Spring

I mentioned in my last post that I had a few in drafts, but as often happens the moment is lost and I have decided to write an update encompassing those posts and more, otherwise it could be October before I post anything!

Animals

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One of the posts was about a dog attack on our rabbits, ten of twelve lost including Mummy rabbit and Peter rabbit, who between them kept up a steady meat supply. So much so that we had reached one of our goals, to become self sufficient in meat. The pigs, a lamb in exchange for crops, a dozen or so meat chickens and the occasional bit of venison helped in the mix.

Luckily one of the females that survived was pregnant and our supply will resume again in the near future and the cages and runs will be reinforced with a welded wire mesh. Lesson learnt, although we still don’t know who the dogs belonged to.

I mentioned before that we are are now up to six female goats, two in milk, three kids and the last doing an impression of a bus as she waddles around with who knows how many additions to the heard inside her huge belly. Expect an update on this soon. Of course having so many goats means that we have more milk than we can drink, make cheese and of course soap out of, so the cats and dogs get their share as well. It will be good to have pigs again soon so that we have something to eat all the whey that we seem to produce. Thankfully Gosia has developed a market for the cheese, I can only eat so much!

It is worth noting that with all these extra goats (three were an unexpected gift in the autumn) we ran out of hay and oats so we have had to purchase extra. My profit from pigs and rabbits was ploughed back into the business so to speak. A bit more planning this year, more oats and more hay, both achievable with the land we have and we have had an offer to use a neighbours field if required.

Wood

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Oats and hay are not the only things we ran out of this year, we also ran out of wood! The old wooden house that we demolished two years ago was finally returned to the earth as ash and smoke, not to mention what I thought was a good pile of firewood from the land. Alas the colder than normal winter and its duration whittled down the pile quicker than I expected and to make sure we could get through the final throes of winter we had to buy 3 cubic meters (about a cord).

Keen to avoid the same fate again this coming winter I have made inroads into our woodland and cut out and chopped a good 10 cubic to season over the spring and summer. We also have the promise of some ash, which was struck by disease, in exchange for some help moving and chopping, so I’m hoping we will be good.

With all the tree felling we decided to invest in a branch chopper that fits on the back of the tractor, it pretty much devours anything up to 5-7cm (2-3 inches) in diameter and spits it out in 10 cm (4 inch) lengths. This frees up a lot of time that would otherwise be spent doing the job manually and provides extra fuel that would otherwise have been left in piles to rot down as we never seemed to be able to borrow the neighbours implement of destruction! Recently aware of the cost of buying wood we calculated that the investment will be paid off in a couple of years.

Airbnb

I don’t know how many times I have said that the house is almost finished, but the house is almost finished! The only thing of any significance that needs doing is the terrace railing\barrier….the thing that stops people falling off! We have employed the skills of a local carpenter to make the components and we hope to be fitting in the next month or so. This will ultimately make it safe for guests to stay which is what had always niggled in the back of our mind and stopped placing the advert. Of course many dangers still remain, six goats with horns, potholes that the dogs have dug in search of moles, wild rabbit killing dogs, I better stop before the list becomes another reason why we cant take guests.

Of course anyone out there that may be reading this is welcome to contact us directly and make enquiries about availability, we would love to hear from you and offer a commission free, blogger discount!

In fact I’ll offer a free long weekend (short break) to anyone who can take decent photos to help promote our B&B, all you have to do is get to Krakow or Rzeszow airport and we will look after from there. Having looked at my poor attempt below I think we need something better.

Composting toilets

I know that many of you want to know how things are going with the pile? Well I’m pleased to say that I have just emptied one of the four piles that we are running at the moment, this was added to the second pile that has reached maturity over the last 14 months and between them we have at least 1000 litre’s of sweet smelling, crumbly, nutritious compost.

I have taken a slightly different approach whilst emptying  the piles this year by digging out from the centre, which leaves a nice giant whole to fill with new manure. I watched a few videos on the Humanure Handbook website and this seems to be a better method. I can tell you that once emptied the whole is filled again with eighteen 20l buckets of manure and 4 buckets of kitchen scraps. Topped off with straw and up to temperature (50c\120f) over the last month. I may try and do a time lapse on this pile, a picture every month, you may be surprised, if not interested!

Soap

I expect some of you fecophobes would like to wash your hands after reading the last bit, well help is at hand with Gosias hand made soaps!

Although there is nothing new on the site you can always get in touch via the contact form at www.winkos.co.uk or www.zielonakoza.pl if Polish is your preferred language. Or comment below. And for those of you who have bought soaps of us for the first time or as a repeat order, thank you, your support is very much appreciated!

