Here we go!

The season of plenty is upon us and the crops are beginning to come in, over the next few weeks it will be glut after glut, a lot I manage to sell at the farm gate and the rest is processed in one form or another for use later in the year.

As I write this I am waiting patiently for Rhubarb, Orange and Ginger marmalade to reduce down, the smell is wonderful and it’s a very easy recipe, 750g of rhubarb chopped, two oranges peeled and chopped, an inch of ginger finely chopped, some of the orange peel finely chopped, and bung it in a pan with 1.2kg sugar, bring to the boil then simmer for 1 to 2 hours, put into warmed sterilised jars! Simples

The strawberries are beginning to ripen and so I have made a strawberry torte for pudding tonight, gluten free of course as it lends itself nicely to that with ground almond as one of the main ingredients. This is also a very easy recipe, 175g of ground almond, self raising flour or gf, sugar and butter, 1 egg and 1 yolk, luckily I had a double yolker so I figured that was the same! Mix the ingredients up until combined, then put half into a loose bottomed tin that has been greased and lined, it is quite thick so needs spreading, then put 450g of strawberries on top and finish with the rest of the mix, does not matter if the strawberries poke through. Cook for about an hour at 180 degrees, when cool dust with icing sugar. It will become a favourite with the family I can assure you.

Tonight’s tea will be the first this year of entirely our own produce, a day which I am always glad to see, pork chops, new potatoes, broad beans, carrots and asparagus, followed by strawberry torte, delicious. Growing your own comes with this warning however, you will never be a size 10!

We are in the process of fitting a new kitchen which I am very excited about after spending 5 years using only one short piece of worktop!
I am considering getting a food hygiene certificate then I will be able to sell the home made produce along with the home grown, this would be very useful as there are only so many jars of home made preserves you can eat in one year 🙂

These next few weeks will be a mixture of hard work and contentment in that order, there are so many recipes I want to try, some of them will work, others probably won’t but it will be a fun process. The possibilities are endless, however Hubby’s palette is not, another reason to sell it on if possible 🙂

The rest of the farm is ticking along nicely, the geese are just beginning to honk, verbally, not smelling! The ducklings are very nearly full grown ducks although a couple more months away from laying yet, the chicks I hatched out are all doing well and I have some particular favourites in the lemon Pekins, they are just too cute for words. The laying flock are producing well as are the point of lay birds that are for sale, the chicks we bought in to rear for the table are putting on weight nicely, they have been moved to the stable so they can run around and flap their wings, I will be moving them to an outside run as soon as I have time.

The wildlife is abundant, we have Swallows nesting in the stables, a thrush that continually makes an appearance on the fence, I have tried to see where she goes but she is very good at losing anyone tailing her. Lots and lots of little birds nesting in the hedgerows, from yellow hammers to finches, blackbirds to robins. The Blue tits must have fledged in that awful wet period, I heard them when they hatched but didn’t see them go, I am just glad that the dogs didn’t get them. We have a bee nest in the side wall of the house, I am happy to let them carry on, there will be a queen and her eggs then a few workers, it won’t get huge and so we should all be able to get along nicely (famous last words) the biggest threat they have at the minute is the dog trying to bite them when they fly past.

The weather forecast is set to be fair, we just look out of the window each morning, far more reliable than watching TV, good growing weather then with a bit of luck, it has been quite cold up to now and the plants have struggled a bit but should pick up nicely from here on in.

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