Monday, 18 June 2012

Olly and I have just come to the end of a really busy few weeks and have decided to take the next couple of weeks to consolidate where we are and what we're doing.   It is a well needed task and there seems to be an absolute endless list of things we need to do just to keep treading water, let alone move forward.   I know I keep banging on about this, but I really can't believe that we're in June - not only does the weather fool you into thinking that it's earlier in the year than it is, but the passage of time seems to quicken to a frightening pace... I dare not blink for fear of opening my eyes and finding I'm 84.   Anyhoo, we are on day one of our consolidation few weeks and I have to say I seem to be swaying from being absolutely, and utterly daunted with the amount of things we have to do and achieve this year to being uber excited about all the things we have to do and achieve this year!   

The Good Housekeeping Award has really boosted my confidence as to how far we could go with the pork side of things.  Although you know you rear fantastic tasting pork it's not until you get recognition for it that you have confidence to believe you're not just being biased!  Sounds stupid when I say it out loud, but it's true.   When we had the visit from Raymond Blancs chefs at his Bath and Bristol Brasseries I promised to deliver them samples of our pork belly joints - a cunning plan on my behalf, as this will entail Olly coming with me and we might as well have lunch whilst we're there, surely!   In the same vein I am making a list of great restaurants in the area who may be interested in sourcing good local pork and have every intention on visiting them all for lunch too.   It only seems right, and is purely done in the name of research and definitely not done in the name of self indulgence!

I am also toying with the idea of compiling a book about life on our Gloucestershire smallholding.  I asked Olly whether we could keep bees (knowing full well that there would be no 'we' about it and I was actually asking whether he could keep bees on my behalf) to which he replied he would keep bees if I wrote a book.   Bit of an odd request, I thought.   But if it means I get to spread our own honey on freshly baked bread then I will certainly give it a go.   I mean, I've got three and a half years of blog entries under my belt so at least I have some point from which to start - I realise that an author that makes me not - but I'm willing to give it a go.   Writing it, I should imagine, is the easy part.. getting it published must be an entirely different matter!

The next lot of chicks have hatched and are a lively little bunch.   We've got nine and unlike the others these are all yellow.   Most of them are Light Sussex breed but there are a couple from our lovely brown hen and will be brown and white, I expect.   They hatched the day I got back from Greece so are now a week old and being very cute.   They keep jumping out of their box and having a little run around the edge and then jumping back.   They keep Olly and I company in our office with there continual chirping.   The other little ones are now outside full time and growing fast.   I think Pavarotti, our Light Sussex cockeral has very strong male genes as a greater than average number of cockerals seem to be coming through.  I would like these last lot to be not quite so male dominated but I don't hold out a great deal of hope.  Either way, they are very gorgeous - not great for increasing our egg laying capacity however!

It's now quarter to ten and still really light.   I love it when it's like this but feel cheated when I'm too tired to stay up until it's dark!  The chickens love the fact that they can scratch around until dusk which can be annoying when wanting an early night, although I do feel a bit of a light weight when even the chickens stay out later than I do!

And on that note, dear reader, I am going to haul myself off my chair, don my rigger boots and go and put the chooks away.  After that, I'm off to bed. 

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

It's in my veins!

Having a fabulous week in Greece! I know! Greece!! Who would have thought there is a world outside Park Mill Farm, but I assure you there is! News to me too! AND the sun does exist! It is not the mythical globe of fire that I thought only existed in dreams and legends - it's been here all along! Unfortunately, Olly still has to be convinced of it's reality as he remained in Blighty to look after the farm, and yes! I do feel incredibly guilty! And if the truth be known, missing him and the farm terribly! The farm has become such an integral part of our lives that I feel my right arm has been cut off. I miss the routine of feeding everyone each morning, of making sure all the animals are well and happy, filling up their water troughs and getting them ready for the day ahead. I miss the continual activities that need to be done, mowing, weeding, lugging bags of animal food around, all of that. It's nice to have a rest but has made me realise that there's no turning back from farm life now... It's well and truly part of me and life without it would be unimaginable... Can you tell I've been reading trashy novels??