Saturday, 30 November 2013

Update on the rabbits

It's nearly midnight and I just got home from the movies where me and some friends watched the hunger Games part 2. I read the book and loved the movie too. Since I am not tired, I figured it might be a good idea to give you an update on the rabbits

As I got my rabbits rather late in the year, the breeding season for them was rather off, seeing as the young once only arrived in the beginning of July. For me this means extra cost raising them through the winter when there is no food and I have to buy supplement food. Not very self sufficient if you ask me but it was unavoidable this year.
The plan for next year is to have babies from January through to March, so that they can be butchered in September/October and I don't have to raise them through the winter.

Yesterday I tried to get a grasp on how much the little once weight. They are five month old now while many people told me they butcher their rabbits as early as 12 weeks, I wanted to have a t least some meat on them and wanted them to turn 6 month before I butchered them.

I used to keep two of the little rabbits together until mid last week when I thought that one of them looked rather small compared to the other and I separated them all. Turns out I was right. Snowy and Muffin shared a box are two opposites for various reasons. Snowy is a massive 6,5 kilos, while Muffin is just 4,5 kilos. Muffin also has a slight issue with her two lower front teeth from what I noticed. I will see how this week turns out and if she is putting on some weight but if not she will be butchered next week. Junior and Blacky are both 5 kilos each but Blacky will stay with us for one season at least as a breeding doe.

Snowy, a massive 6.5 kilos

Muffin age 5 month 4.5 kilos

Junior 5 kilos
Thumper, my 2013 breeding buck
The 2014 plan is that I hopefully get one more litter fathered by Thumper in either late December or early January. I put him and Mia together again today, and hopefully that union will be fruitful, if not I am out of luck and Muckel will have to get the job done as Thumper will be my Christmas Meal.
Blacky who was born in July will be a breeding doe for 2014 and I will try to put her and Muckel together at the end of January.
Mia, my other breeding doe was put together with Thumper today and if God will, we have babies shortly after Christmas. If that works out, I will put her with Muckel at the end of January/beginning of February. If all things work out, I will raise 3 litters in 2014 with a potential 4th one depending on how things go.

Blacky, 5 kilos, 2014 breeding doe

Mia, my breeding doe

Muckel, my 2014 breeding buck

Friday, 29 November 2013


Yesterday my most recent order from Taproot arrived (well I picked it up from customs where it was stuck but that is a different story). I have been meaning to get the print set of Wandering through the Seasons from the wonderful Phoebe Wahl for while but the high shipping cost always put it in the back of my mind to order it at a later time. So about 2 weeks ago, I ordered it together with my calendar.
 I love the art of Phoebe Wahl and already have the picture Instillness in my living room for a few month. From the moment that I saw the pictures that follow this rosy-cheeked family through the four seasons, I really wanted to have them displayed in my living room, and I could not only get one season, it had to be all. They are so beautiful don't you think:

Wandering through the Seasons

Art by Phoebe Wahl

Art by Phoebe Wahl

I also go the 2014 calendar with art by Phoebe Wahl! It includes many of the images that have appeared in the pages of Taproot. Those images are a a real inspiration to me and I am looking forward to seeing the different images each month.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Uncle George

back in 2001

in 1997

It was just a month ago I saw my uncle George. Old age had caught up with him in the one year that I had not seen him but considering that he is in his 80s that was to be expected. What I didn't expect was for my cousin to contact me 3 days ago and tell me that her dad had taken a turn for the worst and might not make the week. My cousin was back in New Zealand at that time, and her mom (my aunt) was visiting, they went on the next plane to get home and arrived on Friday evening. 

This morning at 5:45am I found out that my uncle has passed away peacefully. I am still in shock. I know what it feels like to be at the other end of the world when your dad is not well and you are unable to say goodbye but I am thank the Lord that my cousin and aunt were able to make it home in time to say goodbye. 

Uncle George was my favorite uncle. I remember fondly the times when we watched the 2006 World Cup, how he would tease me about me Geordie Accent, how we would joke around to find ways to keep me in the UK (prior to me moving to the UK). He was a fun loving guy, a handyman, who made the best pancakes and pancake-toppings in the world. A loving partner, father, grand-pa and uncle.

Rest in Peace Uncle George - you will always be remembered

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Everybody wants a hat

After I made a hat for my brothers birthday last week, everyone wanted a hat... I had planned to make one for myself as well, and then my mom and Lalle wanted one too. So I have been busy making hats in different colours...

my brother wearing his new hat

this hat is for my mom

Monday, 18 November 2013

Garden Update Nov 18th 2013

Compost pile is getting less

hay for the rabbits

Slowly but surely the garden is getting ready for winter. The compost pile is getting less and the new soil is put on the land. The weeds are coming out, the bushes are cut back and the hay and straw bales are in the barn to keep the rabbits happy. Due to the weather being to wet, the soil is very wet, making it a lot of hard work but it needs to be done to prepare for the winter and next years planting season to start sucessful

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Competition time

Today, 10 years after I retired from my sport shooting career, I had my comeback :)

Over the last few weeks I decided to start up sport shooting again, after all, apart from my rifles, I still owned all the other equipment and I had a brilliant time doing it as a kid, teen and young adult. The main difference between then and now, is that while I am still very ambitious, I will not go back to doing it on a (semi) professional level, I will just do it for the fun of it. You see when I was a teen/young adult, I spend 3/4 of my week involved in this sport, I was a member of the national team and had the dream of participating at the Olympic games. Don't get me wrong, I loved it and I was pretty good or I would have never made it that far but when I moved abroad, I retired from sport shooting and now I have other priorities...

