Thursday, 31 July 2014

July ending

It seems hard to believe how fast the months are going but we are making sure to take time to enjoy our wonderful surroundings. The evenings are lovely and tonight I decided to change into something smarter so I could sit outside and enjoy the view.

Yesterday was unusually decisive for us, I bought a new pair of much needed glasses and Dave chose a new camera! Ours had broken with all the dust from photographing the renovation work and so we were using an old one which struggled and didn't produce very good pictures. Now I am starting to prepare our Bed and Breakfast website we decided we had to purchase something better. Dave risks breaking it by taking a photo of me!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

More flower photos!

Sorry all my posts this week seem to feature our kitchen garden! Each time I go to water or deadhead I can't resist taking more photos! The rosemary has grown so well from 'Charnwood' cuttings (despite it having to spend a long time stuck in a pot) and both the heartsease pansies and the sweet peas have come from seed planted back in April.


I am starting to get things ready to create a website for us. Tonight I took some photos of the house and it is not the easiest to photograph, particularly as at the moment the area in front is still to be turned into a proper flower bed (for a quick fix I've just sown dill, borage and marigolds here where they are flowering alongside the poppies and the resurgent quince which refused to be defeated by the builders digging it out).

The kitchen garden

The kitchen garden is looking exactly how I hoped it would now that the dahlias are coming fully into bloom, I love the mix of vegetables and flowers. So do the bees!

Chilli time

I have grown Hungarian Hot Wax chillies and they seem very happy in the conditions found here in Somersal Herbert - although I have no idea how our weather compares to that in Hungary! Looking on the internet there seem to be lots of recipes to deal with a glut which I think we may have shortly. There is a recipe for Chilli and Tomato jam - mmm Clare it may go better than Strawberry jam on your cheese cracker!!! Maybe I should have labelled the party food.


Strange and to me very American sounding word, however I have been trying out granola recipes for our bed and breakfast enterprise. This version is exceptionally delicious (which it should be given the cost of the ingredients!) The only problem is waiting around for it to cool as it's just too tempting!

Monday, 28 July 2014


I left a couple of radish to go to seed and they turn out to have these amazing seed pods - they also managed to grow about four foot high. They have been towering above my borage plants.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

The onion man

Dave prepares to loosen his onions in readiness for lifting them. They are looking very good - and yes Dave so are you!!

Bees and borage

The bees absolutely adore the borage and each time I go past I can here buzzing. I know it is meant to self seed so next year we should have an absolute forest of it. I love it for the way it's given height to our borders.

Saturday, 26 July 2014


It's the day after the party and so I make myself a Pimms and sit and relax ... delicious - it is what I grew the borage for!

Friday, 25 July 2014

Party, party

A few more photos of our special day (thanks James).

Happy days

Party time

It has been a year since we bought the farm and so we have a party to celebrate. It's lovely to be able to invite everyone who has worked on the project, new neighbours and old friends. With good timing the building inspector had visited us earlier in the day and agreed that all the work we'd had done complied with building regulations and so we will be getting our certificate. Now we are really ready to party!

How has a year gone so fast - but then we look at this blog and see so much achieved, sometimes it's hard to remember how things were at the beginning so it is good to have this record to encourage us.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Hay making the old fashioned way

After all the strimming there is a lot of hay. It gets carted into the barn where we intend to spread it on the floor to stop the dust blowing around. Tom works on his tan whilst acting as chief labourer.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Bathroom mirror

We have had the mirror fitted in the en-suite and Dave woke to see this rainbow on the bedroom wall, a result of its bevelled edge. Note that we also have a blind in this room - progress!

Friday, 18 July 2014

Chickens - but not mine

I am in charge of a lot of chickens for the next 20 days. It will be interesting to see if I still want my own after this. They belong to our neighbours at the top of the road and I am assured that my duties are minimal - mainly providing water and locking up. My first thought is that close up chickens (and their pair of cockerals) are a lot larger than I'd imagined when looking from afar!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

House martins

The house is covered in what we took to be swallows, but Liz who had come to stay pointed out that actually they looked different. We got out the bird book and found that they were actually house martins. They were on the roof and by the eaves, presumably taking little insects. I wonder where they have nested as it isn't with us.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014


Tom makes us an offer we can't refuse. If we buy a strimmer he will get to work cutting down the long grass which has got rather out of control. Dave is pictured here in the role of supervisor. It was very hot work especially as Tom had to borrow a pair of waterproof trousers as the only ones suitable for the task (he'd come over in shorts and isn't exactly my or Dave's size!)

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Our postcode problem

Unfortunately (for us) the whole of Somersal Herbert and the neighbouring Potter Somersal have just one postcode and the centre of it is our farm. This means that on most days we have to spend time re-directing people. Sometimes it becomes a real pain and so we've decided to put up a sign. We had two made and one currently is in the living room - as Tom said "Mum if they are reading this they are already in the house and you've really got a problem"!!!!!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Butterfly heaven

The garden is full of butterflies including lots of small ones that don't seem to ever land which makes identifying them extremely difficult.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Barn clearing

Dave is away in Scotland playing golf (this is the 19th year) and so I have decided to clear out the barn so we have a dry place for our Party if it decides to rain. It takes one woman four days of very hot and grubby work to move everything using just the wheelbarrow!

Dave meanwhile wins the trophy!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Vegetables like they look in the catalogue

The vegetable garden is in full swing with loads of produce: peas, beans, courgettes, french beans, lettuce, coriander, beetroot, potatoes all being enjoyed and lots of sweet peas and dahlias.which I am arranging with euphorbia and fennel. The weather is glorious and it is lovely to be able to enjoy it as I work.


This is a lovely area to cycle in and Tom decides to try it out. We consult the map and plan a route which takes him round a selection of villages.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

A green tunnel

tree tunnel is a road, lane or track where the trees on each side form a more or less continuous canopy overhead, giving the effect of a tunnel. (Wikipedia)

We have a glorious green tunnel leading up from the village to the farm.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Gate hanging

Our gate has been fixed in place with just two lengths of baler twine since we bought the farm so we decided to make it rather more secure. We are waiting for the comments though as in order to fix it where we need it to open, it's the 'wrong way round' and so are the half posts that we have used for the rails alongside. Never mind it looks much better than it did and more importantly we can open and shut the gate without having to lug the whole thing about each time. Dave can add 'gate hanger' to his ever growing CV.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Just dropping in

We were just eating our supper when we saw this hot air balloon drifting in the sky, we had almost no wind and it made very little progress from Uttoxeter Racecourse before it started to descend. It came down just a couple of fields away.

Friday, 4 July 2014

A garden seat

In this case our garden seat has become rather embedded in the garden itself and looks as if it would be extremely ticklish to sit on!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Our micro brewery

Dave got a home beer kit for Father's Day and spends the evening bottling it - a very noisy operation as it turned out!! He now has 40 bottles 'maturing'.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Summer days

We have been lucky with the weather this year and seem to have had a good number of fine evenings (often better than the day that has gone before). This is a real summer scene with the hay off all the fields now and the trees heavy with leaves.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The First of July

It seems hard to believe that we have suddenly reached July. This morning though was a perfect one, warm but damp from a heavy dew,  as I took my morning tea outside. The air was full of birdsong and the field smelled of freshly cut grass. The church clock chimed the hour and it was a moment to stop work and appreciate what we have here and to reflect on what we have achieved.