Collecting, processing and stacking

A big part of our new lives here this time of year is collecting processing and stacking wood for our Esse and logburner. The Esse allows us to cook, heat water and heat our home and the log burner tops us up on chilly nights and even sometimes allows us to cook tea on it (like baked spuds or a simple something in a saucepan) 

Luckily here on the smallholding we have 9 acres of woodland and lots of very overgrown hedges round the rougher pastures…. So this time of year if the weather is good we have to get out wood collecting every chance we get!! 

Yesterday we spent two hours out cutting and collecting wood!! And luckily a friend called past with his tractor to cut our hedgerows in the fields which entertained the small man for ages and allowed us a wee bit more time!! He adores vehicles!! 


Today however the weather has turned miserable so in between small bean wrangling and going to our nursury Ti a Fi session we have been processing and stacking what we brought up!!


Phew!! A few more days of wood burning NEXT year!! 

Chocolate Caramel Crackers!

Today I made some chocolate caramel crackers which I haven’t made in an age!! It’s my gorgeous cousin’s recipe and tastes like dime bar biscuits!! 

So….

Ingredients:

Salted crackers : saltines, matzos or Doriano Italian Crackers (I use the Doriano)

8oz unsalted butter

8 oz light brown soft sugar

1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla essence

And here is my slight variation I used milk chocolate instead of dark and about 10 oz not the recommended 8oz!

Preheat oven to 180c (350F) or gas 4/5

Line a deep baking tray with foil (have the foil up the sides a bit) then line the foil with non stick baking parchment.  This helps getting the finished product out of the tin and saves much scrubbing!! 

Cover the base of the tin in a single layer of crackers.

Melt the butter in a heavy based pan then add the sugar and stir until melted together.

Bring to the boil, keep stirring

Boil for 3-4 minutes, keep stirring!!

Remove from heat, quickly add the vanilla essence and stir through, then spread over the crackers evenly.

Put it into the oven for 10-15 mins checking in case of burning towards the end.

Meanwhile melt the chocolate.

Remove from the oven and wait for the mixture to stop bubbling and pour/spread over the chocolate.

Allow to cool then refrigerate to completely cool and solidify.

Break into pieces and serve!

It will keep for up to a week in a airtight tin….. If it gets chance!!

Crafty happenings

Busy times again here as always it seems but now the workshop is nigh on finished and now functional!!!!! 

So I decided to crack on with a few jobs I’ve been planning for a while…..

Firstly, I made something to occupy the small human whilst we are in the work shop and to stop him porcupining all the available holes in workbenches etc with screws!!! 

A work bench!!


Then I decided it would be a good idea our home had a name sign!!! 

So I cleaned up a lovely chunk of hard wood, which incidentally used to be part of the old barn roof itself….


I marked out the lettering with a pencil and a stencil I printed off from the computer and cut out using a craft knife…. Then using my pyrography tool I burnt the name into the wood…. Currently I’m on the second coat of varnish of about seven!!!

So whilst I’m varnishing I’ve started another project for the boys!!! (As will be come March, bump two is a little boy!!) I am turning a dolls house Dad made and I roofed and painted…..


I used in my classroom for a few years as both a teaching resource and as a choice time activity/play resource…..

Now it starts its journey to being a barn for the boys to keep their toy tractors and farm animals in!!


Lots of craftiness, though not of my usual ilk!!!

Fencing….. Fencing and more Fencing!!!

Last week our fencing started in a big way!!! We have been fortunate to get into Glastir which is government woodland and land management scheme, which allows us to manage the land in a way that is more geared to the local wildlife and promoting that!! 

Last Monday our top field looked like this….

 

We already have lots of woodland…..


…..and in addition to the new woodland planting we did at the start of this year covering a probably just over an acre…..


…we now have new fencing ready for new hedgerows…..


new gates….. 


Well gates of out yard piles and into fields where they need to be!! We are awaiting the arrival of three new hardwood timber gates!

So next job hedge planting and a few more gates then the paperwork!!!!

Work around the Holding

So since we are here now every day…..

We have started doing some bits around the place other than he workshop and the house!

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Planting some bulbs for some spring colour about the place….. Crocuses, tulips and Daffodils….011012

Mowing the grass …. so we can get at the bed we planted and weed the heck out of it….once this latest bout of storm and rain is finished….013

Oh my poor rockery and bog garden…… this soooo needs attention…..014015016017

But there are now 50 crocus bulbs in the front garden hopefully settling in and getting ready to pop up come spring….018

James has built some composters in the far end of the slurry pit as was…..019

Our bales stacked up in the yard…. plus the mess of the far end of the slurry pit as a before photo…020

I mowed all the grass and weeds…..021022023

Sir played on the gator again!! (we are so going to have to hide those keys!!)024025

James de-baler twined the roto-tiller…..026

We carted some muck from the barn and planted a box and forsythia hedge from some cuttings we took and rooted before we left the old house…..027028029030

and finally I am not sure you can see the rocks but we have marked out for a fruit cage…. which we ordered at the start of the week and it arrived VERY quickly from First Tunnels.

Now to mulch the area marked, build the fruit cage, anchor it FIRMLY in place, order and plant the fruit!!!!

I have plans for gooseberries, blueberries, raspberries, currants, strawberries etc etc!!! the rhubarb will find itself in a shady spot in the muck the other side of the wall!!