Wednesday, 28 February 2018

WE NEED RAIN ...........

1st February
Happy Birthday Steph! Xxx
Brett's been working at Jo's this week (plus his bike ride every Sunday) so I've been on my own for a few days - it makes me realise I would hate to live alone!
Today I decided to do some (much needed) weeding; nearly 2 hours later, a wheelbarrow full of weeds (mainly grass), but hardly anything to show for it - though you can actually see one row of carrots now.
I sat outside in the sun to eat my lunch - it was bloody freezing!!!! The sun was shining but there was a bitter wind blowing from the north - I soon came in!
Next week I'm hosting our fermentation group (The Fermentalists) so I've been making a few ferments for our taste and share session. I've so far got ....... ginger ale, sourdough bread (it's in the freezer), chili paste (the one that nearly killed Brett!), pickled radish, curtido (cabbage, onion and carrot) AND I found some pickled garlic I made 13 years ago (it's gone black but it will taste sweet). We'll be making (as a group) beet kvass and ginger bug (I won't as I already have one).

2nd February
I now have a Portuguese Social Security number, which means I can sign on with a doctor at last.
Bloody Chronopost (delivery people) sent our electric fence controller back to Germany because they said had been unable to deliver it. We got one text from them saying they'd tried to call us twice (funny, we had no missed calls) and an email asking how we would like to get our package - the link wouldn't allow us to do either of the options (track the package/rearrange delivery) - so they sent it back! Everyone has issues with package deliveries, we've been ok until this one.

3rd February
Today I helped Brett burning scrub up in the top field. I'm not the best person to assist him as I spend all my time checking the fire isn't getting out of control (I'm petrified of making a wild fire, where as Brett is totally blasé and, I think, doesn't take the dangers seriously enough!).
So I stayed back at the house, after coffee break, and made Scrumbles (and learnt a new vocabulary!). A Scrumble is a freeform piece of crochet; once I have made a bunch I can join them together (a bit like patchwork) to make something - I want to make a jumper. My first two Scrumbles .........

4th February
Joyce would have been 89 today ......
I'm trying to replicate one of my favorite dresses (Ewa I Walla design), my one is very old and falling apart. I've chosen three different materials (an old, patterned, cotton duvet cover from Lola, a muslin skirt from Debbie and an old duvet cover from Debbie). The underskirt is patchwork and will be made from the two duvet covers (this will take the most time to construct), the muslin will make the top skirt. Once made I will dye the whole dress a faded purple color (and keep my fingers crossed).

6th February
Happy Birthday Alexandra Xxx
Brett took the car to the garage to get the cam belt changed, it's going to take all day so he had to cycle home (good job he's fit).
It's freezing cold, literally, atm. Every morning the animal's water is frozen (1/4" - 1/2" thick) and, although it's sunny, it stays cold throughout the day. We have taken to lighting the range earlier and earlier.
Despite this I have germination in the polytunnel (the seed trays are in a cold frame on top of polystyrene too); so far a few tomatoes, loads of tomatillos and I can see a bean cracking open - spring is springing!!!!
As I have no lemons I made preserved oranges today - they should work the same?
Last week Diane told me she had made nettle cordial - of course I had to make some too!!!!! I bottled it today; it's a pretty pink color and tastes delicious (Diane says it's good with gin!).

8th February
Brett handed me a 'dead duckling' this morning; he'd found it floating on the duck pond (that had ice on it, unfortunately I'd broken it!). It was soaked through, freezing cold, completely limp and no movement.
I dried it off as best I could, wrapped it in a towel and put it on a hot water bottle. Then I lit the range. I continued to dry, rub, wrap in dry parts of the towel for the next hour ........ then it's mouth opened and shut - it wasn't quite dead! Three hours later, and lots of TLC, it was squeaking and jumping out of the basket it had been cocooned in. I put it back with it's siblings - job done! Now I can't tell which one it is.
I hosted our fermentation group this afternoon. We made Torshi, an Iranian ferment - we have to wait a month to taste it.

