Ok - it has been a very busy last few months so unfortunately I just have not had a moment to find to keep up the Blog - sorry....
Anyway here we are now and the theme of the last two months have obviously been making cider. Started off very well indeed. The mild weather in November meant that the trees hung on to the apples so it enabled us to start off with the early varieties.This was a bonus as it meant we got more apples from each orchard. The apples were in very good condition indeed which helps our processing of the apples a great deal. This year has been an exceptional year for fruiting. We have estimated that the orchards we used this year have fruited three times as much as last year.
We rattled on and was very pleased with the results, hard work but well worth it. We reached a point that we were waiting for the next apple delivery and a small window to 'do other things'. One of these other things were to prepare for an event we were planning to do in December on the farm. It was called ' A Mystical Evening With Owls' The local Falconer was going to bring a selection of owls down to the barn and we were going have live flying displays over peoples heads in the barn. This required us obviously to glitz up the barn with a new partition and 'filling in holes that created draughts'. Coupled with our busy cidermaking time it was a challenge to try and do everything.
Unfortunately when the time came for the weekend the snow had arrived and it was too slippy and cold to be able to host it. We are hoping to be able to hold it at some point in the future.
Another big thing on my list was to purchase a car. Undecided on what vehicle to get I did some rearch on possible ideas. For some reason I was interested in buying an lpg vehicle. Probably something do with cost effectiveness but there was an element of the unknown ie fixing it if it went wrong. On my searching for lpg vehicles on a well known auction site I kept coming across Land Rovers and particularly Discoveries. I started to look at straightforward deisels for pulling power,so I started bidding on one or two but it usually led to being outbid and very often the car was miles away which meant tedious journeys to not only to go and see it but then you have to go back and bid on it. So I came across one that was local - went to look at it and from the outside it looked stunning and at the right price. I nearly gave the bloke the money there and then but on further inspection it was rotten as a pear so I walked away disappointed. Another one came up in Bridgnorth which is only half an hour away so off I went with a mate in the dark to have a glance. Looked ok and I made an offer but the Guy wanted more and to let it run on the auction. So I went back home and watched on the auction. Yes I got quite excited in the thrill of it and did go above my price I originally wanted to pay but coupled with 'urgency' regarding time faffing about with vehicles I was content with it. Up it went again and then the bidding ended and I had won!!! All very exciting and then the 'What the hell have I done' moment came... I had just spent my little savings pot in an instant and I had only seen the car in the dark! Felt awful for a bit and then organised to pick it up. Got dropped off at the addresss of the car in the next couple of days and saw it in the cold light of day... It looked great! Sorted the stuff out with the bloke and off I went in my Land Rover Discovery! Wow it felt great and then I started to feel sick with the ride... Soon passed and I was feeling great again!
I am extremely pleased with the purchase .
When the weather turned the temperature plummeted at Mahorall... It was relentlessly cold for a long time, more cold than snow. It stopped us making cider for a number of reasons and it was very hard work. We had a number of pipe breaks and wood had to be flung on the woodburner at home like a steam engine going at full speed! We have been devouring wood furiously and once again I am faced with searching through the woodland in the hope of finding some dead wood suitable for immediate burning. Ash trees will be in the firing line as they can be burnt green. It leads to a wider picture of tree management on the farm and also some plans of reigniting an old coppice woodland (which is a pig to get at)
A number of people have been asking us about where our horses have gone. A very unexpected event happened back in October. We originally had a 'deal' with a 'friend' of mine called Oliver Garrard of no fixed address near Ludlow. Some of you will know him. The arrangement was back in 2004 for us to look after a mare called Dobbin and we would get about three foals of her to sell on and to split the money when they were sold on. This would probably raise several thousand pounds which would be helpful to split as we were providing the free keep, supliment feeding, hay etc etc. The deal however became a bit one sided as Oliver Garrard did extremeley little and rather me ringing to remind him that it would be nice for him to do something I left it to see when he would make an effort. Months and months went by and then he suddenly turned up at the farm as if he was possessed. He had organised a horsebox to take the horses away. All he did was to swear abuse at me and was obviously off axis. I dont care who they are - to verbally abuse us and then to physically threaten me is one step to far. He refused to talk to me about it but was prepared to ring my wife later on several occaisions when he was drunk to swear at her. And then to top it all the person he sold the horse to - he gave him my wifes phone number to ring her up and offer her the chance to buy back the horse for £1500 !! It beggars belief... There is something wrong with you Oliver Garrard and you know it. There is no excuse for that shocking behaviour that showed you up for what your are really are. You should be ashamed of yourself to do that to anyone, let alone your mates.
Christmas arrived in amongst the snow which was lovely and quiet and the period between Christmas and New Year has been so very relaxing. After a hectic cidermaking and relentless cold it has been nice to do very little indeed.
It is now somehwat challenging to get back into the groove now the New Year has started... Despite this we have lots of plans which will hopefully lead to an exciting new year!!