Apple pressing – juicy pictures

Cutting down an overshadowing ash tree has given this gnarled old apple tree a new lease of life and a bumper crop of fruit.¬†   We picked a washing basket full of fruit, chopped it up and used our bucket and drill to mash the fruit. Then we set about pressing it into juice. The […]

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Making hay while the sun shines

By the end of June our field was full of long grass. Making hay off it seemed the obvious answer. Reluctant to hand the job straight to a professional, I started a scythe search. Considering we live in a village full of farms in a very rural area, scythes are few and far between. Real […]

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Three Little Pigs

By the end of May we’re usually feeling strong enough to start thinking about getting piglets again, ready for a summer and autumn of fattening. This year we returned to Andrew Tuck, our usual supplier, to find he had only three available, unless we wanted to wait. We didn’t, and these three have moved in […]

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Butchery for dummies

Until we started keeping animals I had no idea how important it was that meat was hung properly. This week we collected a lamb (ok, technically hogget as it was a year old) carcass that had spent two weeks chilling in Mr Broomhall’s cold store. That’s well hung meat in anyone’s book, so chopping it […]

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Eggonomics – does keeping hens make financial sense?

Keeping hens is all good fun to start with. They are quite engaging creatures, and hopefully produce a supply of delicious fresh eggs for all the cooked breakfasts and cake-baking we dream about.¬† In our case the reality doesn’t always match up. First the rat problem starts as rodents love nothing more than discarded hen […]

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New hens, new hedge, new veg

The smallholding year started again this weekend. There’s been a lot of digging, not least in order to plant a new hedge – sixty plants of ten different species – in our solid clay soil.   The vegetable garden has been given an overhaul and we’ve got onions and garlic coming along nicely, along with […]

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Lambs to the slaughter – the prelude

The end is nigh. ¬†Yesterday felt the sheeps’ lower backs to make sure they weren’t just a bag of bones wrapped up in a very thick fleece, and we’re happy that there’s enough on there to keep us in lamb hotpots for a while. So on Monday, two will be making a one-way journey to […]

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