Willows for fuel 

We are reducing the size of our rigs for growing vegetables as they are going to be made into raised beds, so we have a bit of space fenced off from animals with reasonably good soil. In order to utilise this space we decided to plant some willows specifically for harvesting for fuel for the range. Ordered up 3 varieties of willow from south which arrived on Friday and when the weather improved slightly on Sunday we planted them out.  They were just pushed through some weed suppressant fabric, which was pegged to the ground, so that they have a bit of head start on the weeds. If all goes well we should be cutting some willow to burn is a few years time.

As you can see from the picture the ground is very wet at the moment – makes working outside very difficult , if not impossible. Hopefully we’ll have a spell of good weather soon and the ground will dry out.


Blackcurrants and willows

3 years ago we took cuttings of blackcurrants (well prunings really)  and shoved them in the ground. Most of them rooted successfully and having survived pigs and turkeys it is time to move them. We planted some of them outside of the pig area to act as wind break / screening,  along with some willows which had been growing on in the old polytunnel area.

The three largest blackcurrants were planted into the fruit area on a bed that used to house strawberries. They were joined by a gooseberry bush. 

So in a couple of years we should increase our fruit harvest. 


Mirrie Dancers

Mirrie dancers (aka northern lights, aurora borealis) were out in force tonight. Perfect night for it – moonless and virtually cloudless

Mirrie Dancers-2 Mirrie Dancers


More seeds sown 

The beds in the polycrub are starting to get filled. Planted the following rows of seeds today along with a couple of rows of red onion sets:

  • Carrots – Early Nantes
  • Beetroot –  Moneta
  • Spring onion – White Lisbon 
  • Swiss chard – Rainbow 

Also sowed the following seeds in pots for planting out when they have germinated and grown on 

  • Lettuce leaf – gourmet 
  • Celeriac – Prinz
  • Leeks – American Blue Flag 
  • Leeks – Bulgarian Giant 

The white stuff in the picture below is crushed egg shells sprinkled over the seeds to keep the slugs at bay

The radishes have germinated,  so should be eating them in few weeks and the autumn planted shallots are coming on nicely. 


Working with wool

February weather keeping us indoors for the most part today,  strong northerly wind with blustery showers, not great for working outdoors. So we have been working with wool today. I have been have been carding whilst Iwona was spinning. 


Strawberry bed and rhubarb 

Finished making and planting the new strawberry bed next to the shed. We don’t seem to be able to grow strawberries in the polycrub, they grow well but the fruit tastes a bit mouldy which tends to spoil the enjoyment. So have made a raised bed next to the shed, south West facing and with a bit of shelter from the polycrub and planted the strawberries.  We’ll see how they get on.

Rhubarb is starting to come into leaf – always a sign that spring is on the way – so have given it a bit of a boost by covering the whole area with some compost/manure from the midden. 

Also tidied up in the polycrub, planted some rosemary, manured the fruit trees. 


Another season starts 

Another season gets underway in the polycrub. Not much left from last year, just some rocket, radicchio plus autumn planted shallots, broccoli and spring greens. All looks a bit bare – although all ready for planting a new season of crops!

Have already sown some first early tatties, which should be ready for eating in June.

This weekend we sowed some radish direct into the soil and gourmet lettuce leaf inside which will planted once it has germinated.

With the sunshine this weekend it was nice and warm in the Polycrub – here’s hoping for a good spring and summer!

Crofting Eating

Carrot pickle

Picked some of our carrots, rather large thinnings really, and have embarked on making some carrot pickle using a recipe from Oded Schwartz.

All ingredients shredded and mixed, now needs to be left overnight to marinate before boiling and putting into jars tomorrow.


Busy December Day

Nice day for crofting – not raining, not blowing a gale and relatively warm for December. Took advantage of this and led the ewes up to the hill for tupping when the rams are ‘slipped’, which should be in the next couple of weeks. They seemed fairly happy to go, followed me all the way up and disappeared off up the hill when I opened the gate.

Ewes on the hill.jpg

Planted the garlic cloves on the rigs – all 150 of them which should be plenty for next year (planted 120 last year and have some spare). Lots of grass coming through on the planting bed though. It was rotovated in September following the tattie harvest, so might have to weed and hoe fairly intensively in spring.

Also re-arranged the sileage feeding area for the cows in the byre – it’s now slightly larger and off the ground, so there should be less wastage. Blossom has started eating carrots as well as tatties but Silvestre is still not tempted, he’s sticking to sileage and kale.


Xmas Ham

Started a cure for a leg of our own pork to make a ham for Christmas based on the recipe in the following link- . Started off by boning out the leg, which left a 3kg joint, then mixed up the ingredients, added a few spices and herbs, put it in a tupperware tub and bunged it in the fridge.20141201-D7K_6639.jpg

It should really have been started a week ago but I’m sure it won’t matter too much.

It’ll stay in the brine solution till a couple of days before Christmas before being drained, and left to stand or equalize. We’ll then cook it up on christmas eve ready for eating on boxing day.