Sunday, 28 February 2010

Twenty Four Seven

Do you ever get excited about a whole heap of Farmyard Manure?....or is it just me?!
I suppose, given that I'm one of very few peeps to have access to this, I should indeed be very excited, and eminently grateful, as I used to pay for this stuff at a ? a bag before now!

The stuff Trousers and I put into the new borders of the Kitchen Garden last Autumn, was about 7 years old, but now that the remainder of that has been spread on the fields, we'll have to just add the new stuff to our new Compost Bins (and jolly nice they are!), or wait a while.

Allegedly, the weather is due to be much more Spring-like this coming week, according to Himself, so I thought I'd whet your appetite a bit with what's happening in part of The Funny Farm front garden.
Obviously, there are Muscari yet to follow, and also, my particular favourite, ornamental Alliums. And I managed to secure some white ones in the local garden centre sale just before Christmas, which are growing on very nicely in the Draughty Dutch Greenhouse, for the Kitchen Garden out back.

And as the title of this weeks' blog suggests, things are happening here down on The Funny Farm completely Twenty Four Seven. And there are still new spring lambs being popped out Twenty Four Seven too!.

To emulate that theme, I did take a muddy meander round the farm earlier with the camera, trying to capture the lambs from Mum No. 20, Mum No. 4, and Mum No. 7. But it's a restless time of day for the babies, and they've got agendas that involve playing with their mates, getting totally lost, then spending the next few hours bleeting their heads off in search of Mum for some milk, who's lost interest by now, and enjoying the peace and quiet. What a noisy place THIS is at the moment Children!

Still, I suppose that if you've got Twenty Twenty Vision, you'll just be able to imagine it, and see it for yourself, eh....

These two little angels, I've called 'Echo' and 'Echo'.....
I think there are only twins, not sextuplets or anything?!

Trousers had a banging headache on Saturday (normally known in this household as 'Wellie'), but actually it was a proper headache this time, so he decided to erect the latest of the Wellie Workshop ideas, yeah, right!....

I know, I know (see Wellie do a curtsey?) I'd remembered from nearly this time last year, that the wind absolutely HOWLS through this westerly gateway, blowing the living daylights out of everything and anything in it's way in the Kitchen Garden, so, with Trousers having brought these beauties back to chop up for firewood, leaning up against the oil tank, (the doors, not Trousers) they went 'Ping!' at me, with a good idea?
The wind filters through the louvres now, rather than knocks everybody over, and once the very stubborn Trousers had insisted on finishing, he did indeed retire gracefully to bed. Presumably, because if he didn't, he knew that his headache would be worse.... Simples.....

And when they're not needed, the louvre gate neatly swings back against the wall, leaving the low wrought iron gate as per normal.

I've brought you this untidy vision completely on purpose. This is my Draughty Dutch Greenhouse, and with the aid of a roll of All Weather Tape, odds'n'sods of clear perspex and plastic sheeting, and half a morning, I've managed to make it much less draughty.
That way, it's a bit more pleasant to work in, and I've managed now, to tidy up the overwintered Strawberry plants, bring on the Tulip and ornamental Allium bulbs, and out of shot, I'm trying to breathe the breath of life into the Dahlia Tubers in pots. Although, with this very tough winter, I'm not sure who has survived, and who hasn't?
I'm also beginning to sow hardy and half-hardy annuals, root a few shallot sets, and a multitude of other seed-sowing is taking place.
There's also a comfy cushion for my cat, naturally!

I'm fortunate, in that the new stone floor is nearly finished in the conservatory, and when it is - all the germinated seeds from on top of the Rayburn begin their new life in the lukewarm conservatory, get transferred to cooler climes in the Greenhouses, and then finally into the Kitchen Garden, under cloches, or not.

I count myself one hugely lucky girl.
All of this, and Trousers as well....

Have a beautiful week Peoples.
And do keep reminding yourself: "If I don't sow it, I can't grow it".
Really important that, if you're wanting to harvest stuff to eat?!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Good News, Bad News, Good News

Good News first then? The noo Conservatory floor is beginning to happen, but the Bad News is that it's meant that there are certain areas in the noo kitchen that haven't quite yet got completed, so it means having to shufty things from 'there to there' every morning still.

Still! It's a pleasure to see it all beginning to take shape at last, and I've finally managed to locate my Cook Books from every possible corner of the Farmhouse, into one bookshelf thingy (I've still got endless recipes that I've cut out from magazines in the wooden chest in the Sitting Room still to process and I do remember my friend Hazel at The Hill saying that her friend Jane does recommend 'De-Cluttering' on a regular basis.. Mmm.... Some of my best recipes are hidden amongst those pages, so best not just yet, eh?

