Thursday, 30 July 2015

Cooking More Courgettes

We have visitors arriving tomorrow for the week-end, I don't want to spend the tie that they are here cooking and doing chores, so I have been trying to get ahead of myself, poultry houses have all been cleaned out today usually a Friday job, picking and preparing veg for the freezer, beds stripped washing done dusting done.
I made up a batch of Courgette and Garlic soup that we can have for lunch a good excuse to use up some of the courgettes, Its a lovely smooth creamy soup but no cream needed.
2lb of courgettes chopped
8-10 large garlic cloves sliced
2 onions sliced
2 pints of chicken or vegetable stock
tablespoon of butter
1/2 tsp of ginger powder 

melt the butter add the onions and garlic, cook until they are softened, add the courgettes
cook over a low heat until the courgettes are soft
Add the stock cover and simmer for 45 mins
remove from heat add the seasoning and ginger powder
blitz it up until smooth, serve with a nice crusty bread and sprinkle on some fresh chopped parsley
I had some for lunch today and it was yummy.
I have cooked up a batch of beetroot ready for salads at the weekend, tomorrow I will make some more bread and batch of coleslaw.
Make the beds up whip round with the hoover then I will be ready for visitors.
A little job for Martin at the week end is this
Up on the high end of the barn a Wasp Nest it seems to be growing daily and is now the size of a small football, I am getting dive bombed by wasps when I go into the barn for the animal feed, sorry about the picture quality I had to zoom in a lot as its high up, to high for me to deal with.
later on tonight I am popping next door with my bee suit to deal with a wasp nest that is in there tool shed its about the same size. 
Sol is staring a me and grunting it must be time for a walk :-)

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

When You Need A Wheelbarrow

When you need a wheelbarrow to bring your garlic harvest you know you are doing something right,
The garlic has done fantastic this year and there is more than enough to see us through until the next harvest.
This batch is Purple Wight nice big firm bulbs
 These are Massidrome an elephant garlic ideal for roasting whole
 These are Eden Rose and every day garlic
All the onions garlic and shallots are drying off in the open fronted barn, along with some of the fleeces that are there.
I will keep some of the garlic and shallots for planting out end of the year for next years harvest, I still have another crop of onions and shallots to bring in, I don't think I will grow so many next year.
Also in today's harvest
22 Courgettes
Half a bucket of peas
Half a bucket of french beans
2 cabbages

Next week I am going to pull out some of the courgette plants from the tunnel, they are taking over like triffids and other things need space.
The lentils are flowering a very delicate lilac flower
And the chick peas are in flower a pea shaped white flower
I would like to grow more of the chick peas and lentils next year I am considering a second poly tunnel but we shall see.
The peas I am harvesting are an old fashion pea they grow about 7ft tall, I do like peas that grow tall, not those silly 2-3ft peas that have flooded the market because it suits commercial growers, I find the old fashioned ones don't all come ready at once crop for longer and don't succumb to mildew so easily, when you think about it you may as well use the space growing up rather than loads of rows of peas, I get the peas from Victoriana Nursery. 
I took advantage of today's sunshine and extended the Turkey run as well they growing really well, I love the noises they make, they may not be the most attractive bird but they are cute in there own way.
The past couple of days has see us have lots of rain, which has meant time indoors apart from the usual feed rounds and dog walking, I have spent my time spinning and preparing fleeces for spinning, also going through some boxes that have come from the shop, storage jars, tool boxes, cleaning products the end is in sight thank goodness.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Courgette Recipe

The recipe I should have really posted it yesterday but didn't think anyone would be that interested.

Courgette Bhaji
roughly a 1lb of courgettes
a couple of onions I used red
plain flour
large egg beaten (I used a duck egg)
cooking oil
Curry Paste I used Garam Marsala (if you haven't go paste mix a couple of tablespoon of powder with a little oil what you don't use keep sealed in the fridge)
Mango chutney
garlic or fresh coriander or chili flakes whatever takes your fancy

Grate the courgettes and leave in a sieve or colander over a bowl for a couple of hours for the water to come out, then give them a good squeeze 
Chop onions and fry in a little oil until soft.
In a bowl mix the courgette with the onions, the beaten egg, tablespoon of curry paste, tablespoon of chutney and whatever seasoning you are going for about a tablespoon again, start adding flour spoonful at a time mixing as you go you want a thick splodge consistence 
heat your oil in a pan for deep frying, when it is hot a tablespoons of the mixture to the oil I do 3-4 at a time fry until golden brown
when cold you can freeze and re-heat in the oven 
They are not true Bhajis but its a great use for courgettes and they are really tasty.

