Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Day 51 - lots of noise coming from the new studio and dried strawberries.

Wednesday 20th February

My body was a little reluctant to get going this morning and I could have happily stayed in bed. Not sure what that would achieve so I got up as usual to get on with it. First job was to go out and see the newly planted willow. Well done boys, great job! Almost 200 willows planted and the start of their own business. As I stood there I paused to reflect that this feels like a beginning. It is a new era for our family. This time the boys take the lead and Pete and I follow as two little helpers. The skills the boys have between them are more than enough to make a success out of this and it is so exciting for them. They have run their own micro businesses for years now but this is a collaborative venture so who knows where it will take them.

I have missed my tunnel since I have been away and it was wonderful to peek in and see everything doing so well. All the herbs are pushing on with new growth so I concentrated my efforts on finishing the strawberries. Almost 50 plants potted on and they look ready to give us a great crop this year. I want to add some new varieties as well so I should end up with plenty of strawberries this year. We harvest for plate but we also make strawberry jam. This year I want to dry some sliced strawberries as snacks for the children. I have not done this before so I will let you know how it goes.

To my joy I could hear banging this morning as Pete set about laying the new floor in the studio. It is finally water-tight and the floor should be finished today. A quick paint job on that and then we are ready for the fitting out. It is not a big space so we need to be careful not to clutter it. I will be drawing the plans over the next few days and then I rely on Pete to re-draw to scale. Next week we should start the fitting out so I will take some pics so you can see the progress. We are still on target for a spring tea party to celebrate its completion. Watch out for a fabulous give away.

I have retreated in now because it is still very cold and working outside is a challenge. I need to put the finishing touches to the Mother's Day collection and get it into shops by the end of the week. I need some sunshine in order to photograph the collection so that I can sell some of it via my facebook page and my web shop. Our etsy shop will be up and running by the end of March.

You can probably tell that it is like I have never been away. Max and I loved our trip to Hereford but it is always nice to come home. Hazelbank is being prepared for a very busy growing season and I am working through my thoughts of Paula's garden back in Hereford. Using her garden as an example I am going to convert as many of my growing projects as appropriate across to her space. I hope this exercise might be of some use to those of you who want to start growing your own produce but don't have 10 acres to do it in. I have some photos of her space so I will post the first thoughts asap.

The pictures today are more growing projects on Hazelbank. Difficult to imagine those tiny twigs becoming willow trees but we will be watching that space carefully. The strawberry photo is just another effort to persuade you all to have a go. I might even share my strawberry jam recipe with you. Lucky you!!

Until tomorrow. xx