The daffodils are now in full bloom. I always find this time of year very rewarding. All of the effort of planting bulbs back in the autumn pays off. This is Narcissus 'Jack the Lad' - with quite tall stems and a fairly large flower head which certainly draws your attention.
I normally plant bulb lasagnes in October/November and top them with our crushed shells. The bulbs are tucked away in their pots during the winter before bursting into life in spring.
I also planted lots of smaller specimens like these Narcissus tete a tete, which incidentally are shown here in some gorgeous scalloped edge terracotta pots by British company Willow Pottery.
We approached Willow Pottery recently to enquire about becoming stockists and they kindly agreed. So we now have these for sale in our web shop, which makes me very happy! They're frost proof, handmade and beautifully tactile.
This year has started off really well at work. We launched 4 limited edition bags - Spring, Summer, Autumn & Winter. We also launched the new XL bag which is approximately 18Kg of our crushed shells in fully compostable packaging. Sales are up on this time last year and we're still being found by lovely new stockists. So keep your eyes peeled for Shell on Earth at plant shops and garden centres near you.
While work has been busy, we've also been busy at home. Here's Jordan standing in our pigsty. It's an incredibly sweet little building on our smallholding here in West Wales. We have no plans to keep pigs (unfortunately) so we've decided to sympathetically convert it into an additional space for guests.
Our 2 bedroom farmhouse doesn't really have enough space for guests to stay so we though this was quite a logical step for us to take as it will be cheaper than building an extension.
It was originally a 2 story pigsty so we've removed the floorboards from the upper story and will dig out the concrete floor and replace it with a new one. As you can see, our boys love this space already - the quirky little doorways are fun for them to run through.
We look forward to updating you on the progress as it happens.
We recently visited local company, Fforest. They're a family run enterprise with many strings to their bow. If you have a moment I highly recommend checking them out.
Jordan wanted to pay them a visit to find out more about how they finished the front of the farmhouse (pictured below), with a view of possibly doing the same to our house in the future. We met with Jackson who's the son of the founders and also happens to be the partner of Jordan's cousin, Holly. Jackson very kindly showed us around and patiently talked us through everything.
It's a very special place. These raised beds caught my eye and I'm desperate to get some raised beds made for our garden soon.
The front of the farmhouse is clad with slate using a lime mortar and then lime washed. It's a very handsome building which has views over the beautiful Welsh countryside. We also bumped into Jackson's father, James, who kindly talked us through the process of renovating this house.
With the rising temperatures and increase in daily sunlight, I've been prompted to sow seeds. As you may know, we've dedicated a large area of our field to growing wildflowers. We did all of the preparation to the land back in November and sowed 1Kg of native wildflower seeds. The seedlings are growing well but there are some bare areas so I'll be sowing more seeds there very soon. As a safety net, I've also sowed quite a few wildflower seeds in pots in the greenhouse, which can be planted later. I won't let this project fail! We have some exciting plans that we look forward to sharing with you next month...
What we've been cooking...
After visiting Fforest we came home to a tasty but simple lunch. Jordan had prepared and roasted some porchetta the previous day so we had that, thinly sliced, and made it into a cold salad with apples and fennel. Delicious with a crisp glass of chilled white wine.
I've been enjoying baking recently.
I discovered a great recipe for Financiers which are a ground almond based cakes made with egg whites. The French typically eat them with coffee. I add some fresh or dried fruit into the mix, depending on what I need to use up; sometimes blueberries, strawberries or dried fruit like dates or sultanas. I think they're more elegant than fairy cakes and there's no need for paper cases because you grease the tin before adding the cake mix.