FAST Blog: Family Homestead

Permaculture, Preparedness, Homesteading & Survival

Monday, 25 April 2016

Bugs and Boys, Feeding the Quails Mealworms and Our First Ever Video!

Today Logan fed the quails mealworms for the first time. Yesterday we went to the shops and I made sure to get him involved early, picking the bag of mealworms off the shelf, telling him what they were and why we were buying them and then he proudly carried them back to the car. When it came to handling them he took a little bit of encouragement but really enjoyed it once he decided it was ok for him to pick them up etc

The mealworms really help to get the protein content in the quails diet up, quails go mad for mealworms as I am told it is their favourite treat and our quails confirmed that, they cannot get enough! It's great to get the kids involved with the quails, I try to make sure they know everything about them and Logan has really started to show an interest in learning about animals, particularly insects. 

For those of you that want to see a 3 year old talking nonsense to quails whilst feeding them mealworms I've uploaded FAST's very first video! You'll have to excuse my awful accent, don't you just hate it when you hear yourself talk and say "I don't sound like that do I?" and everyone says YES YOU DO! :( haha

I'd like to set up a live mealworm farm soon, I think it would be a great project for Logan to be in charge of, just as soon as I can trust him not to take them out and race them around in toy cars or play Lego with them, I think Carly would kill me!


Sunday, 24 April 2016

What a Wonderful Weekend

For Aurora's first birthday we didn't want to throw a party since she wouldn't really understand what was happening anyway, So I booked the day off work and we opted to take the kids out to a couple of National Trust properties since Logan loves (in his own words) "going to see castles, old places and soldiers houses"

First up we made our way to Paycocke's House, a stunning Tudor merchant's house whose walls have more than a few stories to tell! The staff at Paycocke's were really friendly, particularly the lady who greeted us downstairs and really engaged Logan and involved him, teaching him some of the history of the house and pointing out the bits that little boys find exciting, like the carved lion on the mantelpiece and the strange animal carvings found throughout the house.

a slice of history waiting to be discovered

Logan admiring the carvings around the fireplace

I think the pink picnic basket really compliments my ensemble!

Thomas Paycocke the original owner of the house

Exquisitely hand carved ceiling beams 

Paycocke's main staircase

Heraldry of the house

Buxton and Paycocke crests emblazoned in the stained glass 

The head of the table, fantastic carving on the chair back 
Four poster bed in the main bedroom above the cartway 
Beautiful quote on the bedspread

The birthday girl resting in a chair that has seen many more years than her

Photo bombed by my own boy!

Precious Mommy and Daughter moments

Is she trying to tell us something?

Another cheeky fellow

Possibly the smallest rocking chair we've ever seen

We had our picnic in the gardens of the house, which typically we forgot to take photos of!

After Paycocke's we made our way to Grange Barn, a 13th-century monastic barn and one of Europe's oldest timber-framed buildings, it has a cathedral-like interior and is linked to a local Cistercian abbey.

Inside the barn hosts an exhibition of local woodcarving, tools and a collection of agricultural carts. Once again the staff here were great and didn't mind our energetic little man making the most of the space by racing from one end to the other to look at the carts.

Logan exploring the barn with his map

pricelees: the look of excitement and wonder

Carly wearing her home made denim dungarees and Logan in the galaxy romper that mommy made him

Being normal would be terribly dull

The fully restored roof

We concluded after a quick debate and demonstration that YES Logan CAN fit his head through the medieval cat flap!

The old carts

Epic ceiling
Whoever said history had to be boring? We had an amazing time visiting the national trust places on Friday, and since we are members it didn't cost us a penny! 

Saturday we went out for ice cream / milkshake as a treat for the birthday girl, she's growing up so fast that I'm glad we'll have the blog to look back on and see all the adventures that we've had with the kids growing up

As always we hope you've had a wonderful weekend, we're enjoying a lazy Sunday at home

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Birthday Girl

Yesterday was our baby Aurora's first birthday, I will get a post up later about our adventures but thought I'd just share these proofs from her cake smash photoshoot, Carly made the bunting, the headdress and the outfit! (And the baby lol)

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Permaculture Project - One Love Foundation

This weekend was spent at the One Love Centre to carry on with the Permaculture  Design Course. 

This time around we finished up the drainage ditches to take some of the water away from the area , built a basic bridge and installed a living fence by planting LOTS of willow whips all around the communal area. These will eventually act as a wind break and also help to take some of the moisture out of the waterlogged land.

It really seems to be coming along now and it's great to see some visual progress on the site, and always good to spend time with the amazing people that are on the course with me, such a diverse set of like minded people that actually agree with each other is so rare to find and a true pleasure to work with. I'll keep you all updated next time I get a chance to go over there, hope you had an awesome weekend!


