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  • Writer's pictureHuttons Valley Permaculture

Good morning sunshine!

I can no longer sleep in. Probably has something to do with not having to rush off to work elsewhere but very keen to get started with whatever project, of my choosing, that I have in mind for the day. I get up in the dark and have breakfast and get a few chores, or computer related things done, before the sun appears, to welcome in the new day. I don't like to waste the daylight by staying inside, however lately, I do admit I'm a little slower heading out there with the very chilly mornings. Although a good sunrise can get me going!

So what have I been up to this week I hear you ask?? Well, I got a few things done including digging up one of my rhubarb plants. I split it into fourteen crowns and replanted it in the original spot but also planted in my roadside swale. I need lots of plants in my swales and rhubarb is a good one to add, as in addition to all the wonderful stalks that head off to the kitchen, the leaves make a great mulch. I need lots and lots of mulch all along my 240m of swales, so more plants in the ground helps to achieve that.

With the daylight hours turning the corner and becoming longer, we head back into egg season. My girls have rested, moulted or become old enough and are starting to lay again. Yesterday, for the first time in awhile, the bucket became necessary again as there was finally more than a handful of eggs to collect!!

The weekend saw my mum come for a visit which of course called for cake and coffee time. The winter weather was kind to us and once past the chilly morning the sunshine welcomed us outside to enjoy the views and a chat over coffee - lovely!

Mum enjoys helping where she can so I thought harvesting some Jerusalem artichokes would be a fun activity for her to be involved with and probably a new experience also. The plants had definitely died off and I was a little worried that I may have left it too late, but, no. In amongst the soil we found a pile of artichokes in great condition just needing a wash down before heading to the kitchen.

For the first time I'm fermenting some of the artichokes with spices, chillies and garlic. I will have to wait 4-6 weeks to taste and see if they are any good. Something that was really good was a veggie soup I made. I roasted up pumpkin, carrots, jerusalem artichokes and some yacon that a neighbour had given me and pureed it all - yum! I'm still learning ways to use these different ingredients in the kitchen and soup is just a winner. My neighbour had also given me a couple or corms of yacon to plant so that I can harvest my own next year. Plants like yacon and jerusalem artichokes are a wonderful addition to the garden as they just keep giving with minimal effort. The only effort it seems is digging them from the ground at harvest time.

It's citrus time again. My neighbours trees are loaded at the moment and she is more than happy when you call in to collect some. I usually take a little something to exchange for them and on this occasion I took over some Quince jelly that I had made. Everyone's a winner!!

I've a few things planned for the lemons. I'm freezing some slices to quickly add to drinks when desired. I'm also dehydrating slices that you can add whenever a bit a lemon flavour is needed like in a tea. Also using the dehydrator, I dried some lemon zest which once dried I'll whiz up in the processor and turn into a powder. This will make adding lemon flavour to things like custards very easy. Of course there'll be plenty of juice that will get frozen in cubes for future use also. Nice to make the most of the abundance while you can. Many of these lemons would just be rotting on her grass if they weren't collected and preserved in some way. Have a few other ideas for these lemons but I'll share those another time!

My video this week is all about my rotational grazing process that I use to manage my sheep, cattle and alpacas. It runs through how I do it and also why I bother. Take a look if you're interested - the link is at the top of the page !!

Thanks for following along. Enjoy your week and I'll catch you next time!!

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