9th February
Brett went off on his weekly bike ride today. I spent the day sewing patchwork for the underskirt of the dress I'm making - it's very time consuming.
Lucy is SO pregnant, she looks as if she has at least three kids in her and her udders look fit to burst - she MUST go into labour soon!

11th February
Nope, no kids yet. Poor Lucy looks so uncomfortable; she has black skin but her udders are so full they're red!
We spent the day in the veg garden. Transplanting cabbages, weeding, sowing garlic and broad beans. There's so much food ready to eat - different types of cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, beet, radish (plus the stored onions, sweet potatoes and squash, frozen sundried tomatoes, eggs) .........
One of Brett's cauliflowers ........

12th February
Still no kids!!!!!
Went into CB for a boring shopping trip!
No kids when we got back either!

13th February
She's going to *POP*, her udders are ginormous!!!
Went to help T&D collect hay from Tim's place this morning (hay is in very short supply now). Diane gave me some magic tea for my cough and chest (I know one of the ingredients is hibiscus), it's a very pretty pink colour.
We need rain; the wells are still almost enpty, the grass isn't growing (hardly any growth since we cut hay - that's 10 months), people are worrying about feeding and watering animals this year - we're worrying about feeding the animals and watering the vegetable garden this year!
Dinner this evening: broccoli & stilton (made with calabrese), fried broccoli (sprouting), baked sweet potatoes.

14th February
For goodness sake Lucy GET ON WITH IT! She looks so uncomfortable and can hardly walk with her udders forcing her back legs apart.
We had to put one of our yearling rams out of his misery today. Big ram (weighs about 18 stone) rammed him into the shed wall - we think he had internal injuries. Big ram's will be gone next week!

Saturday 17th February
We did the carboot today. Not terribly good this time, but I did manage to swap a couple of cauliflowers for a bag of lemons.

Sunday 18th February
And still Lucy hasn't produced!!!!!
The hunting season ends soon; so hunters have been more active these last couple of Sundays; shot was running down the roof!
I made lemon curd with my bartered lemons.
Dress prior to dyeing:

Underskirt (patchwork) detail
I dyed my duvet dress (purple); I'm very happy with the results (see 26th for photo). Hopefully tomorrow I can finish sewing it? I had to dye it prior to finishing the sewing as synthetic thread doesn't take the dye (I can't get old fashioned cotton thread here), so now I can finish the sewing with the appropriate coloured thread.

Wednesday 21st
Big bully ram has been dispatched .......
I didn't get my dress completely finished (but it's good enough to wear with a jumper!) - I love it, it has exactly the right weight in the skirt.

Thursday 22nd
What a fabulous day!
We had a trip to Spain with Nicky, Erd and Tallis. I wore my new dress (of course)!
I bought fabric,
I'm going to make a blind for the bathroom.
vegetables, different flavored paprikas, saffron, a couple of types of dried chilies and then we went for a tapas lunch - bread, olives, tongue, gambas, langoustine, calamari rings, calamari a la plancha, a mixed plate of potatoes, chorizo, eggs and ham, beer and wine (which came to 8€ a head).
And ........ when we arrived home hoo-bloody-rah-about-time-too Lucy had kidded!!!!! Unfortunately two males which we had to bottle feed as they couldn't latch on to her ginormous teats! (I took 3L off of her just to make her comfortable!).

23rd February
Hoorah, the kids had obviously fed overnight (only from one side, but that's a start). Took 1L from her (just to make her soft).
sodding goose attacked me - made a hole in the top skirt of my new dress!!!!! Brett said 'why was I wearing it whilst doing the animals' - because 'it's new and I love it'!

26th February
We lost another duckling today; it came out of the shed first thing, then this afternoon we could only see two. Seven were hatched so that's pretty poor survival rates. We don't know if it's predators or our other ducks that are picking them off.
I had to patch my new dress!!!!!!!

27th February
A lazy day as we're actually having a bit of rain!
We've started drinking Lucy's milk (she's producing far too much for her kids), it's really creamy - I'mgoing to attempt butter making this week.

28th February
A proper storm this afternoon; heavy rain and thunder.