Friday, 23 December 2011

The Stables - Finally Done... Almost!

Finally got the stables in last Friday! The workmen did well even through the gale force winds and the driving rain, and snow! It took them two days, well one and a half I guess! They look great. All my life I have dreamed of owning stables! I used to play 'stables' when I was little, drawing designs and layouts and desiding which of my multitude of imaginery horse would go where!

So now they are done, although we do have to get water to a more suitable location and get some lights in there, but ... details, details!  We have STABLES!!!

It is amazing to stand in front of our six doors and think, finally, 'This is mine. And this time its real!'


End of Day One


Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The finished changing bag...

I have finally finished the changing bag. And I am very pleased, although Farm Guy has said it isn't the most manly bag for him to carry when he is out on his own with Farm Baby! :O)

I incorporated all of the aspects that I have learned with my practices.

Double pocket on the front, one the perfect size for my pocket diary!

Not the best inside pocket but a double inside pocket and a nice pink zippered pocket.

I also made a little tiny version to keep her dummies together and handy, it attaches to the strap of the bag - or anywhere I suppose!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Getting in about the crafting...

As the garden is so cold and sad at the moment and there is very little to chat about, I have been busy in the craft room. My main aims have been improving my techniques in various things but my main project this last couple of weeks has been making a new Changing Bag for farm baby.

I researched and researched all the different designs out there and all the different pockets, positions of pockets and tied it all together with what I liked and disliked about the current changing bag I have - a free one from Boots!

A trip into town saw me spending a fortune on some lovely fabric, but then chickened out of using it without some practice attempts.  I wasn't sure what I was going to use for my practice material but an impromptu trip to the local car boot sale resulted in a £3 purchase of some old blinds and curtain material I had what I needed for some practicing. 

My first attempt was with some curtain fabric.   I gave it a flap closure as I liked the idea of hiding all the pockets and things within.

Easy to access pockets on the front.

I wanted an internal zippered pocket and as I had never done this before I was glad of the chance to practice.

I also tried out some fancy edges to hide the internal raw edges of my pockets.

Although i liked my bag I wasn't happy with the proportions and I also wanted to try a bit of elasticated pocketing inside and out as this was something that I wanted on my final bag.  So, after unpicking all the stitching on a roman blind from my car boot buy.  I set out on bag number two.  It was more square and I think I like this one better, shape wise.

Again the front pockets.

An elasticated pocket on the edge on the outside for holding a drinking bottle.

Internal stretchy pocket.

Had fun with the sewing machine's fancy stitching to give this bag a bit of excitement on the flap.

All in all I am happy with my practices.  I have now bitten the bullet and started with the expensive fabric.  

I made these two bags relatively quickly and without much difficulty.  Of course, as soon as I got the 'real' fabric out it has all started to go wrong!!  

I shall update you once the official bag is ready.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Bad Weather, Bad for Gardening, Great Excuse for Other Crafts!!

I had been holding off and holding off, waiting for there to be a chance to share some news about what has been happening in the garden, with the chickens, with the stables.. anything! But the weather here has been so bad for the past month or so that there has been nothing but staring dankly out of the window. A time for chilling out and kicking back inside! Something the animals have had no problem in doing!


It has left plenty time for other things however, particularly in the arts and crafts and cooking departments.  Another attempt at Cherry Cake - still the cherries all sank.  If anyone has any hints on how to make them stay put then I would be pleased to give it a go.  I have tried: doing nothing to them, covering them in flour first, washing, drying and then covering in flour.  Nothing, always a nice layer of cherries at the bottom of the cake!

Farm Guy's birthday meant time for more cake, Red Velvet with Chocolate Ganache filling with Raspberry Jam.  Chocolate ganache filled chocolate cups for decoration!

Neighbours gave us a big box of windfall apples, so they were made into a quick apple crumble and then several jars of Apple Jam!


 The garden is still able to produce even through all the howling wind and driving rain.  I got up the last of the potatoes.  As well as a few parsnips and a beetroot just to see how it was!  I also discovered two courgettes on the plants that I had forgotten all about!  How do you forget about a courgette plant?  Stick it somewhere you never go then find other things to worry about!  But well done to them both for soldiering on!

 In the arts and crafts section of the home, with Halloween fast approaching a costume was needed for Farm Baby (who will soon need to be called Farm Toddler!).  So, Red Riding Hood was the name of the game and very pleased I am too - ahh modesty!

