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Thursday, 26 September 2013

Seven little bumblebees

Well, the last of the year's Shumen eggs has hatched. One little mite died but we have seven little bumblebees to cuddle and coo over. The rate they grow they will not be cute for long, so forgive me if I indulge!

 The ugly older class have a lot more space in their indoor quarters and the little lad is making the most of it by chasing the girls around. This has got to be good exercise for Solo's legs and she is a lot stronger than she was, keeping up with the others without falling over. Dave says it is easy to tell when you have hold of her as the extra week has given her more weight.

We have a firm order for a cockerel from the chap who gave us the house hens. We don't know yet if either of the two new male chicks will be blue, so if he wants a blue it might have to be Trouble.

After everyone in allotment land going on about quince paste I decided to give it a go. The jelly I made is lovely and I managed to get the set just right. The paste (membrillo in Spain) is supposed to be wonderful with cheese and meat. I hope so as I seem to have made rather a lot. We will resist trying it till I can get my hands on some decent cheddar. I would love to try it with Manchego as the Spanish like it, it is my favourite cheese and one of the things I have had to give up here. So I made slabs of the paste and also set some in small silicon bun/tart cases for individual portions. Looking on the internet it's difficult to find a difinitive way of keeping it, so I have had some individual ones in the dehydrator overnight, on low, to dry off and packed them into a plastic box with paper between, then put it on a shelf. The rest I have put into the fridge. With the amount of sugar in it I would think it wouldn't need to be kept in a fridge, but we will see.

To continue on the European theme I made Portuguese custard tarts with the pastry left over the other day. Never made them before and they were totally scrummy (they looked a fright!) They were deeper than the ones we had in Portugal on holiday but just as good. Will have to be a rare treat though, low in calories they are not!

We picked another load of walnuts too, and there are two boxes more in the freezer, weighing 2lb 4oz. We have enough in there to last a good while now, so any which look really sound are going to be left in their shells to keep, any dodgy looking ones will be opened and frozen if any good.

Had a bread day today, and the smell of the cheese and onion bread is driving me mad. We have had some for lunch so it is just my brain telling me how greedy I am. I'm trying to get plenty in the freezer for when I can't use the oven.
And talking of that, the builder has put the starting date back another week. Because of this (I am not happy!) we have had to organise someone to put in the woodburners. We can't risk them putting us off again and then getting caught up in the pre-winter rush for fire fitting. We can manage without the stairs over winter, but not the fires...NO WAY!

So we could have two lots of work men in at the same time. The chimneys need raising to a height which will ensure a good draw to take the smoke away (something like that!) and the one for the kitchen is too small (he said) for the fire but 'no problem' The chimneys look as if they have had repairs whenthe house was renovated for holidays, when they didn't need chimneys.He can't understand why we are having two fires instead of central heating though. But I am not keen on central heating, never mind trying to juggle two lots of tradesmen tearing the house apart.

Dave has solved the mystery as to why Venka grabs any green plants we chop/pull, and where she takes the huge courgettes (and maybe pumpkins) It seems they have a couple of pigs in their yard. He had reason to go down the lane past their house and saw them. Amazing that we have been here since May and didn't know we had pigs backing on to our plot!

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