Thursday, 27 October 2011

Spuddling in the mud and making rain.

A wet and muddy day today.  We have got to the point in the year where the ground is now sodden and the ducks are making muddy puddles everywhere, lovely to go sliding in (accidentally of course). We have been collecting acorns; hawthorn berries and gelder rose berries for growing new trees today, so lots of picking and again spuddling around in the grass and mud - great fun.

 We have also discovered a leak in the boot of our car and cannot quite discover where it is coming from so the other half had the bright idea of him climbing in the car so that he could look at the boot whilst I made like a rain cloud with a hosepipe, I don't know who was wetter by the end of it me or the car, nevertheless we discovered where the leak was coming from and hopefully (fingers crossed) have now fixed it.  I should perhaps say that our car is an eighteen year old peugeot 309.

Well that has been my day so far, off now to finish cooking dinner and spend an evening doing ....... maybe watching a film and knitting, time will tell.

Will be back to talk to you all again on Saturday, busy day tomorrow and out tomorrow evening - will also go avisiting other blogs then too.  Bye for now. P

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

A wet day and the super duper new apple peeler, corer, slicer

Well a few months ago we were complaining that we were short of water and that we really needed rain, okay, okay, so you heard our complaints but can you please turn the taps off for a while now.  Lots and lots of rain today, heavy, straight rain that soaks you to the skin in minutes.  The ponies are miserable and wet, the cat has spent the day on the sofa and the dog is refusing to step outside the door.  Neverthe less it has been a good day - why?  Because dealing with piles of apples for drying has just become quicker, our apple peeler, corer, slicer arrived in the post, so of course we had to give it a trial run.  The job usually takes me two hours to fill the dryer with apples, the new super duper machine (works a bit like a mincer - you have the great fun of turning the handle) turned the job into half an hour.  Looking forward to the next job I can use it for - hmm it is going to be very useful when preparing apples for stewing and bottling - good oh.  I will get the other half to produce a decent picture for me to post up.  Off to do some mending now, so much swearing will occur (I am rubbish with a sharp pointy thing in my hand).  Speak again soon.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Happy Days

Hi Folks,  back again. I have had the most wonderful few days with my 16month old grandson and now? Well now I am worn out.  We had some great fun, especially on Saturday when we went outside to pick up some fallen apples (yes mooorrree apples).  Seb (Sebastian) had a ride in the wheelbarrow up to the orchard in the cardboard box that I had intended to put the apples in, however, once in the orchard he decided that sitting in the box was far too much fun and the apples could go whistle.  So my son and I carefully placed the apples in the barrow around him, Seb then decided that re-arranging the apples was great fun - these apples are Bramleys and some are huge this year - we have some great photos of him using all his effort to pick them up, there is one particular one where he is actually cuddling the apple.

Once we had picked them up and transported them back we managed to persuade him to get out of the box and just sit in the barrow and then to help us put the good ones in the box.  We then delivered the smaller ones down to his grandad who was busily pressing apples for cider - another great game he discovered was helping grandad turn the handle of the press.

So as you can see great fun was had by all - later that day he also helped us to pick sloes - a prickly job as he spoon discovered but this did not deter him.

So yes a good time was had and I look forward to spending more happy hours with him as he discovers more new things to do here - especially once he is walking.  He took his first few steps whilst staying here but it is still much quicker to crawl at the moment :).

Bye for now - back to reality as of tomorrow - whatever that is - oh yes, I remember, work, walks in the autumn leaves and log fires in the evening and maybe, just maybe a few more apples.


Thursday, 20 October 2011

Family Time

HI All,  Just a very quick post to explain my absence this week.  I have my son, his partner and my 16 month old grandson staying for a few days, so time is well and truly full.  Having a great time, it never ceases to amaze me how fast my grandson is growing - almost walking now and has his shout for 'Daddy' well and truly mastered.  Talk of the devil, he has just woken from a nap, so off for now.  Speak again in a couple of days.

Monday, 17 October 2011

NO more apples PLEASE

Sorry to have been absent these last few days, it has been manic here.  Thankyou so much Laura for mentioning my blog, and thanks to those who have been over to visit and follow.   So what have I been so busy doing you ask.  Well let me see - mainly apples it seems - more picking and storing; picking up fallen apples and sorting them into those only fit for the compost heap, those fit for feeding pigs (our neighbour has several pigs and we send them up to him for them) and saving the decent ones for our use.  I have taken several pictures of my endeavours this time but have yet to master getting them up here - going to spend some time tomorrow trying to get it right.  Oh, and I spent soem time peeling, coring and slicing apples to dry in our home made drying machine (for a picture of this go to my other halfs blog Glanwili Farm) - So that was Saturday.

