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Aaaah, still loving our life!

Monday, 19 March 2018

Lambing Update and a Little Garden Prep.


We are looking after orphan lamb number two; this one is a little younger than Baa Bach - here he is.

They are keeping each other company quite well; this was taken before the snow!

We are feeding them both and Baa Bach is a thumper only being two weeks old last Friday. She is looking after the younger one; his mum died and her mum abandoned her after her twin died so they are a proper pair of buddies now.

Still a few weeks to go before they go back into the flock as 'regular' sheep but they are enjoying being out in the garden; they have a pen in the shed for night times and pop in and out of the shed during the day when Jon is home, too.

In other news I have done something in the garden, BS, before snow that is! I have taken the top off the cold frame that was behind the Poly House as I decided to change it into another regular bed; it was storm damaged so it seemed a good time to sort it out before, hopefully, the bad weather finishes...

I took the front cover off; decided to leave the frame bit as good for leaning on when working on it!

I gave it a good digging over and weeding, not much to take out luckily, then added some fresh compost.


Can't wait to make some good use of it, sooooon!

Bye for now.


Kim Stoddart - Doing It Her Way, and Yours..

Continuing on from talking about reading copies of Country Smallholder magazine I have been reading written articles, and some online, by Kim Stoddart; I've been aware of her work for sometime as she is based here in wonderful Wales.

As part of my quest to include more interesting posts on my blog, Kim has kindly agreed to let me include one of her online posts here. Should you not know Kim she is an advocate of a bit of guerrilla gardening, as I like to describe it, and I love it! I have trouble sometimes deciding if I should go a bit rogue when sowing and growing and Kim gives you the confidence to do just that. She encourages you to be a bit of a maverick, go with the flow, try something different and even throw away the rule book at times to just do it YOUR way.

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Kim has really made me think that I don't have to follow the crowd and be more open to her ideas, and those of others too, who go about things in a different way. (She also blogs about lots of other interesting and important things including her autistic son who benefits from a life outdoors.)

So down to blog business. Kim has provided me with a great post for this time of the year, about growing on from supermarket veg! I really hope you enjoy this guest post, learn more about Kim and her really interesting way of going about her gardening and perhaps be inspired to try something new for yourself. Here we go, my first guest post - over to you Kim.


I'm all for growing pretty much everything from seed, or taking cuttings wherever i can but sometimes I'll slip a cheeky cheat or two into the gardening mix. Now is actually a great time to undertake some growing adventures with leftover materials from your weekly food shop.

Of course conventional advice often dictates that this produce cannot and should not really be used, ever. The mere suggestion to some might well illicit some self-assured headshaking and a rather sharp intake of breath, but don’t listen because I’m here to tell you it can be done and it’s actually a really rather …fun thing to do.

There’s a huge amount of room for experimentation here and because there’s such a direct link with the food you buy, it’s a great way of getting children and big kids everywhere interested in a spot of grow your own.

Here are just a few of the easiest ideas for this time of year:

Herb pots

Some herbs can be rather fiddly to grow from seed (such as parsley) and shop-bought herb pots can be easily grown on once you have harvested some of their leaves. You’ll have to be relatively quick and rescue the plants from their painfully confided quarters. Do so by very gently dividing the root ball into several small clumps and plant them out into a spacious helping of potting compost. In return you’ll get many plants for a minimum amount of effort.

Spuds and garlic

Come spring it’s common to find a few potatoes that have started sprouting in a dark corner somewhere and which will have turned spongy and not especially edible as a result. If you have a few like this why not plant them out?  Just be aware that organic produce is preferable as it’s less likely to have been sprayed with growth inhibitors (which are used to provide a maximum shelf life).

Likewise with garlic, which is so easy to grow. Just select the plumpest looking cloves and tubers to plant out.

Sprouting shoots

You don’t need to buy small (often expensive) packets of special sprouting seeds – just work with what you happen to have in your food cupboard. Dried chick peas, lentils, sunflower seeds, fenugreek and mung beans are among those that you can use to create delicious sprouting shoots at any time of the year.
Simply soak the peas and beans overnight in water and then keep them in a spouting box or jam jar. Rinse them daily till they start to shoot. They are delicious in salad and highly nutritious.

Otherwise, have some fun experimenting

Once you’ve tried this you’ll never look at your shopping basket the same way again.
I’ve just covered some of the easiest options when in fact there is a whole world of growing on potential at your disposal. A stroll around any ethnic food shop will have your head whirling with exciting possibilities and enable you to bag yourself interesting varieties of seed or propagation material which otherwise may have been hard to obtain.
Just remember fresh is always best and you want to avoid using anything in brine, that’s been frozen or heat treated in any way. Ditto any hybrids (F1) produce. Otherwise go for the plump and ripest-looking produce and see where it takes you...

Kim is a columnist for a range of gardening publications including Grow Your Own and Country Smallholding magazines. She also writes for the Guardian and runs a range of grow your own and smallholding courses from her smallholding in gorgeous Ceredigion, West Wales. Visit www.greenrocketcourses.com

So I hope you have enjoyed my first guest post.

Bye for now.


