Monday 30 November 2015

Noise, Treats and Playing

It was a noisy week end with the odd moment of chaos thrown in.
Treats were on the agenda, one of the ladies at pottery had 1kg of clotted cream for me for only £1,
well cream teas popped on the menu Saturday afternoon. The remainder of the clotted cream is being put to good use, I will post later this week about that.
 Little fella spent the week end emptying my log basket over the floor  so I could trip over the logs
 Little lady spent the week end practising her smile
 and gurgles
 Big R learnt how to make butter
 supervised by one of the girls
 he was chuffed with his butter and I let him take it home.

The girls were down the cabin making Christmas decorations 

 Big O got into finger painting
 while daughter decided she want her baby to become the incredible hulk
Big O with his finished work of art done with hand foot and finger painting
Those green feet were behind some lovely Christmas keepsake gifts,
the one that as made for me is bottom right, it will be hung on the wall in a few days.

The weather was pretty  foul over the week end just as well I have a cabin full of things to occupy everyone, and with plenty of food in the freezers and cupboards no-one went hungry.
We did take advantage of having some extra bodies around to help move the chicken run onto fresh ground for them, when the little chicken house was moved we uncovered a rats nest underneath
mother rat ran off leaving 5 young couldn't have been more than a few days old, the chickens made short work of the young, much to the disgust of Big O,
 don't think he realised chickens can be so nasty.
Now the house is back to normal and peace reigns again.

Friday 27 November 2015

All A Bit Of A Rush

Tonight I have visitors arriving, roughly the same time Martin will be getting home, daughter partner and 5 grandchildren, there plans have changed for the week end so instead of just a one night stop as they were passing through, they are now passing and stopping for the week end.
They will need supper when they get here so I have knocked up some

 Cinnamon Buns, I made them using a crazy dough recipe HERE the instructions are also there for doing the cinnamon buns.
 Which I needed brown sugar for, there wasn't enough in the jar so I had to make up some more
A rummage in the freezer produced some puff pastry, cooked chicken and peppers
I rolled out half the block spread on some tomato puree, added the chicken and some peppers threw on some chunks of cheese into the oven until I think its done.
Also found some mini pasties and mini toad in holes in the freezer so have taken them out as well they can be warmed through in the oven when they get here.

Sol's bed cover was put back on all nice and clean he loves it here is a short video showing how much Sol loves his new filled bed

Right must shut the chickens, quick change of clothes then dash off to pottery, the fire is all laid ready to match too when I get back, the beds are all made, house is spick and span 

Got to go :-) 

Thursday 26 November 2015

What A State......

I thought it would be a good idea to wash Sol's bed today,
took the cover off and found this mess
 The lining was all torn open and the filling spilling out
while the cover was in the washing machine
I found some fabric run up a new liner and filled it with the original filling 

and added this bag of filling
 or was trying too but Sol was trying to claim his bed back.
A new liner with lots of filling I think Sol finds it really comfy
His old bones need a bit of comfort.
Just waiting for the cover to dry now, 
A lot cheaper than a new bed, 
The filling was £7.99 a new bed is about £40 

Got visitors arriving tomorrow, daughter partner and kids, so I have been sorting beds for them to and sorting out food.
In between I dashed to catch the post van parcel to send off, working at the sewing machine finishing more orders.
and after filling his bed with polystyrene beads I had a bit of an indoor snow storm to hoover up.

I have had a few people ask about Oca, its otherwise known as New Zealand Yams, there texture is similar to water chestnut, and the taste is similar, they can roasted, boiled, fried and eaten raw.
Easy to grow, they can be grown outdoors in the UK.
They store well and you can grow your next crop from a few kept tubers.

I was also asked how I choose and plan what to grow for the following year, I will be starting my planning in the next week or so and will do a post on it.

That's all for today folks, off for a cuppa and settle down to watch Ben Fogle :-)

Tuesday 24 November 2015

A Little Stirring Up

Last Nights stir fry
All the veg chopped up, Oca, Onions, Pak Choi, Garlic, Chillies and Mange Tout 
the best thing about it, it all came from the garden so only cost pence and time of course
 I marinaded the strips of venison, in soy sauce, sherry, cornflour mixed with a little water, the venison was  flash fried in some oil taken out the veg added stir fried then the venison was added with a dash of soy sauce and when taken off the heat drizzled with sesame oil
we had it served with fried green tomatoes
 I always wanted to try fried green tomatoes so did  a bit of an Internet search and found a recipe that appealed, you can only do so much chutneys and pickles, having them like this is a nice tasty way of using them up.
Martin got all the venison done including some lovely little venison chops and steaks.

