Saturday, 29 August 2015

New home for the bees and Plum Jam recipe

Hello All
And a big Derbyshire welcome to Debbie on the follower bar and Jane and Sophie on bloglovin
A couple of weeks ago we were planning to move a colony of bees to Hathersage, A village in the Peak District of Derbyshire.  Our plans didn't work out and then I mislaid their number so we aborted the move. Yesterday we finally managed it!
 The colony was for first time beekeepers S. and L, who I am sure will make excellent beekeepers. They live on a farm in the hills with views to die for. Where to site the hive had to be given quite a bit of thought as the farm is quite exposed and is can be effected by strong winds. However they looked pretty snug when we left. I took a couple of pictures of them and their surroundings, but for some reason the pics didn't turn out.
 Before we set off home we had a cup of tea and also tried some soft cheese that they are producing and will be marketing. And very very nice it was too, a bit like a tastier Brie  (we love Brie) They kindly gave us a half round to take home, which we resisted eating as we drove along. As we drove through Crich we popped into "The Loaf" bakery and bought a light rye loaf.
 Back home -out with the butter, a couple of freshly picked tomatoes,  the loaf, the cheese and we ate the lot!! Oh my it was a delicious, simple meal.

 A friend said that she had some plums picked for me. I was a little tied up so my granddaughter fetched them for me .. bags  and bags of yellow plums!!. So far I have stoned and open frozen the perfect ones, bagged a several pounds of smaller, less perfect ones for wine, stewed 4 pounds for a couple of crumbles and made some jam ( the chickens have had the really rubbish ones)

 I used a simple recipe for the jam, which is pretty foolproof. Here it is -
 To each 3 pound of plums add half a pint of water and cook until soft
Add 3 pounds of warmed sugar and cook until setting point reached.

That's it. I always remove the stones and I don't crack these and add them to the jam tied in muslin as it is such a faff and I am unhappy about using plum stones as they can be quite toxic.

   All for now

Friday, 21 August 2015

Saver of Suburbia

Just a quickie
I have been getting  random posts about who knows what.from "Suburbia"
I finally realised that someone has started to use The Saver of Suburbia blog.
 I have unfollowed this and hope that if she ever takes up blogging again we will be able to find her.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Talking of weedkiller

 Gosh It's been a while since I last posted. However people are still commenting on it, which I'm so pleased with.
In the field next to us one of the utility companies has been excavating a problem. This has been going on for some years now. In order to get at the problem they have shifted tons of earth into a huge bund next to our wall. This bund is actually three bunds making a large "C" shaped earthwork. Each year the weeds grow really high here and the butterflies visiting the flowers are lovely. A couple of years ago they sprayed without our knowledge and a large ash and a birch that we are growing at the boundry were damaged (initially we though we had ash dieback) The weeds died back and became quite a fire hazard next to our barn.
Last week David walked into the field to see a guy spraying the bund. He hot foots it over to the bloke and asks him what he is doing. The guy with the sprayer told him that someone from the village has complained about the weeds being unsightly and possibly seeding into their gardens, so they are spraying it with weedkiller. David is incandescent by now.. "What weedkiller?" He asks "Roundup" the guy says proudly. Despite David wanting to throttle the guy (goodness knows it wasn't his fault, he was only following orders) he politely asked him to stop, He informed the guy that it was our land that was next to the weeds and that we had been growing without any chemicals for twenty five years and that there were 14 hives of bees within feet of his spraying. All credit to the guy, he stopped immediately. A couple of days later a digger arrived, removed the top layer of soil alongside the weeds and then another bloke followed on with a strimmer to our wall. MUCH BETTER. !

Interestingly, before we knew that next door was being sprayed, I was hanging the washing out in the garden that houses the hives  and a few bees were "fizzing" around me. We live in harmony with the bees in this garden and this was unusual enough for me to mention it to David. We wonder if the two incidents were connected.
Here is our outside eating area, you can see the bund over the wall.
 Earlier this year I realised that we hadn't made too good a job of digging up all last year's potatoes, when a few leaves appeared . I decided to leave them as we were not going to do much with that garden this year. All I did with them is throw some grass cuttings around them. A couple of days ago I noticed that a couple of those plants were starting to die back so I dug two plants up. The first plant yielded 5.5 kg and the second 3.5kg. What a yield and there is more to come.
Here they are. They are Sarpo Miras and are a blight resistant variety that are superb for jackets and roasties.

Off to Cornwall tomorrow for a spot of sea fishing. as usual the family will move in to oversee the animals and greenhouses.

Thanks for joining in with the discussion about food intolerance.

Thought you might like to see Coda, our granddaughter's dog with a small stick that he has found. He hopes that we will throw it for him!

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Thursday, 6 August 2015

Food Intolerance

 Hello All                                                                                                                                                     What's going on?
I've written a little on this subject before, but it has impacted our lives again recently.
 I have several friends/ relatives and also follow several bloggers who are suffering with intolerences /allergies, IBS, Coeliac Disease  etc. The numbers of people living with these issues seem to be increasing.
We aren't talking about something exotic, we are talking foods such as milk and wheat. These seem to be the main culprits and these are STAPLES. These are foods that have sustained  mankind for Milllenia. These are foods that are for some the main ingredient of their meals, foods that can be grown locally in some form or another all over the world.
The impact on lives is dramatic, from "I'm feeling a bit bloated and I'm going to look at what I eat to see if something is disagreeing with me" to, within weeks - " I ate something with a milligramm of wheat in it and I've been on the loo all night/ doubled up in cramps/hospitalised" . This is a scary situation!
It seems to be the same with Asthma. We have a sign outside our house saying that we have honey for sale. Over the last year we have sold just about all we have and mostly to people with asthma and/or excema who hope that local pure (i.e. nothing has been done to it) honey will help them. This rarely happened before, people bought our honey just because they liked honey!

So what's to do? I hope that the medical profession is doing more than handing out prescriptions for gluten-free bread, for example. I hope that they (and the farming community) are pressuring for assessments of the make-up of the wheat we grow or the milk we produce.
 The only people responding to what I believe to be a "crisis" are the Supermarkets, who are doing very nicely thank you, with the rows and rows of Free-From foods, some of which wind me up as much as "Diabetic Jam"!
Rant over, but concern still here. What do you think? Do you think the "Government" should be doing more to research the reasons for this situation?

On a lighter note I have been working on the cucumber glut. It's not a vegetable that you can eat with every meal is it?! So this week I have made Cucumber and Tomato Relish and Bread and Butter Pickles.

" Happening upon happiness "(great handle!) was saying how she sometimes has an inferiority complex when seeing how others get on and/or achieve. Just to make her feel better here is one of my cucumber plants!

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