zaterdag 5 augustus 2017

how to build a Scandinavian haystack

  The day's are become shortening again. At 9 Pm we really need to lighten our lamps, and a view day's ago, when it was a really rainy day, we needed light far more early. The weather is a bit wet lately, a view days dry alternate with a couple of days really wet. It's not the best weather for hay making but we will make it do.
  A week ago, we decide to bring some hay into the barn. It was not a very bright day, but the sun was shining and only a view clouds where hanging on the horizon. So we prepared everything and went to get the horse, Vera. She likes to work and always she comes first at the gate, but not this day! We called but she would not come, Sander decide to go and get her, but when he almost could get her, she ran away. What is this, I thought! Is she playing with us? After 10min we get her and take her with us. I looked up to the sky and realized it was not so bright anymore, the view clouds hanging on the horizon, has grown fast and now almost covered the hole sky. Maybe the horse tried to tell us something, maybe we go to have rain.
"I remembered a day for more than ten years ago. Almost the same weather and I would go out and ride for a while. Vera had no sense to come and after I had saddled her she was really slowly and annoying. I decided then it was better to ride homewards and before I was home, it was a hail and thunderstorm. Then I knew she tried to tell me, it was not save to ride out, and I praised her when we were home again".
 I told to Sander were I was thinking about and give Vera the benefit of doubt, and brought her back on the field. You will believe it or not but just after 15 min it was raining! She knew it and lucky for us we listened!

With this rainy weather I'm happy that we have a methode of haymaking that has been proved since the middle ages. Always have and had farmers problems to get the hay from the fields. Before the tractors it was very labor intensive. The small farmer needed a methode to spread out the haymaking season. Not being so dependent on the weather. In almost every country they invented a type of haystack. The hay now needed a shorter time to dry on the fields and lay save till the day you would bring it into the barn.
We use the same type of haystack as they did in the time of 'Carl von Linné'. I made some pictures of it and describe how we're doing it.
 The grass mowed we the day for and the same day we're building the haystack. It was not nice weather so it is still very wet. Also is the grass very short what makes it not so easy to build. The best haystack you build with very long grass. On the picture above, Sander is digging the first hole for the first pole.
 We use always 10 poles to one stack. Around 1m metre apart the first two lean a bit outside, like \\, the six in the middle stand in zig saw and the last two lean out to the other side //. so it will look like \ \ | | | | | / /.

 Here I'm laying the first layer of hay/grass. We strung a wire about a 40-50cm from the ground. This is were the grass is hanging upon. Just fill it up with a 10 a 15 cm grass when it is wet, like it was this time. If the grass should have been more dry, I would lay maybe twice that much on it.
 First layer done. You can see that there is a opening on the front, as well on the back. It allows the wind to go trough, and will dry the hay.
 Making the next layer. A second wire is strung 10 to 15 cm above the grass layer. Fill it up like the first one. Make sure it is evenly spread and hangs in the right balance.

 Here I'm making the 4th layer, you can see how the wire twisted on the pole.
 Higher and higher!
And done! 5 layers of hay, will now dry 3 weeks on the field. Protected from rain and sunshine. The hay is drying without becoming brown. A nice green hay, rich of  nutrition. The animals will love it.  

woensdag 12 juli 2017

sommer pictures

'the season now is all delight,
Sweet smile the passing hours,
And summer's pleasures, at their height,
Are sweet as are her flowers;
The purple morning waken'd soon,
The mid-day's gleaming din,
grey evening with her silver moon,
Are sweet to mingle in.

How sweet the fanning breeze is felt,
Breath'd through the dancing boughs;
How sweet the rural voices melt
From distant sheep and cows.
The lovely green of wood and hill,
The hummings in the air,
Serenely in my breast instil,
The rapture reigning there.'


I have not that much time to writhe right now but I like to share some pictures with you. I made the pictures a couple of days ago and actually I should have taken some new ones. Everything is growing so fast! But it gives you an idea how the kitchen garden looks  right now.

