Sunday 28 June 2015

Smallholding Made Garden Weeder.

My hands are burning with nettle stings while I am typing this post.  This morning was spent weeding the veg plot.  Number one son knocked me up this home made weeding tool.  He's got a photograph memory for making things/ "fings"!  

We have a bought one (somewhere) that he looked at for a second.  Then he returned 5 minutes later with his home made weeder.  It consists of an old screwdriver, three three inch nails and some blobs of weld.  

It's my main tool for weeding.  Just the weeding tool and a home brew plastic bucket for the weeds to be dropped in.  Oh what fun we have weeding our plot.  Next time I will talk about interesting wall paper patterns.  Can you still buy wood chip wall paper?

Any body else make their own tools?

Thursday 25 June 2015

Shopping For Tractor Parts In The Dismantling Yards.

If I was a painter I would tour old farms and dismantling yards painting pictures of old vintage tractors and farm machinery.  We went to a tractor breakers the other day and we walked passed hundreds of dead and live tractors.  

There must of been millions of pounds (Punts) spent on  this agricultural machinery over the years.  It was a rather surreal experience to see such a sight.  I even felt a tinge of sadness for them.  Old and loyal servants discarded and broken for parts.  The sight of the old tractors moved me to write this 2 line poem:

The Old Tractors Lament.  

My coat of paint is now painted in mother natures rust

Please somebody buy my parts before I crumble into dust.


Some old Fordson Majors or Dexta's.  Sadly they are probably gone passed the point of being returned to back to their former glory.  Vintage tractors are like land.  They are not making it any more.  Number one son came away with his tractor parts and he was very happy with his newly found treasure.

Anybody restoring any tractors at the moment?  What's your favourite tractor?

Joke:  What do call a man who use to like tractors but he doesn't anymore?

An extractor fan.

Sunday 21 June 2015

Flower Arranging On The Smallholding And A "Nice Cup" Of Nettle Tea.

We have stopped buying flowers and collect and cut our very own from the smallholding garden.  The brass container is hiding a glass vase.  There are Calendula, Nepeta (Domino won't leave the Cat mint alone) 

"Loved by cats hated by rats"

And Valerian.  

All of them have medicinal qualities: ointment, euphoria stimulant for cats and Valerian is great for calming the nerves and inducing sleep.  Have you tried Valerian tea bags?  I am getting into herbal teas.  Nettle tea is said to be good for arthritis sufferers.  All you do is cut some young nettles and infuse them in a cup of boiling water for a few minutes.  I added some Lemon Balm leaves to make mine a bit more nicer tasting.   You can eat the nettle and balm leaves. 

Do you have any herbal tea recipes?

Tuesday 16 June 2015

A Day Out Shopping For A Cordless Grinder And A Visit To A Garden On The Ring Of Kerry.

Monday morning was a quick brew, give Fido her two chocolate biscuits (wages for ratting!) and check the moo cows and set off for Lidl.  We travelled over the tunnel roads from Glengariff to Bonane.  Of course I sang 'Whiskey In The Jar' going through the stone tunnels:

"As I was going over the Cork and Kerry mountains.."

Then we crossed over the bridge and parked up at Lidl.  Number one son had alerted us that they were selling battery grinders from today.  There were only 2 left.  So he bought them both and looked like a cat that had just got the cream.

We decided to go for a ride around the ring of Kerry and visit Kells gardens.  Any excuse for a blog subject hey?

Here are some photographs of our visit on such a beautiful June day.

Stone Buddha.  Appropriate for the peace and tranquility.

A summer house to die for.  I would love such a magnificent construction at my smallholding.  Even if it rains you can sit and read or even have a drink.  Is it that time already?

Carved seat made from a fallen tree.  

A dinosaur tree?

Flipping heck!

Aren't they clever sculptures?

Magical tree fern forest.  Have I told you I love tree ferns?

A Tree person sculpture.  

Enormous Arum lilies.  We have some that use to belong to my grandmother growing in our garden.

Dingle bay.

Communication signposts.

Wonderful Gunnera specimens.  See their reflections in the water?

Magnificent rhododendrons putting on a great floral display.

Friday 12 June 2015

All Is Safely Gathered In.

Well we made our small squares bales of hay.  The baler man arrived about 5.30 PM and we had them all in by 11.15 on Tuesday night.

