I *may* have a new home

So much has happened in the months that have passed since my last proper blog post.  I do sincerely apologise for the huge gap in my blogging but in all honestly ‘life’ simply took over.

A dear relative’s health issues became a priority for my family. My beloved Uncle (who has been more like a grandfather to me over the years) has been diagnosed with Vascular Dementia and it has been quite a lot for my family to come to terms with. Sadly it is progressing at quite a pace and we are losing the man we once knew. But no matter how much his memory fails him, we still all love him dearly and we make sure he feels and knows that daily. We are united as a team/ family and are sharing in his care. My parents have been truly amazing!  xxx

A long on /off relationship finally broke down and  so I ended up single once more and that also took it’s toll on me emotionally and of course the constant search for a new home took up a huge amount of my time/ energy and it  interrupted my sleep and my day-to-day functioning
(During all of this I also had an odd online stalker/ harassment issue, which was luckily dealt with promptly by the police….. but was unsettling none the less……. especially for my daughter)

………and of course I was still home educating my daughter, working to pay bills and running this place on my own..hence  the severe lack of blogging…..Oops!

I have been  gardening with far less motivation than is normal for me. I simply couldn’t and cannot  focus on growing as much food as I usually do (seeing as I thought I wouldn’t be here to harvest a lot of it) and I couldn’t put my goats in kid last Autumn either, as I was in limbo about when they would be moving to a new place ( If I could even find any land!) and I truly didn’t want to stress them and move them when they were heavily pregnant. So all that went on hold too 😦

There was so much turmoil and a foreboding unsettling uncertainty with my housing issue and to a degree it still continues…and in all honesty I am tired of it now.

However, some positive news,  I was approached a week or so ago by a lady who had seen my advert on the Preloved website.  It was an advert about me looking for a new home and it looks increasingly promising that she may indeed have something suitable. Fingers crossed!!!
I have sent in references as requested but am just awaiting my landlord’s one to be written > *sigh < despite several reminders to get it to me asap ….He is reluctant to see me leave here before he sells up, so he is dragging his heels a bit with the reference, which is rather upsetting not to mention frustrating, as I have been a very good tenant over the last 6 yrs….. and his go slow attitude could mean we lose this new tenancy offer!

Anyway….I am keeping everything crossed that all goes well eventually, as the new place is, rather wonderfully, a longterm tenancy!!…. whoop!!! ….. and it is  only 4 miles from here, which means H and I will have a sense of permanency and belonging and we can really get into growing more fruit and perennials, all the while knowing that we will be around to see them mature and bear fruit. It also means I can invest more into the permaculture way of life both financially with things like a polytunnel / plants and with energy/ ideas etc!

On a personal front I have a rather wonderful new man in my life (yes it surprised me too!) We both  wish to keep things very private but I am no longer a single woman and am rather liking that fact!

Well enough for now.. more updates soon .. I promise.

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A normal quiet night at home by the fire xxx

 

I will leave you with a recent photo or two.

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Tansy

 Much love and bright blessings from all at Riverside xxxx

 

 

 

What’s for dinner Mum?

Today saw the first of our courgettes harvested..Yay!…along with more early peas, various salad leaves, chard, tree spinach, rocket, mizuna, red orach, various herbs and other edible goodies.. and as always we have eggs from our quail and hens and milk, cheese and yogurt etc from our wonderful dairy goats.  ….and maybe we’ll have butter soon too, if I can get my hands on a cheap or free cream separator!

So today’s dinner was this delight for the eyes and palate.  As you can see my daughter was quite happy with what I served up! . “What’s for dinner Mum?”  ..A rainbow.. xxx

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Fresh laid eggs used in an omelette with courgette, peas, chives, onions and garlic ..all from the garden..a few dots of  home-made kefir cheese melted into it under the grill..Served with a medley of salad leaves: including tree spinach, red orach, nasturtium leaves, various frilly / oak leaf lettuces, both red and green varieties, mizuna, pea shoots, raw peas, borage flowers, chive flowers, chives, cos lettuce, rocket and shredded spring onions. .and a home-baked bread roll. … all washed down with home-made elderflower cordial.

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Pretty and tastes great too!

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Chicken tractors and mole diggers..

As always space is at a premium here at Riverside and more growing space is always needed. I have decided to add a long narrow border alongside the path that leads to the goat sheds. I have put my little chicken tractor on the area and have let my broody hen and her chicks start to clear the area for me..as they eat all the vegetation I move the coop along…and so on… I shall cover the cleared area with cardboard and cover that with well rotted compost, ready for planting.

