Did the earth move for you?

Monday 20th May: Another slow start to the week for us as we had more paper work to complete for the EU amongst other things and we didn’t reach the ranch till gone 4pm; still the weather was good so we set about the garden weeding, planting, inspecting and detecting. I spotted quite a few ants on the broad beans, a sure sign that the black fly are about, so I gave them a good sprinkle with by nettle brew diluted 5-1; it worked last year so fingers crossed.

For the record the nettle brew first started life as nettle beer, I collected almost a kilo of nettle tips with the intention of adding yeast and sugar to complete the brewing process, but time went by and the nettles had decided they wanted to be plant food by the time I got my act together. So I added water to the bucket to cover the nettles, weighed down by a plate and stone, then let the mixture infuse for a good week or so. The resulting liquid, which by the way smalls quite a bit, can then be used as a plant food mixed at 10-1 or an insecticide against aphids mixed at 5-1. For a few more ideas on what to do with your nettles try  The Foragers Year, Food and Forage Hebrides or Under the Linden Tree. My beer recipe will have to wait for now.

Tuesday 21st May: At long last I started to put the electric fence up, some how we just don’t seem to have the motivation for the house and besides other jobs need doing, so I opted for the fence! We had the call in the afternoon that the digger is turning up in the morning so I cracked open a fresh bag of lime to mark out where we want him to dig; the French drain around the house, the trench for the water pipe from the borehole, the grey water waste drain and quite a bit of landscaping; he’s going to be busy! I managed to finish the fence 🙂

I also managed to empty the toilet, just in case you were thinking that we had two buckets! How we managed to go so long between disposal is anyone’s guess, maybe we are eating less or just using more of the food we eat? Looking back we have spent a few extra mornings in Rzemien, so this probably explains things 🙂

Wednesday 22nd May: After explaining what we wanted to achieve we were told that there was a couple of days work, considering you pay by the hour this wasn’t the best news we had heard in a while, but then a JCB is a lot quicker than me with a shovel, especially when the French drain had to go in almost 2 meters deep, so we asked him to crack on.

I can only describe the next ten hours as ballet with heavy machinery, each swing of the arm was matched with the tip of the bucket ready for the next gouge in the earth or sweep of debris; this man could dig! In the ten hours that he was there he only stopped to wait for me to empty the bucket of gravel as I shovelled it out and into the trench for the drain; his lunch was eaten on the move and he refused the offer of coffee, tea and beer on several occasions, I’m sure he was using his feet to make those hydraulics frolic the way that they did. Just shy of 100 metres of trench dug at varying depths, backfilled and a whole area landscaped in 10 Hours, we can’t praise this guy enough; a fantastic job done and in half the time expected. The earth certainly moved for us!

Thursday 23rd May: At last the weather has broken, it had threatened most of the day yesterday, but the rain held off until now and today we are dealing with a fifteen degree temperature drop, a persistent drizzle and the threat of thunder in the distance. Tough and delicate negations had to be made first thing in the morning to determine who was going to get out of a nice warm bed to put the kettle on and get the milk from the fridge in the barn next door; at least I had brought in the water from the well the night before; valuable ammunition to bring to the table!

As the day brightened up as we experimented with chicken wire, chainsaws and hedge trimmers in the house, then we decide that as we now had a fence up we should get the remaining plants out in the top field. That kept us going for the afternoon and the house was left to wait another day.

Tomato tyres

Each home to a tomato plant each; with different ‘soil’

Friday 24th May:  Even the best negotiators know that it’s all about give and take and whilst I took the tea yesterday I was happy to give it back as coffee today 🙂 The rain really is here now and the house has us back within it’s heart and the task of stuffing gaps in the straw, making noggins for the floor and sills for the windows have taken priority. The occasional sunny spell sees us out in the garden and at long last I have planted two tomato plants for the humanure experiment. Two tyres, two plants and two mixes of compost, one shop bought the other home made; planted with an equal mix of mole hill soil to bulk things out and set up close to the stable and close together so that they get the same treatment; we will see how it develops.

Saturday 25th May: More of the same and my first window sill is complete, the template for the next four windows of the same size. Having an early finish today as we have to pick up the plainer thicknesses that we are borrowing from a friend, I say early, it’s close to 5pm before we leave.

Birch Bolete

Soon to be a sauce.

But how could I forget, Gosia found our first mushrooms of the year, a bit eaten but non the less very edible and free of worms; I haven’t checked to be certain but they look very much like Birch Bolete (Leccinum scabrum); the combination of rain and a full moon played their part no doubt. The dogs will be happy as their walks will go further afield now as I try and hunt down more of our favourite free foraged food.

