Tuesday, 6 December 2011

December 2011

Winter and Christmas is fast approaching!  The Christmas lights are up - and very pretty!  We have had a wonderful autumn - so mild, and I am still picking autumn raspberries, the odd tomato from the greenhouse and peppers!  The garden is keeping us going, and we survive on lots of vegetable soups.  But now we have had a couple of frosts - but the bedroom window remains open at night!!
So news - and what is happening here at New House Farm.  We have probably now finished with guests for this year - we close for Christmas - but there is still a weekend ahead.
Lots of craft fairs and carol services.  Santa seems to be getting everywhere - no wonder he needs 11 months to get over the events.  I see Bridport does a Ghost Walk at 7.30pm on the 13th - by candlelight... 
On Boxing Day we have the West Bay Wallow - an annual event - swimmers take off, generally in fancy dress, and swim off East Beach.  We always seem to get down there - and cheer them on, and cheer them back - remarkable how blue they get!!!  Our youngest has always said he will be doing it - but no where to be found on the day!  We usually cycle to West Bay then return via most of the hosteries - I need my bike to lean on....
Lots going on for Christmas so let me just wish my readers all the best for the season, and a prosperous New Year.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Autumn Blog

Mid - October - and definitely colder!  There is a gentle mist rising off the lake and swirling up through the valley.  So what is happening in West Dorset now?  We are all getting ready for Halloween - I see that next week Bridport has Halloween Ghost Walks - a must obviously!  There are also Apple and Harvest Day at Kingston Maurward - I may well go to this, as we have several apple trees that we cannot name.  Then it will all be getting ready for firework night.  October has been an amazing month, and even though it is cool this morning I went swimming in the sea at Charmouth on the 2nd.  Its going to be a lovely day today, and hopefully through for the half-term.  The last of the swallows disappeared about the 8th - 10th October.  Always sad to see them go.
So what has been happening here on the farm.
The maize has been foraged, in fact the meadow has been ploughed, and re-seeded and the grass shoots are up.  I am sorry to report that the little pigs have grown and gone - but it was always going to be so.  The ducklings on the lake have grown and just about ready to fly now.  Sadly - mother duck only retained 3 ducklings.  There are a lot of foxes and it is nature's way.  The apple crop has been gathered and the last pressing is going to happen today.  We have 2 barrels with a mix of apple and pear and I am quite looking forward to sampling this, but it wont be ready for months.  The geese are misbehaving quite regularly by either escaping or debarking my apple trees.  I am forever wrapping wire, plastic etc round the trunks - and I am sure they think its for their entertainment....  The lake is still busy and many carp over 20lbs coming out - but I know there are some in there over 30lbs - we wait.
Well, back to work.  I have a houseful of guests, so very fortunate....

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

September 2011

I have really neglected this facility - so will now try and update any reader with what is about to happen in this lovely area.  September is a lovely time of year - even if we have definitely lurched straight into autumn.  Having said that - it has been a lovely hot day today.  So what is about to happen.  This weekend in Bridport we have the Wessex Military Band celebrating 30 years of music making.  Dorchester has its County Show this weekend (2 days).  Over 450 tradestands and 6000 animals!  Next weekend on the 11th there is the Eggardon Kite Festival on Eggardon Hill - an old hill fort just to the north of me.  From the 16th to the 18th there is the Bridport Hat Festival - all must wear a hat!  This is all great fun.  Well that finishes that bit!

Tomorrow evening in Powerstock the cinema is showing Tamara Drew - which was filmed locally;  I have already seen it once, but will go again!

So what has happened here on the Farm.  The gosling has grown to be the same size as the geese.  The piglets are now big boys.  The maize stands about 7 foot high.  The lake has been fishing amazingly well - and I have been promised loads of photos - I am still waiting.

I have had a huge crop of cucumbers, tomatoes are ok and everything else has been keeping me happy.  We have (like everyone else) a lot of apples.  The farmer has made a cider press and we have already about 15 gallons of cider on the go!  This is quite exciting.  Have collected about 2cwt apples today which will get pressed Friday.  Have also picked over 12lb of sloes - some will go for sloe gin and the rest will be made into wine.  It is always such a busy time of year.  I have made 6lb of damson jam and today have made 5lb of raspberry.  The eldest boy is demanding my apple and marrow chutney - which will soon have to be made.  The weather will now improve - just as soon as the kids go back to school, and we should have an Indian Summer. 
Its been quite a cool summer - but quite prolific - 3 hatchings of sparrows in the box, lots of swallows, martins and sand martins dipping in and out of the lake.  Last lot of ducklings - a huddle of 5 - were snuggled up together by the lakeside this evening.  Lots of little bats flitting about.  Large deer on the hill this morning.  All is well.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Mid-Summer 2011