Sunday was our local permaculture groups apple day, we all met up at one of the members homes and set up three apple presses on the lawn (thankfully the weather was reasonably kind to us).  A washing station was set up and a chopping station.  We then split into groups and work began - first apples were washed and sorted (rotten ones discarded); then over to be chopped (this is where I spent my day); from there the apples went to the 'scratting' machine to be mashed up and then finally over to the presses to be squeezed - the juice being collected into containers.  The day was punctuated by a shared lunch (we all take an offering of food which is set up on a table and we all tuck into a veritable feast).  By the end of the day we had pressed approximately 100 gallons of juice - that's a lot of juice and a lot of apples.  We finished, tired but satisfied.  A fantastic day amongst great friends and like minded people.

Right now I never want to see another apple again - well at least not until tomorrow.

Bye for now.  :)

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Chicken freedom

Well the rescue chickens have been making the most of their freedom today, well four out of the six have, two have not ventured out of the house yet.  The other four however have been appearing everywhere - field; garden; veg garden.  Our flock of ducks (17 of them)  took one look at these poor bald creatures and ran away from them.  Everytime myself or my other half appeared they walked right up to us and stood there just looking up at us.  When I was digging parsnips for dinner they arrived from nowhere and wanted to help - I think these chickens are going to be VERY friendly.  They all went to bed okay, except one, she decided that she would roost under the house (house is several feet of the ground) on a piece of wood - she had to be persuaded that it would be much safer to spend the night in doors - but you could see the look on her face and the thought bubble - "No don't put me in there and shut the door, it might never open again" - fear not little chicken doors will open again in the morning.
 All for now folks.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

A little bit of quiet

Quiet day today, my other half is away all day; it is raining - not hard, more a thick drizzle that does not encourage one to work outside.  So what have I done and what am I doing?  Well, slow morning catching up on paperwork and phone calls.  A solitary lunch, followed by cleaning the bathroom (oh yes, it is that exciting today); next the fiddly job of cleaning the incubator and storing it away for future use and now I am talking to you.
 I am torn, what shall I do with my afternoon - the ironing, closely followed by making a curry for dinner or planning a new project - closely followed by making a curry for dinner?   Hmmm ........ the decisions - think it has to be planning the new project - who needs ironed clothes anyway :).  So what do you all thik I should have done - ironing - new project?
 Till tomorrow.
P.  XX

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Busy ... Again

HI All,  sorry to have deserted you this last couple of days but have been fairly busy and then bushed at the end of the day. Well I wanted to get back into 'community' and Satureday did just that.  We belong to Lampeter Permaculture Group and every year we run a public apple pressing day.  We take along two or three presses and invite the local people to bring their apples along to be pressed for apple juice.  This event has grown over the last few years and this year it was very popular.  As well as pressing we offered a chance to see various varieties of apples and some help with identifying some too.  I think we had 25 - 30 different varieties on show (not bad for a small group).  That was a long day and although not physically demanding it certainly was mentally demanding, but enjoyable. Sunday was another day of apples - picking them this time, we still have quite a few to pick it seems, oh and apple and sultana chutney was made too. Monday passed in a blur and I cannot recall anything that happened - strange that.  Today, however we have taken possession of 6 rescue battery hens (our neighbours have taken a lot more), poor things don't have enough feathers between them to cover one chicken and their combs are so pale, they look like they need woolly jumpers and scarves.  We shall keep them in a very large deep litter run for a couple of days so they can settle down and then will let them out into the field to run and have some freedom.  The least we can do is make the rest of their lives as pleasant as possible.  I will try and get some photos of them over the next day or two, so you can see what I mean.  So remember these poor hens the next time you go for those cheap supermarket eggs please.  Well off now to cook some dinner.  I am off to the local WI tomorrow evening but will try and post a quick message.  Speak soon. Pauline

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Academic come down

Today I feel like I am on an academic come down, reality has hit home - no longer am I connected to the academic world - 8 years gone, finished.  HOw do I feel ?- I don't know, is the answer - relief I suppose given the state of higher education these days; especially after my visit to the department yesterday and witnessing the complete and utter chaos that is the beginning of the academic year.  Sadness as well I suppose, leaving what is a tight knit community behind me.
 ... life is to short to keep looking back, so it is onwards and upwards.  Time to organise those new projects and get back out there into the community that I live in - no children young enough for joining the community of parents at the school gates, sooooo I am going to try the village WI, I belonged several years ago, perhaps it is time to give it another go - next Wednesday evening is when they meet so my aim is to go along and see what happens.
 HOme alone tonight so am going to find a good book and park myself in front of the range to keep warm - yes it is cold enough to light it today, in fact the temperature is half that of last week, quite a drop and the wind is viscious.  See you all tomorrow.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Signed, sealed and delivered

Hi All,

Well, that's it done, I am, as of today, no longer a PhD student.  It feels somewhat strange but also a great sense of relief.  So today is the first day of the rest of my life (well what's left of it anyway - the day that is).  It's to early for a very large gin and tonic I think, maybe some tea for now and G&T later to celebrate :).
 So what does tomorrow hold for me, now let me see, if it doesn't rain it will be apple picking, if it does then maybe outlining a new writing project.  Hmmm that sounds so good - hope it rains, lol.  Anyway, short and sweet today will catch you all tomorrow.


Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Busy, busy, busy

HI All,  Sorry I have neglected you for a few days, it has been fairly hectic here.  We have been trying to get lots done before the rain arrives.  So it has been a time of potato digging; apple picking; wood storing; bed clearing ..........   Oh and in the midst of it all dealing with a quarter of a pig (sorry all those of you who find that offensive - but we need to eat), so lots of sausage making involved.  Freezers are now to capacity.

 I have made a new pickle too, it is a runner bean pickle, made with spiced, sweetened vinegar, it is supposed to be yummy with cold meat and cheese - time will tell.

 Rather a slow start today, my get up and go did not get up it seems, so we have decided to have an easier day of it today, so my other half has gone to play motorbikes (just one obsession of his - he has many) and I am here talking to you before I head for the ironing board.  Temperature here has dropped and is only managing to top 18-19 degrees, so still warm but very dull.
 Tomorrow I am off into the uni to meet my supervisor and complete my withdrawal form and then it is bye bye academia, feels strange after 8 years but I certainly feel less stressed.  I will let you know how it goes.
TaTa for now.
P. x

Thursday, 29 September 2011

More weeding and apple picking

HI All,
Very hot again today, 27 degrees and boiled again.  Today I have been mainly continuing weeding various beds and picking apples.  We have numerous apple trees on our holding, consisting of over 80 different varieties. My other half has, what one might call an obsession with apple trees, he grafts them, grows them, trials them and makes excellent cider.  Seriously though the apples are a major part of our organic garden and this year for the first time we are actually managing to sell them commercially - yay.
Laura has asked what we are planning on concentrating on to make the holding a viable proposition.  Well largely fruit, both top fruit (i.e. apples; pears; plums) and soft fruit (raspberries; blackcurrants; redcurrants; gooseberries and strawberries) - the strawberries are mainly grown in the polytunnel and we are picking them by the end of April, so nice and early and in demand.  Also we grow a variety of veg.  No animals, at least not for commercial purposes - we have two ageing ponies whom we keep grazing for and at the moment a flock of 17 mixed breed ducks, oh and we have bantam eggs in the incubator as I write.
The thing I had forgotten about working the land was that your day is not over (as a woman) when you finaly go indoors, you then have to turn around and prepare dinner; wash up, oh and remake that bed you stripped this morning in order to wash the bed linen and get it dried in the sun.  Hey ho, looks like I had better get on with it.  So until tomorrow.


Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Introducing Me - Pauline

Hi One and All to this brand new blog.  We all know the programme 'The Good Life'  well this blog is designed to give a view of what The 'Real' Good Life is all about from a female point of view.  First and foremost, for today I would like just to introduce myself to you all.  My name is Pauline and I live on a smallholding in West Wales.  My other half and I have now lived here for 24years and we have been through various methods of managing our  smallholding.  We have both, over periods of time, either managed the smallholding individually or worked in the 'outside' world.
Over the last two years my other half has been the one who has been running the smallholding single handedly, whilst I have worked at the local university.  The holding is now converted to an organic fruit and  veg enterprise.
Recently my work with the university has come to an end and academia is no longer an option, this one may think could be a problem, however, when I thought about it seriously I knew it was time to 'come home'.  My subject at uni has been anthropology and I have researched and lectured on issues surrounding community and identity in particular. During this time, although I was a part of the academic community I had become more and more detached from the community that I lived in.  I stressed, during my teaching, the importance of belonging to community and yet there I was not practicing what I was preaching.  Time to change all that I feel so here I am, I have 'come home'.  My aim is to work alongside my other half to make our holding a productive and viable concern and to reconnect with the community I live in.  Along the way I shall update you on how that is going, being totally honest (warts and all).
So what have I been doing today?  Today I walked, yes walked, into the village to visit the post office and then called on an elderly couple who have lived all their lives in the village and were exceedlingly helpful to me when I wrote my undergraduate dissertation on the village a number of years ago. Unfortunately they were busy so I shall call back another day (I have a project in mind and wanted to talk to them about it, but more of that another day). It was a hot walk, the temperature here today is 28 degrees and I am out of condition it seems.  On my return home I let the dog out and went to turn the watering system on in the polytunnel before surveying what needed to be done in the garden.  I have spent the rest of the time weeding and hoeing leeks and I am now boiled, so time to stop and construct this blog and prepare tonights dinner before walking the dog and checking on our two ponies.  Does not sound much for a days work does it, but I have to take this one slowly, I am not as young as I was, so a little each day to get back into the swing is my answer.
Well I seem to have waffled on and on and on, so I will stop now and await your comments, I look forward to you joining me on this new journey - a journey of truth, fun, laughter and no doubt some tears along the way. :)

Bye for now.