Cranberries, Oca and the bloody fox again. 

Monday: Still a North wind but not as cold and at least it’s sunny, a decent day for November I reckon. On my morning rounds I found a beheaded goose in the large paddock, we were hoping that these three males would be able to fend off a fox attack but clearly that is not so. After picking up the body which was probably too heavy for the fox to drag over the wall, I found the head and then set about making the pig ark into a secure hut for the remaining two, these will have to be shut in from now on. While I was about it I decided to make the front goose hut more secure as well, it’s getting to the time of year when foxes get hungry and so the more I can deter them the better. I also put clean bedding in for everything and took a barrowful of hay for the bunnies.We were given some old tools and a workbench, which I immediately put to use putting new heads on broom handles, the simple things give so much pleasure lol, normally I would have to precariously balance the handle somewhere while trying to screw the head on, not anymore, and I can’t tell you how stupidly happy that made me 😁😁😁 

It was a bit of a rigmarole getting the geese to go into their new abode, after three attempts at herding them in I decided to wait for John to come home and help, three more attempts and numerous times running round the field in the dark and we finally caught one then the other and secured them inside for the night. Chilli for dinner tonight, mince and potatoes for John and left over apple pie for pudding. 

The evening topped off by two walkers in hi vis with a flashing walking stick coming up the drive at 9pm to buy eggs! The dog was going berserk, maybe I am going to have to close the gate so we don’t end up as a 24/7 😝

Tuesday: Another cold hard frost, last year I could count on one hand how many frosts we had all winter long, this year we have have three already, I prefer a cold hard winter to the wet, soggy, muddy one of last year. The geese survived the night in their new home, although we know the fox was around all night as the dog was continuously barking. It’s raining leaves this morning, after the frost the trees are shedding and they are falling in such numbers that you can actually hear them, lovely carpet of colours on the ground as well. 

Lit the Rayburn early today as it’s flipping freezing, made the most of it by getting dinner prepped, chunky roast chicken and veg soup, using left over roast chicken, I always freeze the carcass and remains to use in soups at a later date. I must admit we will eat a fair amount of stews, soups and casseroles in various guises over the colder months, you need something hearty and warming after a days work. 

As I had picked up some cranberries in the shopping last week ( I have a plant but as yet it has not produced anything) I thought I may as well make cranberry sauce and freeze it ready for the big day, it’s very easy to do, smells amazing.

300g cranberries

1cup sugar

1/2cup water

1/2cup orange juice, I used fresh squeezed orange 

Shake of cinnamon 

Simmer for 10/15 mins until it breaks down 

Cool and freeze, will keep for a week in the fridge if you want to make it in the run up, or freeze and get it out the day before you need it. 

The midwinter feast as I like to call it, is a serious affair in our house, it’s not just dinner it’s a celebration of good food, family and something to look forward to and brighten up the dark days of Winter. Most of what we will eat is home grown or homemade and the table setting is equally important, and as I have decided to slightly alter the table decoration this year, I have spent the evenings on Pinterest forming the look I am after, it will be exciting putting it all together on the day. 

Had to chase the geese around the paddock in the dark again tonight, and physically catch them to put them away, I won’t need a gym session for a while 😝and John got a whack on the nose from a wing 😜

Wednesday: So America has a new president this morning, makes no difference to the morning routine, except it was a little later as I watched the story unfold in breakfast tv. All was well in my little Kingdom overnight, the rainfall was more than I expected though at least an inch judging by the various buckets and bowls around the farm. Obviously it’s slightly warmer today if a little tacky underfoot. I checked the rat bait boxes on my way round, few signs of the bait being eaten in most boxes, one or two need a refill. 

Thursday: Sunny today but with the rain yesterday a little sticky underfoot. After the usual jobs, I set about burning a bit of rubbish and doing some tidying up, leaves blocking drains that kind of thing. Then I decided to harvest the Oca, unfortunately I read up about them after I dug them up and discovered I’d done it to early😝 I was under the impression that they were harvest as soon as the tops collapsed from frost but it seems they keep growing for a couple of weeks after that so I’ve done it too soon. Not to worry I still have a harvest of small tubers to use and will try better next year. Oca are a relatively new veg to the Uk but one that is growing in popularity, they are easy to grow and very versatile, boiling, roasting, mashing or raw in salads, they don’t need peeling which is just as well as they are nobbly. They are nutritionally similar to potato but higher in Vit c, when you dig them up there will be small ones left behind but that’s ok they will be ‘self setters’ for next year, they are not invasive and so fairly easy to contain in a designated patch. 

They come is various shades, the variety I grow are cream coloured. 

Friday: Another frosty morning, thick coat and gloves but the Sun is shining so it soon warmed up. Paperwork day so not much going on outside today. Visits from the grandchildren ( and their mothers) and a lovely friend, just as the friend arrive a fire engine went past in the lane with its blue lights and siren going, ooo a fire engine I said, yes there is a large plume of black smoke out the back of yours she said, so we went off up the back to investigate, I was most relived to see it wasn’t actually us on fire! The fire was in the next field, a bonfire I thought and I’m not even sure if that’s where the fire engine went but it was an interesting interlude to the afternoon. 
Saturday: It rained heavily, that’s all I have to say about that! 

Yet another late night customer for eggs 10.30pm!!!!!!!! Really gonna have to do something about it. 

Sunday: A lovely day, temperature is ok, not cold, did the morning stuff and noticed that I was a duck short in the back paddock, a quick look round confirmed it as a pile of white feathers were in the grass. The fox had done a daytime visit sometime yesterday, so we made a stable ready and herded the ducks down to the stable block, this will actually make life a bit easier as we can put the geese back in that paddock where they will readily go to bed without being caught each night. Cleaned out the main duck house and helped hubby split a big pile of logs with the splitter. Did a bit more clearing of the hedgerow and conifers and then decided we were hungry so got changed and went off to find a Sunday Carvery, (must do that more often) came back and time to light the fire, quick Hoover, feed the chickens and put out the eggs, John loaded up barrowfuls of logs to put away to season and tided up a bit out the back. All in all a good days work I would say and a good end to the week 😀


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