Grey and wet, but I don’t care!

What a difference in the weather, only last week we were enjoying the end of a beautiful Summer and this week suddenly Winter is upon us. We have had high winds and lashing rain, I don’t care as I said because at the end of the week we are off to the sunny Mediterranean πŸ™‚ this time next week we will be somewhere on the high seas sailing into a port, visiting Venice, Dubrovnik or the lovely islands of Sicily and Malta. I can’t say I will be thinking of you all back home, we have waited over two years for this holiday and will be totally immersed in fine dinning, relaxing and sightseeing πŸ™‚

Meanwhile, I have a lot to get done this week before the off, the sheep tags finally got sorted out and arrived, they have now been booked in for Thursday morning. The problem appeared to be that if I kept them over 12 months old they should have been double tagged, they make it a complicated system, why not just have one tag for always and a replacement if lost! Once they have gone that will free up another paddock for Winter use for the horses, although with just the small amount of rain we have had so far the place is beginning to get muddy already, oh joy 😦

For some reason the wildlife becomes more obvious at this time of year, this week the woodpecker is back pecking holes in the telegraph pole outside the back door, I spotted the Little Owl on the fence one morning about 8.30, I also saw the Squirrel running along the back fence, I suspect he is pinching eggs from the Orpington pen, as they have been laying well each day then none on the day I saw him so I need to pick up the eggs regularly from there until he goes into hibernation. The sound of pheasants can be heard most mornings in the nearby fields, October is the beginning of hunting season for game birds so it’s odd that they are more vocal now than all summer. The small garden birds are more noticeable, probably because the leaves are beginning to thin out on the trees or they need to come closer to civilisation to find food, whatever the reason it’s lovely to see them especially the tiny little Wren which is probably my favourite.

I have been collecting Walnuts from the ground all week long, the wind does a great job of dislodging the ones that are ready, I have been storing them outside in a Squirrel proof cage because they need to split before I can wash and dry them. Each year I try to find an easy and clean way to get this done so far without much luck, if you have ever picked up a Walnut still in its green case and opened it you will know that it stains your hands brown and it’s difficult to remove. I have tried leaving them in the greenhouse but they just dry out, leaving them outside on the floor but the Squirrel pinches them, cutting into them when they are still green but that stains your hands, so the idea this year was to leave them as close to a natural situation as possible for them to shed their outer case and hopefully the process will work, fingers crossed.
We are still having a small problem with young rats, although the cats have caught a couple this week and I have found one drowned in the water bucket in the sheep field. Two weeks ago they were pinching duck eggs from the front of the hut, I put a barrier in the way and also the bait box, that stalled them for a few days, then they decided to go around the back of the hut and steal them through a small hole in the back. I know this is happening because on a couple of nights they choose the biggest egg and it got stuck in the hole which meant they could not move any more through, I have now blocked up that hole and am waiting to see where they get in next!

I had some visitors one day this week which is always pleasant, especially when they come with a seasonal recipe πŸ™‚ my Dad’s cousin and his Wife popped in for coffee and gave me a recipe for Pumpkin cake and yesterday I had a bit of time to have a go at making it. There is only half of it left! It is a lovely moist cake that could easily be made as a Christmas cake and frozen ready for the festivities, I definitely think that is what I will be doing this year. It is quick and easy to prepare and only takes about an hour and a half to cook, if you want the recipe let me know and I will pass it on.

Rosie is in full use now, although she can be a bit temperamental at times, usually when I want to use the oven to cook, I find she is on a go slow, I love cooking on her but do need the reliable electric oven as a back up source if she decides not to play ball. Usually it is an external factor such as the wind that inhibits her, it’s not entirely her fault to be fair, the high winds effected her by drawing the heat up the chimney and so she was burning quite fiercely, the oven temperature went up higher than I have ever managed before but of course, Sod’s law, I was not using the oven that day!

I am leaving the farm in the capable hands of our eldest daughter, her boyfriend and my Mum, hopefully the animals will not run too many rings around them, they will all need a holiday by the time we get back I am sure. The freezers are full of all sorts of produce for them to use while we are away, although I have requested they don’t eat too many of the steaks from our shared cow that came back from slaughter this week πŸ˜‰ and please don’t wash the dog in my new bath!
I won’t be blogging for three weeks after today, yes three weeks, I told you we need this holiday, I hope all goes well this end but I am sure there will be plenty to report either way.
Got to get on I have a hundred and one things to do, Walnuts, apples and pears to sort out, washing and ironing to do, packing and cleaning as well as get on top of paperwork before I go anywhere. I will give you an update on Luna when I return, all the men have been having a good chuckle at our expense over the renovation of this caravan, but they will be laughing on the other side when we have done it and are sitting in her having afternoon tea with a full compliment of sandwiches and cakes πŸ˜‰

Half a pumpkin cake, cos we have already eaten most of it!

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