Thursday 26 November 2015

Smallholding Treasure And A Early Christmas Present For The Cattle.

We did some more horse trading (bartering) this week.  We have managed to obtain a Philip Pierce Root Cutter.  It's antique and we are using it to chop up any wanted vegetables like potatoes, carrots and beetroot.  

HFW would surely approve of this machine.  If we could get hold of all those mountains of waste/miss shaped vegetables and use them for cattle feed.  The machines been restored and is very sharp and you make a bucket of peelings/shards in a minute.  

I have been looking for Fodder Beet for sale on Done Deal and in the Southern Star newspaper.  The growers only deliver it in 20 ton loads.  Anybody know how many ton we will need to feed 10 weanlings this winter?  A grower up near Cork city says he will sell it in ton loads if we collect it.  Me thinks we will go for some this weekend.  I will use my:

"Do you want a ride out to Aldi and do some shopping"

excuse.  It usually works.

We have grown a field of Fodder Beet in the past.  Might grow another field of it next year.  You just chop it in half with the spade and then throw it in the root chopper, turn the handle and your cattle have a bucket full.  Some farmers feed it with straw.  

I love it when old farm equipment gets a new lease of life.  

Friday 20 November 2015

A Hobbit Woman On The Telly.

We watched Ben Fogle's  New Lives In The Wild on Channel 5 last night.  Ben met Emma Orbach, a Hobbit type lady who lives in a mud hut/roundhouse in Pembrokeshire.  Emma decided she didn't like conventional living with electricity ("it makes feel weird.")  and built her own house for seven hundred quid.  

In the programme Ben goes for a swim/bath in the stream and waits half an hour for the kettle to boil for a :

"nice cup of tea".

Emma keeps goats, grows her own veg and she seemed really happy living in rural isolation.  The series is about people who decide to leave the rat race and live off the land.  It's really worth watching.  Here's a video I found of Emma:

She's an Oxford graduate and she seemed to have great animals skills.  Wish I had her patience.  Don't think I would like to have no electricity.  No Internet, no thanks!  

So blog friends.  What could you give up or would you be prepared to?  I gave up my Sky subscription recently and I am regretting it very much.  Can't imagine life without watching Manchester United on the telly.    

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Smallholding Home/Supper On The Range.

It's storm Barney time here on the Sheeps Head Peninsula in South West Ireland today.    Living on a peninsula can be very windy at times.  The last few days have been horribly wet and windy outside.  

The garden  and the veg plot are far too wet and windy to work at present.  I can't mow the grass and I can't weed.  At least the cattle are in their shed with the slatted tank eating our hay we made back in June.

So it's was a stay inside day for us today.  The terrier (Fido) wasn't daft and she always finds the best seat or (bed) on the house.  Here she is plonked down in front of our Stanley Mourne (number 7) solid fuel range.  We are going through turf and firewood like there is no tomorrow at the moment. 

On top of the stove is our tea cooking away in our Tagine.  Beef Chilli Con Carne to be precise.  It's delicious cooked in a tagine.  

We have decided to have Sirloin steak for Christmas day.  I wouldn't mind a nice pudding or gateaux for afters.  We might make one.  Hmm...?

I believe Iceland is opening some new stores in Ireland.  So we will probably go to Tralee for Christmas shopping.  Wonder if they sell meat and potato pies in those plastic bags?  Hollands or Pukka will suffice!

Think I might treat myself to a nice bottle of Scottish malt too.  Dalwhinnie is superb.  What are you having for Christmas dinner?

Wednesday 11 November 2015

The Sad Old Blacksmiths Forge And Waiting For the Storm In Dunmanus Bay.

We went round the road around the hill to Durrus this morning.  We stopped on the way outside the old blacksmiths forge. This is no longer in use.  Such a shame. 

 I think buildings have human like faces.  This one looks sad and lonely.  If it's walls could speak.  

Storm clouds gathering over Dunmanus Bay.  The West of Ireland is supposed to be getting another crack of the whip/tailend of Abigail tonight.  You never get use to the Atlantic gales.  It's gale season here from November to March.

Monday 9 November 2015

A Wonderful Blacksmith Tool For Sale At The Car-boot Sale.

Here lies a new find on our front room vinyl.  An old blacksmith vice we found last week at a car boot sale.  We did our usual (top tip) walk 3 times round the stalls to see if we had missed anything.  

Old blacksmiths vice.  
We were getting to the last of the sellers and we hadn't bought or seen much of interest that day.  Then my good wife and I spotted the vice lying on the ground.  The stallholder/carbooter told us some body he knew had just dropped it off and asked it to sell it for him.  Then a elderly gentlemen next to me piped up:

"It's the number four.  Not the number five vice."


Says me.  None the wiser. 

"Yes the number 5 was always the one most blacksmith like to use the most."

I then informed them that we wanted it for our son to use on the smallholding.  "

He can make all sorts of stuff with his hands."

"Mm... But can he shoe hosses?" 

I said most horse shoes are factory made these days.  But he can use it to fix tractors and repair things and when he's welding. 

The vice owner came back and we told him we wanted it for a good home and it would still be worked.  The man was delighted and we even got twenty Euros knocked off the asking price.  

Wouldn't it be great to see the blacksmiths forges open again?    

Sunday 1 November 2015

One Hundred New Gristelinia Plants For The Smallholding And Dreaming Of Living Overseas.

I decided to make one hundred Gristelinia hedging plants the other day.  I dug 3 slit trenches and made some cuttings with my secateurs.    You can root roses and shrubs this way.  It's a good way of using a part of the veg plot that's empty at the moment.  Hopefully they will all root and I will have 200 hedging plants to sell.

 Nasturtiums still flowering in a soil filled bath in the poly-tunnel.

Most of the poly tunnel is full of plants that I made this wet Irish summer.  Will hopefully sell them next Spring and have a lot of money to spend if we go on holiday to Portugal.  We have been there twice and fell head over heels with the place and the sun and cheap cost of living compared to Britain and Ireland.  

We are seriously thinking of moving there and buying an old ruin and living in a caravan while we do it up.  We are both in our fifties and fed up with the Irish and British wet climate and no pub....  

Not sure if we will sell up though.  Considering renting out the farm for a year and seeing if we like it first.  Any advice of living in a warm country would be greatly appreciated.  We would like to be within  walking distance of a village and preferably be near public transport too.  Making a living is another problem.  Like most rural areas always seem to have.  You only have one life.  So why don't we give it a go?  Who else would like to live on a smallholding in Portugal?  

A Bus man's Holiday To See Some Pigs At Balmoral Show.

You know what a bus man's holiday is don't you?  It means going on holiday and doing the same thing that you do at work.  Or on the ...