Monthly Archives: June 2008

Christmas Carrots

I know it’s a little bit sad that I’m already planning Christmas dinner, and really looking forward to it, but it would be really nice to have has much of what we can home grown.

I’m going to try potato’s again this year. I tried growing them for Christmas last year but was a little bit late with starting them off and nothing happened until this year, I already put it in as an event in my Yahoo calendar for both when I have to start them chitting and when they need to be planted by.

I thought I’d try in the polytunnel though, which at the moment is still filled with mine and Rhys stuff from when we moved out of the flat. It also has some big rips in the side from when we lambed inside it a few year ago, were the ewe grateful for a nice warm and dry place to have babies in, no, they ate their way out of the sides within minutes (well, maybe it was after the first day, but minutes sounds much more dramatic.) It is completely the wrong time of year to be thinking about clearing it out really.

As well as the potatoes, I want honey roasted carrots, orange and purple ones. Rhys makes really nice honey roast carrots and I think it will just look really pretty. So I have been reading up on carrot growing and think it should work.

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Open Gardens

The next-but-one-village-over held their open garden this weekend, I’ve been saying I’d go for a few years but near managed it until this year. There are some really nice gardens that open too, there was one garden which you go into and you think it only has a small cottage-garden-y type lawn with flower boarders  but when you get to the back there is a gate onto the owners studio/shed and a patio area with an amazing bread/pizza over, then the back of that goes into another area with a studio/pottery on one side and a veg patch with a huge fruit cage on the other side, then that goes through to an orchard with chickens, one of whom had a brood of chicks with her, a pond and right at the end a brick patio bit with woven hurdles around it, a chair and a bath! Not a bath just for looking at either, a bath with a fire pit under it and a bar of used soap with some old tea lights.

The garden nextdoor was lived in by an old woman who had been born in the house nextdoor and had moved in the house when she got married. It was a two up, one down when she moved in but they had added to it and the garden now has flowers as well as vegetables (the garden had all been vegetables before.) Her son, I think, had turned the old coalshed into an old Forester’s livingroom. It was lovely. When we arrived we got greeted by a Buff Orpington hen running towards us with their funny half run, half skip that they do.

We also visited another LETS members garden for a guild tour, a ‘yard garden’ which was full of tubs and the schools garden and wildlife area, where I bought a Pineapple Mint.

When we got back I cut some of the goats feet while Mother and youngest sister milked, lite a bonfire and when they got home “processed” the milk e.g. collected the cream that had been left to rise last night, bottled the milk, filtered and put more milk to let the cream rise, filtered and bottled the rest of the milk, put the flask of yogurt into the old cream tubs and in the fridge, put the last of the cream to turn into butter (it never turned) and feed the goat kid.

Butter

I made butter today, not from our own cream but Spar had six tubs for 10p each that couldn’t be left there. 

It took an hour and half in the Kenwood, but was worth it and it was only single cream.

Unusual planter

Someone on the River Cottage Forum has started a thread asking about unuaual items that can be used for planting, which made me remeber these:

They were at 2007’s Big Green Gathering.

Elderflower Cordial

For maybe the last three years or so encounters with elderflowers have been very unpleasant, just the smell of the flowers courses my eyes to feel all puffy and like someone has punched me very hard in both of them. Because of this I’ve avoided them like the pledge until the flowers are over and they become hedgerow picks for the goats again.

A few weeks ago one of the volunteers at work bought in some elderflower cordial (shop bought) it’s really nice and there was no nasty reaction.

So I tried making some, it had to be done, our own supply of cordial, practically free with no nastys in, and some people seem to be able to make enough to last all year round. I found a recipe on the net, halfed the sugar amount (1 and a half bags for 2 and a half pints of cordial seems way to much), spent two days feeling like I’d be beaten round the head and it tastes like sugar water with a bit of lemon in.

Cows & Milk

Primrose’s calf has now gone, he’s been sold, so we’re milking her again now.

Her milk is lovely; she is a Jersey cross so her milk has a yellow-y colour to it from all the cream and butter fats. Her calf hasn’t been nice to her udder and it is covered in cuts and sore patches, but she is mostly being very good about being milked.   

The Dexter’s have also been sold which makes the cow field so much nicer, they were both very nice cows and good at rearing their calves but they did bully Sunshine and Primrose badly and weren’t really suited to our set-up. 

Primrose was bottle feed from about six weeks old and has a very quite nature any way, and Sunshine’s a naturally friendly and nosy nature as well.  

Between Primrose and Amber (middle-sisters goat who is the only one being milked) we’re getting about 5 and a half liters of milk a day. 

In season this week

I’ve just joined the ‘Eat the Seasons’ newsletter and this week in seasons food are:

Rasberries, courgettes, cucumber, fennel, french beans, garlic, blueberries, cherries, gooseberries.

There are LOADS of wild rasberries in the woods near us but there still very green, but there is a lot of fruit there.

Seeds, more seeds and seedlings

My seeds from ebay arrived the other day.

Unfortunatly the sweet corn seeds that I bought aren’t eatable ones, I should have read the listing more carefully, which meant a trip to the garden centre to buy some more seeds asap to plant now, and a few others. 

My trays of pea seeds are coming through nicely now, they’re to go on the new bed I almost finished the other day. There should be 200 of them but I’m still tempted to put another 100 or so to grow as it’s going to be the last planting of the year.

I’m not very good at judging space for plants, and things often end up being planted a little to close together where I’ve got carried away with how many plants will actully fit into a bed. 

Egg Freezing – trying and testing it

We have a glut of eggs at the moment, that is of course what happens when you produce in season food.

I’ve heard of a few people who freeze eggs for use later in the year, so I’m going to try it.

This morning I bought two different kinds of ice cub trays and ice cub bags to see which works best.

(Note to reader: I didn’t mean to print this yet, I was just starting writing the post so as I didn’t forget that I had planned to write about it but as Mrs Green has left a comment I will leave it up with the edit that I’ve added. I will also add photo’s and a new post with how it went.)

A happier news story

Amazing rescue by a mother duck who went the extra mile