Todays competition after training maybe 4 times and using a borrowed rifle, I won both competitions with 374 point out of 400. That was quite decent. There is still room for improvement but considering the physiological aspects in this pretty major competition I did amazing.

For the time being I only plan on shooting with the air rifle but the team is already begging me to shoot with the calibre .22 too.

As a team we won one competition and lost the second.  

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Happy Weekending

Last nights moon looked so pretty , have a great weekend everyone

Friday, 15 November 2013


Ever since I returned from my holiday, I have been trying out the paleo diet. My main reason for trying this out was that I needed to loose a bit of weight. not much mind you but just a couple of pounds, so my sport shooting gear would fit again. A few weeks ago I started sport shooting again and while I still had my equipment in turns of trousers, gloves, jacket etc. The trousers didn't fit 100%. Now when I bought those I was like 17 years old, so you might say of course they will not fit anymore but, they cost about 500 Euros at that time and I don't feel like investing that amount of money again, when I now only do this sport for the fun, not on the professional level I did when I was 18.

I usually eat quite healthy using mainly whole foods but the reviews from paleo sounded quite good, so I thought I give it a try. Now mind you I did not eat 100% paleo diet but a 95% diet, as I had a few potatoes about once a week but even then, I kept them to a minimum.

Now for those of you not familiar with Paleo, paleo avoids (cereal) grains, legumes, dairy, potatoes, refined sugar and vegetable oil, processed foods and salt.

Things worked quite well and I lost about 5 kilos in the first week and approx. 1kilo each week after that. I only wanted to loose about 5 kilos in total, so was quite happy with that. One of the things I noticed was that I was not as hungry as I used to be, especially in the mornings. Before eating paleo, I had the typical German breakfast of bread and rolls each morning and then a second breakfast with bread while at work, before having lunch and later on dinner. Come food time I was always hungry. When I started with paleo, I had either eggs or bacon in the morning and some nuts or fruits for a snack between breakfast and lunch. This worked amazing and I wasn't feeling hungry all the time.

Today I was lazy in the morning (due to the flu hitting me badly) and decided to go for the bread and rolls instead. Big mistake I tell you, I was hungry all day and just kept eating and eating...

So I figured that it's the grains that keep me hungry. I am not planning on eating paleo for the rest of my life but I plan to cut short on grains in general. I am not eating much refined sugar anyway, so that should not be a problem. I will keep some basics of the paleo diet but adapt it to my needs.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Yarn along

Joining in with Ginny of Small Things for this week's yarn along.

It's my brother's 30th birthday on Monday, as he mentioned a while ago to my mom that he wanted to have a self made hat, I decided to make him one as a suprise. The colors look great and while it is slightly too big for me, it will fit him quite well.


Friday, 8 November 2013

{this moment}

A Friday ritual Inspired by SouleMama

A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember

If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see     

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Garden Update Nov 6th


The garden looks like a big mess to be honest.  It's overgrown with weeds everywhere, making me want to cry. I harvested the last fodder crops this morning in a rare moment of sunshine. And now only a few plants of kale are left. The new strawberry plants, onions and garlic have been planted a few weeks ago (beginning of October) and I managed to clean the bushes of the weeds. The blackberry bush has been cut back but everywhere else, I need to clean the weeds prior to winter. As it's raining a lot right now, that's not possible, which is frustrating.

However on the positive side, harvest was good this year. Some things thrived, such as the cucumbers, the berries, the fodder crops and the radish, other things like carrots or cherries didn't do too well but all in all, I am stacked up for winter quite well, especially if you consider that it is actually  only a small plot were I grow.

I hope that it will stay dry this weekend for a few hours so that I may work on putting the garden to sleep for the winter.

I actually thought it was a good idea to share my answers to the Garden Journal questions from Little Mountain Haven

1. What were your 5 favorite tasting vegetables/fruits for the 2013 growing season?

Rhubarb, Peas, cucumbers, beans, strawberries
2. What vegetable/fruit do you wish you grew more of?
Potatoes, I really didn't grow enough potatoes, this year, just a handful

3. What vegetable/fruit did not grow well this year? Were the reasons in your control or not?
The raspberries do well at all, they were planted the previous fall and I think the animals running over them in the winter and early spring (prior to the fence being in place) might have ruined some. I hope they have recovered enough for next year.
The second planting of carrots didn’t turn out well either, it was probably to dry later on, despite me watering the garden daily, they had not enough water to grow. Same with the salad, that was doing quite poorly this year due to the lack of water.
The cherry tree was doing poorly too, too much heavy rain and late frost in early spring followed by no rain at all for two month.
4. What vegetable/fruit did you have surplus amount of?
Cucumbers and tomatoes did amazingly well. Especially the cucumbers, I ended up with a harvest of 70+ cucumbers from 4 plants.

