Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Pickled Walnuts(again) Watercress and Bait Hives

Hello fellow bloggers, funny weather we are having, lots of energy in it with wind and sun and hail and thunder.
With reference to the Pickled walnuts we discussed in my previous posts....
We sat around the table with a bowl of the little darlings in front of us and only three of us actually managed  to put a tiny sliver of one in our mouths ! ED said that they looked like a combination of an olive and a cooked mushroom -both of which she dislikes intensely (as do I) But we gamely tried a bit. Cro is right in saying that they were very vinegary, which sugar would counteract. It was the feel of it that we disliked, sort of slimy. Perhaps when Phyllis gets to us with her recipe using them it might be good. That said, there were only seven large walnuts in the jar for £2.50 which was pretty expensive for an accompaniment. I would need to love them to pay that again. All that being said I am glad I tried them as I've reached this tender age without one passing my lips.

The watercress in our pond, which is fed from rain water from several roofs here, is doing extremely well this year. As you can imagine we have had many egg and watercress sandwiches, but I quite fancy using it for something different. Has anyone any recipes for watercress they would like to share?

 Leigh from 5 aces and a Dream commented on bait hives after my last post. Coincidentally and quite by accident we made one last week!. After the first swarm of the season I assembled another hive ready to house the next swarm, should we get one, as being ready is essential to ensure collection. I  said to David that we could  put it in the front garden as a bait hive, but we didn't and left it outside the garage ready for swarm collecting. A few hours later I walked past the hive through a goodly number of bees and saw that the front of the hive was covered in bees. Yup a swarm had found the hive and put themselves in! Swarm number two all settled in their own way and time. Now to get another box ready in case we need to collect another swarm!

 As the days get busier in the garden and with the animals growing apace my house gets more and more untidy. I'm not particularly proud of this but there are only so many hours in the day and something has to give. Then Frugal Queen does a post on being tidy and organised and I wonder why I can't be that organised. It is so bad here at the mo that if someone I didn't know well knocked at my door I would have to hide behind the sofa and pretend to be out!
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Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Pickled walnuts and Apples

In my last post I asked people how they kept their walnuts from the squirrels. Some suggested I pickle the unripe walnuts before the squirrel got them. Cro suggested I try some before I waste my walnuts on something I don't like and yesterday as per his suggestion, I bought some Opies pickled walnuts. Looking at them reminds me of my friend J. a district nursing sister (now retired) She always referred to the offerings (in bedpans) of her constipated patients as "pickled walnuts" !!  I can see what she means and it's rather putting me off to be honest.
 Yesterday we collected our first swarm of the year. Not large, but looking good. It swarmed onto the damson above the front greenhouse and was easily collected.
Here is David with "Bob" one of our Shared Lives guys helping him. Bob is  getting to be a good help with swarm catching. This activity is risk-assessed of course in line with Social Services policy (ahem)

 The blossom has been wonderful this year. Here are a few pics of some of our trees
The first two pictures are of our pollinator crab apples - Golden Hornet and John Downie.
This tree to the rear of the artichokes and rhubarb is "Golden Hornet"
 This is "John Downie".  These two crab apples cover the apple blossom time for all our apple trees.
Here is "Grenadier" an early cooker.
 This is one of our two " Jonogolds" with "Elstar" fanned on the fence to the left (both eaters) and "Bramley" cooker to the right.
We have more apples, but I guess that is enough for now as you are probably getting bored. But I have to show you this huge cooker/eater that is in our front garden. it is obviously very old. We sent a sample to Brogdale, who don't recognise it and say that it was probably grown from a pip many years ago and that we could name it ourselves. David calls it "Gilly's Pippin".
David has had to start cutting the paddock today. Those five little lambs certainly can't keep it down and it is getting too long for them. this one cut should be sufficient as the lambs grow. The biggest problem is getting rid of the cuttings, which if left in a huge heap, becomes a huge heap of black slime. So with the help of a friend I have been layering the cuttings between pig, chicken and rabbit muck, mole hills and some old straw. Next year this should make good compost.

Off to fetch David back from Quiz Night.
Before I go I must welcome to Judy Kiesow to the follower bar. Lovely to see you here.
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Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Lambs, Trees and Weed Processors.

It's been a while I know. I won't bore you with the reasons, which are the usual excuses I roll out when I have been tardy posting.
This is a picture heavy post today, but first I must welcome Jackie and Sarah W on Blog lovin and Jan Stewart on Google at the side.
Here are the lambs, just about to settle down by the river for a power-nap
 Then along comes Dixie and rather put them off settling down.
 All went calmly for a while until Bubba pushed his luck and got a swipe for his cheek!
 The blossom has been glorious this year hasn't it? I missed getting a picture of the damsons and plums, but here are a couple of our Stella Cherry trees ( gooseberries directly underneath and red currants in front) I can almost hear the jackdaws and crows licking their lips (beaks) at the thought of all those cherries.
Please admire the finished bit of wall to the rear. David has been working on this wall every spare minute.
 Here is a pic of the walnut catkins just forming. I am going to pick the walnuts early this year and try to beat the squirrels. I just hope they will ripen. I would love to hear what other people do re walnuts. If I leave them to fall from the tree there will be none to fall as Tufty will have stolen them all.