Today was a day of catching up chores outside while the sun was shining
 I harvested some beetroot a nice haul these are thinnings there are still more to come, tomorrows job is to get them boiled up.
 I built a frame across one of the beds and fixed netting for peas, got the peas sowed and planted out some Kale, broccoli and sprouts, I also sowed some more beetroot spinach and chard in one of the beds were there was some space from crops that have been harvested.
 Made a start on a cinder path between the raised beds, just weed membrane and the cinders and ash from the Rayburn are then added to the top, I did the same for a path in the poly tunnel, over time I will get all the areas around the raised beds done it beats buying in gravel and makes use of the ash and cinders pile
I checked on the bee hives, we had an empty hive sitting in the apiary, I noticed some activity around it and upon investigation found a swarm had set up in there, but instead of using the frames that were in the hive they have built there own comb in the space were frames were missing, I will have to move the comb onto frames when we get our next fine day.
Martin is not home this week-end he has an open day at the fire station tomorrow, it seems like its been a long week so far, we have friends coming to stay next week end.
All that's left to do today is walk the dog shut everyone in for the night have dinner I have a curry in the oven.

Friday, 24 July 2015

New Doors And Harvests

When we moved here one of the things that I really liked was the doors downstairs
 I had a very good friend who likes to work with wood and I asked about doors being made for upstairs, our friend has come up trumps he arrived yesterday with doors and has been fitting them.
The new doors have been waxed to keep the beauty of the wood, they do give the house a nice cottage feel, at some point we send the doors from down stairs to be dipped and stripped then have them waxed.
I do love the new doors.

Today's harvest from the poly tunnel
 French beans, I only have 4 plants in the tunnel this is the third picking from the plants they have been chopped up and gone in the freezer.
 Yet more of the mange tout again it as been blanched and frozen
 The Black Russian tomatoes are really big boys there was a couple ready today now sitting in the fridge
 Cucumbers these have been sliced and dehydrated, they will be re-hydrated in vinegar with dill for instant dill pickles.
Courgettes plenty of those coming on I made some Courgette Bhaji today
They are really tasty, I shall make another batch up tomorrow to go in the freezer I also want to make some courgette soup, the rest of the courgettes will be grated and dehydrated for future cooking.
Tomorrow I must do some harvesting outside, everything is romping away its great being able to lay down stores, knowing we are now self sufficient in our own veg is good and there is plenty put away.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

New Life On The Ranch

Nick Nack is having to share his shelter at the moment with squatters,
A pair of swallows have set up home in the corner and dive bomb us and Nick Nack when we go near the shelter
 She isn't sitting on them yet still laying, I managed to pop my phone over the edge to get a photo
5 eggs and the nest looks like it has been lined with duck feathers.
This must be a second clutch of the year, we have already had clutches hatched around the place and there is lots of young swallows taking to the sky.

Daffodil looks like she is not far off giving birth
when I did the afternoon feeds I noticed she has dropped and her flanks now look loose and empty her udder is also starting to fill with milk. Her due date is 5th of August but can go 3 weeks either side I don't think its going to be long now before her Cria arrives.

I have been digging over the onion bed today, adding some more topsoil and manure

you can see the layers in the soil, the lighter colour is the original clay soil, when it was first dug over I lay on a load of spent mushroom compost, it has now had a layer of manure and topsoil added, the clay is now a lot more friable and there is plenty of worms
A good sign that the soil is improving, there were very few when it was first dug over.
I am really pleased with how the soil is improving, I want to avoid using manufactured additives to the soil, I am sowing some more peas in here that will help add some nitrogen then in the Autumn it will be topped with organic matter from the compost heap.
Last night while walking the dog I spotted this
Its the home of a spider 
It is about the size of a 10p and was in the bank 
I have no idea what kind of spider it is any one know ?

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Winkles and Prawns

Yesterday afternoon we took time off and took ourselves off to the sea-side
We don't have the time to go away for week-ends and holidays are a distant memory, an afternoon afternoon out is a lovely change of scenery,
We headed to Aberareon, a small fishing port between Cardigan and Aberystwyth, Down lots of twisty turny roads, we stopped to admire this tree
Decorated in fungi bracts you couldn't miss it right on the side of the road.
Aberareon is a picture postcard town
There was a warm breeze and plenty of tourists
 Sol was relaxing enjoying the sea air
Down on the beach we collected Winkles off the rocks
They were later cooked up and soaked in vinegar
The beach is a mixture of stones and sand there wasn't many people on the beach
Along the harbour there was lots of children crab fishing
We had a lovely wander around and stopped at a cafe for something to eat, 
A lovely prawn baguette a real treat, I haven't had one in over a year it was really scrumptious.
We then took a drive over to Llandranog for an ice cream, its our favourite place for ice-cream, then time for home to waiting animals with empty tums.