It looks like there is only about 50 hay bales stacked in the shed.  We got quite a bit more than fifty from the 3 fields.  Can you guess how many bales we made?  Not forgetting the fields never got any fertilizer ("bag manure") or cow slurry this year.  That's still waiting in the cow shed.

Number 1 son wants me to put it out and go for a second crop and we can sell them.  I said he can do but we will sell them in the field.  I am not humping xxx bales again this year.  At least I had the sense to wear a glove when holding the twine on the hay bales.  It must of been all those years riding on the back of the couch watching those cowboy films when I was knee high to a grass hopper.

So folks.  How may hay bales did we make?

Tuesday 9 June 2015

1970's Hay Making In The Twenty First Century.

"When we were young.  You shone shine like the sun."

The old mental juke box keeps playing a certain Pink Floyd song in my head this week folks.  

"Shine on you crazy diamond".

Number 2 son took these photos from his mum's mobile phone.  They are absolute crackers!   Number one son is hay tedding with the Ford 4600.  She looks like new.  Him and his tractor mechanic friend and a little help from (little old me) restored her back to her former glory.  She's been sandblasted, painted and split in two and put back together again.  Isn't she a beauty? 

Gosh how I love the smell of hay.  Takes me back to the late sixties/early seventies.  When my dad would take his 'wakes' holidays from the mill and go and hay make on his parents farm.  Piking hay by hand and carting it away to be stacked in one big hay stack.   

We don't have an horse and cart but we are making hay like they did in the seventies.  Before the round bales of silage came to town or even the countryside.  Supposed to rain on Saturday.  Lets hope we get our hay bales in the barn before then.  Will post photos of the hay baling!

Sunday 7 June 2015

Hay, Hay And Thrice Hay!

The old currant bun (sun) is paying Ireland a visit this weekend.  Three of our fields were mowed last night and today we are using the hay bob and tractor to turn the grass into hay.  Hopefully ("please, please!") we will be making small square bales of hay before the weekend.  

The Corn field (all our fields have names) is a really heavy cut.   The Wester field isn't bad either.  The quarry field (used to have a little quarry in it) was mown for the first time in my living memory last night.  The gate entrance had to be made bigger to let the contractors mower and tractor in.  So I will be busy this week putting up a newer and bigger field gate.  Great stuff.  Not!

Yesterday aftenoon was spent by yours truly strimming edges of the field, ditches and strams to show the mower man where not to cut.  I spent about twenty minutes pulling a water pipe up and placing it in the hedge.  Grass is such a nuisance for wrapping itself and it's roots round things.  I also found the tractor grass roller covered in brambles.  Don't start me on them.  

Are you making hay this year?  Must find somebody to bale the hay for us.  I think the going rate is about fifty cents a bale.  Or Ten bob if you still talk in old money like I do.   

Pictures to follow.

Wednesday 3 June 2015

"Testing Testing One Two TB!"

I often think that the perfect fam would be laid out  in one farm parcel.  But of course ours isn't.  We have a few acres around the farm dwellings and another ten acres across the main road next to the bay.  It's often too busy and dangerous to move cattle along the road.  We take them to their summer grazing in the cattle box trailer.

Every twelve months the cattle have to have their annual test for TB.  If they are over 2 years, they get blood tested for Brucellosis.  You also need to blood them if you want to sell them.  I don't think sheep or pigs get tested for TB.  Except when they go the slaughter house and vets take samples.  We have to pay the vet to test the cattle every year.

One of the credentials (requirements) of getting an herd number is that you have a cattle crush for testing for TB.  We have two cattle crushes.  A bought one up at the farm and a home made one down in the fields.  It's great for putting the cattle in for dosing for stomach worms, replacing lost ear tags or treating a sick animal.  You can also test the cattle in it for TB.  We made the field crush out of old scaffolding tubes and corrugated iron sheets and concreted them in.  A welder we know made up the two gates and used his mobile welder to fit them.  The crush cost next to nothing and made life so much easier for us.

 Pictures of a field cattle crush.  The rust is beginning to paint a lovely patina on the steel.  I love corrugated iron.

Carboot Sale Plants Selling.

We drove over to nearby West Cork  town to a carboot sale on Sunday morning. The online info said we could set up from nine.  I am one of th...