Saturday, 28 April 2012

Special Delivery

Hope you are all well. It has been another wet day. A good day to chat over cups of tea and coffee with biscuits in a warm kitchen with family and friends.
This week in the post I had a parcel arrive, it was lovely to receive it with 2 packets of special seeds in. Firstly, Chinese Asparagus Beans, these seeds are meant to grow to 6 feet tall and the beans themselves have a phenomenal growth rate of flower to bean in 2 weeks. The beans pods can grow 3 feet long (but better picked at 1 foot long for a good taste).
The other seeds are Purple Podded Peas that grow to 6 feet high, have very pretty flowers and are very tasty. I am hoping to get them tucked up in the seed compost tomorrow. Can't wait to see them grow, I will keep you posted.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Rain Rain Rain

We have had such a lot of rain the last week with puddles everywhere. The streams are all flowing in a hurry and are so high I cant get over to the meadow, well I suppose I could jump over the stream but I don't fancy falling in. The water is nearly up to the top of the village bridge, if it over-flows it will be a different route (the long way round) into town. We so need the rain but it is very extreme at the moment, how come when we get the heavy rain we get such strong winds as well, the kind that blows your umbrella inside out and makes you feel like you are going to take off like Mary Poppins. Yesterday we had hail-stones and then a few minutes later brilliant sunshine and then rainbows. With so much water it seems hard to believe we have a hose-pipe ban. But there is something so invigorating about walking in the rain when you are wrapped up and warm, the heady woody smell that is so fresh and earthy. Everything within days looks a healthy bright green and any seedlings in the greenhouse that had started to look a bit parched and pale light green are now looking strong and dark green.
The ducks are loving it and the ladies in the orchard hate it, they spend most of their time sheltering in the hen-house, this is when they tend to go broody in the dry, clean and warm meadow hay.
 Well hope you all keep warm and dry.
Sarah xx

Sunday, 22 April 2012

The Weekend

The weekend has been good. We have got the asparagus bed edging in place, we just need more sand and top soil to give them the best possible chance. I suppose its a bit like sheets and blankets to them with fertilizer being their breakfast in bed. We have put in Red Baron and White Sturgeon onions and more garlic which I have started in the greenhouse in little plugs pots, I find this works quite well as the cheeky birds dig them up. I have planted more lettuce and carrots. I didn’t know you could start to grow carrots in pots, but that’s what some gardeners seem to do so I thought I would try this, it makes sense to have them  growing in pots first I suppose a a bit like children  in nursery school, rather than sending them straight in at the deep end to big school. I have transplanted courgette plants into old tin buckets to give it a rustic feel to the kitchen garden. I have blood, fish and boned my roses and rhubarb so it will be well watered in by the heavy down-pours.
Well I am sitting in the orchard while tea is cooking, writing this with the birds singing after a big rain shower. The smell is lovely, earthy and sweet as the cloud burst on the freshly cut grass and now the sun is shining and the meadow steaming. I am having difficulty writing this as Shadow one of the farm cats wants to play and demands my full attention for some strange reason when I sit at this bench.

Shadow waiting on the bench 

Well tea is ready so thank you for visiting me and I hope you have a good evening.
Take care.

PS Thought you might like to see these pictures that I took when we went for our walk yesterday morning. So you can share with me and see why I love our meadows and fields. 

Blossoms on a tree that we thought had died

One of my ladies

Celandines or Marsh marigolds


A lovely little corner of the hay meadow

Daisies I love these with the pink edged petals

Down by the dew pond in the meadow

Mitten joining us for a walk

Friday, 20 April 2012

The Kitchen Garden

In the kitchen garden I have planted my seed potatoes (Duke of York). Each day I search for signs of new baby leaves emerging. It looks very neat and tidy without any weeds but now we have had so much rain I'm sure the weeds will jump up to say “hello”.
I have planted 2 rows of broad beans plants that I have had growing in the greenhouse and tied them to little willow sticks that I have cut from our hedgerows last year. It has been very windy here so I don’t want them being bullied by big gusts of wind and thrashings of rain. It is possibly not the best time to have transplanted, but I thought they might do better with natural rain settling them in.
I have a few rows of garlic planted; some I have bought from the supermarket which I thought might be successful and also 3 elephant bulbs. I have never tried growing these before.

Garlic growing in the greenhouse

Freshly planted in bed

 The kale has started to go to seed but I will definitely grow it again. It’s been so good in stews, raw in salads and lovely in omelettes and quiches. The girls in the orchard love it also they rush up and snatch it before I have even let go of it.


Lovely Purple Sprouting Broccoli
The purple sprouting broccoli is in full growth alert with plenty to be picked on each plant. I have been boiling and steaming it. Boiling makes it loose it colour so I thought I would give a try at dying some sheep’s wool or interlining to see if the colour will catch. I do enjoy taking my trug and picking a basket full. I have also put a few batches in the freezer.

The rhubarb is growing well and we have had some tasty crumbles with it. It has such a lovely bright green leaf with eye-catching red stems. It looks so pretty with puddles of fresh rain collected in the robust leaves. I have had one plant where I have had to remove a flower head. Hopefully it will produce tasty stems.

Well we have lots of plans to be in the garden this weekend but think we will be dashing in-between April rain showers. These cloud burst make good stops for a nice cup of coffee while planning where the spade and fork will dig next. Will be in-touch soon. Have a super weekend. Take care and enjoy life.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Birthdays, Biscuits and Bunnies

Oh what clever girls

I hope you all had a Happy Easter. I had a really good time it was my birthday during the holiday, yes another year older and another day where I was spoilt by the special people in my life. It was a bitterly cold day, but with the sun making its debut first thing and a brilliant show of stars later in the sky in the evening, the day was just how a birthday should be. I had some lovely presents, breakfast in bed to start with which is a special treat. We had a trip to one of the local markets which was good to be able to buy local produce and chat with the stall-holders. A very tasty meal at a local traditional Pub with my lovely mum and dad. I spoke to goldilocks and the 3 bears (my daughter and 3 sons) throughout the day. Then had a leisurely evening watching some of my favourite programmes on the TV.

The next day I made lemon biscuits and wrapped them up as gifts for the family and friends. Made some bunnies out of curtain inter-lining, it makes them so soft and it is easy to dye. Just leave in cold tea overnight for a flesh tone. They are not dressed yet but I am working on making them some clothes.
Easter Sunday was a family get-together day with my sister and her husband and also our son and his wife (the newly weds)  came over for a good old Sunday roast leg of lamb. I also tried  a new recipe for Yorkshire Puddings they turned out wow - its a really good recipe. For those that would like to try it I have copied it out below for you. I know it seems a lot of eggs but it really does work.

Yorkshire Pudding Recipe 
260g Plain Flour
1/2 Pint of Milk
6 eggs
Cooking oil to put in muffin tin

Put everything in a mixing bowl
Whizz with a hand blender
Strain through a sieve
In a muffin tin fill all sections except for the middle 2 with a small amount of cooking oil. Let it get smoking hot in the oven. Then add your mixture filling up to the rim. Go and have a nice cup of tea for about 20-35 mins. Open the oven door and hopefully everyone will say wow. ENJOY
Oven Temp 200c

Lovely presents

My little Easter display