Autumn hats for mum and baby - apple anyone.... this was a great pattern that I found here -

And the next project, a Tea Cosy.  Just a kit that came with a magazine that I bought but I am looking forward to trying it anyway!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

I Know a Bargain... I think!?

This Saturday we hit the auction house again. We were really only there for a look and a browse but where is the fun in that! We secured ourselves a spot at the ring side and they brought on the vintage jumble, that's the kind of sale it was by the way. They had everything from glass-less oil lamps, to old milk churns to cafe signs and tractor seats. Boxes just called "Spares" and "Old Tools". As well as enough bits and bobs to build your own tractor! Farm Guy was after a pair of bolt cutters which he secured against little opposition. I had a nose around the ring as the bidding went on to see what I liked the look of. There was a giant glass jar hidden away behind a large kist (wooden chest) but I couldn't see a number.  "I'll just wait to see them hold it up and make my decision then" I thought.

In amongst the jumble was a large number of old horse harnesses, bridles, collars, shoes and bits.  All split into various small lots.  I was interested to see what the interest was on them.  Answer - none at all.  Not really surprising as they were listed as 'Harness' with no indication of size, condition or even if all the parts were there! The auctioneer was dropping as low as he could with still no interest and was combining lots left and right to get them to sell.  People were walking away with 3 or four lots for a couple of pounds.  The second from last lot was a saddle and two bridles.  He dropped his price from £60 starting to £1!  Nobody was interested.  The last lot of horse artifacts was a driving harness, all squished into a box.
"Combine the last two then" he called down to the guys in the ring.
He tried starting a £30 for the two lots but came down and down and down to a sea of blank faces.
"£1?" he repeated again and again, looking around.  I nudged Farm Guy, "Go on.  For a laugh"
"£1" he said waving his book.
Off went the auctioneer "£1. I got £1. £1. £1. £1 bid" No point.
"Hurray" I said, "What did we win?"  I had been so interested in the saddle I hadn't really taken in what the second lot was.

The saddle isn't that bad condition although I don't think you'd want to use it and the harness and bridle leather is very warn, again, not sure you'd trust it, but it might polish up nice for some kind of decoration somewhere!  And it was just a £1!  There is a kind of nice feeling to be living on a farm and to have reminders of the past around you.  Something very secure in that feeling.

We were interested in the kist so we hung around, however so were many others and we were quickly out bid.  Ah well, farm baby was getting restless and so we decided to head away.  As we were leaving I saw the glass jar being held up from the corner of my eye.  I'd forgotten all about it.  I heard bidding was £1.  I quickly waved what I had..
Hurray, my glass jar.  They called it a churn.  
"It must be the jar from an old butter churn" I thought.  One had sold earlier, the kind that is a glass jar with a rotary blade hanging inside - turn the handle, churn the butter.

What I thought I had bought was this: (that's what they held up, and quite happy I'd have been with it too!)

What I actually bought was this:

The full kit of an electric butter churn.  It is pretty old and has a cable but no plug.  I don't think I will trust the electrics on it till I have asked Farm Dad to bring his tools down and take a look.  Part of me hopes it does work but even if it doesn't, I still have my nice storage jar!

It was a lot of fun and there was so much to look at.  Outside it was all about the farm implements and that included stone troughs, mangles, carts, potato sorters, tractors, bits of engines and tyres.

£3 spend and a great day out was had by all!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

First Year

It is Farm Baby's First Birthday tomorrow!! I cannot believe it has been a whole year already!  It honestly doesn't feel like it.  We have no plans so far as the weather is ghastly at the moment, we'll just have to wait and see, but I have spent the evening baking.  

I am very pleased with this cake.  Its only a Victoria Sponge but it is the first time I have successfully covered a cake in fondant icing!!  I also attempted colouring my own icing to make two shades of pink for the hearts and I think it came out pretty well.

In keeping with my theme I made little jam filled and iced cupcakes to go along with the cake.  Her ladyship is having a week long celebration as the two sets of grandparents cannot make it on her birthday, nor can the make it on the same day this week.  But that in itself is good, she has a three day birthday and we can spend her 1st birthday as just the three of us.

Friday, 26 August 2011

The Start of an Empire...

Sorry for many missing posts...  but I have an excuse....

For those of you who have bee following a while you will know that we have several acres of field (around 13) and various outhouses and barns. The original plan was that we had this set up so that I could get a horse - a lifelong dream of mine. This has been put on hold somewhat with the arrival of Farm Baby, but the dream still lives on.  So preparation is key! We have however decided to take that dream just one step further.

