunday 3 March 2024

Mothers Day Gift Ideas

 A very quick video today, where I'm a bit like a market stall holder on the hard sell! 

Making a Bee Hive Stand - National Hive.

The bee keeping course I've signed myself up for starts in just a few weeks and I'm really looking forward to it. In the meantime my friend, who did the course last year, has bought herself a second hand hive and is getting ready for this years bee keeping.  

The set she bought was lacking one thing though - a stand. 

Friday 1 March 2024

Wooden Potting Tray In Its Natural Habitat

I got sent these pictures by a happy customer the other day and they were just so lovely I had to share them. 

I love this potting area! It just looks like such a great space to work and a lovely space to spend a bit of time looking at the view! 
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