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

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Last day of March

Already we are at the last day of March and the clocks have changed making the amount of daylight in the evenings feel wrong until I get used to it.  The weather has been practising for April showers and has been very windy.  In the pockets of sunshine, it has been nice and warm but out of them - brrrrr.

We went out to our minister's farm at the weekend to see the lambs and calves. Being a minister, he no longer has the time to spend on the farm that he had when he was a full time farmer.  They have 9 ewes and 3 cows.  The cows are mother, daughter and granddaughter with this year's calves and last year's calves.  One cow has yet to calve so there are 8 in total in the herd.  Because they are very much a family group, one cow will babysit the young calves while the other mums get five minutes to themselves elsewhere in the field.  The calves are just lovely.  They are Dexters so they are fairly small animals - just over a metre high at the shoulder.  The lambs are mainly white but there are some black ones too because they had some Zwartbles ewes a while back and still have one black ewe left. they are pretty sheep with white blazes and usually white socks too.  On an adult, the fleece fades to chocolate brown with the sun but when shorn, is still black at the root.  The other sheep are Suffolk crosses.  The lambs are just old enough to do that stiff legged springing movement that is so typical of young lambs.  Very cute!

Dexter Cattle
Redgate Zwartbles Flock 252's photo.

I've pinched the photos from the internet but they are both very typical of what I was looking at.

The visit to the farm was a church outing so I wanted to take some form of cake with me to share, preferably a tray bake that would cut up into lots of pieces.  I looked at my online file of recipes that I've saved and chose one that I've not made before.  It will definitely be on the list of ones to make again because it was so easy and tasted really good. I got it from Elaine's blog at MortgageFreein3.

Here's the link for Buttery Oaty Bites:

I didn't have any smooth peanut butter so I used the crunchy that I had in the cupboard and it added a nice bit of "chew". I was a bit unsure because they are not actually cooked other than melting the marg and sugar together but they were lovely and I had lots of compliments.  Definitely a keeper!

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Catch up

It is the middle of March and I saw a weather prediction for a warmer Easter. I think that I would like that! We have used far more wood this winter than we thought so we have already used wood that we thought might well be available for next winter. We have wood that is drying and maturing for next winter and some that is freshly cut that will be ready for the winter after.  We need to keep our eyes open for new opportunities for wood so that we don't have to pay for any for  long, long time.

I had a very nice Mothers' Day.  I hope you did too.  I don't like the family to spend lots of money on me - I would rather see them or at least get a nice, long phone call from them. My son and family brought me some flowers - a pot planted with seed and with three little seedlings poking their heads through. the tag read: for a blooming marvellous mum.  My grandchildren helped plant it and that is fun too. One daughter made a lovely dinner for us (lamb in a red wine sauce) and our other daughter came to eat too and brought a lemon drizzle cake and ice cream for dessert.  It was really nice to see them all.

At church, we have the tradition of sending every lady home with a bunch of daffodils on Mothers' Day so they are sitting in a vase here beside me as I type. They were tight buds on Sunday but now they have opened up into really beautiful double daffodils.  They are such bright and cheerful flowers.

I have made lots of trips to the little local supermarket in the hope of finding reduced groceries that I can pass on to our son and his family but all I have come up with are two packs of lambs liver and some turkey mince.  We will love them and they are now in the freezer but are of no use to my veggie son.

Said son ran a cookery course at his work which had a Mexican theme and brought us home some of the leftover ingredients.  Sometimes the sharing of booty goes both ways.  We were able to cook refried beans which I knew I would love but my husband was very suspicious.  I wish I'd had a video to record his face and tone of voice when he discovered that he liked them after all. He is so determined that he likes good British food best - like pizza and lasagne, I suppose : )

My hens are laying for England now but fortunately I have another new customer to take up the surplus.  I miss my old Bluebelle, though. She hatched in autumn 2008 and had started laying again at the end of February, which amazed me.  She was so old that I had not expected her to lay again but she is gone now.

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