Thursday, 24 September 2009

New website & wheat update

Well well - Tiny Farmer has a shiny new website at and we are very pleased with the result. Our meat shares have grown quite a bit over the past while and we thought it appropriate to have something decent for people to look at and also help us share our message of welfare friendly meat.

Now on to the all important wheat...

Yes, finally we managed to harvest some of the wheat. Most of the wheat field was actually weeds and grasses interspersed with a few beautiful meadow flowers. However with our trusty sickle we got in a bit of the harvest. Cutting wheat by hand really is back breaking work….and that is just the start of it!
The ears of wheat then had to be separated from the stalks – which took ages and is very rough on the hands. Next the wheat has to be separated from the chaff (by means of pummeling a bag of the stuff on the back patio and throwing it up to let the chaff blow away)
…and that is before we even start to think about grinding the stuff. Phew, this is going to be one labour intensive loaf of bread…

I think we'll have to frame it in a special box as you wouldn't want to eat something that had taken that much time.
I somehow think we might be careful about planting another field of wheat next year, that is unless we can source a mini combine harvester from there's a thought.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Tractor time

Hooray - got to play on the tractor last week again as we cut the grass fields in preparation for winter. The fields all look very neat now and hopefully there will be enough grass for the sheep through the winter period, if not we will have to bring in some hay.
Time on the tractor is very enjoyable and it's good to see every bit of the fields up close. Somehow hours just seem to evaporate - it's definitely one of the more fun activities!!!

While we had the tractor we took the opportunity to cut all of the weeds down on the allotment (we'd harvested as much wheat as we could - we'll post about what happened to that later in the week). The allotment looks much tidier and we'll be doing that again in the future. The only crops now left to harvest are potatoes, butternut squash, pumpkins, kale, leeks & beetroot. This will be enough for a few weeks and then we'll have to revert to the trusty market for most of our veg again.

We also took the opportunity to check the sheep's feet and apply the pour-on medication that prevents fly strike. As always the sheep were not that pleased at being caught and will no doubt be grumpy with us for the next few days - nothing that a few molasses flavoured sheep treats can't fix.

This morning we took some hoggets and a ewe that we had sourced from a local farmer to the butcher. The hoggets will be for a meat share and the ewe will be used to make mutton curry, mutton burgers & mutton sausages for a Tiny Farmer bash that we'll be throwing soon.

As you can tell from the above it's been a very busy week, but also a very satisfying one...

Stay tuned to hear what happened to our wheat.

Monday, 14 September 2009


No, not that kind of Neighbourhood Watch…we’re all watching each other’s fruit trees. In the spirit of neighbourhood barter we have been plundering each other’s gardens in search of windfall apples and plums. In return for our fruit we have received jam and with other people’s apples we’ve made excellent pies.

It is also time for blackberrying. We love cycling to our local park to pick blackberries. Sadly this year’s crop has been very disappointing. Not because of a lack of fruit – but because of the number of new foragers who have got there before us. For years we were the only ones out with our old ice cream boxes filling up with fruit for the freezer. But I suspect that the current media obsession with GYO, Digging In etc is encouraging more people to get out into the hedgerows. Good! The more people who get to enjoy autumn blackberries the better!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Tiny Farmer by the Sea

The Tiny Farmers have been on holiday. Of course, going away for a week meant there was no one to look after the sheep or the chickens. However, we managed to get hold of a sheep-sitter (really!) and fortunately have hen-loving neighbours who are only too happy to look after our brood when we are away. The allotment, however, has been left to its own devices and we are dreading going as we may not be able to find our vegetables after 2 weeks of unchecked weed growth!

We are glad to report that we did try and take a bit of the self-sufficient spirit with us on vacation. We all went mackerel fishing one day and managed to catch our supper! Delicious!

On an entirely different note we tried one of the hams that we have been preparing. This one was salted for 4 weeks and then air dried for 3 months. We were absolutely amazed that it tasted anything like ham - we were all very sceptical especially seeing as the ham was air dried over the summer months.Very happy to report that it was very very tasty indeed and we will certainly be doing a lot more of that. to go and deal with those weeds at the allotment.