 This huge tree fell down in the field next to us last week. the owner has dragged it from the river bank with a tractor to ensure that the river isn't blocked. Everyone who has visited us has cast covetous eyes on the wood. Pity it isn't ours, but maybe Jimmy will offer us some.
 And finally here are my weed processors. They just LOVE weeds. I put all the weeds in a bucket when I am garden clearing. I throw them into the pigs and they turn them into torpedo shaped packets which go onto the compost heap.
All for now dear bloggy friends. Thanks for hanging around while I have been elsewhere.
Love Gillx

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Animal Babies and Violets

Hello All, sorry I have been so long posting again.
Hello to Angry Parsnip, on the follower bar, who has come over here from Weaver.
While it has been some time since my last blog I am still strapped for time so this will be a quick post to keep in touch.
As promised here is an up to date pic of the lambs, from the left, Baaaabara, Biffy, Biscuit, Bubba and Betty.
They are looking pretty strong. Good job there is a lot of grass to go at!

And the Gas Meter Family, at the pterodactyl stage, ugly little blighters aren't they? (they were such sweet little balls of fluff once)
I took a fresh pic of the pigs but it is a bit bleary, so will have another go tomorrow.

And lastly here is a picture to demonstrate that being too tidy means missing out on random bits of loveliness. These "weeds" (i.e a plant out of place) on our back door step are such a joy. I am pretty sure that they are self seeded Madame de Rothchilde Violets.
I'm always happy to justify my untidiness!
Back Soon

Sunday, 12 April 2015

From fishing to trenching to baby animals

Hello All!
 It's me back in blogland after a manic few days when I haven't even had time to comment on the few blogs I have managed to read. ( I think the only comment I have left is a one word on Tom Stephenson's blog, when my breath was caught by da Vinci's Lady with Ermine)
 I shan't bore you with all that has happened over the last few days, suffice to say that we have had many visitors, the Civic Society is busy with a new campaign and planning for future events and presentations, the gardens are being prepared for planting, the lambs are growing as are the pigs and chicks, Derbyshire stone walls are being mended and so on and so on (very little housework, but lots of cooking for the troops!)
Before I say any more I must welcome Kay, The Croods, Rambler and Forever the Adventurer on the follower bar and Andrea, Collen and Cathy on Bloglovin   Great to see you here!

After David and I returned from the quick fishing trip to Cornwall, (five pollack and two ling now in the freezer) staying at my oldest (!) friend, J.'s in Callington, my said friend followed us up the M5 and stayed for the week,(she returned Saturday) Whilst here she threw herself into gardening, digging the potato trenches. She dug to about 18inches then loosened the bottom of the trench and filled it in in  layers - Pig muck, a sprinkling of chicken manure to activate, a layer of old grass cuttings and finally she has returned some of the soil  to top. We will let this settle before we add more soil the potatoes and then more soil. As usual for us the potatoes are Sarpo Mira and I will plant them in the third week of April.
Here is J. on the final trench. Not bad for woman who is 70 this year eh?
The lambs go from strength to strength. It took me a few days to get Betty's eye clear and open, but it now looks nice and sparkly (as is she) They are in the field all day now, are eating hay and sheep nuts at night and go down to three bottles a day as from Wednesday... THAT won't go down well!
We "weighed" the pigs today to see how they are progressing. To do this without scales you have to measure the girth and the length and make a calculation with these figures. A young friend was here as my godson and I set off with the tape measure "Why are you wearing ear defenders?" he asked"If you have ever had your ear next to a squealing pig, you would wear ear defenders" said Gdson. We decided that Gregory has the loudest squeal!.

I hope you are all enjoying the build-up to the election. Such fun! We decided that we would  not vote by post or email as we have always made voting a bit of a ritual and it wouldn't be the same without taking our cards round to the village hall and chatting to others doing the same. When the children were small we always took them with us and usually carried on to the local pub for a lemonade afterwards. I'm pleased to say that my children and grandchildren always exercise their right to vote.

 The wind is very strong today so I think I will work in the greenhouse or the hen house today. Goodness knows there is plenty to do!
Until next time, which I hope won't be so long
(I'll try to remember to get some pics of the babies too)

Friday, 3 April 2015

In fishing!!

Just a quick one ! We are about to set off for the first Cornish fishing trip of the year. We'll be staying at our friends' in Callington while David is fishing from Looe. He is with a new skipper on a new boat this year, so we will see how that goes.
Meanwhile, as ever, our youngest daughter decamps to ours until Sunday when we will return, in time for the family to join us for tea (well it IS Sunday!) She has quite a list of tasks to do this trip, with chicks, pigs and lambs on four bottles a day, not to mention the usual hens, rabbits, cat and parrot! Thank goodness that the greenhouse will look after itself for a couple of days.
So the cars all packed and we are ready for the off (I bet the roads will be awful as it is a bank holiday)
Thank you all for your kind comments and I await my seed from Weaver with much excitement.
Back soon with an update
Hope you all enjoy your Easter, however you celebrate it