The day is looming when I must consider my New Year’s Resolutions. It is no great shock in that my top few are all to do with being a little bit, no a lot more, healthy. Spending those last couple of weeks with Dad and his death, covid, the second big lockdown here in Wales, the new baby and now Christmas have not been good for my health. The large Christmas jumper given to me by my mother in law is a little tight. I am all too aware of what needs doing. I am 53 in two weeks time and I have a one month old baby so I need to up my game in the healthy living department. It is all very well me considering plans for wind down and retirement but you have to live long enough to get to spend more time with your children and goats.
Cutting logs for 30 minutes a day is a start but I need to do more. I was running in the summer. Not far but at least I made the effort each morning. But now: it is too bloody cold to restart my little early morning jog, for a couple of months at least. So, how about walking? The annual Rogue Bloggers for Woodlarks walk is in late May and is 34 miles this year starting in Winchester. Come what may we will walk. I really do need to start training now and, as a starter, have just invested in a new pair of walking boots to replace old ones which now let in water and are, frankly, falling apart. The walks start when the boots arrive
I have also ordered some green Wellies as this year I really am going to conquer the gardens here at the Welsh hovel with, I admit, a chap called Paul who is being paid to lead the charge. But I must assist. The football pitch sized area, once known as the jungle is semi-tamed. The Cherry trees I planted on its edge and above the lane that leads to the Welsh hovel, have taken and are already showing shoots as are the fruit trees in the new orchard I created. The rhubarb I planted was a great success. The fruit bushes and strawberries less so and the vast tracts which should be producing vegetables? Er… the less said the better but the weeds have been hacked right back and Paul is bringing his rotavator over this week. This year must be different in terms of actually growing vegetables, if I am to convince the Mrs that I can be trusted to keep chickens.
Yes, that is another resolution: sort out barn number one, the first as one enters the farmyard, mending two windows, removing the asbestos and rubbish and making it secure and comfortable for hens in 2022. If I prove myself on that task and also complete the renovation of the house ( two rooms and the hall and corridors to gone once the kitchen is complete) then the Mrs has agreed that I can work on barn number 2 with a view to keeping either goats or milk yielding sheep in 2023. Joshua and I are debating which to go for.
Meanwhile a local beekeeper wants to put a few hives on our land and as a starting move in to livestock rearing I really will get around to contacting him after Christmas.
I must go fishing on the river with Joshua. Reg from the angler’s club, to whom we rent out fishing rights, has offered to lend us rods and to remind me how to fish, so long is it since I have angled in any way. Joshua is keen and so am I, it is just that somehow we never got around to it this year.
Now back to the gardens. I did use apples, plums, pears, rhubarb, damsons and holly from the trees here in 2020 and some of the produce (damson jam, the pear jam and the gins) were triumphs. However, as part of my healthier living needed to lose three stone and to get my blood sugars closer to where they should be there will be no alcohol after my New Year Brexit celebration.
But those gins were exceptional and it is criminal not to use all of the fruit this place produces. And thus I am also resolving to make both apple juice and also gins, especially the damson gin, on an industrial scale in 2021. The Mrs, who has a fine figure, will be able to celebrate even if I, largely abstain. And, after all it will help us stock up ahead of the next visit of notoriously thirsty daughter Olaf.