Gosia must be doing something right as she recently received a request to run a workshop and demonstration in a local hotel, to a visiting group of about 30 guests from the UK!

Gosia has also teamed up with a friend, Iza, who is felting the soaps with her own designs. We are expecting a selection for the Easter markets so I will take some  more pictures, the only one we have left at the moment is a hemp oil soap. I’m sure you will agree that Izas artistic talent adds a new dimension to the soaps. So if you are looking for a unique gift idea then we have the answer.

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More

Probably, but it’s taken me a week to write this! The weather has been great and the tractor busy getting the oats sown and compost spread, I actually got sun  burnt whilst working out in the field!

The sad news is that Sunday, the pregnant goat, had stillborn twins. Mother is well though and shows no signs of on-going infection so we will put it down to one of those things. Nature can be cruel at times.

 

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Author: Eddy Winko

Trying to leave the rat race and live a less hectic and harmful life. From the building of a straw bale house to the composting toilet diaries; read my blog https://winkos.wordpress.com/

27 thoughts on “Spring”

  1. I agree with Pete. Fragglerocking is the best at all around photographer that I know of and she is great on interiors.
    It does occur to me that living a simpler life takes a great deal of work. Kudos for the effort and the accomplishments.
    Warmest regards, Ed

    1. Thank you Ed! I have become a great fan of Frags photography, she manages to capture and find interest in what could sometimes be mundane.
      As for the work, what else would I do all day? 🙂

  2. “I expect some of you fecophobes would like to wash your hands after reading the last bit, well help is at hand with Gosias hand made soaps!” Talk about a unique segue! You had me laughing there!
    I was hoping the compost pile was malodorous, because, if it were, that would be a great place to go pass gas. Oh well.
    I really like goats. I assume yours are affectionate. I know some goats make fun pets. I have a pygmy goat in my first detective novel, still being written…
    By the way, we love seeing the occasional jackrabbit here in Southern Nevada. I wonder if anyone has ever had a pet jackrabbit. Maybe it’s not even legal…?
    Eddy, your progress in Poland is truly amazing (including the commercial aspects, as well). I doubt there is any other blog quite like yours. I might fall behind now and then, but I’m committed to your blog! Great stuff!

    1. Thank you David, I always appreciate your visit and comments, often requiring me to check on the definition of words 🙂
      Your support and everyone else’s is what keeps it all going.
      Indeed Jack Rabbits, or hares as they are called in the UK (don’t ask me the Polish) are protected, but I’m pretty certain the meat rabbits that we breed have some hare in them, as well as on them, as they can grow pretty big.

  3. I too will be ordering more soaps soon…are the felted designs for putting the soap into as sort of a wrapping? Are they for sale on your soap site or on your friends? I sent a separate e-mail regarding the losses of your bunnies and kids…again, so sorry! 😦
    Also, where are you advertising the B&B with prices, etc and is it in a separate building or in your own home? It looks very charming and inviting…with or without proper lighted photos! 🙂

    1. The whole soap is wrapped in wool and then the wool is felted (I think) and the design added with some special felting technique…you can tell I know what I’m talking about (not) 🙂 I’m using one in the shower at the moment and after you wet it and work up a lather it like having a soapy mild exfoliating cloth. It also seems to make the soap last longer, but that could be my imagination. We are dealing with initial orders locally at the moment, each soap takes more than an hour to complete, depending on design, and with Easter themed soaps along with an order for a local hotel that wants horse themed soaps, the production line has slowed 🙂 However I will post more about them once we have a few more examples and then put them up for sale, they will probably be made to order with your own unique design idea\theme.
      We hope to be on Airbnb in the near future, but again we are not quite there yet, but soon 🙂 Of course we will also advertise on this blog, so readers will be the first to know. Guests will stay in the main house along with us. I’ll add a bit more details when I reply to your email 🙂

  4. Great post Eddy. Very tempted by that offer of accommodation for some photos! As you know, it’s one of my major hobbies and has become one of Petronela’s too. If I could drive the camper that distance I’d be jumping in it and heading your way. If we get a good price for it we may buy a modern vehicle (Dacia Duster) and take a very leisurely trip to Romania this summer, so who knows if I remain feeling as well as I do at the mo’. Thanks for the ‘like’ on my ‘Writing’ post. Sorry to hear about the bunnies. Our soaps still going well – as I think I’ve said, I now use for shower, shampoo and shave; it’s great so not surprised it going good. Well done Gosia!

