Saturday, 28 September 2013

A Bramble ("don't you mean a ramble") In The Irish Countryside Next To the Sea.

Went for a stroll with my loppers yesterday.  Cutting the brambles that seem to be growing a foot a week at the moment.  There always seems to be some weed problem on our smallholding.  If its not rushes its the brambles.  The cattle eat the blackberry leaves sometimes.  They are supposed to be a fine tonic for them.   

 The Fuchsia grows wild in West Cork.  It's said to originate from Chile.  Some say travellers brought it and sold it.  Others say the Ice Age brought it. A lot of smallholders have Fuchsia hedges for field boundaries.  There are also quite a lot of Gorse ("Furze") hedges.  I believe that they used to grow fields of "Furze" for firewood and sell it it the towns and cities.



 Domino our resident smallholder ratter and mouser followed me round the boreen.  He just watched though and rested now and again.  Makes me think of that "Only Fools and Horses" theme song: "Only fools and horses work."

Friday, 20 September 2013

Allotment and Smallholders Hot Cider Punch.



You don't need to have a smallholding or allotment to enjoy this.  But I think you would appreciate it after an hard few hours weeding or tending to the livestock.  There are lots of apples about at the moment.  Why not use them to make this drink?

Have a go at this recipe for a great warming alcoholic drink:

4 small apples
1 Lemon
1 Lime
1 Orange.

Cut them into quarters and remove any pips.  Add half a Cinnamon stick.  About ten Cloves.  Two tablespoons of Sugar (white or brown), 2 tablespoons of Honey and 4 litres of Cider.  Cheap stuff will suffice.  Warm slowly until it starts bubbling.  Taste it and add more Sugar or Honey if it needs it!

Enjoy.

Do you have a hot punch recipe?

Monday, 16 September 2013

"Ryton We Have A Weed Problem."

If you ever want a great day out.  Go to Ryton organic gardens, near Coventry.  I last visited them about 14 years a go.  The organic vegetable gardens are a credit to them.  I grow my vegetables in a similar way.  Wish I could say the same for the rest of the smallholding.
Mr or Mrs Rabbit observing the Red Shank ("Fat Hen") growing in my field of Kale.
Regular readers will know I set this field after leaving it fallow for several weeks.  One thinks that the weed seed came with the Kale seed.  It's far too uniform for the seed to have been there already.  Perhaps I should have sprayed the field with weedkiller first?  If it had been a field of grass.  One could just mow it and the Red Shank would soon disappear.  The idea was to sow some Kale seed and strip graze it with the electric fencer.  We would also place a bale of straw in the round ring feeder to give the cattle a bit of roughage to go with it.









Any road.  Me and the missus have decided we are going to hand weed the whole field.  There doesn't seem to be any other way.  Red Shank contains Oxalic acid and is therefore poisonous.  Rather like Rhubarb leaves are.  All we need now is for it to stop raining.  Enjoy your weeding.  We won't!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Silage Making On The Smallholding And A Busking Cat And Dog In Krakow.





The silage man came back last week and mowed and baled the fields we had saved for silage.  I estimated 20 bales and the other 3 of us estimated around the 40 mark.  The total number of bales including the Barley (baled a few weeks a go) was 44.  That's not bad for a first crop so late in the year.  That's about 22 weeks (2 bales a week) of feeding.  We have also bought some round bales of straw and we will go through over a ton and a half of beef nuts during the winter.  It costs a fortune to over winter cattle.

The picture of the cat and dog was taken recently when we went to Krakow by train from Warsaw.  I can't remember what instrument their busking owner was playing or what tune for that matter.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Pictures From Warsaw Zoo. A Break From The Smallholding.


A crafty Tiger peering through the Elderberries.

 Elephant eating freshly strimmed grass, courtesy of the zoo keepers.
Mummy and baby Rhino tucking in. 
Bison scoffing contently.  Made me think of my cattle back in little old Ireland.

These are pictures of our trip to Warsaw.  The admission charge was 15 Zloty each.  Which is about 3 Euros and fifty nine cents each.  That's fourteen thirty six Euros for a family of four or eleven Pounds and eighty four pence in good old Sterling.   It was an unbelievably inexpensive trip to the zoo.

I don't know what you think about zoos?  I commented to my son how zoo animals are confined to live in the same place all their lives.  Yet they are well fed and have no danger of being killed by other animals.  Number one son pointed out that our cattle have to graze behind electric fences and the field boundaries are fenced with barbed wire.  I think he's got a point.  What do you think?