Monday, April 28, 2008

Have been working hard in the veg garden and here are some pics to show you what I have been up to! I manured several beds with very well rotted sheep and cow manure (rotted for 2-3 years until crumbly) I am now putting a weed cover over through which I will plant beans, courgettes etc!
The cabbages, kale and white sprouting broccoli are in a bed topped with home made compost and to keep the pigeons away......and the rabbits of which we have lots, I put several large flower pots over the bed and stretched netting over the top. A few old give away CDs on strings to sparkle and flap completed that bed....and they are growing nicely. Some blue water pipe I found has been used along with some netting to keep birds, cats, errant hens, and other marauders off my onions and seeds....parsnips, persil (a german parsnip type root) and carrots......very good results so far and a good use for the pipe! Plastic sheeting could be used instead to make a temporary tunnel.
I have also bought a huge trailerful of wood chips for £5 to cover the paths and areas around the beds. This has a triple function.....1 it stops slipping and sliding, as the veg plot is not flat. 2 It acts as a mulch/weed suppressant on the pathways, and 3 the slugs and snails hate it as it is sharp!! With that around the beds, the hens ranging around 2 sides and ducks on the other 2 sides hopefully I will have good slug control......we will see!
The Ouessants are grazing the new orchard where temporary tree guards have been built with free recycled wire and non treated posts that were 5p each. There are a lot of nettles in this area which are going to be strimmed regularly for the sheep to eat as they like cut nettles, and also to encourage grass growth. Have also planted potatoes and they are through. Now installing leaky pipe system in the polytunnel to combat water running downhill too quickly.....more to follow soon.
On Wednesday last week I went to the hospital for my knee surgery and was in and out in 5 hours! Well they found not a torn cartiledge but a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament so now I have no ACL in either knee! I will now be put on the list for the ACL physio clinic and knee ligament reconstruction at a later date......oh joy!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Beautiful knitted christening shawl..........a real work of art was knitted in my Dorset Down 4 ply type knitting wool by Sarah D an amazing knitter and owner of the blog linked on this blog....the 21st Centuary housewifes unbought blog!

This is a commission if anyone else wants an heirloom, get in touch!
This wool is being used by a lot of people now and I have it on cones for weaving and knitting machines too!

Monday, April 14, 2008

We had snow last week......lots of it, enough to throw snowballs! It was all gone by lunchtime but I went out and took some photos to prove it. The recycled fencing is now all finished and had a couple of second hand gates added to it and very smart it all looks.....ok so the stock wire is not quite as tight as if it were from a new roll since it was pulled from its previous home with a tractor but with Petes skill as a fencing contractor among other skills its not bad!

Some friends came over to move some manure for me on Saturday and we now have 3 raised beds topped up with very well rotted(3 years) crumbly black gold! I will now put on some more mulch and the beans are going to love it! Got some tomato plants in the country market in Taunton 2 yellow, 2 plum and 4 cherry toms. Peppers and chillies are in pots and its all looking good.
Sunday I went to a meeting of some of the creative living forum to catch up with one or two and have a natter....I really don't get out enough! Knee being repaired next week......counting the days!......will have to take it easy as I don't want to spoil the repair, but am off to Wonderwool a few days later........I am going to sit down and rest (?) whilst I'm there!
I have just tendered for and got a big bit of community development work in Dorset so will be working hard over the next few months. I have a lovely student from Bournmouth Uni as my assistant!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Red tape.............!
This morning I should have been talking on the Radio this morning, on the Beeb, about all sorts of stuff including the embryonic wool felting business I'm setting up called Woolly Waste......but I wasn't there at the studo due to a variety of factors, mostly my knee that decided to hurt like crazy whilst getting out of bed!.........dangerous activity getting out of bed with a torn cartiledge!
So having been promised an appointment 'within 2-3 weeks' I have waited 3 weeks and .......nothing! So at 8.30am right on the start of their opening time I phone hospital.....and the conversation went something along the lines are booked you say.....yes, please can you tell me a date yet......mmmmnnn ummmm well we have no record of you are you sure you saw the consultant and went to the pre op assessment?.....YES (through gritted teeth).....have you a reference number from your letter?.... No, because you havent sent me one yet!.....Oh! Ok I will see what we can do the earliest appointment seems to be August as I know we are chokablock until the end of May.........but I cannot wait until August I have a life to get on with and cannot even take the dogs for a walk or safely handle my sheep, infact I cannot even cross the road without risking my knee giving way (at this point I burst into tears) ........oh sorry, we have found you on the system and you are under non urgent surgery.................BUT IT IS URGENT I sob, feeling rising hysteria.........Right we will see what can be done and phone you back.

