Monday, 31 December 2012

Review of the year 2012

On the very last day of 2012, I have decided to write a review of the whole year through the months with pictures. Hope you enjoy it.

In January we marked out the base of the cob shed. We used old breeze blocks from around the farmyard. The weather was cold but dry.

In February the snow came and work came to a standstill. 
It was very cold and the garden and farm were transformed.

In March I made the new butterfly garden which didn`t attract any butterflies until late summer.

In April the apple trees blossomed for the first time. 
Unfortunately there was very little fruit later in the season. We think this was due to the lack of insects to fertilise the flowers.

In May we started our mini nursery.

 In June we had our Jubilee picnic. It started out well weather-wise 
but we ended up under the awning playing pass the parcel when it rained on us.

We started the cobbing. It was very hard work.

 The butterfly garden was very pretty by July but not many butterflies.

The wild flower areas were beautiful.

 There was plenty to harvest in August. It took quite a while to sort it all out when we got home.

The wild flower areas continued to look lovely throughout the summer.

 The cobbing was getting a bit behind in September. We expected to be much further on than this.

 There was lots of pickling and preserving still going on in September.

In October Steve made a fourth compost heap....very much needed.

In November we had to cover the unfinished cob shed to protect it from the wet weather.

In December the Kunikuni pigs arrived.

And now I would like to wish everyone a very happy and healthy new year.
Good gardening and see all you yurters in 2013.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Christmas Visitors and Christmas Presents

We visited the garden yesterday to get veggies for our family meal in the evening.
It seems we have had some large visitors. They had trampled through the fence by the gate. Seeing as the ground was soft with all the rain there were huge holes all over the beds and the grass.

This is the wild flower area.

Along the paths.

Even in the sedum patches in the raised bed.

I thought it was badgers til I saw this evidence.

Are these the culprits?

 The moles have been busy.

 Collecting just a few sprouts.

 The cob hut is soft to the touch but seems to be withstanding the onslaught of the wet weather.

 A grey bleak day.....

....but a touch of spring to cheer us all up.

Gardening Christmas presents are always most welcome.
Here is a pile of huge flowerpots from my brother, Jamie.

 A beautiful Haws watering can from Steve. We had our last one for over 25 years 
but it has just developed a hole in the bottom.

 Two fleecy covers for those late frosts.

 There is a tradition in our family of giving Advent presents in the 24 days leading up to Christmas Day.
This year my brother gave us one packet of seeds for each day. What a booty!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Christmas veg. and new Kuni pigs

It`s very wet here. Yesterday it rained non-stop. Many of our narrow lanes are flooded which means careful driving. Our own lane has recently had its ditches cleared so not much of a problem for us. However, they are VERY muddy and the cars get filthy very quickly. The hedges were also cut recently so now we can see clearly across the fields again.
The winter barley/wheat field is exceedingly wet.

We walked to the garden today to collect vegetables for our Christmas dinner, but we also knew there were two new arrivals.

Steve, my sister, Paula and her newest daughter-in-law, Hayley with bags of sprouts, parsnip, leeks and some fresh herbs.

We saw the new arrivals, temporarily in a barn to allow them to acclimatise. Don`t know their names yet.

They are Kunikuni piglets. They enjoyed having their heads scratched and were very excited to see us, grunting and snuffling. Just look at their lovely coats....such a range of colours.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Carols in the barn

We have had a lovely day. 
The postman came with a big Christmas parcel from my Aunty. It was exciting. 
 Can there be any better way of starting the day?
It is a parcel done up in the proper way including Christmas stickers.

Today we made a short visit to the garden for vegetables. Everywhere is very wet and muddy.
Tim was busy getting the barn and yard ready for Carols in the Barn. We helped to sweep some areas.
This is an annual event held in aid of the charity Farm Africa. It is very special as we sing well-known carols, surrounded by the animals, sitting on hay bales.
Then its yummy mince pies, hot sausage rolls and mulled wine.
My sister was busy this morning making 40 mince pies. Her mince pies really are the best.