Definitely the bad news...... is all the dust. Believe me, I can DO dust, but this is on a Crisp scale, and we're nowhere near the 6 month mark?!
Don't get me wrong - Life couldn't, and shouldn't always be a bed of roses, however much we want it to be. you wouldn't appreciate the gorgeous opportunities ahead of you if you focussed on Yesterday, and I am definitely looking forward.
I can see an amazing Tomorrow, and it makes me smile all the more.
Biodynamically, it was a Root Day yesterday, so I did indeedy sow some more Parsnip seeds.
Outside wasn't so clement, so I shall bide my time a while yet, even with the cloches, unless it ruddy well warms up a few degrees? Brr!
And tomorrow's a Flower Day, so, depending on what else I have to do, will be governed by what gets sown.
For those of you who have children (I don't, but still am one, obviously!) I can't HELP but report to you that there are some GORGEOUS lambs being born on the farm at the moment?
They are so very, very tiny and cute. I sincerely hope that I never lose my ability to be completely enthralled and captivated (whilst being a sensible adult that realises that a Fox can take one at any given moment, naturally)
"Where there's Livestock, there's Deadstock". Excellent advice, and very true.....
But I enjoy these beautiful Spring Babies out of my windows and on our Doorstep every single day, and I can't begin to tell you how happy they make me feel.
I love it so much! X
Thank you for listening, and be here - just BE here next time, yes?!

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Cross Pinkies For Success All Round....

It IS actually quite like me, and I'm not ashamed to admit it, but here we have Wellie Flying By The Seat of Her Pants again....
I've got that much to do, that I decided not to put off planting my Red Baron Onion seedlings out (get your magnifying glass or binoculars out? left of photo), or my Elephant Garlic, or my Bored Bean seedlings any longer. Time is marching on, and it will very soon BE March.

Having ascertained that The Girls in the field will not just trash the 'see-through' black plastic netting, and make a meal of it, I've risked planting my Bored Beans around each of these Obelisks. I can tie the Obelisk to the fencepost for support, tie the Bored Bean stems to the Obelisk, and then in June, plant something else that will enjoy the nitrogen-fixing nodules in the soil after the beans..
And that to me, is sufficient of a start, to get the ball rolling. If I faff around too much more, I'm likely to miss the boat.
Come in No. 6? Oh no - we did that last week!....

And most of my Wallflowers have survived the winter in tubs near the back of the house, so I'll try and plant them nearby to get the bees in for pollination.

Wellie's Flobalob Family have been really quite patient of late, having been so used to extensive exposure prior to our moving house, and I'm mindful of reintroducing them to my Funny Farm Blog this coming year, just because I can, and it does amuse me?

To be perfectly honest, they're in shock at the moment, on account of the new outside tap, and the enormity of what appears to be happening on it.

Five to Six this Sunday evening, and Herself has just managed to tidy the noo kitchen sufficiently to bring you a glimpse of it.

You can't possibly appreciate that I've just found my cat under a tonne of sawdust......

And I've just found Trousers starving hungry in the Corner Carousel Cupboard?
Hey Ho!
Thank you for watching yet again, and I may well bring you an unusual mid-week blog update this week, depending on which way the pendy swings.
But I'm firmly crossing my Pinkies.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Boinging into 2010

Trousers very kindly built me three Valentine Compost Bins from some wooden pallets he acquired! and I'm truly grateful, as the compost heap on the right was starting to get to Triffid proportions. Then, completely lost for something constructive to do on Saturday morning, what with a bloke making me a noo kitchen in my Kitchen, I thought I'd turn the Triffid into the new bins. It's actually pretty good stuff already, but will romp away now as it heats up over the next 7 days. Then it'll be ready to turn again into the next bin, and so-forth. (the Aerobic composting method, as opposed to Anaerobic, just in case you were wondering!).

I started filling the second bin with compost as well, but got severely told off by Trousers, on account of the fact that I'd be 'well overdoing it' and wouldn't be able to move the following day. The nice man in my Kitchen backed him up, so I poured myself a nice cold glass of Pinot Grigio, and made a huge Lasagne for the freezer instead, in the only available corner of the kitchen that wasn't covered in sawdust - no, honestly.... don't even GO there!
And d'you know what? Not a bone in my body ached the following day. Unlike my head of course. Too much ice maybe?!
I've brought the Strawberry troughs into the Draughty Dutch Greenhouse for a bit of a tidy-up: get all the dead growth off, inspect for fatalities etc. The plants on the right are last years' propagated 'runners' - plants for free, that's what us gardeners like best!

I'm in two minds as to whether I grow them up off the ground in my Wellie's Workshop Strawberry Planter again, or do I plant them on Terra Firma? Actually..... now that I've acquired the first of my two outside taps, and I've got all that automatic drip-watering stuff I put together yonks ago, I think I've just answered my own question.....
The green troughs here are Autumn Bliss Raspberry plants that I brought to The Funny Farm when we moved from the cottage last April, and I'm intending on planting them on the next biodynamic fruit day. In fact they're not the only Raspberry plants to be moved, as the existing ones need relocating to another bed in order to get some semblance of order around here! They're popping up all over the place!