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I have had some quite severe problems with moles here this season. They appeared back in September last year and spent most of their time  making molehills on the riverbank.. That was fine.. but now they have moved into my veg beds are are also undermining the newly planted fruit trees that I added to my little forest garden area. So I have bought a couple of solar powered sonic mole repellent units. No new molehills have appeared ..yet!

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The veg areas are filling out a bit now.. but it has been incredibly wet and windy here today so some of the plants are looking a little battered.

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…the newly planted willow arches are now green and lush!Image

The borage plants are in flower….

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One batch of elderflower cordial has already been made.. and as more sweetly scented  flowers open more will be made.. always leaving some behind to form berries for later in the season for elderberry recipes.

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Imageand whilst everything grows and blossoms here at Riverside our own latest flowergirl Anemone the goat kid blossoms too.. She is growing fast!

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The geese enjoy the sun in-between the rain.. They are moulting at the moment  so we have feathers everywhere…and Holly is STILL sitting on her eggs. x

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The vivid magenta sparkly centres of tree spinach brighten up a dull day

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Looks like we shall have an abundance of currants..if we get to them before the bird do, when they ripen!

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and strawberries too…Not ripe yet ( grown outside, not under glass or plastic) ..but plenty of fruit on the plants, ready to ripen. Every plant is heavy with fruit. Looks to be a bumper year for strawbs!

ImageDespite the unpredictable wet and windy weather lately, there is a feeling of natural richness here. Image

Everything looks healthy, lush and green!

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Mizuna doing really well. We cannot eat it as fast as it grows.

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and the garlic is due to be harvested soon.

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Lupins adorn the orchard wall border.

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And I have been very kindly gifted this little polytunnel frame, by my lovely cousin…so next season I should be even more prepared for the growing season..Just need to get the plastic cover sorted asap! (Let me know the cheapest option).

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Goosegogs (Gooseberries) are looking good but still unripe. I have four gooseberry bushes here so far.

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All in all it is all looking udderly fantastic.

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….and I think Anemone (nicknamed Nemmie) agrees 🙂

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A few photos from Riverside today.

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Rowan, Bluebell and Snowdrop enjoy the sun.

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Baby lettuces

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Teasel -Tussle and Holly-Hot- Pants

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Daffy smiling for the camera haha!

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Quail aviary. Chicks in the inner pen.

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Pregnant Marigold

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Heather resting after grazing all morning

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Holly-Hot-Pants on her nest full of eggs!

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Cow Parsley by the river

Blackberry with her three chicks under her wings. x

Blackberry with her three chicks under her wings. x

Sorry for the lack of text today.. I have been up since silly o clock and have been hard at work all day, so feeling a bit too tired to write much. Will do a proper blog post asap.

Thanks for dropping by.

Blessings x

Vegetation, fascination, imagination…..precipitation!

Today I have been totally alone at Riverside. A rare occurrence!

My youngest sproglet has been at a sleepover with her cousins.

ImageDue to this childfree time being such an unusual event I had BIG plans to use this time as productively as possible.

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The plans involved LOTS of outdoor work and gardening and general plot tidying.. and guess what, it has rained hard almost all day!   Sod’s Law!

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It is almost June and  so cold that I have had to light a fire. The cottage was really chilly this morning when I came in from milking Tansy .

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Amongst the jobs that I did complete, in the rain, were the planting out of some young vegetable plants that were in dire need of removing from their pots and trays. I have finished filling up the new wall planter! It will soon fill up as the plants mature and I look forward to having a bit more growing space.The planter replaces a rotten wood fence that fell down in the gusty wind we had the other day. So it is making use of space that was previously unused for growing. Every little helps..as they say 😉

ImageI planted out more baby red cabbages, some kale,both Tuscan Black and a red curly variety that I have forgotten the name of, plus beetroots and bunching onions.

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I earthed up the potatoes again, weeded the pea bed and planted out four courgette plants,that were getting far too big for the large pots they were in.

The hostas and ferns that fill a shady corner here at Riverside have enjoyed the rain today. No slug holes in the hostas yet. Permaculture certainly seems to keep the pest species at bay, as the hardworking hedgehogs and toads that live here keep the slug population under control.

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I have also planted out a variegated thyme, a red bergamot or bee balm, a pineapple mint, which is also variegated and some walking onions!. My first planting of those here! ….and I harvested yet more rhubarb! I am seriously impressed with the crop of rhubarb this year.The mulch of horse manure I gave the young rhubarb  plant last autumn has made a huge difference.

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So all in all a fairly productive day even if I did get wet. But I still have so much to do..

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I have started mulching an area of really overgrown land that runs beside my cottage plot.

