After the excitement of the pigs, I thought they needed their own post, so today’s post is to bring the blog up to date with the weekend’s fun and games.
Remember the sheep chasing the fighting cockerels? Well, not 1, but 2 sheep managed to lock themselves in the outside toilet on Sunday. I’ve not laughed so hard in a long time.
The chickens that hatched in December have now been moved to the meshed greenhouse to get them outside of the barn but keep them away from the big ones (they would be bullied.) Eventually the girls will go in the main section and the boys will be dispatched for the freezer. They will be small, so Ste will joint them and I’ll use in the slow cooker/curries and things like that.
We need to set our minds to the table birds we want this year, the Ross Cobbs. They will be bought in at day olds. We won’t be hatching any more laying hens this year but I will take a few orders of rare breeds for people to keep the pot topped up.
The geese are starting to think about incubating their eggs so we hope for a few goslings to be running around the place in a month or 2. I’m not sure what the sheep will make of that!
|A bit blurry as this was mid “discussion” between the geese and sheep|
Anyway, the weekend.
I sowed loads and loads of seeds and was in my element. In went more cauliflower, cabbage, onions, beetroot, sunflowers, nasturtiums, swiss chard, courgettes, wild garlic, leeks, calabrese and tomatoes. Lots of different varieties.
I was doing this in between lifting wheelbarrows with Ste who was shovelling the 4 tonne of soil we ordered. He got 2 tonne moved yesterday into the beds which have the muck in them. They’re ready for planting now, some will be empty a while yet though (pumpkins, squash and so on).
He was being watched with interest.
Whilst the birds were watching him, my daughter was watching something else. She noticed a suspicious van drive by and park illegally along the bridleway. So she did as she’s been told to and came to tell Ste and I who were shovelling yet more muck at the muck heap. I swear, some days all we see is sh*t!
Anyway, she said it was open backed so Ste wondered if they were fly tipping which happens where we are being remote ish. So he had a walk up to the van (maybe silly) and it was empty! He took a photo of the reg and I sent it to the farmer who confirmed they shouldn’t be there. The farmer could see them walking up the bridleway and went to have a polite word with them, and they left. He messaged me to say they were hawkers, out with their dogs and are known to them for all the wrong reasons.
I must say, I’m glad they weren’t in the van when Ste went up and I’m also pleased I wasn’t out riding or walking the dogs as the hawkers dogs do tend to immobilise anything small and furry!
Who says county life is quiet?
This weekend has felt very Autumnal. It’s been a mixture of lots of lovely things. The changing colour of the trees, the leaves that have appeared underfoot when we’re out walking, the apples that are readily falling and being used in the cooking, the homegrown squash that I roasted and we ate, the dip in temperature on a night yet the days that are still creeping up to 17 and 18C and I finally got round to making a Sunday lunch and doing some baking again.
I made some chocolate, ginger and oat cookies from my new favourite person, Mary Berry. Between her, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Pam Corbin, I think I have a year’s worth of recipes to keep us going. The cookies are really nice and I got 21 out of her recipe. It claims you will make 24, but we don’t eat biscuits that are so small in this house ;). They took 11 minutes on the bottom rung of the Aga (just for my future reference).
I’ve also made a start on the Elderberry wine. I did wonder if I was too late but we found a bountiful supply that were still young and fresh so as a family, we picked them and brought them home to make a start. I also made a Elderberry Winter Tonic which I’ve read about in a few places. It’s now sat in my fridge waiting for the cold season to start. I only used 2 cupfuls of Elderberries which yielded around 400ml of tonic. I’m giving my Mam some to try and help her through the winter as she has a hernia and suffers terribly with what she can and can’t eat, hopefully she can have this without side effects and it’ll help keep her immune systems up.
Of course to go along with the homemade wine, Steven needed to try homemade cider, so he and our lovely neighbour borrowed a cider press and got to work pressing buckets of our apples from the orchard and the neighbours too. They managed to make 15 litres which is gurgling away in the pantry.
We’ve managed to get rid of quite a lot of muck this weekend and in return bagged ourselves a large carrier full of different breads which are all now in the new freezer ready for when we run out of have unexpected guests that need feeding.
I’m off to bed shortly, not necessarily ready for going back to work tomorrow, but certainly feeling blessed from the weekend. The dogs look like they are quite content too.