Saturday, 17 March 2018

Soooo Upset At People.

Today I found that some lowlife has stolen the tin from our egg house at the front door.

Not only have they taken that but also a bag of garlic, a jar of lemon curd and half a dozen eggs. In total I have lost £3.50 worth of homegrown, or made, produce.

I am disappointed as did not expect that where we live.

I intend to put a sign outside saying please knock on the door if you wish to buy eggs etc.

So upset.


Thursday, 8 March 2018

Living That Dream

Jon came up to me with other morning, gave me a hug and asked me if I was happy with our life. I said I WAS! 

Simple things can make you realise you are in the right place doing the right thing. For us this week, as I previously told you, it has been looking after an orphan lamb.

It's really important to be able to help neighbours in tricky times, but when you get the added bonus of learning something at the same time it's great! Both the boys have taken it in turns to go out early with Jon and help with the lambing to see nature up close, and not always the best part of it at times. This is something we SO wanted for them when we moved here. We may have some sheep of our own in the future but in the meantime we are very happy to help out when we can and know that Jon, and the boys, will know what to do for ourselves, should the time arise.

Bye for now.


Monday, 5 March 2018

Sowing For Success.

This post is an attempt to write something a little more meaningful, rather than my usual show and tell of what is going on at our little homestead.  

I have a number of copies of Country Smallholding magazine donated to me by friends. I really do love reading them, even though lots of subjects are alien to me but lots of things are very useful, like advice about seed sowing...

The time people choose to start seed sowing can vary greatly. If you have a poly tunnel, propagator, heat mat etc. you can often  start things a lot earlier than those who are without these items. Some people like to get things in super early, and lots of them, to make sure they get a good harvest. Others have to wait because of lack of space, like myself with my Poly House being out of action. 

Charles Dowding wrote an article saying, amongst other things, that rather than starting seeds off early it is sometimes better to start a bit later. He says "the amount of suitable sowings in late summer is considerable, while their timing becomes more important with each week that passes". However he advises that May sowings benefit from some delays. Many gardeners like to start sowing in March time, and before. Charles says that late sowing in June of warmth-loving crops means cucumbers and courgettes have time to catch up as the weather gradually gets warmer and the days get longer. 

A good point he makes that I am going to take on board is to sow beetroot in June - he says the 10th - for a November harvest and also to store. He points out that larger routes are not often woody but are firm and less juicy and will store well until early Spring should you wish.

He mentioned some little gems of information; 
- May is too late to sow aubergines but the perfect month for planting them
- June is too late for sowing leeks but is is the best time to plant them
- July 1 is the latest month to sow cucumber to give the best harvest over a long period.
- up to early July is best to sow swede as they suffer less disease.

Still being relatively new, and as enthusiastic as ever, I am always looking for the optimum time to sow seeds to get the best results; maybe these hints and tips will help me this year.
I would appreciate any comments on this post because I am always open to help.

Bye for now.


Saturday, 3 March 2018

The Snow Came On Thursday at Teatime.

We had snow!

This arrived on Thursday at around teatime. It continued overnight with a little more on Friday but not much.

Now, Saturday, the temp has gone up to 2 degrees when before we were at about -9! It is melting but we have big drifts left because of the ferocious winds so they will take a day or two to go.

13 miles down the road in Aber you would not have thought two places could be so different weather wise. In the shops today the shelves were empty of lots of things because deliveries could not get through.

In other news Jon has been helping our elderly sheep-farming neighbour with lambing and brought a little visitor into the house....

It was one of twins and the mother had left it to fend for itself and got separated from the main flock. We are bottle feeding it for a couple of days in the house and then we will keep it in the shed and let it go outside before it is returned to the flock.The boys think it is very cute but totally understand that she is not a pet.

It is much better now....

and will be spending the night in the conservatory.

I love that Jon is able to get involved by helping our neighbour during lambing and that we helped prevent this little one from perishing; part of us living our dream here in Wales.

Bye for now.


Thursday, 1 March 2018

Hapus Dydd Gwyl Dewi, and Happy Snowday

Yes, Happy St David's Day.

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Of course we have Welsh cakes for snacks today but no daffodils to bring in I'm afraid.

Today the boys are off school as for safety Ceredigion Council have closed the schools until Monday. They are delighted of course but this means the St David's Day Eisteddfod has been cancelled. The weather is brutal today, so very cold and windy; we had a good couple of inches on Tuesday and a few flurries since. I think this will mean hot chocolate, including at breakfast for the boys,

then we had leftover soup for lunch.

The boys started on some homework with having extra time over the next couple of days and there was the hot chocolate again!

Jon went to work this morning but I hoped he would be home around lunchtime when our snow is forecast, although it is now 1pm and there is no sign as yet of him or the snow!

I've put out fresh water for the chooks and will check again if it has frozen over and add some extra bedding.

Fresh bread is proving to last us through the next couple of days, just short of milk, but we'll probably manage to get out.

I hope everybody is keeping safe and warm, with us it is just the cold at the moment.

Oh, in other news, Harry has received confirmation of his first choice school place for September. Yay!!!

Bye for now.