Life on the farm: spring madness almost over

On the farm
The lambing madness seems to be over now. Around 50 sheep have had lambs and there are only a couple left in the nursery field. The rest have been moved back to various places on the farm, leaving the nursery field for the orphans.

So far there are only two orphan lambs (they lost one of them), and those are currently in the orchard, in the farm garden or in the paddock at the end of our back garden. When the grass in the nursery field has recovered, or when the last of the flock-sheep go, I think the orphans will be moved to the nursery field.

Cows in the main field.

The young cows were let out a couple of weeks ago and are getting used to being outside.

In the garden
The poet has been very busy in the garden, working hard. He’s turned over three beds in the back garden and trimmed many of the shrubs.

Working hard in the garden.

I honestly don’t know where this is coming from. He’s loving learning new skills and creating new life from scratch. But he never really has been one for gardening.

Trimming shrubs.

He built three raised beds and two planters, and is now working on chicken-wire-covered frames to put over the beds to keep the chickens off the seedlings.

Raised beds, one with chicken frame under construction

Two weeks ago he went around repotting all of the fruit trees and bushes. The apple tree, the grape vine and the blackcurrant bush all look really well. The gooseberry bush looks a little dead, but there are green shoots starting to show now.

Apple tree and grape vine (both past presents from my parents).

This coming bank holiday weekend, we’re hoping the beds will be ready for some outdoor seed-sowing. We have vegetables to sow in the potager and some flowers for the back garden.

Parsley, basil and chives, for the kitchen windowsill.

The seeds I sowed at Easter are starting to show, but the seeds that the poet sowed two weeks before that are doing really well. The cucumbers and cherry tomatoes are doing particularly well, as are the marigolds. And things like the onions and the calabrese are starting to show now too.

Only the basil was doing well for the herbs for the kitchen windowsill, but now the chives and the parsley are catching up.

Chitted potatoes.

Last week I chitted some potatoes. Those are currently on the kitchen windowsill, but we’re hoping they can go out next weekend.

We’re calling our little plot “Ian’s Farm”. He really is loving it and he’s doing the bulk of the work – I’m mainly directing!

“Ian’s Farm”

He’s also been busy in the stable, making racks from which to hang his growing collection of tools.

A place for everything, and everything in its place …

Chickens
The chickens are happy as pigs in muck. Pink is looking a bit scruffy, but the rest of them have really nice feathers now. We’re still getting between five and six eggs per day, so we’re still eating a boiled egg a day.

Can you see Pink’s pink bottom?

Aggie the Agoraphobic has taken to wandering off with farm chicken Madge and yesterday one of the children had to fetch her back to us! Poorly Pauline has made a full recovery and is getting more confident by the day.

Lara Croft: “Take *my* picture, *I’m* gorgeous!”

The Tour de Yorkshire
Another bank holiday weekend on the horizon. We have the Tour de Yorkshire cycling past the end of our drive this year. Three years ago we drove to Holmfirth to see the Tour de France. This year we have a grandstand view without going anywhere.

Let’s hope the weather holds out for them. And for us!

Lovely flowers

20150112_110815The weekend wasn’t totally diddly squat, but it was nice and re-energising all the same.

On Friday we did nothing. I’d popped out and bought some goodies for tea and for snacking and we caught up on the first series of Broadchurch (the poet hadn’t seen it) and watched the first episode of the new series. Then while I finished off a hard-copy editing job I’d been unable to do as I’d been running around, the poet caught up on last week’s Silent Witness (he’d been in Germany).

On Saturday we had a lazy lie-in but while we were making a late breakfast, a phone call came in from son #2 asking if he and his girlfriend could come and see us. Of course they could, and they got here mid-afternoon after we had a mad tidying frenzy. We hadn’t been able to see them on Christmas Day so they brought us our Christmas pressies, and some lovely flowers with a house-warming card.