We decided that there was enough room and we had enough land to, in some small way, have a few liveries.  Not many, just enough to help with a few bills and to make good use of the land we have.  The idea was born and we began planning.  The large green hay shed was chosen (pretty much as soon as we saw it on the first viewing of the property) as a likely candidate for stables.  This was even before we had thought of liveries, this was just for me!!

A few months ago we had a company round to check the shed and to draw plans up for stabling.  We liked them, they liked the shed and we liked the plans, so it was full steam ahead.  The shed however needed a lot of work.  The photo above shows how it was when we moved in, as you can see it was full of hay and straw and there was no solid bottom to the walls on two sides.  The rabbits had also spent many years digging away and the floor level in the back right corner was somewhat lower than the rest of the barn.  Before the stable fitters could get in we needed to get working.

After a whole weekend of manually clearing the hay and straw from the barn and having a succession of bonfires the shed was ready for some professional work!  Our neighbour is a brickie and very kindly offered his services to put in a retaining wall all the way around the base.  He did this in his spare time, just popping over when he had an hour or two!  And very grateful we are too!  Here is his work as of several weeks ago.  He had done his bit as far as he could, the next step was ours.

We needed the heavy machinery...

We dug a trench out for a central drain and dug a large soak away at the back.  

We then needed a whole lot of this....

This was to cover the whole floor of the barn to allow a concrete top to be added.  This was as close to the barn that the delivery truck could get, so it took two full days of three person labour to get all this in to the barn.  I am a mean digger driver, except when I think about it then it all went everywhere and I couldn't do anything!  They definitely went out of there way to make it as complicated as possible.  For those who haven't driven one it has two levers in front of you which are forward and backwards for each of the tracks beneath, then there is a joystick for each hand that controls buck scoop and empty, arm in and out, arm up and down and cab left and right!  There were also two foot pedals which did something but I just left them alone!  I got the hang of it though and it was quite a relaxing thing to do.  As I chugged along at a slower than walking pace however I couldn't shake the idea of how funny it would be to race these little diggers, they go so ridiculously slowly!  

But then it ended up like this, sorry for the bad photo, we finally have sunshine and it plays havoc with the camera, I also had a puppy pulling his lead at the same time!

This is were we are at the moment.  We are hoping to have the concrete base on by the end of next weekend, so please keep your fingers crossed for us!!

While we were at it, we also re fenced our top paddock and 'claimed' a small section of it as BBQ area.  We will be able to sit in here, watching our animals, eating our burgers and enjoying the fresh air.  It will have a small gate here leading into the field, for person access.  The bigger gate for animals and machinery is up the other end (and isn't actually there).  I will do more on the paddocks at a later date but thought you may enjoy the sneak preview!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Meet My Malamute

There was one family member missing. We had always had a plan to fill that gap but only when we were ready. 
Now we are ready. 
After much research we had settled on exactly what we wanted - the Alaskan Malamute. The only problem was, trying to find a breeder that wasn't hundreds of miles away.  We knew that when they did become available in the area we would have to be ready. Well, last Sunday the time came, and it turned out that the breeder was only 5 minutes down the road!  We had seen her ad before and had let it pass as her price was a little too high for us,  then we noticed that she had re posted so we tried our luck and asked if she could reduce her price at all.  She did.  It was on!

We went along, hoping that the puppy viewing would be successful but preparing to ask all the questions needed. If anything wasn't right we would have to walk away. When we arrived there was only one pup remaining. We peaked over the door into the stall and there was a, pretty huge, wiggly puppy. He was very cute and friendly. Farm Baby loved him and announced "cat!" Not quite, but not a bad guess! We asked about him, particularly why he was left when the others had gone. Apparently she had taken a deposit on him at the same time as the other pups went. The new owners were to pick him up when they returned from holiday last week. When they did return they contacted her and said they no longer wanted him. This was why she had re listed her ad (and also probably why she was more willing to lower her price). All his papers were in order and he was healthy and active so we made the decision and he came home with us that night.

And so we know have a Farm Dog, please let me introduce...  Apache, the Red and White Alaskan Malamute!  He is 11 weeks old and already weighs in at around 10 kg (that's 1 st 8 lbs for people who think like me!).  It is reckoned he'll reach around the 40 kg (6 st 4 lbs) mark.  He is settling in well and has already pretty much mastered Come and Sit, although the Malamute stubbornness is showing its head occasionally!  The cats and chickens are teaching him a few manners too.  He will go to puppy classes to help his socialisation, but as he was late to be brought to a new home, he was behind on his injections, so we have to wait another three weeks before he can really venture out safely.