Sunday, 19 July 2015

It Started With A Bang

Yesterday morning I was having a cuppa still in my dressing gown checking e-mails, Martin was pegging out the washing, the sun was shining and the birds were singing all lovely and peaceful.
Then suddenly and almighty explosion, my initial thought was Martin had fetched his shotgun and it had exploded. he came running in the house while I was frantically shouting him thinking he had been hurt.
Upon investigation
We found this 3 bottles of Elderflower champagne had exploded there was shards of glass all over the utility room and Martin had been in there minuets before emptying the washing machine, I dread to think how he could have been injured.
That was the start of the day but it got better thank goodness
The first of the heritage tomatoes was ready for picking they are a lovely size
 I am harvesting half a pound of Mange Tout every other day again another heritage variety yellow pods and a lovely purple flower
 I am blanching them and freezing on trays before bagging them
The broad beans harvested this morning, loads of them from 16 plants, I don't know the variety as they were from saved seed, I have left a couple plants in with mature pods so they can finish off maturing and will be used for saved seed again, the broad beans have been trouble free, no staking and no black fly. Some of the beans will be frozen and some dried. Poddd they weighed in at 6lb
Some of the peas are ready for harvesting  and I have been picking some of the french beans also courgettes are still coming thick and fast. There is beetroot and Swiss chard to be harvested today as well. No complaints from the veg garden this year, now I have some space in the raised beds I am getting in more peas, beetroot and spinach and I have some Kale, Brussels sprouts and broccoli to plant out.


Saturday, 18 July 2015

Daughter Update

Thank you all for the well wishes and comments.
Just a quick update, she was having an operation on the wound yesterday afternoon, unfortunately the surgeon couldn't close the wound, she was sent home last night and has to return to hospital Monday morning were they will look at either a skin graft or growing some skin to close the wound, its going to be a bit of long haul, either way she will be left with scarring and an indentation on her thigh, she cant drive an extra pressure on her husband, just as well he has just started working for us so is able to take time off work.
She has now reported the incident to the police.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

This Has Angered Me !!!!!!!!!!!!

I dont usually bring family stuff to my blog but this had made me angry.
I got a call today from my daughter she was in hospital, she had been attacked by an Alsation dog while working delivering leaflets.

The dog owner didn't call an ambulance thought my daughter was going to call them, when she phoned them herself they talked her through what to do and asked if she could arrange transport to hospital, she phoned her husband at work to collect her, she then waited an hour in A&E in Milton Keynes before being seen, to be told they were not going to treat it and wanted her to go to Oxford for treatment, Martin took her to Oxford about an hour away,  they are operating tomorrow morning on her leg. They have her on a IV tonight.
The whole thing has left me fuming the dog owners lack of concern, the ambulance service and MK hospital.

I have spoken with my daughter she is alright in herself although very shook up.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

How Hot Is Yours

I was taking some grass cuttings off the compost heap today and the steam was rising, it has been hot for about about a week now so I took its temperature 
150F excellent this is the ideal temperature for killing off weed seeds bugs and other nasties
I turned the heap into the empty bay to get some air into it and bring the outside to the inside and vice verso, there was lots of heat coming off and steam
This heap wont be added to now, it will be left to do its own thing I will turn it a few more times.
Of course while I working with the compost heap who should pop up and start voicing an opinion
Lambert I dont think he approved of what I was doing as he likes to pop his head over and have a nibble at the grass cuttings on the heap.

Got the onions up today

There a few small ones and some really nice big ones, I need them to dry off now so they can be strung up, I still have another crop of onions to take up, I think we will have enough to see us through to next year.
A few more courgettes were picked
they now need harvesting every few days. There was some raspberries as well but I ate them while picking them.
There is mange tout and pakchoi to be picked but I am leaving them until tomorrow as I plan on having a stir fry tomorrow for dinner so want some fresh.

Its been a day of outside chores today, the sun has been shining a lovely day compared to the wet one yesterday, I cleaned out all 7 poultry houses they now have nice fresh bedding. Two loads of washing on the line and hoovered through downstairs. Deadheaded the flowers while chatting to a friend on the phone. 
All in all a good day :-)