I was going to update this blog with pictures of the summer solstice.  It didn't happen.  I went to some standing stones known as the Grey Mare and her Colts, just above Abbotsbury.  As the sun sinks it is supposed to be a spectacular event through the gaps where you watch it roll down across the hills in the west.  We all arrived at about 9.20pm in the evening.  It was as cold as charity.  The wind made me wish I had brought my winter jacket.  The sun was sinking - straight into a thick bank of cloud which managed to obliterate everything.  I may try again next year...
So what has been happening - I think I will quickly work backwards.  I have just been round our lake with the dog - it is a beautiful morning.  I have been seeing the kingfisher quite regularly in the mornings and evenings, but he is quite shy.  I have no hope of taking a photo of him, but he is extremely colourful.  I was listening to Monty Don rattle on about different grasses that he was putting in; well our native grasses round the lake are extremely attractive at the moment.  In the lake margins we have a lot of tall Timothy growing - with its long fox tail head, which is now a shade of purple and dusky.  There are also types of fescue and is it yorkshire fog - all very pretty.  Then we have a bank of bull rushes, which are turning from green to black velvet.  There are different smells too.  The meadow sweet is in flower and different honeysuckles in the hedges - it is all very nice....
Well a quick update; the piglets are growing into nice little pigs, who like their backs scratched.
The geese are not laying, have made frequent bids for freedom, but at the moment are still in the cider orchard.  We have an addition of one gosling - my only hatchling this year.  He/she is quite white, still fluffy, and has quite a lot to say; which makes me feel it could well be a male....
My poor old lab - who is not old at all - is very stiff, so on anti-inflammatory from the vet.  This is a bit unsettling.
I have been to lots of events over the past few weeks, and today am off to Maiden Newton - as its all open.....  Went to a spectacular sculpture exhibition the other week, just outside of Dorchester.  It was wonderful.  Beautiful bronze sculptures depicted round different lakes.  Big breakfast last week - eaten in the sunshine.  And talking of breakfasts - I had better start cooking for my guests now.  Will try to get some pictures and be a better blogger in the future.....

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Mid-May 2011

I think May could be perhaps my favorite month.  It is absolutely lovely here.  I know we are desperate for some rain, but the sunshine has done marvels for flowers in the hedgerows and garden.  So let me see if I can show you where I have been and what I have seen this morning.  Although its a bit grey, I was thrilled with my pics!  Here we have so many wild orchids - I think this is the Pyramidal Orchid - whatever it is lovely - and we have loads of them!
So here are my geese this morning - saying that they would like a bit more grass - or even some more clover!  One of them is forever escaping and then standing the wrong side of the fence wondering why he is all alone...  At least I can get him back in easily and quickly!  Very tame.

Our lazy piglets!  They are soooo tired and its such an effort to get up and say good morning!!
Now what is happening - we have lots of ducklings come on to the lake - and disappear, which is rather sad.  There are plenty down the river I see - which perhaps offers more protection.  The lake is awash with beautiful yellow flag iris, red campions and the like.  I always like to find a white campion - which I have done!  Not so common.  I have seen two large grass snakes - which is enough for me!  The birds on the webcam in the dining room have reared 4 chicks - and I think they are going to fledge today - as they keep hopping up to try out the big wide world.  I am going gardening, as its all getting out of control as usual!  The veg site is ok - except the parsnips failed.  The polytunnel is full and we need space.  Is it too soon to put the courgettes out - perhaps...
Well I have loads of pictures which I had thought to put on this page - but it all seems like too much effort!  I will try and be a bit more organized ... what a fantastic year for roses!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Spril 2011

We have been thrown immediately into Spring this year.  The days are hot and the evenings cool - but Dorset is very beautiful, well worth a visit. 
So, what has been happening this April with the lead up to Easter and the Royal Wedding.
We have been relatively busy with guests, which is very nice.  Easter is fully booked.  The lake is very busy this week - as the schools are off, but to be honest, today it is full of grown-ups! 
The fish have been coming out quite well, and we have some very nice photos on the web site. 
The cuckoo has been heard across the valley - sadly not by me. 
We have lots of butterflies - orange tips, brimstone, tortoiseshell, peacocks and the odd cabbage white fluttering about.  A poor slow worm had met its demise on the farm track.  The swallows have been here a while and are dipping across the water.
The birds have started nesting.
The geese have been laying and my friend let me have 8 eggs last month.  Sadly, they have not hatched, so am feeling very disappointed, especially as The Farmer (husband) always says just go out and buy, doesn't know why I bother.  Makes it all go flat.
Lots happening in Bridport this month, Easter egg hunts for the children,  beautiful gardens open, my son went swimming yesterday - yes I thought it was too cold, but obviously not....
Am now going to get on with the garden - sweetpeas in today, some more lettuce into the polytunnel, main potatoes in today I think too.  Lots to do, and think about.
A more interesting blog will appear soon - once I have given it more thought!