Thursday, 31 December 2009

Last day of the year

Almost time to reflect on what I’ve managed to do in the last 12 months, but not quite!
Today has been a nice dry day so I decided to have a bit of a tidy up in the garden and a good weed of all my raised beds, its looking decidedly better for a mornings hard work.
I’ve also been sorting out some of my other gifts. I got loads of camping equipment ready for my week’s extreme survival in June. Going on this course is my brothers and mine bit of extravagance, where we will spend a week in Northern Scotland being trained by an ex-Royal Marine Commando with a minimum of kit. We’ve done things like this before but not for a week, hopefully we will both carry on to do the next course after that as well.
The kit list isn’t massive but I want it all to be good quality stuff as the OS map of the area we’ll be camping in only has two houses on the whole map, so no chance to buy any more!
Claire brought me an excellent self inflating mattress that’s tiny when deflated, her Nan brought me a compass, and from my mum and my brother I got a small dry bag (to keep a camera and phone out of the wet in), a mossey head net, small screw shut bottles for salt, pepper & cooking oil and a Spork (I’ve always wanted a Spork – not a fork and not a spoon! The best of both worlds!)Claire and I both got to try some homemade yoghurt today by using the kit my best mate had brought us for Christmas. I don’t think I left it to set long enough as it is quite runny but tastes really good (had it on my muesli for breakfast), next time I’ll make sure I leave it a bit longer. With this kit you don’t use milk but bags of powder you have to buy, it works out slightly cheaper than yogurt and its meant to be better for your digestion (which I have plenty of problems with).

Wednesday, 30 December 2009


Not Christmas – Me!
We've been surrounded by so many family and friends and I’ve had so many good gifts this year, I’m really pleased! But I’m also pleased to be at home for one night, we’ve been driving constantly to see said family and friends since the night before Christmas Eve and this will be the first night in our own bed (I’m looking forward to it now!). Still it was worth it and after New Years Eve things should go back to normal.Christmas day was lovely, we spent it at my mum and dads on the farm and there was still snow on the ground. Claire and I went for a lovely walk down to the river (so she could take pictures with the camera I brought her) with a very lame dog (Milly is dads dog, and she caught her paw when jumping out of a tractor two days before, but we think she’s faking it as she keeps holding the wrong leg up).I’ve got so many new things to play with/read/watch that I’m not sure what to do first. Mum and Claire both got me books on wild mushrooms (so if I kill myself it’s their fault) as well as lots of seeds and other goodies. I also got a big Victorian style glass bell cloche (something I’ve been hinting at, this should look really good in the garden). As well as this I was given a wood turning course, cookery books, camping stuff, DVDs and clothes but I’ll talk about some of those in another post or I will make people think I’m really spoilt!

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Nearly Christmas

It’s been great having loads of time off, although I’m not sure I’ve been making the most of it – I think I’ve slowed down!

Last week I picked up my mum and dad from the airport after their trip to New Zealand and then worked on the farm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It was nice having them back (they also brought me a couple of hunting books back, hunting in New Zealand looks good).
I did a couple of jobs for mum in the house (jobs I’ve putting off for years, like putting skirting on around 6 heating pipes) and also a bit of farming. Although Dad has no sheep on the farm since I left he’s now letting the land to another farmer to over winter his sheep. The trouble is we have to check them and as our fences aren’t very good we have to keep moving the electric fence to stop them getting out. Still this job kept me entertained for a day. Whilst I was wrapping up the wire I was next to a little woodland and I noticed some Jew’s Ear Fungus (One of the only ones I can remember from the fungal foray I went on earlier in the year). I was pleased I could identify it and its also a fungus you can pick all year round, all the fallen wood was covered in it. I think if I learn an edible fungus a year I'll be doing quite well (maybe wise to learn about the ones I can't eat as well!).

After Christmas I plan to go back there and gather a load of these mushroom to add to stews and to dry to make mushroom powder for stews etc, if I do I’ll post it on this blog. Not sure what they'll be like, they feel like rubber!

Monday, 7 December 2009


Things are very very wet at the moment. I've been working on the farm part time but this week I'm off to visit my sister in Manchester so I've decided to spend the rest of it at home.
Today was a bit of a write off as it rained all day. I have ordered the timber to build my garden shed (one shed is not enough for me!) and finished insulating the walls in my workshop, but I didn't nothing outside. I wanted to move my two useless big black compost bins so I can make some bins with old pallets that will actually produce compost, but with the rain I decided against it.
I did give the chickens a wad of straw to try and soak up the mud in their pen (didn't do much good but they like scratching around in it).