Now a bit of information I want to pass on, a while ago I upgraded to windows 10, it worked fine no problems but this past fortnight I started having issues, pages freezing, laptop beeping randomly, cursor freezing, it was getting worse and starting to drive me nuts (more nuts than normal) I searched the web the other day for a solution and found one here solution  I followed the instructions and I am pleased to say all is now running great, it seems that the Realtek audio manager was having a conflict with windows 10.

Next bit of info, I read this on a blog today, saving money with your energy supplier, its a fairly new blog with great potential pop along and see if you can save money 
Fast-SOS Blog

I have put a new page on my craft blog, listing fabric off the bolt I have for sale bargain price so pop over and have a look

Now a little money saving tip from me
plastic bags, zip lock bags cost money so after using turn inside out give them a wash and re-use, I am sure you all do this already 
That's it for today folks :-)

Monday 23 November 2015

A November Harvest

We have had a couple of hard frosts which means its time to harvest 
Oca and Sweet Potatoes, the Oca have come from three plants I had left that I popped into a corner of the poly tunnel, we will be having some tonight added to a stir fry, they are such an easy vegetable to grow, I still have another 6 plants to harvest yet from outside, the ground is a bit sodden so they can wait until later in the week.
Oca store well and some of the tubers will be used for next years crops, they don't need peeling just wash and use. They can be eaten raw, boiled, fried, roasted which ever way they are a lovely veg.
The sweet potatoes are a good size and will make a lovely addition to meals,  we had some the other evening, very tasty, in the poly tunnel today I took out the tomato plants there was a few green tomato's, also I harvested 
Pak choi
Chili peppers
There were a few Mange Tout but I missed them off the photo,
there is still plenty of veg to harvest, Kale, Sprouts, Yacon, Spinach Swiss chard, Radish, Beetroot, Leeks, Lettuce, Broccoli, Cabbage, Jerusalem artichokes, there is more Oca to come and more PakChoi.
Creating some space in the freezer today we pulled out a big bag of bones 
 These bones all come from roast joints we have had
 to them I added some celery from the garden
 along with some leeks onions turnips carrots seasoning herbs
 its been simmering away for about 6-7 hours now I have a big pot of stock, some of the venison will have to be canned, the stock will be used for that, I will also reduced some down then I can dehydrate it, powder it and have it to hand to use as instant stock just add boiling water.
 I forgot to show the humus after freezing, once defrosted gave it a stir it tasted no different to what it did before it went into the freezer.
Today I put to good use a birthday present some fleece welly socks, being outside nearly all day they kept my feet lovely and toasty, wellies are great for keeping your feet dry but are useless at keeping your feet warm, I am now thinking of making some I have loads of fleece in the cabin.
Martin is butchering the deer at the moment, I will share that tomorrow, I now have the poly tunnel and green house all ready for winter, things are really winding down.
Soon the evenings will be spent writing lists and planning next years growing.
I love it cant wait :-) 

Sunday 22 November 2015

A Weekend Of Progress

This week-end saw progress being made and another couple of big jobs ticked off the list
A few back we made a start on getting the hedge out the front under control
 Before from inside the garden
 View from down the drive house is obscured
 The hedge was that high it was growing through the telephone cables
While I was out doing a craft fair, Martin his brother and girlfriend got the hedge down to a manageable height, we have left an Oak and two Ash trees in the hedge line, the rest of the hedge is made up from, Hazelnut, Hawthorn, Holly and Blackthorn, it will take a couple of years to get it all thickened up and shaped but wow what a big difference it makes, they worked all day at it through, snow sleet and hail and biting winds.
Unfortunately because of the weather yesterday the plans for re-roofing the utility room were put on hold.
Today we had blue sky and sunshine and no wind, our visitors were leaving this morning to do a bit of sight seeing on the way home, I packed them up some snacks and a flask.
Martin made a start on the utility room roof as the weather was perfect
 The roof consisted of corrugated sheeting
 Which leaked like a sieve, he now has the roof all boarded and covered in roofing felt, hopefully it will now be watertight, although this is just a temporary measure to see us through until we re-build the utility room.
While he was doing that I was washing floors and shampooing the living room carpet, I have been wanting to freshen it up for a while now and waited until today, after having two dogs with muddy paws this week end the carpet needed it.
Last week after squeezing the lamb in the freezer and giving a couple of cockerels a few weeks reprieve until some space could be made, the last thing I wanted was more meat
Look what Martin brought home
A deer, he gutted and skinned it with his brother yesterday, its hanging in the barn waiting to be butchered, tomorrows job.
I think it will be venison for dinner tomorrow, and I will have to have a sort through the freezers to see if I can make space for the rest of it. 
Last night we had a lovely roast of lamb, with curly kale from the garden and roasted Oca and Sweet Potatoes from the garden, 
It was really tasty unfortunately I didn't get, round to taking a photo
the kale was really lovely all the better for being frosted.
I still have a bag of it in the fridge and will use with venison tomorrow.
The craft fair went well, I sold out of a lot of lines I wont be re-doing them before Christmas as I only have one small fair to do now, I did also pick up some more orders yesterday, 
I now have enough money put by from craft fairs for my fruit cage that I will order in the new year.
I have just lit the fire Martin is walking Sol we are having a nice quiet evening sat with our feet up.