The evening was well-attended and we trust that everyone was generous with their donations. I wanted to film some of the singing to post on this blog but my best camera battery had run out.
I did get some photos at half time.

Quite a few orbs around for those interested. 

Our own Christmas tree is now up indoors and our outdoor lights have been lit since Advent Day.
They are very modest in comparison to some but I think they are very pretty. I enjoy driving down our dark lane and seeing them all lit up.

Last night I completed the rag doll fairy for my great-niece. I haven`t made one in quite a while and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Years ago I made two or three every year which were raffled for my sister`s Brownie pack Christmas fayres. I think I spent  more time choosing all the fabrics and trimmings than I did actually making her.

This year`s plot boxes are complete. Most of the contents are made using vegetables, fruit or flowers from our garden. Some examples are jam, chutneys, dried herbs and lavender bags, but also includes sloe gin, patchwork owls, home-made beeswax candles, clove oranges and packets of home-saved seeds.
We have made up 6 boxes this year and only give them to people who really appreciate the contents.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Santa Funrun and Christmas Wreaths

We have had a busy weekend. On Saturday we had a coffee morning for my sister`s care home.
It was most enjoyable. We had a lot of help from family and friends and raised £350.

On Sunday we did the Santa Funrun for St. Michael`s Hospice in the local park.

We dressed as snowmen even though most people had Santa fancy dress. We like to be a bit different.

Here we are at the starting line. It was very muddy but we only had to run 2.5 km. It was quite cold but we soon warmed up in our 4 layers!!
In the afternoon we went to the Lights of Love service in town. It was very moving. Afterwards everyone crossed the road to the hospice lawns when the sun had just gone down. There the mayor turned on the lights of the Christmas trees. Under each light was a star sponsored by people for their lost loved ones.
The stars were decorated in most original and artistic ways. It was very special.

On Monday we made a very welcome visit to the garden. It was a beautiful day, sunny but quite cold.
Tim had cleared part of the cowbarn in readiness for Carols in the Barn, for FarmAfrica, 
which is this Saturday. I hope its not as cold as last year. 
There was a pile of fresh, steaming manure by the barns.
I dug a part of the raised bed. It turned over easily and was quite a pleasure. 
Steve spread well-rotted manure on it.

In the afternoon I settled myself in the garden room and completed four wreaths for family and friends. I used teasels from the garden, pieces of trimmed Christmas tree and bunches of small rosehips. They were finished off with sparkly wired ribbons and a scattering of glitter.

We paid £15 for our real Christmas tree from a local grower. 
I heard they are selling for as much as £75 in London.

Several of the school Christmas concerts are this week. I am going to one tomorrow. I have been involved in teaching the children all their songs. There is no better way to begin the season of Christmas.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Christmas Card Baskets

We visited the garden in beautiful sunshine last week. It was warm and quiet. There were Bellis daisies flowering away...a bright spot amongst all the green. Good to see.

 There were also helichrysum still flowering. I have been using the dried flowers to make mini-wreaths.
(Pictures next time)

Today I found all the netting blown off the greens. We need to keep it covered due to the activities of the pigeons. The door of the cob shed had blown open and bent the hinges on the round door. Anne has propped it closed with heavy planks of wood.

Beautiful blue skies.

I`ve been tidying the greenhouse and purchased 2 huge bins to store all the fleece and netting.
It looks a bit neater. I`d like to use pea gravel for the rest of the floor.

At home I have been recycling last year`s Christmas cards to make bowls. They can be used for gifts, sweets or fruit over the Christmas holidays.

These are the parts before assembly. I crotchet round the edges with fluffy wool then oversew the pieces with a darning needle. I usually try to keep to a colour or theme, such as silver glitter, red robins, nativity, snowmen etc.

Here it is when its finished.
Different colours.

Even more fingerless gloves. They knit up very quickly as I am having a teabreak.
Because of the wet afternoon, I settled down by the fire to make my candles. Its the best place to be, as the wax gets soft in the heat and can be moulded more easily. It is very satisfying to do. This year I have made red and natural coloured ones.