Finally the kitchen is coming together and we have added the piglets ,puppies and Maddy the next milker – well in a few years anyway. The piglets have been enjoying the extra milk from the house cow. We got the piglets to weed out an area that has been over run by a creeping ground cover called artillery plant and the thought of hand weeding about an eighth of an acre of it by hand is too much for me to think about so I’ve called in the pigs. They are a bit too small at the mo and would escape from the area so currently they are enjoying life in the Chilton which is a great new second hen house built by some supberb wwofers out of materials lying around. Chilton comes from Chook Hilton. Chook in NZ is a hen.
The puppies are our new organic form of rabbit and rodent catchers – fox terrier cross jack russells named Fred and Wilma.Their excuses so far have been that they are too small, their puppy teeth have fallen out and the new ones haven’t finished growing yet, they are still getting over their operations – spey and neuter – and now it is just plain ole too cold thank you. Why would we want to go out in the freezing cold and chase bunnies when we can lie inside in front of the fire and get fed. No brainer really. We aren’t small dog people and have been surprised at how cute they are. We finally found the perfect way to stop them getting through the fences into the neighbours and that was the buckets they have on their heads to stop them chewing their stitches after an operation. Works a treat so we are thinking of keeping them on all the time and just getting bigger ones as they grow. They grew out of their old basket they had so I had a snuffle around to see what I could make a new bed for them out of and came up with the coffee sack bed. There was an old duvet in the wwoofer cottage so I folded that up, stuffed it in a coffee sack and hand sewed the top and voila new puppy bed. They ate the first one and oddly I made another not having learnt from the first experience but so far they haven’t eaten this one.

Maddy the little Jersey calf is super cute and is getting used to being handled daily at milking time so hopefully she will be a great milker in about 4 yrs. We have another cow who has looked like she is about to drop any second since January but so far no cigar and it is now nearly June. Might have to set up a sweepstake and see who wins on when she has her calf. She has been enormous since Jan and I have had to stop myself from sticking a pin in her to see if she flies around the paddock like a balloon that has been let off.

The kitchen has come along really well and is now offically colder than the fridge at 3 degrees C. We still need to have the Rayburn and radiators installed and the insulation put in. I have found some great radiators that are approx 1.8 m – 6 foot high and skinny which is great as we need all the wall space we can get for more cupboards. It is a really great space to work in and now we can even have people over for dinner and they don’t have to sit on the couch. Eventually there will be a small verandah on the outside where the french doors are. Do you know that the French don’t call french doors french doors but just doors. Same for french bread.
The blueberry netting went on this year thanks to a team of excellent wwoofers who worked really hard. Now we have to get the stuff off again in case there is a snow dump like last year that totally wrecked the netting on the black currants. The cows got into the blueberries twice and destroyed parts of the netting which involved frantic sewing by all of us for a few hours and 1/2 a bottle of Jamisons whiskey for afters.
The growing season was a disaster as there was lots of rain and very little sunshine and what fruit the wind didn’t blow off had very little sweetness as there wasn’t enough sun to sweeten it up. As the blueberries and blackberries are too tart and tasteless for my liking I am going to dye some wool with them and see what it turns out like. There might be some odd coloured wooly jerseys in the store in a while. I wonder what black currants would dye up like? Has anyone tried this?
I have been working on a bio digester to produce methane gas for cooking and heating but haven’t managed to get it working yet so keep posted.