Good morning bloggers, it is a cold North Westerly blowing here this morning, making it very fresh indeed! We were up early, having a dentist appointment at 9am means action stations or we would never have got there in time. Luckily no treatment needed for another 6 months 🙂
I rather jinxed everything in last weeks blog talking about the horses and having a stable ready when needed for the ponies, that very night one of the livery ponies had to have the vet out! He spent a couple of days in the stable (the pony, not the vet ) on antibiotics and happily has now gone back out to the field. No real diagnosis as to what was wrong with him, just one of those things and a hefty vet bill for his owner!
On Saturday I went along to a Rayburn cooking demonstration, these are always inspiring and I learn something new each time I go, as the oven is usually hottest in the evening, because it is cranked up for the heating, I decided to make a batch of mince pies that night. This is the second lot I have made in as many weeks and they do not last very long in our house! We are gearing up for Christmas, although the day itself will start and end in the same way as every other day of the year. The animals still have to be fed and watered, then in the early evening they will all have to be put to bed again, they don’t know its Christmas day and would be very put out if we forgot them so no tipples untill after dark for us!! This years Christmas dinner will be all of our own meat in various forms and probably most of our home-grown veg, except potatoes which we have now run out of, we will even be eating our own Walnuts and Cob nuts, if only we could grow satsumas well over here we would be made up!!
The new batch of Point of Lay hens are still getting out everywhere, I need to clip their wings so that they can’t fly up to the fence and escape, the combs are beginning to redden up which means they will be coming into lay very soon and unless I keep them in I will have no chance of finding their eggs. I had a chap come to buy some yesterday, unfortunately they were not for him, he was having to replace them after his dog came bounding up to him with two chickens in his mouth closely followed by the farmer from next door :s . I have moved the young pullets from the pens up to the back paddock to live with the other Orpingtons, they were quite bemused and didn’t come out for a whole day, this will be the first time they have been out on grass and have no idea what to do, I am sure they will soon learn though. The pens are used to rear the young birds and become very muddy over Winter so it is best to get as many out onto better ground as I can, I still have a few old birds in one of them, they are past laying now but I can’t bring myself to dispatch them 😦 years ago they would have been eaten at the end of their laying life but to be honest there is not enough meat on them for one person being hybrids, so to kill them just because they are no longer useful seems a bit cruel.
I have ordered all the seed catalogues I need for next years veg, I may have a good go at growing some heritage varieties, a lot of these are not grown these days because of pests and disease but the flavour is usually far superior. A lot of the veg for sale in the supermarkets are of the new hybrids, they are developed for the mass producing growers because they can withstand blight or mould or burrowing insects but as you probably know they are very lacking in taste! One of the veg I will grow again this year is the Sweetcorn, the taste of it fresh from the garden is second to none, we are down to the last bag of kernels and I still bang on about how delicious they are even though they have been frozen! I was watching a program in the week and they were saying that pigs are making a comeback in the back garden, years ago most householders would have kept their own pig, when we moved into our last house in Carterton the remains of the pig pen were still there even though it had long been used to store wood. This turn around in people’s outlook can only be a good thing, getting to know how to grow your own veg again and rearing your own meat, I suppose things always go round in circles and a new generation will discover how good it all tastes, then the generation after will want it all conveniently packaged and ready to buy off the shelf!
Talking of pigs, we have decided to have a couple in the New Year, I have already put the feelers out and asked a friend to let me know when some will be ready. They are very endearing creatures and brilliant to have around the farm, they eat all the veg peelings and if you keep them long enough are very ready to hoover up windfall apples which in turn makes the meat taste superb 😉
Well I had better go and crank up the fire again, I bought a new cookbook from the demo, slow cooking, the best way to cook I think, put it all in a dish and leave it to cook for a few hours, it will be ready to eat when we get back in from the cold after doing the animals, perfick 🙂