Friday 20 November 2015

Those Little Niggles......

We all have those little niggley jobs, that just seem to sit in the background and niggle you.
Well today I had a day of getting rid of those niggles,
Oiling the squeaky wheel on the wheel barrow
Going down the field to collect the bright green poultry feeder that blew there a few weeks ago in the wind.
Sorting out the shoe rack in the porch.
Finding a basket for the kindling
And so the list went on.
I was also trying to get organised for the week end
Martins brother and partner are arriving tonight, they are here to help with some work over the week end
Fingers crossed weather permitting it will be a new roof on the utility room, I will no longer be paddling in rain water,
I am out doing a craft fair tomorrow, so I needed to organise food for the workers
 Raiding the freezer I took out Mackerel for my dinner, its a yellow label I bought a few weeks ago
 One of our own smoked ham shanks, that has now been made into a big pot of soup for there lunch
 I made a loaf of bread to go with it, a rustic loaf this time.
 Making more space in the freezer I pulled out pancakes they can have for breakfast with bacon and maple syrup, A joint of lamb for dinner tomorrow evening, we will have some kale from the garden with it, I also pulled out the part used pots of humus that were put in there the other week
Courgette cake that was made back in summer and some pitta bread
So that's the week end food sorted out.
This evening I went to the second Clay Pottery session 
This time we were making Tiles, unfortunately Bovey Belle couldn't make it she will explain why I am sure on her blog.
I managed to do 6 tiles, using three techniques
I have to wait a couple of weeks to see the full effects when they are fired.

 leaving the class this evening, winter had arrived it was snowing, only lightly, and the temperature had dropped to 2c the fire was laid at home ready for me to put a match to, and it was toasty warm with the rayburn that was stoked up before leaving.

Wednesday 18 November 2015


Wow its been a wild couple of days, glad its all easing up again weather wise.
We got off lightly
 After getting back with Sol from his walk I noticed the Turkey shed had lost a window,
I grabbed a sheet of ply and headed down armed with the drill and did a quick repair, at lest they would be safe for the night so I thought.
When I went back out to shut them in along with the chickens it had just got dark about 5-30
I could Turkeys peeping I scanned around with my torch and found the turkeys all out in the field
A quick look at there run and I could see it had been demolished.
At that point the rain came down
So there I was in the rain and gale force wind trying to catch a dozen turkeys by torch light
Needless to say the air was blue it was not fun and not something I want to do again in a hurry
 I took these photos this morning
this sort of fencing is suppose to stand up to the wind its mesh
 so the wind should just blow through it.
 It was too windy this morning to deal wit it so the turkeys were left shut in until the wind died down
this afternoon I managed to do a temporary repair and they got a few hours outside.
 Walking Sol down the woods this afternoon, there was only one casualty, we have got off fairly lightly compared to other parts of the country.
Thank goodness I don't rely on electric for heating and cooking, we had lots of power flickers yesterday, but didn't have any big loss, many parts of wales lost power with cables down and some were still without this morning.

I am waiting for a Tesco delivery, I had £21 of vouchers to use also some money off vouchers and they sent me a voucher for free delivery and £12 off an on line shop
£48 of shopping for £12 a good saving all I have coming is lots of basics butter, milk sugar and such like.

P.S. my delivery has just arrived and there was a further £2.29 off the total with the brand guarantee, so now it is total came to £47.21 with discounts on vouchers it came to just under £10
 I can live with that :-)