They loved the place and can’t wait to come and visit again, and it was nice to see them. When they went we continued with our chilling and had another lazy evening in front of the television.

Much of Sunday was spent reading. I was reading on my Kindle, the poet was reading how to use his new camera. He’s learning it all in manual first so he knows and appreciates what auto does for him. He’s practising taking pictures too and can hardly wait for his telephoto lens to arrive. Before he gets any photography software for manipulation, he’s also going to learn how to take great pictures before learning how to tweak things that aren’t quite right.

We did pop out to do some shopping – pet shop (dog food and garden bird food) and supermarket – and he made us a gorgeous pork dinner. Then he put up another shelf, and we spent another evening in front of the telly. We’re so bone idle.

But it was a lovely weekend of nothingness (apart from our visitors) and I think it did us good. He’s off to Scotland again at the end of this week, but it shouldn’t be so tiring as flying to Germany and coming home via security-heightened railway stations in England.

Today, then, I have the electronic edits to do on the book I finished Friday evening, and the next job is that one from the Spanish client. I’d like to shift a lot of work today as we have carpet fitters coming tomorrow and I have another appointment on Wednesday. I’ll also be taxi-driver for the poet on Thursday and Friday, and it all eats into the working week.

What are you up to this week?

Spring flowers

P1020189I wish I had some lovely cheerful flowers in my lounge right now, but these from 2 years ago will do. Aren’t they lovely? The flowers are late this year. The daffodils are only just showing along the roadsides, but there’s a better show this year than I’ve ever seen since moving here 9 years ago.

There’s a bypass in Solihull that breaks out into full daffodil bloom every single spring, but Barnsley has always been about 2 weeks behind. This year, after such a long winter, it’s even further behind – although as I haven’t been down the bypass in Solihull yet this year, maybe it isn’t. It’s never been a patch on Solihull before, but it’s getting there this year.

Is it every 3rd year the daffodils flourish?

Everything is late. It’s almost the end of April and lots of garden birds are still only just collecting nest material. I empty out all of my hairbrushes, and the pet brushes, so they have soft hair to line their nests too. The pigeons are funniest, the size of the twigs and sticks they fly back with. I often wonder if their partners tell them to go back and try again.

My apple tree is only just starting to sprout. The other one is well and truly D E double D dedd and I need to get another. They’re self-fertilising, but the surviving apple tree hasn’t borne fruit for 2 years, so I think they need a helping push. The apple blossom has been lovely, but that’s late too. My grapevine also looks dead, but when I scratched the stem with a thumbnail, I spotted green, so it may just be late too.

The hydrangea, which is always late, seems to be the first one coming into leaf. The whole garden is out of kilter and I daren’t even try sowing seeds yet, even with my mini-greenhouse. It’s still far too cold out there at night.

My Do Diddle Day is probably going to be late too. I’ve been working late for several nights and the never ending editing job still never ends. I feel as though I’m working at a cliff face instead of a type face. I’ve sent the first half of the book off to the client to keep him busy for a day or so, but when a job drags it certainly does it with style.

So I may have to postpone my Do Diddle Day this month. I will have one, just maybe not on Friday. I’ll also be staying home to work tomorrow instead of going to the local council meeting.

It’s not that I have a lot to do, more that this one job is taking three times longer than I thought it would – and therein lies the problem. It’s a set price job so I still get the same if it takes me 1 week or 3 weeks, so I’m going to have to do some financial juggling again – I’m getting good at juggling fresh air. And everything else has to get in the queue, which is the other part of the problem, although I have snuck in a couple of copywriting jobs this week and the gig list.

I’ll also probably cancel the Leeds write-in too, and I was toying with a gig in Leeds Saturday night as well that may also get shelved. The gig buddies won’t come as far as Leeds with me, so I would have been going on my own anyway, and I’m not sure I’m up to that either.

I think I’m in need of a pamper. Or maybe just flowers. Offers in the usual place … 😉