Monday, 25 September 2017

Poor Rabbits

This rabbit may look like it's happily soaking up the last rays of Autumn sunshine, looking straight at me through the kitchen window ... but in fact it is soaking up the last rays of the Autumn sunshine completely oblivious to anything except the warmth on it's back and hopefully the beauty of the birdsong as it lives out it's last few hours hoping for a peaceful end. 

Myxomatosis has been rife on our hillside this year, beginning in late Spring it seemed to vanish throughout Summer and now it has reared it's ugly head again as we head into Autumn. 

The few rabbits we spot like this one, we try relocate to a safe place, away from Ginger and Mavis, to hopefully end their final hours relatively peacefully, those that find themselves away from the shelter of hedges and trees are easy pickings for the birds ... as the sad little piles of fluff we find each morning testifies. 

In my opinion our wildlife has enough on it's plate to survive the things it survives day to day without also having to contend with the most horrible of manmade diseases  :-(

Sue xx

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Sue's Breakfast Mix and Car Boot Results

Whenever I have bananas and yoghurts in the house this is my breakfast of choice.

A big dollop of yoghurt, usually about a third of this large pot, a sliced up banana, a good handful of frozen homegrown Blueberries straight from the freezer and a teaspoon or two of everything from these jars.  The other morning as I was in and out of cupboards adding my teaspoon of this, teaspoon of that I thought to myself ... well no actually I said it out loud ... why the bloody hell do I do this several times a week and why don't I store all these jars in one cupboard which would have been the first logical step.

Then I thought ... time to put this right now

So instead of just putting the teaspoon of seeds on my breakfast I also put six times the amount of each seed into a jar and then gave it a good mix up.

I will obviously have to give it a stir each time before I use it as things like the little Chia seeds will gravitate to the bottom, but it's a million times better than opening and closing cupboards finding what I need so early in the morning.

The only thing I decided not to add to the jar were the flaked almonds, as they would go off much sooner than the other more dried seeds, and there weren't that many left in their jar.  When they run out I will revert to grating a couple of Brazil nuts over my breakfast instead..

I even labelled the jar 'Sue's Breakfast Mix.

One nice thing though, while I was doing my squirrel impression the other morning and gathering in my seeds and nuts, Alan said 'you remind me so much of your Dad when he came to visit us at the farm' ... he used to do something very similar every day with his bowl of cereal and whatever various 'sprinkles'  he could find  :-)

In other completely non-breakfast news, we worked out our final car boot takings after our final car boot sale of the year last week and these are the grand totals for 2017.

Not too shabby at all, over £900 cash that we wouldn't normally have had   :-)

Our plan for next year now that we have got rid of most of the housey clutter, is to move towards selling more of our homegrown and homemade stuff.  So along with one table of 'car boot stuff'  there will be another table with eggs, plants and vegetables and once the workshop is completely up and running which hopefully it will be over this Winter, more handmade small pieces of furniture, bowls and bits and pieces made of wood.

It will be interesting to compare this years total with next years.

Sue xx

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Beans, Beans, Beans .... and Some More Bloody Beans

My Lovely Hubby ... she says, between tightly clenched teeth .... picked these for me the other day.  I had been purposefully ignoring the not so little blighters on the plants at the top of the Veggie Patch for a few days, hoping they would maybe vanish or be eaten by squirrels ... but no such luck!!

So I had nothing left to do but set too and start to deal with them.

I bought myself a little slicing gadget, not the best available but all I could get my hands on at short notice.  Lakeland do a better, slightly easier to use one but I didn't have time to wait for delivery with all the beans glaring at me from the bench outside the conservatory silently yelling at me every time I passed  'Deal with us, deal with us NOW!!'

So a bit later the very best of them had been washed, topped, tailed and sliced ...

... spun to get all excess water out and they now reside on open trays in the freezer where I hope they are freezing their jolly green butts off.