5. What was the weather like for this growing season? What made it favourable or challenging?
There were a lot of extremes this year. Very wet April and May, a very dry and hot June and July with no rain at all. August was a bit cooler but still not much rain and then a warm September.

6. What kind of garden beds did you have this year? Did they work? Are you adding or changing any of your garden beds for the next growing season?
Majority was a big garden plot with some rained beds made of stone and some garden pots and grow bags. It worked surprisingly well. For next year I am transferring more of the unused garden into ‘land’ and am using a few more raised beds then before.

7. Did you try any new garden techniques? Did they work? Would you do it differently?
Didn’t try anything this year but have some plans for next year for companion planting.

8. Name something new that you grew for the first time. Would you grow it again?
I have been growing fodder crops for the rabbits, they turned out great and are great inexpensive food source for the meat rabbits. Also planted kale for the first time this year and will do so again next year

9. What vegetable are you thinking of discontinuing for next season?
none, everything I planted this year will be planted next year too

10. What vegetable or fruit did you purchase lots of this year that you could try growing next season?
Potatoes and tomatoes, I'd like to grow enough tomatoes to make salsa, sauce and ketchup to feed us for the year.
11. Did you practice succession planting? Did it work or how would you do it differently?
Yes I did and it worked wonderfully

12. How was your soil this year? What do you need to add to it for the next growing season?
The soil has been quite good, half of the garden space that I used was grass last year and with some compost on top of it, it worked amazing. There are a few areas were I need to add more compost which will be done in the next few weeks.

13. Did you practice crop rotation? Do you know where you need to plant things next year?
Yes, I did practice crop rotation and have a plan for next year where things need to go. A bit difficult in the areas were I did succession planting though but it’s still manageable.

14. Name some challenging gardening obstacles that you wish you could conquer?
The (early) summer heat that stuns the grow despite me spending hours each day watering the garden

15. What were your worst garden pests this year? Did you practice any methods for deterring pests? (via smells, companion planting, crop rotation etc). How would you try and prevent pest problems for next year?
I have been lucky in terms of bugs but I had a very persistent root vole that ate the roots of many flowers and some beans and some peas, as well as the roots of a young cherry tree. I think the vole was sitting in a grass pile that was composting and moved from there, the pile has been removed now, and the main compost is at the other side of the property so I hope this fixed the problem.

16. What was your worst gardening mistake of the year?
Not having the fence up and running before spring, this meant the dogs used the garden to play and they killed a few bushes.
17. How was your watering system? Is it effective or is there anything you would change about it?

Summer was way too dry, we have a well and I spend and hour each morning and evening in the garden with the hoses, yet it didn’t seem to make much difference on some plants (others were ok). Due to working out of the house, I could not spend more time watering the garden. Improvements need to be made for next year, potentially by using a sprinkler system.

18. How was your germination rate? Do you need to buy any new seeds for next year?
Germination rate was pretty good, a few seeds need to be bought for next year but I still have more then enough for next year

19. What are your gardening goals for the 2014 growing season?
Create a better composting rhythm.
Freeze/preserve more vegetables. 
Convert more grass space into garden space

20. Vegetable and fruit harvest summary:
(a list of how much you harvested- or didn't harvest- from what you grew)
Potatoes: 2kg (I only grew one grow back)
Tomatoes: 60kg
Green Bell Peppers: 3kg
Carrots 6kg
Lettuce: 10 heads and many loose leaf (but not as much as in previous years
Cabbages: 5 (out of 10 plants)
Kale: 5kg
Fodder Crops: 40kg
Beans: 30kg
Peas: 5kg
Radishes- I successfully planted them every few weeks and had them for most of the spring and late summer/fall.
Cucumbers: 75+ cucumbers harvested and preserved
Rhubarb: 8kg
Onions: 10kg
Kohlrabi: 10 heads
Apples: 10kg from the tree here plus another 60kg given to us free.
Raspberries: none. It's my first year since planting and they dont seem to be looking too well.
Strawberries: 20kg
Pears: 20kg given to us for free
Gooseberries 15kg
Red currants 10kg
Blackberries 20kg

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

working in the kitchen

Since returning form the UK, I have been busy . There is so  much work to do but the weather is not helping with all the work. It has been a constant stream of rain since I got back with the odd storm thrown in the mix and maybe an hour or so of sunshine. I desperately need to do some work outside but that's just not possible.
With that in mind, I focused on the kitchen that was still work in progress and bothered me quite a bit. After we finished putting tiles on the main wall a few month ago, I still wanted to put tiles on the floor and the corner of the other wall. With all the rain we had, we went to work last weekend. We ripped out the old floor and put the tiles in. Then did the wall and bottom border of the wall. On Friday the last bits and bobs will be done and then next week I get a new counter space for the kitchen, which means another piece of the never ending renovation/re-modeling is done :)