This blog is mainly a rambling kind of diary of the transition from smallholderwannabe to smallholder.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

We've been away on holiday. Yay!! I thought we would not get away at all after our plans got flooded out but we've just come back from the Forest of Dean. We've not been there before. It was very nice but there were a lot of trees and not so many mountains. It was our wedding anniversary last week so we went into Wales and found some nice mountains that day. So we had the best of both worlds. We saw a wild deer twice and a woodpecker too. I've only seen deer at a wildlife park or on parkland before - not an actual wild one. We stayed at a cottage on a 17th century farm and it was beautifully peaceful. I really enjoyed it. We only went to the shops and into civilisation once and that was mainly to stock up on bread and milk.

My husband had completed the extra henhouse that he was building so we've moved one set of hens in and are pressure washing their house, disinfecting it and treating the wood with preservative. Needless to say they are repaying us by not laying many eggs because of the moving around. I'm glad to have the extra house because I now have somewhere to put a poorly hen away from the rest of the flock should the need arise - which I hope it doesn't. The last Poorly Hen house was made in a rush from a pile of scrap pieces and weighed a ton and has now fallen apart. This one is designed rather than thrown together and is more multipurpose. It hasn't cost much at all apart from the piece for the roof and also the wire netting for the run.

I've brought back some sloes from our holiday. They seem a little (but just "a little") under-ripe but are much riper than I expected. I thought sloes ripened in about a month's time but I came across these and so picked them. I got some elderberries too and there are some pots of elderberry chutney waiting to be labelled now. It took FOREVER to pick the elderberries off their stalks. And I only got 5 little jars for all that work - but I'm looking forward to trying some when it has matured a bit. I was thinking of doing a "hamper" for some people for Christmas so I put the chutney in small jars so I could manage to spread it round a bit and still have a little bit left for us. I know I'll be able to get my hands on some windfall apples as my daughter's tree is laden this year and we have a little plum tree at the allotment which has a good crop. I just need some good ideas for unusual things to make - and a further supply of small jars - and TIME.

One problem of making our own jams and chutneys is that a suitable supply of jars is hard to come by. Apart from big ones like the occasional mayonnaise jar. I like mayonnaise sometimes but my husband doesn't so I buy myself the occasional jar as I find it too hard to make it in small enough quantities for me to eat before it goes off.

The kitchen timer is about to go off so I must go and check my bread in the oven.


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