Monday, 25 August 2014


Surprisingly enough, no children were
out playing today. A rather soggy
A rather large area of low pressure has sat over us for the last 24 hours at least, bringing rain for much of that time. At least it held off long enough for me to have a good stint in the garden to get rid of some of the weeds that were beginning to make my orchard plot unrecognisable. I have also started harvesting some of the squash, one sort is spaghetti squash which has grown in a totally unexpected place and the other sort we are not sure what type it is, they are bright yellow instead of the blue of sweetmeat squashes which is what we thought they might be. They have obviously crossed with another type. So it will be interesting to find out what they taste like. The onions are all in too, just in time by the look of them, if they had sat out in this rain, they could well have rotted away, as would some of the beans. Some beans are still nice and green, but others were starting to get the tell tale signs of needing to be picked.

Ian sifting buckwheat. We won't be bothering with sifting
all the buckwheat, the chickens will be doing that for
themselves. This is for seed next year
Having gathered in the hay, the barley and the buckwheat now, I feel that my life is gradually returning to a more measured pace, where I can get some studying done in peace. Actually it is not just the harvests that have been completed, it is also the fact that I have just about completed the paper I was writing and the lessons for the Sociology course I will be teaching online. All had to be complete by the end of the month and so it is nice to just have the tidying up jobs to do on those. I even finished a short piece on what I am actually studying for a doctoral colloquium - sounds absolutely pretentious name for a group of doctoral students errr I mean candidates sitting around talking about what they are doing. I do enjoy going to them though.
The sifted chaff

Before on the left and after on the right
Chanterelles for our evening meal
You can tell what season we are in by what we are eating, we are definitely moving into harvest time. One evening meal consisted of potatoes, carrots, sage and nettles taken from the garden (the nettles were cut from an area that had been cut down during the year and so were tender enough to eat), a couple of large beefsteak tomatoes from the greenhouse, lentils from the cupboard and smoked goat's cheese from my friend Santa. This was followed by windfall apple scones, with sour cream and roasted grapes. It was rather good, even if I do say so myself. Tonight it was mushroom risotto with chanterelles we picked from our forest, since the wild boar hadn't actually dug over our favourite spot this year and a cep - yes only one, but then they are quite large mushrooms. My breakfast is usually porridge, whatever time of the year and I often take it out to the land to eat, to save time in the morning, as I don't like to hurry breakfast. The nice part about taking my breakfast out there is that I can get fresh berries to put in it. The berries that are added changes throughout the year, from the strawberries in early July, through blackcurrants, redcurrants and raspberries to now where they are blackberries, blueberries and autumn raspberries - well that is if the wasps haven't snaffled them first. The wasps have been pretty bad this year, must have been the relatively mild winter we had I guess.
Franken-ramp! We used the shredder to process the grain
crops and it worked rather well, but it was hurting Ian's back
bending over feeding the stuff in. Not much better for me,
holding the sack over the outlet, so Ian built the ramp and
base so he doesn't have to bend over so much. It is also bolted
to the frame for stability
View from a different angle

Outside my office, stood just inside the caravan door
The article written about our life on the farm and put in the local papers resulted in another visit to our land this week. This time it was a relative of one of our neighbours. She had been meaning to come for a while but hadn't got our number or anything, so as my email was printed along with the article, she sent me a message to arrange a time to come. She even brought along her family, her two children, her father and her sister and her family who were visiting. They brought goodies for the animals to see if they would like them and as usual our boys were only interested in the grain but the girls enjoyed the carrots and apples and the chickens enjoyed the bread and the rowan berries. Once again the children were more fascinated with the chickens than the alpacas, but they still enjoyed feeding them.

My office this morning
We had a chuckle about the article the other day. The day was reasonably warm and so we took our morning coffee up to the spot where we hope to build a house one day and sat and chatted and watched the alpacas eating, when we remembered the title of the article roughly translated being "Corncrake alpacas and the hardworking English couple" (Grieze or corncrake being the name of our land or at least some derivative of that name), anyone looking at us at that moment in time, might not think we were so hardworking, but then again, I guess they don't see us the rest of the time.

The heater in the caravan went on today
About a month ago I sent off a letter to our local heating company complaining about the charges they keep adding to the bills. There is no explanation as to what they are and they are added in a fairly random manner. I suspect they add them and hope no one notices. I was fully expecting a letter to say the equivalent of "get lost and pay your bill" - well maybe not quite so rude, but they may as well put that for the replies we have had in the past. Anyway when I opened the letter I was in for a shock. It was very short and so easy to type into Google translate and basically said, "sorry we got it wrong and sorry for the inconvenience." I have never known that company apologise before, however, they only applied the reversal of the charge to the last bill we had and not the the many months of erroneous charges. So that means yet another letter making absolutely clear which charges I am referring to month by month. Obviously I will have to do the hard work for them, despite the fact I told them how much I thought they had added in error.


  1. It's so good to be able to eat things you've grown yourself. I get a buzz every time I can say, 'This is one of ours.' All your hard work is now giving the rewards. Nice to see the Franken factory is still going strong!

    1. It is nice indeed and it was even nicer to say we picked the wild Chanterelles from our own bit of forest, well Ian's since it is in his name. We also got a handful of wild blueberries and some cranberries and we made a crumble using some more windfall apples.

      The Franken-factory is just about still going strong. We may be getting to the end of the wood that is either left over from other projects or been part of something else. We will have to go and cut fresh from the forest sometime.

  2. the hard working English it. You are now famous. It's great that it encourages people to come and see hat you are doing, get an appreciation of the work you are doing on the land...

    1. It was rather amusing and yes famous indeed, we have folks queueing for our autographs, not! :) It is nice to be able to chat about what we are trying to do and even hear what others are doing to.


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