All in all a good week, a bit thin on the ground with the photos but my hands have remained dirty for the duration and I’m cautious about going out in the rain with the camera; I have to make it last, however I did managed to get a few shots of the first signs of fruit on the trees and the now glorious Guelder rose (Viburnum opulus)  in bloom around our out door dining room.

Walnut.jpg

A good year for walnuts?

Pear.jpg

If the apples fail at least we will have pears; I’ll have a Babycham!

Guelder Rose.jpg

No cut flowers on our table 🙂

Guelder Rose02.jpg

A purple garlic flower trying to get in on the action.

Posted in Composting Toilet, Food, Gardening, Humanure, Nature, self sufficiency, Straw Bale House and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

14 Comments

  1. And here I was wondering how you were able to go so long without dumping buckets…You’re CHEATING! How are you going to save the world if you are using indoor non-composting, water wasting toilets? 🙂

      • That’s a good way to do it. They get to try it out…and you get some extra manure. Maybe you’ll get some converts. Uh…who gets to dump the buckets? 🙂

  2. The earth did not move me. But what did move me were those beautiful mushrooms. I love mushrooms. But mine are usually from the can. 🙁 🙁
    All those crumby unidentifiable little pieces of stem in that horrible watery stuff.

    I can hear you groan. lol

    • Groan indeed 🙂 I could never imagine a mushroom out of a can; mind you they pickle mushrooms here and I can’t bring myself to eat them either. It’s got to be fresh picked or dried and rehydrated for me 🙂

  3. Passing one ‘road works’ after another with two or three guys leaning on diggers, rollers etc, having a fag and disinterested in the queues of traffic they are holding up, it’s sure we need a few Polish digger drivers over here.

    • There certainly seems to be a good work ethic over here, although as is true in most societies there is good and bad; the chap who dug our foundations would not get my vote and he definitely would never get any more work from us again. Oddly enough he worked in the UK for over 10 years, I wonder if that work ethic rubbed off on him 🙂

  4. My head is spinning! Black fly, Ants, JCB, tyres, nettles, mushrooms; toilets emptied. How varied can one life get? Phew, Eddy, you are made of sterner stuff than me! What a life. Yes, what a life? it is interesting, and draws me into its complexity, which is supposedly simple. Do you get the irony? I bet you do. Regards from England to you and Gosia, and bloody well done. Pete.

    • Your not wrong Pete, I’m hoping that life settles down once the house is finished and I’m left to deal with the simple aphids; who would have thought that ants eat the poo from greenfly? I often yearn for a day job, but the thought lasts about 2 minutes; verity is the spice of life as they say and we are certainly mixing it up at the moment 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement as ever, Eddy & Gosia

  5. Cold days in north-east poland as well, we decided to turn on heating /wooden stove/ last night. But we did miss rain, it was very dry here, after that it is nice to see all the plants looking better. We went to order more wood from the wood suppliers – tartak. I was told there by locals that the summer will be wet and cold because the first thunderstorm was when the ice was still on the lakes.
    We enjoy first harvest of rucola and radishes and of course we are full on with our new dog. She is always in the middle of the garden or now helping with blogging!
    I have to remind John about nettle beer before the nettles are to old to pick
    Ola, Maya and John

    • What a week it’s been, not sure if you have had the same but we have had our fair share of rain and colder weather to deal with; lets hope your premonition is wrong and the sun returns soon and for the rest of the summer. Good luck with the beer; my next chance will be with the Elder flower wine if I can sneak the time to do it 🙂

      • I am waiting for Elder flowers as well. I will try to make a liqueur, syrup and mix strawberry and elder flowers for jam. I want to save some flowers to have berries for more syrup. The weather was not so bad for us last days, some rain but good enough for plants, not so much for us, only thunder in the evenings. We have just came back form neighbours, they welcomed us with freshly made wormwood liqueur, very good…Nice time for enjoying all experiment with herbs, fruits and polish vodka…When you will have a time please share your recipe for Elder flower wine and we will research polish recipes to send to you. Na zdrowie!

  6. Plenty going on! I like the idea of nettle beer, we have plenty growing around the place. Our weather changed as well, from 25 odd to 10C. It rained for 24hrs straight on Sat-Sun. The ground needed it though. Our bee keeping neighbour said it will be hot again next week, and he seems to know!

    • I hope he was right, it’s been terrible here; too much rain in a short period of time.
      Fingers crossed it gets better, kit’s getting difficult to get to our land as the road slowly gets washed down the hill! 🙂

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