It’s never easy combining a full-time job with the various smallholding tasks but it’s particularly difficult at this time of year when everything is growing like mad and providing edible produce. Thankfully I haven’t bothered to mention the courgettes this year because the blog readers would be as sick of them as we are at the moment!
For some reason, this year our redcurrants have been ignored by the wildlife so we actually managed to get a half decent crop from the 2 bushes. This was our first ever crop of redcurrants because in the past I’ve left them as a sacrificial crop so that the blackcurrants didn’t get taken.
A quick first attempt at a redcurrant cordial proved to be very successful with some of them but the rest have been frozen and will be dealt with when there is more time available.
It’s now the turn of the blackcurrants to be harvested and they’ll also end up in the freezer for now but I’d rather that than lose them completely. Next year may be even better as I took 5 or 6 cuttings when pruning the blackcurrants and it looks like most if not all of them have taken very well.
And as an extra bonus for this summer, there is even a (very small) harvest to come from the blueberry bush which had been considered as a completely lost cause last year. It was transplanted in the spring and given some TLC which appears to have done the trick
All I need now is a recipe that uses only 3 blueberries…
Although it was some time ago now, I never did manage to put anything on here about the hay making this year. I won’t even both coming up with any excuses, there just aren’t enough hours in the day at the moment I guess.
Given that the weather so far this summer has been hot and dry, it’s no surprise that hay making went without a hitch in the end. The first week of July was considered to be as good as any time particularly since the dry weather would mean poorer quality hay if left for too much longer.
The field was cut on the Monday, turned a number of times over the next couple of days and then baled by the Wednesday evening. Our neighbour has the right equipment so we’re happy to pay him for the work and all this happened while I was away for business.
Once I returned though, there was no avoiding the fact that the hay bales needed to be brought into the barn. Luckily the lack of rain this year meant that I could take a couple of days over the task without any risk to the hay while it sat in the field.
This year we got around 150 bales in total which is considerably down on the yield from the same field last year. This is taken from a roughly 4 acre field but only 3 acres of it was considered good enough to cut due to rushes and nettles around the edges.
As a result we’ll need to buy in extra feed for the cattle over this coming winter but that’s quite a common situation for many people this year. Hopefully we can get our winter feed sorted out before any mad rush pushes the prices up too far though.
The field is slowly starting to recover now and, if I’m honest, we could do with some rain soon but I know you have to be careful what you wish for sometimes!