I was so devastated.....if I was rich or a footballer or the queen I would have had it repaired by now but not being able to do my job properly, having to have someone help me with my sheep, someone exercise my dogs, someone carry the washing downstairs, and friends and family helping with ordinary tasks such as heavy shopping bags is classed as non urgent! What is this country coming too!!

Phone went at could fit me in on the 23rd April.....2 weeks time!
Well why had it taken me getting hysterical on the phone for that to happen? Probably the same reason that by my persistant phonecalls had got me an appointment with the surgeon originally, out of hours at the private hospital and cost me £120. I have had to buy a very uncomfortable metal hinged knee brace too at £75 to be able to walk outside the house and do tasks.....if it were not for that brace I could not even walk down the field or feed the pigs let alone lay a hedge. If I try to do anything quickly or suddenly or carry anything I am in trouble.

So I will get knee repaired on 23rd 7 weeks after the initial accident. BUT the important issue here is if I had not the capacity and confidence to make a song and a dance, and not the money to pay.....I would still be waiting for the initial consultation let alone be on a list even for health service in the world the NHS......thats what my father thought.....I don't agree!

Add to this a phone call I received last week at 7am............from Animal Health the dept that sends us ALL those forms and regulations. They wanted to know if my animal records were accurate! They had some queries......firstly why had I only recorded 2 sheep deaths. I answered because I only had 2 sheep die ......well what about lambs.......well yes we lost a few one to a fox (no body to be found), didn't mention the 2 to the dog as they were very tiny and we incinerated them. Well she was very 'official' and said we must report ALL lamb deaths even aborted ones.
Well.....I obviously have been at this too long....we can bury a dog but not a tiny aborted lamb foetus.....we must take it to the appropriate disposal facilities....brings to mind a story I was told this week by a dartmoor farmer who put 150 sheep out onto the moor but when he got them in for lambing only found 141. Animal health of course asked him to account for the missing sheep! Hid reply was 'well they is probably dead' the animal health officer wanted to know how he had disposed of the bodies to which he looked blankly at them and said you'd be best asking the crows and foxes that my dear........which right flummoxed them as there were now at least 9 once eartagged skeletons on the moor.....along with all the other hundreds of bodies of deer, ponies, sheep, cattle etc that have dies over the years and not been found!!! Scandalous!!! ;o)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Lambs! We have 2 ouessant lambs a ewe lamb born last week and a nice ram lamb born yesterday. We also have some Dorset Down cross lambs and the new owners of my pedigree Dorsets that I sold last year sent me a lovely pic of 101s lambs....ewe on the left ram on the right!
I have also been busy.....making lemon curd....jars full of it to keep the egg mountain at bay! and I took a pic, along with bread and apple buns. We make all our own bread, shop bought is not the same and everyone loves home baked bread here. Also am posting a picture of the veg that I can hopefully see something growing when I take a snap later on!!!
Its been beautiful here the last few days, warm and sunny with little fluffy clouds. As a result I have mowed the grass, strimmed under the electric fence, painted the fences and me with one of those sprayer things that is supposed to be quicker than a brush....mmmm! Unpainted me and my jumper!! planted my onions and spuds and generally tidied up.....!
Wrenched my knee despite strapping and knee brace..........(wish they would hurry up with my appointment!).......climbing over the chickens electric fencing. Oh the joys!!