Apologies for the lack of a blog last week, but Hubby was off and we were busy getting a few jobs done before Winter. It also happened to be the week that he gave up smoking and so it was best to keep him sweet and not sit on the computer while he was busy working!!
We managed to get a few clearing up jobs done and the weather is still being kind to us, I can’t believe how mild it is, we don’t even light the Rayburn until the evening as it gets too hot in the rest of the house! However I am quite sure that Winter will arrive with a vengeance any day soon. We also began to dispatch our meat chickens this week, we have 18 to do altogether and each one takes about an hour for one person to pluck, I would like one of those fancy plucking machines but at around £400 I don’t think that will be any time soon!! I try to do 3 at a time which is plenty long enough to be standing out in the cold with only the radio for company, occasionally someone brings me a cup of something hot, and stops for a quick chat, of course that’s not the end of it and the next day they all need to be gutted and prepared. It sounds like a horrible job but there is something strangely satisfying about presenting a bird for the table that you have reared, killed and dressed yourself. If anyone ever wants a lesson, let me know and I am happy to show you, you never know when the skill might come in handy 😉
The veg garden is all but at a standstill at the minute, there are a few things still to harvest and I have some Winter lettuce growing in the greenhouse but in all honesty we are not salad eaters in the cold months so they may go to the chickens. I have been busy carving pumpkins and the chickens love the insides and the seeds so no waste there. Even though my brood are all grown up we still like to mark Halloween (and all the other festivals) and have a family get together with Nieces and Nephews etc, tonight we will be eating hot dogs and baked potatoes, play a couple of games and sit round the firepit telling spooky stories while we toast marshmallows and do a bit of apple bobbing. I have not yet moved into the world of cupcakes, for me it is still fairy cakes with iced spiders!
I love the Autumn programmes on TV at the moment and have taken to watching Kirsty’s Handmade Britain, envious of all the craft making and wondering what I can have a go at. Then I sat and thought about all the things I have tried over the years and forgotten about, I usually bought the kit and it is probably in the loft somewhere, the list includes, Candle making, Lace making, Glass painting, Quilling, Flowerpressing, Calligraphy, even bath bombs which were probably the most succesful of my long list of dismal failures! Ah well maybe I will stick to chicken plucking and wistfully watching other people on the telly creating marvelous things. One of the thoughts I had for the farm was to have a space where craft and skill classes could be held, just think of the all the other things I could fail at, pottery, basket weaving, woodturning, wool spinning :p
The lambs all came back from the butcher and were safely delivered to the customers, it is always good to know how they did in terms of quality and I was informed that they were just right, good weights, not too fat, not too lean, so I was pleased that we had got it right. I have no idea how they taste this year though as our two are still alive and kicking in the field, and as we are not sure if the ram got at them before he went, they will not be going until well into the New Year just to make sure! We did however take delivery of our half of the cow which fitted nicely into the new freezer, it is very tender and delicious and the amount of meat you get is colossal. I felt I had to do the first roast some justice and we had it with all the trimmings, plus Apple pie and cream for pudding it was a superb meal even if I do say so myself 😉
I hate to say the word but, CHRISTMAS, is approaching faster that any of us would like, while I love the festive season, the amount of preparation leading up to it seems never-ending. Even though we don’t go mad at Christmas there are still presents to think about and purchase, food to prepare, some of it can be done well in advance, but I find that no matter how many mince pies you make, it is never enough for my lot. We are not religious but for me it is about the atmosphere of the day, the excitement of opening gifts, the hustle and bustle of preparing dinner for guests and the contentment of the evening when everyone is full up and happy, one day of the year that is dedicated to being together as a family, and so much easier now the children are older and don’t fall out!
Sometimes I actually do leave the farm, although not very often!! This time of the year I will be away more than any other time, luckily it is a fairly quiet time as far as work goes and so I am able to take part in a local Pantomime with the Acting Community Thingumybogs in Carterton. I first went along with the children about 15 years ago, they have long since given up but I am still part of the group. We have been rehearsing since the beginning of September on a Thursday evening but from this week onwards it will step up a gear, Sunday rehearsals begin as well as scenery painting evenings etc. This year we are putting on Hercules, not your average traditional panto, but then there is nothing average about our group!! Look out for the posters, the performances will be the weekend before Christmas so just the thing to get you in the festive spirit and I promise you wont be disappointed 🙂 All the money raised (apart from the the money needed to pay the insurance) goes to Save The Children, so you get a feel good factor all round!