I have been using all my spent straw/ hay and goat bedding over the last 6 months or so to deeply cover a completely wild area of thick nettles, grass and other perennial weeds.

Mulching has really helped reduce the nettles and is an ongoing process.

I have also laid some cardboard down to clear a small area ready for a deep bed, of home-made compost but to be totally honest I have a long way to go before it is anywhere near ready and I may just turn the animals out in it, for a month or so, just to eat it down a bit first, before I continue to do anything else out there.

I am feeling a bit despondent that I can’t get it sorted faster. But maybe it is meant to be a slow process, so that I get to work out where I will put plants and so I have time to save up for  the purchase of trees and perennials to fill it!

The weeds are growing faster than I can deal with them on my own  by hand. ..but still the mulching goes on…I won’t give up.

All in all it is about a tenth of an acre. It is set out in a long uneven strip..widening at the bottom as it reaches the slope up to  the riverbank.

Up by the river I aim to plant some willow for goat forage and weaving and so the roots help keep the soil in place.

ImageMy longterm plan is to eventually be able to make a mini forest garden on it.. with a meandering path.. curvy deep beds with fruit trees, underplanted with soft fruit and other edibles.

I want it to be beautiful as well as productive.. but I have a feeling it is going to take me some time to get to that stage.

Luckily I am very patient!

Thanks for reading my random wafflings. It is always a pleasure to get feedback and comments.

I always try to reply to everyone xx

Blessings xx

Recent happenings…

Just a quick catch up and an opportunity to post some photos taken with my new (to me) camera. I am just getting to grips with all the settings on it, so bear with me.

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As is usual it has been a busy few days here at Riverside. I have spent time weeding, watering and planting out more young veg plants and more willow whips. My broad beans are smothered in flowers this year!  So pretty! The garden is looking great and I really feel as though I have made some worthwhile permaculture progress this year with more top and soft fruit planted and more native trees too.

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We  have had a few  Spring hatchings.  As you know we hatched our quail eggs in the incubator a few weeks ago.  You can see the newly hatched chicks here... and you can see the latest photos of them that I took today when I moved them to a larger brooder cage.. They are almost off heat now and are fully feathered, which really shows how fast they mature. The females start laying at just 6 weeks old!

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The wild moorhen ( Mildred)  hatched her babies in a nest on my pond recently too. The chicks have been  making the most of the warmer weather and  have been sunbathing on top of a clump of marsh marigolds with their mum each day,  but they move SO fast that I have failed miserably to get a photo that is worth sharing! I will continue to try, but for now here is a photo of one of the goat kids, Heather, having fun in the sun today.

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My pied Sussex hen (Blackberry) hatched four of her five eggs, but sadly one chick didn’t survive. (See pics of her and her three surviving babies below). Very cute chicks. Two are dark grey with cream under bellies..and one is a pale dusky blue/ cream. An unusual colour. The sire of these chicks was a red and blue frizzle cross called Rowan. He is the friendliest and least aggressive of our cockerels here.  So we shall have to see what their mature feathering turns out to be like! We also have some mixed duck eggs in the incubator due to hatch, the beginning of June.

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One of my geese ( Holly-Hot-Pants)  is sitting tight  on her well-tended, deep feather lined nest and is due to hatch her eggs fairly soon. She is not even coming off to eat and drink  (and is looking a little bedraggled, bless her) so I am running the gauntlet with the gander charging at me every day as I place food and water within her reach.

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We are still awaiting Marigold’s kidding and she is looking fit and well and still has a ravenous appetite. Barley, a blue frizzle cross cockerel, has taken to sleeping with her inside her goat shed  every night and he spends a large part of the day sitting on her hindquarters crowing his head off! They are inseparable!  I think she likes having her back tickled by his feet  🙂

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ImageI have been blessed to have help here this weekend, so some much-needed DIY was definitely in order!

My ex husband ( a builder) has been here helping me to build a long wooden wall planter to replace the small  rickety fence that used to sit on top of the old yard wall but that had rotted so badly that it was falling down bit by bit….In fact one whole panel fell down as I was showing him it!

ImageSo here is a pic of the project whilst it is still unfinished..A work in progress.. It will need staining and lining with plastic feed sacks, to help retain moisture, and then filling with gravel at the base and then compost on top of that. It will eventually be planted out with all edible and medicinal plants.

It gets LOTS of sun, which is great as most of my growing space here is in partial  shade. Sunny growing space is at a premium here,  so every little bit helps.

 I will leave you with a few more recent photos.. Catch you all soon x

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Thank you for dropping by xxxx