Bank holiday plans.

Our surrounding farms are in full swing.  They have their cattle out in the fields, who were obviously really interested in something, so much so they lined up in a semi-circle for it.
The currant bushes are laden!  I am really excited as I can’t wait to make those delicious cordials again that we made last year.  I’ll be stocking up on them this year though, to preserve rather than use right away.
We’ve been eating asparagus and purple sprouting broccoli a few times a week.  So far we’ve had it whole and in stir fries and it’s delicious.  I’ve got a load of PSB in for 2018 as it’s a lovely crop to have and fills the gap when waiting for the next years crops and finishing the last of the leeks and so on.  It takes almost a full year to harvest, so it’s in a separate bed near the fruit trees.  Time will tell if it’s any good there.

This coming weekend is a bank holiday and we’re spending some of it with friends and the rest of it in the veg plots and paddocks.  The pigs will hopefully be moving to their new accommodation on Sunday.  We’re out Saturday otherwise we’d do it before and if they escape, we need to be on site for it.  We’ll be home Sunday and Monday as normal, so that seems sensible.
In the veg areas I want to get some more plants out but I’m hesitant after this week’s frosts.  I also need to get a lot of things potted on and some more sown to ensure successional sowing.  I’ll give the ones that are out already a feed and some pellets for the slugs (no hedgehogs can get in, it’s rabbit proofed for those who worry).
I’ll be checking on the fruit and nut trees that we have recently planted but I won’t need to water them as we’ve had rain, snow and sleet in parts.  Shot lived but enough to water them.
The main crop potatoes are showing through so I will earth them up and cover them in the ongoing battle with the chickens.
I am also going to try and get something done with the field that I flattened.  I used my fiesta, as in my car.  I asked the farmers, tried to pay people and looked online.  No one could help, so I used my initiative.  I knocked myself sick going backwards and forwards, but the job’s done.  Now I need to get the grass seed sown.  Obviously the ground is flat and hard, so I need to get my thinking cap on.  I have basic tools only!
I’ve been weeding as often as I can, to try and stay on top of it so they don’t take a hold.  The weeds get thrown onto the pile of ‘scrap but useful’ items we keep behind the barn and the chickens see to it.  They love scratching round in them.
A busy weekend planned.  It’s all too much for Rodney and Buster.

Onion racks & reduced grocery budget!

It’s a new pay month for us (July’s pay paying for August’s food etc).  I’ve reduced our grocery budget for the month to £250.  That covers the next 4.5 weeks.  I’ve done this as at the moment we’re getting as much food for free as we will this year, so I’m making sure I make the most of it.  Let’s see if I can make it work. 

Therefore in this week’s delivery I’ve ordered milk, cream and cheese, but no veg other than kohl rabi to try.  We’ve never had it nor cooked with it and it’s supposed to be easy to grow and something I can plant now.  That’s arriving Wednesday as usual so more to follow.
This weekend we had my parents over for a BBQ on Saturday afternoon.  It was lovely, the weather was just right for us all.  They helped with some jobs around the place before settling down to homecooked food.  We managed to get quite a lot of weeding done in the veg garden with them and I very much appreciate their help.  The menu I did was on this week’s menu plan and it went down really well.  Homemade coleslaw is amazing, I will never buy shop made again!!  Here’s a picture of the redcurrant and red onion relish I made.  First time making relish too and I’m mightily impressed with how easy it is.

Full of goodness and has a whopping great kick (which you can tone down next time!)

The kids were invited to the neighbours to play with their kids giving Steven and I some time to potter and do jobs.  We started with topping the field (taking the nettles and docks down) and to do this we used the unconventional method of the ride on lawnmower that is more suited to Wimbledon style lawns!  It rose to the occasion marvellously and we now have a topped field which is ready to tidy up and rest for a few weeks before the horses go back on it.  He was a brave man going through those nettles in shorts!

 

Jack is loving life!

A troublesome set of nettles
Took care of them!
As you can see, Jack had a lovely time just playing in the field and been had a go at driving the lawnmower (or tractor as he refers to it).  He took to it with surprising ease and no doubt will be doing it himself in years to come.

Onions ready for rain to wash them off before being stored indoors.
Steven also made some onion racks/holders for the ones he planted not long after we moved in.  These are outside to hang them on whilst they wash off and dry out for a day or two.  Then they will be transferred to the barn for plaiting and storage.  I’m really pleased with them, they’re actually huge but mild.


I also made some soup with tortellini and used up more broad beans and peas, this time including purple podded peas too.  Don’t they look so pretty?  They almost remind me of a caterpillar in their perfect pod.  I’ll be growing more of these in 2017.





Perfectly formed
Gorgeous colour


The puppies enjoying their breakfast together followed by a play on the lawn.  I call them puppies but they’re just turned 1 now so moving on rapidly!!  Rodney is the rougher haired and Buster the tan smooth hair.  Gorgeous boys.  

Buster (bottom) and Rodney (top)


Buster

We also discovered we have a grape vine.  How I didn’t know is beyond me.  I guess I don’t come to this end of the garden very often.  The grapes are miniscule so whether we’ll get a crop I don’t know, but something to look in to all the same.

Grape vine
I found a wild apple tree which looks as fit and healthy as they come, so I’ve added that to the list of items I plan to use up once they’re ready.  It’s right opposite a bramble (blackberry) bush, so it’s almost nature shouting at me to make bramble and apple pie!  An Autumnal joy.  I think that’s enough of my ramblings for today.  PS what happened to the beginning of the week?