Monday 13 November 2017
A special hello to Clarissa, who thinks I'm being tardy with my posts (I am)
Firstly a garden update (for Clarissa).
As I clear the gardens I am tipping horse manure onto the the cleared area for the chickens to sort. Son-in-law took the trailer and filled twenty bags to the top as he poo picked his daughter's ponies field (yes she has to pick up too!) The bags are so heavy they are impossible to lift so we have to take out half of the brown gold with a spade before we can shift the things.
The tomato plants are finally finished by a light frost. There were still plenty of tomatoes on the plants, many of which I have managed to save. I have made some passatas for the freezer and we are having tomatoes with whatever we can . I have put a bowlful of ripe ones in the fridge to keep longer but this certainly affects the taste, so I need to remember to get them out to warm up.
In the garden ready at the moment we have brussels, black and curly kale, celeriac, beetroot, corn salad and chard. To eat, in the greenhouse, there are several mixed lettuce plants (split up from a living lettuce tray) parsley and the last chillis. As small plants to produce next year we have spring cabbage, purple sprouting, sensyu onions, leeks and garlic. I shall be starting some broad bean seed off in the next couple of weeks. At the weekend Adam podded all the ripe bean seed pods and got several pounds of seed, some for planting next year and some for eating through the winter. After Adam had de-husked the cobnuts a couple of weeks ago my son-in-law and EGD's partner have doggedly cracked them until they are now all ready for eating/preserving. This morning EGD and I have included chopped cobnuts into our oat biscuits and our cookies and very nice they are too. The remainder are in chinese food containers in the freezer, in a jar in the fridge for immediate use and the rest in jars of honey to pour over yoghurt, cereal etc. Cob nuts keep just about forever stored in honey I have found.
So that's about it for the garden, methinks.
So to the kitchen -
I've already mentioned the passata, cookies, biscuits and preservation of cobnuts and dried beans, which is kitchen related I suppose. Yesterday we processed the fruit for the marmalade we are making today. This will be used for Christmas presents but also for the house as we are fond of marmalade, both on toast and in cakes (and a very nice steamed pud) As I write this it is simmering away nicely, with the jars in the oven to warm and bread rising from the borrowed heat. If I was really clever the marmalade will be ready and jars out of the oven in time for the bead to go in, but I bet it doesn't work that way! As we had roast chicken for tea yesterday the ubiquitous chicken soup is also bubbling away. I wish I liked it, but I don't. Fortunately David and the shared lives guys love it and will undoubtedly have a bowl or two for their lunch one day this week. The leek and potato soup that I have made today is much more to my liking. I wish I could say that they are my own leeks but they are not and I will have to wait a while longer for those, if they make it at all. So that's about it for the kitchen today, apart from the sausage and bacon casserole that I have made for our evening meal, which we will have with some homegrown potatoes and kale.
We now have semi-permanent signs out for eggs, honey and kindling. As the chickens have decided to go on strike I could done under trade descriptions, but I won't take them down again as they took some getting ready and erecting. I don't suppose it will be long before they oblige again, especially as they are now out of the orchard and roaming all the gardens and the paddock.
I don't know if I have told you about the kindling (skip this paragraph if I have) As you know, we often take delivery of a van full of pallets. These David turns into fencing, beehives, gates etc etc Pallets don't always break up easily and there are mountains of bits of wood to be seen to. These David turns into kindling. He cuts them to a certain length which he passes to Don (shared lives) who chops these lengths into sticks. Colin (shared lives) who loves things to be tidy, then puts the sticks into bags. Colin then tidies up all the sawdust/shavings etc which he bags for the chickens and rabbits. This team work produces more sticks than we could ever use and so we decided to see if they would sell, the money going to the tea fund. So inside the kitchen next to the honey jar and the egg jar and the garden produce jar is the "stick jar"! The guys really love this activity, in fact would do it every hour they are here. They sit at their respective stations in the workshop, field kitchen lit, kettle on, Radio Derby playing, like a gang of elvin shoemakers!
I reckon that's enough for now. I'm about to jar this marmalade and then fetch David in to sit down. He was very poorly last week, with an infection in his leg. Today is his first day outside and he is overdoing it, so I'll go and nag him to come and put his feet up.
My last post, which was it's usual random rubbish, had double the usual views. I have no idea why, as it wasn't even the Russian spike I sometimes get (don't we all?!) There is no understanding the wonderful world of blog is there?