Richard Fishenden

Wow isn’t the summer great!

Long days and sunny weather give me the time I need to look after my veg plot make some jams and jelly’s for the winter and drive my pony Murphy.

I have also been busy developing a range of curtain poles and door furniture and they will shortly be ready to be photographed and added to the range on the website.

If you are interested in quality hand made curtain poles hand forged out of solid iron or hand forged kitchen door and cupboard furniture then please give me a ring and I will tell you more about it!

Richard Fishenden

This weekend just gone has been a bank holiday. I knew I would be working on Saturday shoeing and on the Sunday and Monday on my own land tending to my newly sown veggies plus I had hired a digger and a friend to help me dig out a base for some stables.

As my wife knew we would get little time for indulgent pleasures like driving my pony. She helped me arrange to drive Murphy with my tutor Mike Daniell a driving professional whose day job is driving a team of Friesian horses to Weddings and Funerals. I was at Mike’s shoeing and Juliet brought my pony gleaming for me to drive.

I had the best time.

Richard Fishenden

My young son just loves it when I get my anvil out to shoe my own pony. He always asks for a hammer and I let him hammer on a shoe to help me. Maybe he will make some pan racks for me one day!

Maybe he will make pan racks for me one day

Richard Fishenden

Even though the winter is now officially over I am still sourcing wood for my wood burner. There is something so warming and wonderful about lighting a fire in the evening to sit close to and hear the crackle and creaks whilst reading a good book. Something I am partial too. Fire is enchanting to watch and I frequently get transfixed by the beauty of it. The coal in my forge has also got a charm of its own. Hot iron, heat and flame are magical things to work with and I feel very lucky.

I have been busy collecting fire wood from a friends wood where he is coppicing Chestnut trees. It make great fire wood because it needs no chopping! Maybe some of the trees I plant for my sustainable pledge will be turned in to heat one day, that would be really eco friendly.

Heating a house with wood

Richard Fishenden

The trees I pledge to plant every year have finally turned up. They went astray somewhere but are now here in Suffolk and are in the process of being planted. This year I have approximately 150 of varying species.
Pan rack trees
I just adore planting trees. It feels so good and to make it easier a friend left a spike that makes brilliant holes just perfect for the trees to go in.

I learn something every day and today I learnt that when I plant them I should cut them by about a third and as we are planting late in the season I need to water twice a week for a while.

Richard Fishenden

Self sufficiency is on the tip of my tongue most of the time. It is constantly in my thoughts. I am aiming to live as self sufficiently as I possibly can. This is quite a job when most of my time is spent at work paying for my mortgage!

I don’t want to be one of those people who have spent my life acquiring wealth and then spending my retirement and the money I have made trying to get back my health. It is a very difficult thing though to follow my dream when I need time to dig and tend to my vegetables and organise other ways of making my life not so dependent upon a large income.

I have decided that I need more of a balance so that I spend more time mentally and physically with my family and am working hard on switching off from “paid work” when I am not doing it. In this society so much is at stake financially if one does not make money. I am going to aim to cut my green grocery bill this year by half. My goal is to grow as much salad leaves as I can under glass right now (without a green house I intend to make a makeshift glass protectors on my raised beds) and then plant out seeds when the time is right.

We use a huge amount of shop bought, bagged leaves such as rocket, spinach and salad type leaves all of which we could grow given a little more time. I am going to make the time and hopefully we will reap the rewards of having green salad leaves on tap. How we are going to grow them throughout next winter will be another puzzle to figure out later on in the year.

Richard Fishenden

It was partly due to Feng shui that we decided to clear up and really organise our very small kitchen. When space is at a minimum one needs to get creative. Finding the right pot or pan when they are all stacked on top of one another inside a dark cupboard is annoying and time consuming.

We were continually breaking glasses and chipping china bowls so we made a plan. The plan was to use every space of wall so that our utensils and other cooking essentials were at hand but not necessarily on the work surfaces.

The rails and ceiling racks that I made have meant that we have a place that is handy and immediate for all our utensils and pans. Making the most of the space we have has felt really good and if one believes in the power of Feng Shui then the energy in our kitchen has been moved around, improved and that can only be a good thing.

Richard Fishenden

How green are you? My wife began incorporating green smoothies into her daily life a month before Christmas. The look of them just puts me off but she has convinced me that they have such health boosting properties and regeneration results that I felt I wanted to have a taste finally!

I was absolutely amazed at how good it tasted. She has been researching and experimenting with various fruits and vegetables and superfoods then wizzing them all up in a blender. Today I drank a good half litre and felt energised and ready for action, that is until about 11am when I felt very hungry. But it is a good thing to eat when one feels hungry rather than when one feels like it.

It is exciting to know that I can use up all the glut of lettuce and parsley in our morning smoothies this summer. In the meantime Sainsburys organic will have to do!

Going green tastes better than I thought

Richard Fishenden

The snow has been on the ground now for over a week and the big news is that song birds suffer in cold winter snaps. Basically they can’t find insects and they can’t find food. So we all need to put out extra food for them.  

The experts say that a selection of fruit, apples and grapes are great. Seed mixes, fat balls, crusts of bread and  especially water because in icy conditions because they cant find water to drink. Some small birds only weigh a few grams. A wren typically weighs 5 grams and at night it will fluff up its feathers to keep warm but can still loose up to a quarter of its body weight over night. So rake around your kitchen cupboards, cook some fat balls and find time to feed the birds in your garden. You get the added benefit of watching them from your window.

Richard Fishenden

It is precious Sunday and I have been having a brilliant invigorating time with my 3 year old son in the snow. It takes us at least 20 minutes to tog up to go out. Firsty there is the thermal vest and long johns, socks tucked over the top then trousers then waterproof over trousers. As many layers as possible under a thick jacket. Then there is the elastic that needs to go over my sons boots, gloves and hat to finish. Then its my turn.

It is all worth it because we have had such fun on a big empty horse feed sack and a small plastic sledge plus a hill. This weather does put some people out but I refuse to get put out by it. I rather make good use of the extra time I have at home plotting and planning my year and the extra time indoors cosy by a big roaring fire feeling the warmth of all my hard efforts collecting, chopping and stacking the wood we burn.