Saturday, 30 May 2009

Farm Sunday 2009

Now an annual event here, with lots of farms opening up their gates so folks can have a look round; a great idea I think. This year I've been asked to do a spinning demonstration at Longburton Farm on the day, so Bean and I are really looking forward to that, should be great fun.

Here is where I'll be:

Friday, 29 May 2009

Meet Big Al the alpaca.......

Wish he was real LOL. The last Guild challenge was to make something from 100g of alpaca fibre, so I spun it and knitted an alpaca ofcourse! He was meant to be fulled, but my washing machine is broken down at the moment, so I've hand-fulled him a little, and he's had a spin in a friend's tumble drier :).He's still a bit wet, so out on the line in the sun for him! He's actually filled with fleece, so nice and squashy and cuddly. Maybe the hanging will elongate his legs a bit too.
He makes me smile LOL

Thursday, 28 May 2009

New chick

Here's a picture of our first chick that's hatched out; hoping for a few more, as Barbara is sitting pretty tight on the rest of the eggs; this was taken when she nipped out for a drink and a bite to eat.

EJ has christened her/him "dude" LOL

Recipe for a modern bonnet

Recipe For A Modern Bonnet

Two scraps of foundation, some fragments of lace
A shower of French rosebuds to droop o'er the face
Fine ribbons and feathers with crape and illusion
Then mix and derange them in graceful confusion
Inveigle some fairy out roaming for pleasure
And beg the slight favor of taking her measure
The length and the breadth of her dear little pate
And hasten a miniature frame to create
Then pour as above the bright mixture on it
And lo! You possess such love of a bonnet.


Found at

-- Anon

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Wild garlic and nettle ale sausages

I made the sausages yesterday, trying them out for supper tonight. They smell wonderful!!

2lbs lean pork, cubed
2lbs belly pork , cubed
4 slices stale bread, grated
about 1/4 pint or so of nettle ale
big handful of wild garlic leaves (ramsons)
plenty of seasoning - white pepper and sea salt

Mince the meat together, mix well for a good few minutes with rest of ingredients; should be of a soft, but still malleable consistency. Heat a frying pan with a little oil in and make a little pattie with a bit of the mixture; cook on both sides then taste, to checks easoning, and adjust raw mix if required. Fill sausage skins, leave to rest several hours before cooking. Freeze surplus. If you have no suasuge stuffer and /or skins, roll into sausage shapes with damp hands before resting them.

The left over garlic leaves were used to make a pesto - garlic leaves, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, olive oil, handful of pine nuts. Chop leaves, then crush all with pestle and mortar, adjust seasoning if required. Keep in fridge. Serve with pasta, ditted on pizzas, mixed into salad dressings, etc. Keeps you goin guntil the basil comes in, which won;t be long now.

It's lovely to make use of the wild things that can be foraged. I don't usually make lots of each thing from foraged stuff, as the shortness of the season adds to the enjoyment of the wild food I think.

Soap recipe

This is the recipe I used for the sunflower oil soap below, using elderflower water and lavender oil. It's adapted from the Sunflower and Calendula soap recipe in the book Making Scented Soap by Linda Hamblen.

4 1/2 oz/130g sodium hydroxide
13oz/375g elderflower water
10 1/2 oz/300g olive oil
1 lb 1 1/2oz/ 500g coconut oil
7oz/200g sunflower oil
1 tsp lavender essential oil

Make the elderflower water by steeping fresh or dried elderflowers in hot water until cool, then strain. Add the sodium hydroxide carefully to the water, stir to dissolve and set aside to cool. Warm the oils gently, and when the two preparations have reached approximately the same temperature, stir the cooled lye solution into the oils. Continue stirring to prevent splitting. When the mixture has traced, add lavender oil and pour into moulds; wrap and cure 4 - 6 weeks, then cut and store.

This is just a brief outline of the recipe and method - for further details on the process, a book is recommended; I like this book, plus the one by Melinda Coss.
Teh soap is looking good so far, and is hardening up nicely, a lovely creamy colour. Looking forward to using it.
Take care when making soap - the sodium hydroxide can be dangerous stuff; wear rubber gloves ang goggles, and make sure there are not children and pets around. Store it safely, and read all the insturcions on the container.

Happy soaping!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Honey cake

I made another one of these this morning, the recipe is from the lovely book "Apples for Jam" by Tessa Kiros. The smell of Scottish heather honey and fresh rosemary is lovely in the warm kitchen.............

Here's a rather nice photo for early summer, sun shining through the sugar maple.

It's pink - it's quilted - it's vintage..............

.............and it's mine LOL

I've waited a few years for one to come along now, not wanting to pay the prices on e-bay and similar. This one is completely original, with only one tiny patch which I will probably replace as it's in a rather unfetching shade of denim blue... It's pink and green floral Paisly apttern, chintz, with its original frill intact around the edge, a single quilt, so it'll have to be just for me LOL. Found on Saturday in a local charity shop for £4.50. I'll get it sponged down today, and off up on the line, as it's a hefty old breeze out there, which is ideal. Must remember to peg it on well, though!
Very pleased with that find.
I also got a book called "Santa Fe Style" which is very inspiring - lovely colours, interesting houses, lots of pictures of local crafts to give ideas.I bought a few plants over the weekend too, mainly from roadside plant stands, so not much spent there. Got a meadowsweet (filipendula) for the orchard, a little violet, climbing hydrangea (to replace the poor clematis the chickens ate :( LOL); other ones included a beautiful fern to add to the growing collection beneath the front hedge - this one is called a Tatting Fern, and looks for all the world like tatting done along teh stems. Fascinating little plant. Got a nice tray of house leeks (semervivum) too, to start off a green living roof on one of the sheds. Going to be busy...............!

Monday, 25 May 2009

Meet the neighbours..............

Well - two of them! Mum is unusual for this farm in that she is horned; the calf is very sweet, and scoots about all over the place along with the other youngster who is currently in that field with her mum, both pure Aberdeen Angus.

Sorry for break in posting - few problems with the computer, but luckily I have a couple of young geniuses here who have sorted it out for me. Just as well, as I'm not exactly au fait with such things, apart from panicking when I can't sign in to Blogger :0 Anyway, all sorted.
We had to give the boot sale a miss this mroning as it started out quite wet. We dropped Bean at her boyfriend's house and went off and di a couple of other bits while we were in town, by which time it was glorious sunshine. Ah well. I already got a HUGE bargain on Saturday in the charity shop, will post a pic of that little treasure tomorrow, it's rather gorgeous. I also procured, for only £4 the penultimate tree for my collection here - a walnut. Very pleased with that, bought from a lovely old boy in the indoor market. Last one I would like is a Bramley apple, but that will come when the time is right.
Still no sign of any chicks, but the other bantam is sitting now too; still keeping a close eye on Barbara, but gearing myself up for disappointment, especially after I painted the little ark *pink* LOl
It's been very hot here over the weekend, I got good and brown on my arms and shoulders; it was lovely to sit outside with a cold glass or tow, and I even amnaged to fit a bit of gardening in too. Will take some updated pictures of the new orchard and its smart fence (with a bit of local history attached), and the veg beds which are coming along well.
Hope everyone is well, and has had the lovely weather we have had.