|The last of the tomatoes, not too many green ones|
|The butternuts, not masses after losing all the earlier ones when they split, but they will keep us going and hopefully be used before we get sick of them! There are still half a dozen green ones on the plants|
|One for the goats, not sure what did this, maybe mouse or mole cricket|
|We have three crates of walnuts now, as well as the ones already frozen|
|On the left from our tree, on the right from next door's overhang. Very different|
|The winter bed looking tidy. The onions are under nets to stop the cats from digging them up|
The flowers which were so perky last time I wrote are looking soggy and fed up now but they can stay a while, we'll just pick up the bits that fall through the weight of water. If the sun comes out so will the bees. The morning glory keeps flowering!
|All the flowers above are photographed by Dave|
|Dave has been very busy decorating all downstairs and the spare room, so we are ready for visitors due soon|
|He has also put some hanging shelves in the cellar ready for any produce and flower rhizomes which need a frost free home over winter|
So we have had the first fires of the year, just to test the new flues. We soon realised we are a bit early when it got too hot and we had to open the door. But equally it's a bit cool without it in the evenings too, that awkward time. Most of the animals approve, but Charlie is a bit wary and jumps if a log moves. He'll soon get used to it though, and as I check this back he has taken Spud's place by the fire.
|Spud enjoying the heat|
|Bella tolerating Charlie in a strange position|
|zzzzzzzz all is peaceful|
|This really is a lab!|
|Spud now prefers a fleece on the floor in the bedroom since Charlie has found his spot on the bed|
|Helping at the computer|
|His spelling's a bit dodgy though!|
Out in the paddock we had a bit of a scare when Milly managed to get hold of too many walnuts and got a belly ache. She didn't have full blown bloat as goats sometimes get, but was rather quiet for 24 hours. Dave hovered over her (which she loves) and rubbed her tummy and gave her some bicarb and she was back to normal by next morning, shouting for attention every time she saw Dave. Today Venka came round to see what Dave does when milking as she will be doing this chore while we are away. Unfortunately Dave got things in slightly wrong order and Milly was a bit unsettled...she does like her routine. But she'll be fine. Venka is very experienced.
|Milly chatting to Charlie...probably asking him to pass her a squash!|
As for the other residents of the paddock, all is calm and quiet. I think we have two boys amongst the three chicks but as yet they seem quite calm. One has very feathery legs, like a Marran. The ducks are moulting heavily so have stopped laying altogether. The hens are giving plenty at the moment though so we still have a few to give away.
But some have been put to good use in baking. Today was the last car boot sale of the year so I made a couple of cakes, a ginger slab and a rhubarb and custard, (links below) to take with us, as well as some fruit buns for the freezer. It was a very wet morning and normally we would have given it a miss, but a few people had asked for things and it's nice to close on a good note so off we went, waterproof coats and boots donned....and got soaked! Not many sellers showed up and very few buyers even though most of the stock went as the ones who did brave the weather bought chutney and jam for winter. We were eventually beaten by the weather so soaked through and cold we packed up at about 11, when some customers turned up and asked if we were leaving already. Hmm, three hours in that weather, I'm sorry but we don't have a lie in because it's wet and enough is enough! The cake went down OK with friends though.
|White chocolate and dried raspberries make for tasty rock buns...Dave approved!|
|Fruit buns, rhubarb and custard cake, ginger slab and brown and white bread|
|I was going to leave the rhubarb, but it put on a spurt of growth in the rain so I pinched some|
|Setting off in the rain....|
|...yeuck, must be mad....|
|...Dave acting the fool....|
|....and going home, even wetter.|
Also new from the kitchen, I made what the Americans call dilly beans, lightly pickled runner beans. They use French beans but there shouldn't be much difference. We haven't tried them yet but we'll see, they might be nice. I just don't really eat many pickles. We have enough beans in the freezer and they are still producing well...though at the moment it is far too wet to walk safely on the land.
|Used self sown fennel instead of dill, and some nice fat garlic cloves|
|They look OK, if a bit grey|
I hav also done a bit of dehydrating. I have done some sliced garlic as it's so handy for chucking into stews and casseroles during winter, and some Portabello mushrooms which cost us less than two pounds for a carrier bag.
|Two nice jars of garlic|
|Dave had a couple of the largest ones stuffed with some of our own ricotta and some ham and baked|
|And we had mushroom and garlic yummy soup|
|The rest of the carrier bag, well over a kilo, went into two jars. Great for adding depth of flavour to soups and stews|
A strange but surprisingly light and moist cake, though I used home made creme pat and twice as much rhubarb. Nice.
A nice light ginger cake recipe, though I did as others suggested and did half syrup and half treacle, and upped the ginger to four teaspoons