Friday 11 March 2016

Winter: So last season

I cannot claim that this winter has been the first one to challenge me at The Larches. Our first winter, where we were snowed in for almost 6 weeks, in a house with whistly windows, rats in the attic and open fires that seemed to give out no heat, was interesting. This winter has been very mild in Shropshire, no, strike that, it has been unnaturally warm. Without experiencing a warm winter, had I been offered one in previous years, I would have jumped at the chance. In future I will decline any such stupid offer in preference for a proper winter with cold, less rain and a smattering of snow to put my fruit trees to sleep! This winter, the warm has created rains, after rains, after rains. There had better not be talk of drought mid summer. #Justsaying.

My general rule about blogging at The Archers At The Larches is not to be moany. There is generally an upside to everything if you look hard enough but since the 12 December, when Hubby had a fall on the land, my father fell ill, my mother in law too, felt rather frailer than usual and the rain drenched the land over and over, I began to have a sense of humour failure and therefore retreated from the blog for your safety Dear Reader.

Anyhoo, life goes on; Hubby is all better, MIL is improving and we hope that Dad is mending, escaped from hospital. Word is, the weather is set to improve, (bloody good job, as it couldn't get worse than the beginning of this week, up here 1000ft above sea level!) ..

Fortunately my sheep and the alpaca have been looked after well and their tummies are swelling with the promise of new life. Lambing starts here in 10 days and though this is a nervous time, being my third solo year, it is also an optimistic time. We have help close by, with a very supportive farmer friend and the services of a good vet. I also have a very competent 13yo, who is resourceful and observant and a caring, keen 11yo and Hubby, of course, who is the bringer of calm, technical know-how, (close curcuit TV in the barn is now available on my iPad so I can check on progress from beside the fire) and he is Chief of Staff while I am asleep.

Lou's Poo, Dried Alpaca Fertiliser continues to thrive, with new retailers supporting the product up and down the country. We have reports of it being used to grow fantastic chillis, magnificent tomatoes and saving citrus trees from near death, as well as nourishing every other plant it's added to. We are delighted that influencial gardeners and growers love the product and we look forward to taking Lou's Poo to Chelsea Flower Show and Hampton Court this year, sponsored by a Gold Medal winner. More on this story to follow in the next blogs......   

My seedlings give me great comfort that spring is indeed on its way. Ammi majus, Scarlet geranium, Cactus and standard Dahlia of every color, lobelia, convovulus, cup and saucer vine all vie for space in my warmer environments, while outside in the walled garden, pots of sweet pea, allium, fennel, sweet rocket, strawberry and much much more are begining to show signs of spring growth. I believe in growing things hard and when potting on, I always add a few Lou's Poo Beans to the compost mix. The Beans add drainage and are a great source of slow release NPK.

Well, it's just after 7am and time to feed the animals, I'll post again soon.

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The Archers at The Larches

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Snowy and Moon

Snowy and Moon