    1. You know that you would always be very welcome, just say the word and we will make the bed 🙂 Good to hear you are feeling well at the moment, long may it continue 🙂

  5. Eddy, this looks fabulous! Are you threshing the oats, or feeding them in the straw? And I’ll probably have some questions on the composting toilets in the near future —
    pax!
    Beth D.

    1. We get the resident combine to harvest for us, he’s quick and cheap and he chops the straw which we plough back into the land. Although we have also planted a small patch of an old variety (I’ll find out the English translation later) which I will harvest by hand, I had never thought about feeding them on the stem, but that could save me some work once I have collected seed.
      I’m sure you know the site already, but http://humanurehandbook.com/ is that place to be when talking shit! But please drop me an email if you ever have any questions about humanure, we are in year 6 now and have converted three other households in our area to the same system such is our reputation 🙂

  6. All sounds very hectic, sad about the baby goats :/ hope she has some more that are well. Gosia’s soaps are awesome, I love mine so am glad she’s getting some exposure to the UK people at the hotel, she’ll be a soap~mogul at this rate. 🙂 Pete has given me a glowing reference for my photo’s that I’m not sure I deserve, but I would try to come and have a bash if you can’t find anyone better local.

    1. We are so happy that Gosias soaps continue to please, Gosia will be wearing a an extra big smile with the positive feedback, thank you!
      Pete’s praise is much deserved, I couldn’t think of a better photographer to shine a light of the Winkos B&B, and we may have th occasional child’s pram or doll to ‘disappear’ with your magic touch 🙂
      We would be honoured if you could make a trip to sunny Poland, you have a tasteful, classic and stylish eye that is not common in Poland, where design and style are often stuck in a different era. If you would consider a short break then drop me an email and we can sort something out?

    1. Thank you for the follow and commenting, I’ve enjoyed reading your blog too.
      We have learned to look at the positives, so we now have an extra healthy milking goat without the responsibility of looking after kids, with the possibility that they could have been males.

  7. Someone should be doing a television series about your progress. It would certainly beat the plethora of house-building/restoring/let’s-fill-up-the-schedules programmes! As regards the soap, which continues to ease the itching, I’m amazed at how long it’s lasting and was expecting to do another order at this time! Please thank Gosia for changing my life!

    1. We were approached by C4 for the series ‘Homes in the Wild’ but we aren’t wild enough!
      We are so happy to hear that the soaps are helping you, I keep telling Gosia that she changed my life too! 🙂

  8. That’s what I call a roundup! Sorry to hear about losing the baby goats, but at least Mum goat is OK.
    Excavating the Humanure toilet looks like one of my worst nightmares. I have a feeling I might give that time-lapse a miss.

    I have to complement you on chopping up 10 cubic metres of wood. You must be as buffed as Brad Pitt after all that work. And your woodstore puts mine to shame too. (I didn’t chop mine, it came on a trailer…)
    The accommodation looks very nice, though ‘hotel’ photos might require additional lighting, and a specialist lens would be useful too. I reckon Fragglerocking could do a great job without all that, based on her interiors of castles, etc. You should offer her that free weekend mate. Send her a link to this post, see what she thinks. I really rate her photos, top-notch stuff.

    I will be needing more Castile soon, so will get in touch about that. The decorated soaps look nice though. Good gifts for next Christmas. I will be ordering some of those with the hemp design, I’m sure. Well done to Gosia for getting the gig with the UK tourists. That can only spread the word even wider about those great soaps. I will leave it there, before my comment gets longer than your post!

    Love to all three of you, as always, Pete.

      1. You might enjoy a weekend on the humanure toilet! Joking aside, I think you would do a cracking job of boosting the images on Eduardo’s site! x

    1. How I wish that pictures provided smell, if only to demonstrate that there is none when you break open a well rested and matured humanure pile…I shall have to send you some along with your next soap order!
      I am relatively new admirer of Frags photos and now I look forward to every post, as you say her pictures are at the higher end and the subjects always full of interest. I will discuss further 🙂
      When we bought the emergency supply of wood we had a choice, chopped or not, the difference in price was £2 a cubic, guess which one we went for:) Wood warms you thrice!
      Cheers

      1. I will happily take your word for the lack of smell, Eddy.

        When I look back to my burgeoning interest in literature, around the age of ten, I guarantee I never expected to ever read the words, “A well-rested and matured humanure pile.” You have completed my reading experience just in time for the start of my twilight years, that’s for sure! 🙂

    1. Busy indeed, but I don’t think I would want it any other way, it stops me reading the news! As long as there are more up than downs then we can deal with it.

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