Chasing my tail….

I have had a very busy few days.

I have been exchanging my labour/ gardening skills for some much-needed firewood, seeds and other bits n pieces that I cannot produce myself (Some yummy edible treats for my daughter’s birthday on Sunday were amongst the items I bartered for this week )

I have also been tending a regular client’s garden for the first time this year. The big Spring clear up and grass cutting commenced on his plot this week. 27 grass boxes full of lawn clippings were removed!… which sadly he doesn’t compost himself but sends away in his green waste bin to be composted by the council.

The ground was a bit wetter than expected but I got a good finish and the client was very happy with the results. I also dug out some of his last remaining compost, from an old heap he had tucked away at the back of his plot, into a few wheelbarrows to spread on a large rose bed he has at the front of his bungalow.

I aim to bag up some of my well-rotted horse manure and use that on some of his other flower borders, as they could all do with more organic matter being incorporated into them.

On top of all this outdoor ‘work’, I am also selling my organic kefir grains online, making my cheese/ bread, milking my goats each morning , tending my own garden and all my livestock, getting seeds sown and helping my father sell his old motorbike on ebay.

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I have squeezed in my basic bread baking/ housework/ washing and H’s educational work in-between jobs…or whilst working.

H often brings a book along with her when we head out to work on someone else’s plot. She is also keen to learn more about gardening or the plants and insects we come across during our work outside. Every activity is a learning opportunity!

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Jobs that I have failed to get done are: more wood sawing/chopping (I am very low on ‘ready to burn’ fuel atm) , new geese enclosure fence posts erected,  although I did manage to paint them all with preservative, so they are ready to go but just not actually in the ground…yet!

I am still in the midst of trying to empty the old woodshed at the rear of the cottage and get all  the stored wood onto the side drive ready to cut and stack into the ‘not yet built’ woodstore …and I have to admit that the cottage floors haven’t been hoovered for two days *sigh

I seem to be chasing my tail.

But despite a hectic week, I have managed to get fairly organised for my youngest child’s birthday this Sunday. She has already had one gift early, some stick insects, as it would have been impossible for me to hide them. She has two Indian stickies and two Black Beauty Peruvian ones.. and yes she has named them all!

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If the weather is nice on Sunday, we plan to take a picnic to our local open farm (yes, a busman’s holiday!), with one of her brothers and her dad and whoever else wants to join us.

If the weather is wet we will have a family day indoors and a mini party with a fancy tea and cakes and play board games.

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Today’s jobs have included doing the last of the laundry, digging out some of my homemade compost and sieving it.. adding sieved leaf mold and sand to it.. and using it to fill the inner cardboard tubes from a year’s supply of loo rolls ( I keep everything haha).

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These loo roll tubes get used to grow my peas and beans in and also some runner beans for a client’s garden.

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I have run very short of space in my teeny lean-to greenhouse, so have used an insulated box with a clear perspex lid as a mini greenhouse.I have placed this against the exterior South facing wall of the cottage, where the brick behind it will retain heat and where there is good light. Fingers crossed it does the job!

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We have had a very cold Spring so far and many plants are a few weeks behind schedule but  my borders here at Riverside are finally coming to life and we got a light sprinkling of much-needed rain today which made the garden smell wonderful. Am I odd by loving the smell of rain and wet soil?

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…..and some sad news.. Crystal, the ride n drive pony that H enjoys riding, and the one that I occasionally drive as a single, is off to a new home for the Summer..possibly long term ..along with her three companions, Freddie, Bunny and Paddy..so we will be without a riding pony for H this summer and I will certainly miss driving Bunny and Crystal.

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At least we still have Honeybee and Bumblebee, our two littl’uns to ‘play’ with. Maybe it is time to seriously look for a larger ride n drive pony that needs a loving home?…x

Dealing with ‘waste’.

Dealing with 'waste'.

I have three tubs in the kitchen.
One for paper waste, one for compost-able waste, one for eggshells.
Vegetable garden trimmings/ prunings and weeds go to the goats and hens, tea bags, coffee grounds, paper waste, garlic and onion skins, cooking peelings and small amounts of plain brown cardboard ( torn up) all head to the compost bins, to join the leaves, grass, animal’s bedding and manure and other organic matter there.
Some of the waste paper also gets used to light my woodstove each morning.
Empty egg shells get baked and ground down and added to the hen feeder.
I keep a bucket outside the back door that I fill up with waste to carry to the compost bins, once full and I keep smaller tubs indoors to store the separate waste until they are full and need to be dealt with. Everything that can be composted gets composted.There is very little waste here.
If only shop bought produce didn’t come in so much packaging, then waste, on the whole could be reduced even further. We need to consciously think about the amount of rubbish we produce and try to reduce it.
I know I still have room for improvement!

First post. Hello!

Beautiful Sky x

Beautiful Sky x

Well it is Feb 6th 2013 and I have FINALLY decided to get a blog up and running. You shall have to bear with me as I stumble my way through blog-land (making many mistakes on the way no doubt) as I try to share snippets of our life here at Riverside. Yes there will be tales of compost and custard, cultivating and cooking.

….and lots of photos too!

Here at Riverside, we ( my daughter and I) try very hard to live a simple life, growing lots of our own food. We share our lives with an ever growing menagerie and have regular visits from our wonderful extended family. My lovely parents and my Uncle Ray feature highly. We have two beautiful goats for milk, bees for honey, hens, quail and geese for eggs, an imprinted duck (don’t ask!) … as well as cats and dogs and ponies and any other animal that chooses to find a home here.

More about all the animals later… They deserve a blog of their own really!

Thank you for popping by x
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