Friday, 15 April 2016

Fast Five: Things I Want To Achieve In The Next Five Years

I briefly mentioned Our Five Year Plan before but thought I'd expand on it a little :

1) Buy Land
To achieve everything else that we want to, we're going to need more space, but the caveat is that land in England is so highly priced that we could wait a lifetime before we could afford to make our dreams a reality. For those of you that remember the "Choose Happy, Never Wait" post, I'm not a big fan of letting my dreams just be dreams. Land can be bought cheaply in better climates than the UK and having lived abroad before I certainly wouldn't be scared of making the leap again.

2) Leave The Rat Race
I despise the live to work work to live society that I am currently trapped in, the words "Buy this car to drive to work, drive to work to pay for this car" are truer than we give them credit for. I hate that every day I am out of the house for almost 12 hours and by the time I get back I have only a couple of hours with the kids before they go to bed. Luckily we have 2 businesses that we run that we are in the process of building up so that I can withdraw from the 9-5 world and spend more time with the ones I love.

3) Build My Own Home
It has always been a dream of mine, as it is of a lot of people I guess, to build my own home. To include all the things you don't get in new houses these days, like a root cellar, a larder, adequate storage etc. It will be the legacy that I leave to my children, and the bragging rights when I'm old and decrepit sat in a wheelchair with a large brass ear trumpet I can mumble to my grandkids proudly for the millionth time "I built this house you know"

4) Keep Livestock
I really believe that to have a successful system you need animals. They close the loop, they can take care of a lot of the "waste" such as kitchen scraps etc and can turn it in to high quality fertiliser. Then there's the eggs, milk, meat that they can provide, and I think it is important for the children to know where food comes from and appreciate the hard work that goes in to putting food on the table, which is why we should be grateful and shouldn't waste it.

5) Live
We were not made to slave away all day every day to make a faceless corporation richer. Many people think we abolished slavery, I think we just changed the rules. Which is why all of our goals focus on coming away from the destructive culture of mainstream society and living a more self sufficient, simple life. Sure it will be hard work, but everything we do will be fore the benefit of ourselves, our land and our family rather than helping the righ get richer. And we'll be together, we'll be able to spend time with each other and embrace experiences and challenges together.

A bit of a deep post for a 5 on Friday, but I want to record these goals on the blog so I can update you on our progress and reflect on them along the way.

Hope you have a Wonderful Weekend!

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Homebrew: Hard Cider, What You Should be Trying Now......

We covered how to make a very basic hard cider a few weeks back in THIS blog post

Today I want to talk about how you can quickly and easily turn a very basic cider in to something truly amazing.

At the stage when you would normally put the honey in, try adding a little something to the mix.

For instance, a handful of fruit or berries. Here's a batch I made a while ago that has just become ready to drink, I added a mix of fuit/berries that included Sour Cherries, Blackcurrants, Blackberries and Red Grapes in equal measure to give me a beautiful dark fruit cider

 Next batch I'm going to do a raspberry one with a handful of fresh fruit then when it's time to bottle I'll add a shot of raspberry juice to each one to really bring the flavour out in the finished cider, you can experiment and try any fruit or juice that you like. Or you could add cinnamon sticks and make a spiced/mulled cider, The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Unlike the flavoured ciders you'll find "off the shelf" these ones can be sweetend (or not!) to your exact taste and you will have a refreshing crisp drink with no additives or preservatives, which perfectly justifies sitting with your feet up and enjoying a cool glass of home brewed fruit cider!


Monday, 11 April 2016

Monday Morning Catchup

Good Morning!

Today the blog is 8 months old and we have just skated past 13,000 page views.

The quails are getting bigger and should start laying in the next few weeks, they've really started to settle in to a routine with me, when I open the door to the shed that their coop is in I always say "Good Morning Ladies" and sure enough by the time I've unlocked and opened the door they are waiting at the side of the coop to greet me with a chirp, they are so much fun to watch I can see a lot of my time being "wasted" observing them.

There was so much we wanted to do this weekend, more often than not we set ourselves more tasks than can possibly be completed and this weekend was no different.

Saturday we had planned to go to the One Love Centre to finish of some of the projects and make some progress so we got ready jumped in the car and by the time we got half way there it was POURING DOWN with rain so we ended up changing course to visit Nanny and Granddad instead.

Saturday Night I was out at a party with my motorcycle club, The White Wolf Brotherhood. From what I remember it was a pretty good night, I found this photo on my phone the next day of me with some of the guys:

I drank far too much, stayed out far too late and come Sunday I was suffering BIG TIME, I felt like a Nosferatu and couldn't stand the blazing sun that decided to show up to taunt me now that I was in no fit state to do anything productive. In short I wanted to retreat to a warm dark place and shut out the sun, I felt like fungus.

On the Subject of fungus, the Pound shop mushroom kit we bought a while back has started to come to life, progress pic below:

Carly had absolutely no pity for the husk that was formerly myself and dragged me out down the seafront to enjoy the beautiful sunny day. We took Logan in to the arcades to go on his favourite "penny shooters" and after a cone of chips and a hot doughnut I was back in the land of the living, 

I managed to get absolutely nothing done that I wanted to and will be playing catch up trying to get stuff done all week, so I'm on the "I'm never drinking again" team, until the next time that is

Hope you had a wonderful weekend!



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