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!

My fat year: Fruity!

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At Tetney Lock (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I didn’t have time again to post many posts last week, on any of the blogs. So here is the “my fat year” post for last week and for this.

The poet has lost 11lb so far this year – he’d lost another one too, but it snuck back on again – while I’ve lost 6lb. Last week this was closer to a 4lb loss, so there’s 2 off just this week.

We’ve had company, though, since Friday, and it’s difficult to stick to a healthy eating routine when you’re entertaining. He went back home yesterday, though, so we’re starting again today.

One big change in our diet has been the addition of fruit instead of cakes, biscuits, crisps and chocolate. And we’re starting to run out of ideas. The poet takes 3 pieces of fruit to work with him each morning, whereas I have a glass of juice with my breakfast and then 2 more portions during the day.

Bananas, apples, pears and oranges are all easy to take to work or leave on the desk or take on a walk or a day out with us. Grapes and other berries have to be counted and contained, so they’re not so easy, and melons have to be cut and wrapped or contained. Other exotic or tropical fruits also need more preparation.

The other big change is the reduction in processed foods. On Friday night, as we’d been collecting our guest, we had fish and chips for tea – and we blummin enjoyed it too. But on Saturday we had toad in the hole (with added/hidden veggies – my dad didn’t realise we were feeding him mushrooms!), on Sunday we had a roast chicken with Yorkshire puddings, on Monday we had cottage pie, and on Tuesday we had fish – all cooked from scratch by the poet.

On Saturday I made a 6-portion fruit trifle, and on Tuesday I made a low fat/low sugar 4-portion apple crumble.

But yesterday, another busy day, we succumbed to cheese & shroom or ham & cheese toasted sandwiches for tea. And we shared the last portion of the apple crumble between us. Very nice.

This evening the poet has band practice and I’ll be doing the weekly shop. So it might be another quick tea tonight. Apart from that, though, we’re back on the wagon – and still losing weight anyway. 🙂