Thankfully, we've not yet had the next installment of snow that was forecast, but I thought I'd take no risks where my germinated Parsnip seeds were concerned.
I germinated them on damp kitchen paper in the kitchen, then transferred them to compost-filled sections of loo roll cardboard, and then planted those into the soil.
It might seem a bit overkill to protect them this much initially, but there's 40, and I'd like it to stay that way. Which has just prompted me to make a mental note: check that the slugs aren't having a sneaky picnic at my expense?!
I shall be making a second sowing (for harvesting as younger roots) on the next biodynamic root day on the 24th, so I could always make up numbers then, if I have to (always good to have a Plan B waiting in the wings).
I've also put together the framework for my Tent Cloches, which does set a challenge each year when one's lost the instructions.... Seeing as this is the Root Bed, I'll cover them and warm the soil up here for an early crop of carrots, Beetroot, etc..
I haven't provided pictorial evidence to back this up, but I'd like you to trust me on this one.... Each and every sheeps on the entire Funny Farm is popping out baby little Baa Lambs in the blink of an eye. I've lost count on who I told you about last, but Liquorice Sticks, The Twins and No.3 are best buddies now, boinging round the field like spring-loaded Zebedees, and the latest additions, at last count, No. 6, No. 7, No. 8.........Just where am I going to get the inspiration for all of their names?!
Which reminds me of an old joke: Picture the scene....
A boating lake. A couple hire a rowing boat to take out onto the lake one afternoon and are late returning it to the boathouse. Spotting them through his binoculars, the boat man reaches for his megaphone: "Come in No. 6!"..... He waits a while "Come in No.6!". No response. "No. 9, are you in trouble?"
And there endeth the blog.
You've been brilliant company again, as usual, so thank you for listening.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Now you see it.... Now you don't......

I'm only keeping half a promise to you this week, because this is Adora's Mum. I was unable to locate Adora's Dad for the photo shoot (he'd gone out with his mates or something?) but she's in the middle of scratching an itch on her back, with the help of the metal trailer. Out of camera shot to her right, I was barrowing well-rotted manure to the new Fruit Bush Bed yesterday, and she rather unceremoniously kept 'goosing me', which was a little unsettling of a Saturday afternoon......

And knock me over with a feather children - just looky what's happening here in Wellie's Kitchen: The kitchen man cometh at very last !!! I wasn't TOO mean to him when he finally turned up, because it must of taken a lot of courage to finally knock on the door, and he did rather resemble a frightened rabbit caught in the headlights. And I didn't want to make him feel worse, however tempting it seemed for me since mid-December!

The sink isn't going there by the way, just in case you were thinking it was. It's going kind of mid-noo curtain position? so that washing up what doesn't fit in the dishwasher, has a beautiful view attached to it, making it a teeny-weeny bit more pleasurable.

And hopefully, the contents of the kitchen cupboards won't be in the dining-hall, the corridoor or the sitting-room for too much longer, and I'm rather desperate to be able to wash things up in my noo kitchen sink before the lambs grow up and have babies of their own, obviously....!
("Ouch!", just in case he ever reads this blog?)!

In all seriousness, he's doing a fantastical job, with such attention to detail that I'm truly 'blown-away', and it is going to be an amazing kitchen, not only to have these many cupboards, but also to have 'there to there' worksurface area (see Wellie point from that corner of the photo to bottom left "to me sweetie, to me" between the Utility and The Rayburn.

Great room for a Help Yourself Lunch at Wellie & Trousers' again, if I ever decided to do another one.
Mind you, I've got a Special Birthday this year, and it's far too long since we've got together and wet ourselves laughing with our friends The Piglets.

Trousers had a rehearsal on Friday for a Special Birthday himself next year?
So his magnificent work here in The Naughty Corner of the garden (on account of his frayed temper and rude words), spell Toy Boy with Boys Toys:
Having dispersed the Fluffy Bleatings from the area (now totalling Snowflake, Liquorice Sticks, The Twins, and latest arrival, No.3), Trousers gave Wellie the guide rope to pull, with strict instructions on what to do with it.

Naturally, Wellie told Trousers exactly what he could do with his advice, and the tree missed the Draughty Dutch Greenhouse, cleared the wall, and landed right bang where she (and he) wanted it to. So - high five Wellie & Trousers, brilliant teamwork!

Now ya see it............Now ya don't....!

There's that much to do in the garden before Spring arrives, that unfortunately, we couldn't put off chain-sawing this tree any longer, so our apologies to Jim, who was really looking forward to helping.
What with Cyril Squirrel having designs on it back in the Autumn for a new Drey, which was successfully averted in sequence by Trousers and the cat......., and now with 'The World, His Wife, and His Auntie' bird population out there House Hunting, it had to be now.
Besides, with precious little south-facing Currant Bun on that part of the Kitchen Garden from The Naughty Corner last year, the original fruit bushes, and consequent harvest was poor, and poor quality to boot.
I'm just going to take time out now, to say Hello! to our newest Funny Farm blog followers, and Hello Again! to those of you who have been registered since the beginning of my witterings, bless you for still being here.
For those of you still behind closed doors in the cheap seats, just rattle your jewellry, we know you're there! and hope you're being entertained every week. X
Have a lovely week peoples.
And hopefully, see you next.