Gifts from lovely people

I have been given some lovely gifts over the last week or so.  My Mam and Dad have been on holiday venturing to the southerly end of the country and stopping at lots of places here and there.  The children received some lovely t-shirts from them and Steven and I got some Red Onion Chutney (yummy and the jar is perfect for using again for a gift) and a bottle of Cornish Cider (again, the bottle will be reused!).  He’ll drink the cider in October as we’re having a dry September.
Then an unexpected trip to visit our lovely next door neighbour saw us leaving with a bottle of Damson Gin from her last year’s damsons.  Finally another lovely lady at work had too many courgettes and cucumbers so she’s passed them on.  The cucumbers will go straight in our salad and the courgettes will either freeze or be grated into a meal to up the veg content.  The gifts are lovely and we’re super lucky to have family and friends like that.
When she gave me the damson gin, my neighbour said they were going to get the last of the damsons from their tree the other night which prompted me into action and off I went to collect the damsons from our tree.  It was absolutely laden with them.  I am going to follow the recipe in the newspaper that Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall used to write for, The Guardian.  He recommends it’s left for 2 years if you have the patience!  However it can be tried from 3 months onwards, so we’ll see.
I’ll do that this weekend right after taking part in the country show!  We’ve registered my pumpkin, some cooking apples, jam, chutney and a painting of my daughters.  I can’t wait.  The show is tomorrow, Saturday 17th October.  Wish me luck 🙂  I am ridiculously excited.

Visiting friends and last of the rhubarb

This morning we drove to see a good friend at her livery yard where she keeps her horse. She’s moved there since we moved into our smallholding and we’ve not got round to going to see them, so today was the day for that.
It was lovely to catch up and the kids made some new animals friends too!

When we got home the rain started, which is a relief. I think I’m the only person  pleased by the rain! The fields are gasping for it and the mineral dressing I’ve just put on the smallest paddock won’t be worth it until it rains in. It’s due to rain most of today and tomorrow then be sunny again next week, which is just perfect.
The kids and I walked the puppies out as usual and took our food for free book which we recently ordered. I was surprised that I couldn’t find damsons in there but maybe I missed them. Here are ours in the orchard.
 
When we got back, Rodney was tired and wet so he decided to dry off and have a snooze next to the Aga.  There were some other berries that I couldn’t identify either, so will Google when I get chance.  I didn’t get a photo this time round but they are red berries with a yellow base, small and the leaves have 3 points larger but similar in style to the hawthorn (which has 5 points I think).
Given the wet weather, I decided to use up the last of the rhubarb that I picked and made rhubarb and vanilla jam. It is a huge success despite the expense of the vanilla. I will definitely make that each year.

Today is Ste’s last day at work for the week. I bet he can’t wait to finish. We’re going to collect the wild plums tomorrow, assuming they’re ready and a few windfall apples if any are there. They’re not ready to twist off the tree just yet so I’ll not remove them directly. We’re off to a party tonight, a great way to start the holidays as a family of 4. I’ve loved my week off with the kids so far. I might even put a lottery ticket on to see if we can extend it permanently!
 
Kids ready to walk out and see what goodies we can identify
My rescue hens are producing extremely well.  This one looked more painful!