Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Growing Barley In The Smallholding Kitchen.

To those who of you who follow this blog.  You know that I often go to see an agricultural mechanic who repairs anything and his yard is an Aladdin's cave for us smallholders.  He's currently renovating (supposed to be) an old hand pulper for me.  He also mills grain and sells it.  So the other week I asked him if it would grow if I planted it.  He told me it would so we decided to have an experiment in the smallholding kitchen.

Do you remember when you used to go to school and you would cut up a laboratory white rat (why?) cover your work books in wall paper (why?) and you would grow some peas (Marrow fat) on a wet paper towel?  I think it was summat (proper talk) to do with germination and it was obviously stored somewhere in the filing cabinet in my head.  So there you go we placed them on a saturated paper towel  in a silver foil tray we got from the Indian take away ("any one for Shish kebabs?") the other week, and left them next to the Stanley range.  Hey presto we have germination.  My very own Barley field in the smallholding kitchen.  So this means that I got myself a sack of Barley for 7 Euros.  Instead of paying thirty Euros from the agricultural merchants.  Just got to wait until the end of the month for it to warm up.

Here's a picture taken this merry morning of Bambi, Charlotte and Hippo scoffing some straw under our homemade bovine headfeeder.  Hippo looks like a market stall seller shouting:

"Get your lovely straw."

The lads and lasses have been in the yard, nearly six months.  Do you think Spring will ever arrive?


  1. No reason why it shouldn't grow, you can even broadcast it twice as thick for half the price? Set some dried peas off to soak the other day and forgot about them for 2 days, they'd started to sprout in the pan, so might be an idea to look at the price of dried peas in the superstores to mix with the barley? I know a packet of peas as seed is very expensive for just a small packet, but £1,28 per kg in Asda, not too expensive if it doesn't work so well?

    Doubtful as to when our spring might arrive, the grass doesn't seem to be growing here yet, but slight signs of buds starting to appear on the trees, snowdrops by the hundred in the back garden, but the ground still seems wet.
    You need the plough shoes back first anyway.

    Our cock pheasant has been spending a lot of time in the back garden, just stands under the big fir tree, but this morning I must have startled him when I opened the back door, he took off in flight squawking loudly. Haven't seen his lady yet this year, they've been together for the last 2 years, so I hope she's OK.

    Lovely day here this morning after being bitterly cold last night, bright sunshine, blue sky, no breeze, looks like spring through the window.
    Raggy cat in as usual, breakfast of the pickings from the Sunday dinner chicken carcase (it was a big one) then on my computer chair until it got thrown off, found a warm place in front of fire now. What a great life it has.

  2. Thanks for that Cumbrian. Just waiting for the field to dry out (rain on Thursday), stone pick again, stone up a drain, harrow, harrow and harrow and we will hopefully sow the barley (will look for peans or beans) and then sow it a week later with grass seed. That's the idea any way. Still waiting for plough shoes for the other field. So it's looking like the end of the month/early April before the grass is growing again.

    I hope Mr and Mrs pheasant are OK. We always see a few. I always give a salute to the magpies too.

    Lovely day here, but very cold. Somebody told the wife that we are having a long winter because they are hsaving a long summer in Australia. Dunno if it makes sense.

    Terrier asleep next to radiator. Range is going all day.


  3. Just when we thought things were drying out...winter seems to be back and it is snowing again here. The lads around us are worried about running out of silage and straw, and after a couple of days of romping around outside all the cattle have been banged up again.
    Our predecessors here bred pheasants in the woods, and now that they have decided that we aren't going to shoot them they are making a comeback (the pheasants not the predecessors). They sneak in when they think the hens aren't looking, but I've caught the girls beating the bejesus out of the odd pheasant when they think their corn is at stake.
    Here to we are wedded to the range, and are wading through what looks like vast quantities of firewood to keep us warm and fed.
    Missed your blog there as we moved ours and lost track of people (and they us) in the process. Worse than moving house.....
    Take care

  4. Hi Steve. Just been looking at your new website. It looks awesome.
    I am busy fencing and stone picking and getting ready for the cattle to go to their summer pasture. It's been a long winter and a very expensive feeding time for the smallholder/farmer. The birds are all busy flying about building nests. Seen quite a few pheasants lately. Look forward to reading your blog.


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