Yesterday we had our first strawberries of the year; the week’s sunshine was just what they had been waiting for. As they are growing in such profusion, I suspect we’ll be having some every day for the foreseeable future! I may try drying some, which reminds me – I still haven’t had the time to make a solar food dryer.

I have, however, completed the construction of the composting enclosure, and also put the remaining pallets to good use, starting an additional woodshed. The base is complete, as is the first course of the walls. I think another six pallets should do the job.

Today I retrieved a heavy steel frame from the aged FIL’s pile of scrap. I intend putting it to good use as an apple cider press frame, using an hydraulic car jack for the pressure. I had previously made a similar cider press when we lived in Britain, constructing it out of several layers of marine plywood according to a diagram I’d found on the Internet. Unfortunately it was not up to the job and cracked. As the Mark II model will be made of steel girders, this should not be an issue! It’s not going to be much fun moving it around though, so I may have to decide on a permanent location for it.
The home-made apple scratter is still in working order, so crushing the fruit should not be a problem. There are quite a few apple trees scattered around the property, and this year the blossoms are in profusion; probably the trees are trying to make up for last year’s late frost which killed every single one.

The pear tree in the garden is also making good progress and as long as nothing unforeseen occurs we can look forward to a bumper crop of edible pears as well. There are some pear trees at the aged FIL’s property as well, but these are apparently not very nice to eat. I think some perry manufacturing may well be on the cards!

Speaking of making alcoholic beverages, today we visted J. She had telephoned early this morning to inform us that all her elder trees were in full flower. Half an hour’s labour saw us with several plastic bags full of the flowers. The next batch of elderflower champagne is thus under way, and LSS will also be making some elderflower syrup tomorrow. (We’re unable to complete it today as we’ve run out of sugar!)


Ooh, sunshine! For the second day running. Finally we are getting some much-needed Vitamin D.

It would also appear we still have eleven ducklings – of course they are extremely difficult to count as they don’t stand still for five seconds. I neglected to mention last time – they’re wild ducks, not farmed. They have at least doubled in size! Apparently it takes up to three months before they are ready to fly, so it looks like we’ll have them for a while yet.

LSS is an even happier bunny now – the washing machine is now up and running, so she no longer has to go down to the river and bash the clothes on a flat rock. No, just kidding. We have been using the aged FIL’s washing machine.

I have now completed the guttering for the workshop and garage, so at least now we won’t get dripped on when opening the doors when it’s raining. I need to lead the workshop rainwater away to the closest ditch, which will involve laying pipe in a trench about thirty metres in length.

As it was such a lovely day I carried on tackling the fallen oak tree at the aged FIL’s house, cutting it into firewood-sized logs with the chainsaw. After lunch I split the logs and stacked them in the wood store; I’ve started the second tier now! As it will supposedly be sunny tomorrow as well, I may repeat the exercise.

Last Saturday we were able to recuperate a trailer-load of pallets, so these are also awaiting my attention. They will be used to finish the construction of the composting area, and to start the second woodshed. It seems my “To Do” list just keeps getting longer!