Two weeks ago arrived some new livestock on the homestead! Seven small wyandotte chickens. They are so cute

The haying season has arrived again. How strange it feels that it is more than one year ago I wrote about haying and making haystacks and now where doing it again. Look how the hay is drying on the field!

vrijdag 16 juni 2017

How to get aphids away

It's  half June already. After a very dry May month, rain has come and everything is growing fine.
Now we are preparing for the haying. Sander is already mowing with the scythe on the lawn between the house and the barn. Also needed he to cut  all grass away under and around the electric fencing. That is now done.

Every day I work a bit in the garden, for not only our crop is growing nicely, the weeds also....
In the broad beans I discovered some aphids. They sat in the young top leafs. It's very common for broad beans to get aphids, unfortunately. To get away with them you can just pick of the top, the rest of the plant is not tasty to aphids so they will stay away then. But my plants were not that big yet, so I was looking for some other methode to get away with them. I find a methode by squirt them away with water but we don't have running water and therefore also no garden hose, how can I do this?? While thinking about it I went on with some other chars and I needed something from the barn when I spotted a high pressure spray bottle. Maybe that will do the job. I cleaned it and filled it up with water and it does the job excellent! I'm very happy now!

donderdag 25 mei 2017

surprise, surprise! Getting new livestock!

Ever since living here on our homestead we are thinking about how to get so self-sufficed some possible. So our vegetable-garden is growing every year, to grow enough food for us. We have enough hay land for making hay for our livestock but we have also thought a lot  about dairy-animals. Dairy products are expensive to buy, especially when you buy organic. It could save some money when we keep our own dairy animal and made the most products at home.  But is it best to keep a cow and get enough milk to feed the whole neighbourhood? Or should we start with keeping dairy goats, which are a lot easier to handle and to hold than a cow. I read a lot the past years about both animals and last winter I read about to keep Nigerian dwarf goats as milk goats. I did find that very interesting because I always have loved these small goats. But buying some new livestock would not be in the near future I thought then.....
Until a week ago.... We get the opportunity to take over two lovely dwarf goats, two sisters, and we said yes! and so last week these two girls moved to our home. The grey doe, we called Milou, is the boss. She loves to come and get some attention but her sister Klara is still a little shy. This autumn we will arrange a date to both and next spring we will have some very cute little lambs around here. 

Except the new goats we where and are working in the garden a lot. A lot is growing. Unions, carrots, cabbage, beets are popping out the soil. The strawberries are blooming, in the poly-tunnel are the tomatoes and paprika plants growing.  But the nettle-plants, grass and other weeds are growing too! Every day we weed a bit. 

blooming rhubarb

We try to work one ore twice a week with Berry the Shetland- pony. He is now comfort with getting on the harness,  he is not scared about noise behind him, so in the next view weeks I think he can pull something for the first time! Pictures about that will follow!

maandag 1 mei 2017

glimpses of the spring

The first of may, the time is flying! April was very cold with snow fall and not that good weather for gardening. Last year I did sow a lot of seeds in April, but now it was still to cold.
27 april....
Today it was very fine weather, so I sowed som lettuce, radish and turnips. I hope the weather stays fine for some more days so I can plant my potatoes also this week. In the poly tunnel are the radish almost ready for eating and my strawberry plants are selling very well.

Yesterday we did eat our first rhubarb pie of this year, yummie!  

Last month we bought a pear tree. For years we talking about to buy one, but I don't know why but there never came one.... But now we have! Because we have many deer and rabbits around, we made a protecting cage around it. Until now it works very well....... I hope this tree will produce many pears and live a long and healthy life!
The best time to buy a fruit tree is 3 years ago.... and the next best time is NOW. 

and in the evening hours I finished my new coat. 
The pattern is original published 1858 a "spring paletot" and the fabric I used is hand woven by a friend. The fabric lay already for 2 years in my sewing basket. It was a very special fabric and I want to use it for something special. I think it fit very well to made into a coat.