Friday, August 28, 2009

Earth apples

"Your potatoes have the size of apples!" our neighbour remarked with astonishment. They are indeed rather big and we got a decent harvest (400 kg) from our small plot in spite of a very dry summer, no fertilizers used and a serious Colorado beetle attack of our plants. In Holland, like in France, we do call our potatoes earth apples, may be all potatoes grown by dutch farmers have the size of apples?

Winter storage

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pork chops

The neighbour's pig ate laminate and got bellyache. After four days of trying to get her better, comming and going of the vet and still suffering it was decided that she would go to pig heaven earlier as foreseen.
It was an interesting evening with litres of Palenka, one pig and a lot of strong men.

The pig got a bullet in her brains and the artery was cut to get it over as quick as possible. Then the butchering started;

Our neighbour doesn't look very happy...


Inspection of the liver

Pumpkin pancakes

Easy to make, tasty to eat and beautiful yellow;
1 kg boiled and mashed bright orange pumpkin
0,5 kg wheat flour
1 litre water or milk
7 gr dried yeast
3 eggs

Mix it all, and make pancakes as you are used to do.

Vegetable feast

Our garden continues to produce a lot of vegetables (and weeds, insects and work) which is very useful since we now have many people around to help us with our roofs.
My perception of the typical Slovakian construction worker lunch has been adjusted; I started cooking big quantities of sausages, backed potatoes and fried onions but it appears that they prefer home made tomato soup, pumpkin pancakes and red beet salad!

Peppers; easy to grow outside in southern Slovakia even without a glasshouse!

Slovakian sweet pepper

Yolo wonder

Habanero - hot chili pepper (one of the hotests!)


Matina, not very pretty plants but extreemy tasty and productive

Cherolla cherry tomatoes - Mmmmmmmm!!


Sweet corn "golden bantam"

Pumpkin "small sugar"

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Keeping geese

We have kept all kind of domestic animals however it is the first time we keep geese. We have lost a few to diseases (bacterial infections caused by hot weather and stagnant water), accidents (electric fencing and overrun by other geese!) and predators (most likely foxes during day-time). Our flock is now three and a half month old and birds are already weighting between 3 and 5 kilos. They are very healthy and seem to be very happy geese. We do not feed them except some hands of wheat in the evening before penning them for the night. During the day they run free and forage for their food.

When keeping livestock there are always some basic guidelines that should be followed to keep your animals healthy and happy. Hereby my mine for successful raising geese;

Goslings (0-10 weeks):
► Keep them warm and dry.
► Drinking water containers that are used the first couple of weeks should be designed so the birds cannot enter and become excessively wet. Until well-feathered (ten weeks) young geese should be put under cover during hard rains and should not be allowed to swim. Chilling and drowning are among the goslings’ worst enemies.
► Keep them on dry, mold-free bedding that provides good footing - Damp, filthy bedding is a breeding ground for internal parasites and disease organisms.
► Up to ten weeks old supply a balanced diet of fresh, non-medicated, feed like waterfowl starter with a minimum of 16 to 17 percent protein. Mix it with finely chopped fresh stinging nettles. Don’t feed them chicken layer ration, it contains far too much calcium. Allow them to forage on good quality pasture during the day.
► Provide fresh drinking water. Dirty, stagnant water is a source of health problems. Once goslings are two weeks old providing water that they can submerge their heads in helps to prevent eye infections.
► Protect them from predators especially at night.
► Be calm and gentle, move slowly and talk to young geese - Goslings thrive on tranquillity. If repeatedly frightened, they become nervous wrecks, grow poorly and pile up in corners.
► If the bird is not eating, or passing watery droppings, get it quickly on antibiotic. The more rapid your response, the more likely the recovery of the bird.

3 weeks old: foraging on wild herbs and grasses during day-time

Geese (>10 weeks):
► Geese can be kept exclusively on grass, but this should only be practised on free-range on farms where the birds are run extensively and can select the highest quality of grass and herbs. A low stocking density for geese reduces the concentration of parasites for them.
► Protect them from predators especially at night. Although few mature geese die from disease or exposure to severe weather, quite a number are lost to predators such as foxes. Geese should be penned every night in a securely fenced yard.
► Provide a steady supply of reasonable clean drinking water - geese do not need swimming – but they must have a constant supply of water preferably supplied in containers that are deep enough for the birds to submerge their heads.
► Disturb them no more than necessary, geese do not well when stressed frequently.

3 1/2 months old: Comming home for dinner

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Arnold's garden

The size of two stamps, just big enough for some Tagetes and Borecole plants.


It is harvest time. Since May we've enough vegetables and potatoes for ourselves and to share with neighbours and friends, since July we're actually drowning in it. 500 square meters well cultivated vegetable garden is enough for a big family, so for the two of us it's on the large side.
We're now storing some of the harvest for winter-time; drying, pickling and freezing. We have also discovered that making courgette-cake, onion-bread, pumpkin-pie and beetroot-chocolate-cake is an effective way to deal with excess of vegetables. However we are still looking for ways to make pastry out of cabbage.

Roof extension (continued)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

It is nice to be goat (and to climb mountains)

Roof extension

Ingredients: three man, one electric motor saw, no high anxiety and a few liters of beer.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Not so wildlife

Dave Wild left a comment on my blog, so I had a look at his website: Mostly photographs of animals by Dave Wild, I was flabbergasted! Go and have a look at his amazing photos of not so wild but lovely domestic animals on his site.