The rest, the bigger more bean filled ones, are in baskets and after a day spent sunbathing still on their bench, are going to go into the shed to dry out to give us dried beans for Winter use or seeds for planting next year if they don't get eaten .... or if I leave the door open maybe the squirrels will come and steal them. 

Anyone know how to train a squirrel?

(I Googled it and got THE most random set of images.)

Sue xx

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Tidying for Winter ... and Potato and Onion Soup

Alan is in the process of tidying up around the raised beds on the vegetable patch and emptying some of the beds ready for putting them to bed for the Winter.  The four beds highest on the hill just a few potatoes left to harvest so he started off by digging them up, then after a good weeding the beds were covered in black plastic which he stapled round the edges to try and stop the wind lifting it.

These beds are going to be the asparagus and rhubarb beds for next year, two of each, so we want as much goodness as possible kept in the soil and not washed down the hillside with the huge amount of rain we get here every Winter.  That is also the reason for keeping the little compost bin in place for now so it can carry on feeding the soil.  The rhubarb will be transplanted through slits in the plastic in a couple of weeks when it goes dormant.  That way, hopefully, next year we will have a lot less weeding to do :-)

I brought the potatoes he dug up into the house, after he had very kindly washed them for me, and added a couple of handfuls of my huge spring onions from the polytunnel to them.

They were sautéed in olive oil along with some garlic, a sprinkle of chilli flakes and a couple of sticks of celery, before I added lots of vegetable stock.  Then it was all brought to the boil and left to simmer long and slow in the bottom oven of the Aga while we went out for a few hours.

Once home it was whizzed up with my stick blender and portioned out.  A jug full that we had for lunch today.  The glass bowl of soup that has been left chunky and has added peas, is for Alan's lunch tomorrow while I am in Manchester for the day, and the two two portion tubs are now safely stashed in the freezer for future use.

I have to dash now as it's time to deal with a vast amount of beans he has just harvested.  It's hard work this putting the hillside to bed lark .... I'll be ready for mine before he's finished at this rate.

Sue xx 

Monday, 18 September 2017

Yummy or Sludgey

My breakfast yesterday was this lovely concoction of colourful yumminess ...

... while todays was this tumbler of greeny sludge.

It might look a bit unappetising but it tasted absolutely delicious.

And the thing they both have in common is that they contain lots of things I have grown myself,  so they are full of satisfyingly homegrown goodness  :-)

Sue xx

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Freezer Inventory

I came across this brilliant freezer inventory on a website called Organised Home earlier, after a tip off on Facebook. 


They have the basic one you can just print out and write on, which would be brilliant for me when I'm out in the workshop at the big chest freezer, and also a version for saving onto your computer to fill in with your keyboard ... which would make it much neater and easier to read if your handwritings anywhere near as bad as mine  ;-)

Guess what I'll be doing one day next week then, and this time I'll try and keep it up to date and not let it fizzle out like it usually does.

There are lots of other very useful printables on the site too, including this weekly menu planner with built in shopping list. I've just printed myself one out, ready for next weeks effort to eat through the contents of the indoor freezer.

Sue xx

Friday, 15 September 2017

The Lingering Aroma of Vinegar

Yesterday I picked all the tomatoes that had ripened while we were away over the weekend and used them to make this recipe.

I didn't have exactly what the recipe called for but it was near enough.  Red wine vinegar instead of white, mixed pickling spices instead of all the two teaspoons of this, two teaspoons of that, dried chilli flakes instead of the four chillies ... and then I added a couple more onions and a tin of chopped tomatoes as it all seemed too liquidy.  

If this is tasty and I make it again I will definitely reduce the amount of vinegar I use.  It took almost FOUR HOURS of boiling to reduce the chutney enough for bottling.

  If you want to see the recipe click on the picture and it should enlarge.

But what we have got now is five jars of very rich tasting chutney stashed away ready for Winter use, and a house that still smells of vinegar!!

The stores cupboard filling up nicely, and the freezer is looking much healthier again too :-)

Sue xx