Showing posts from April, 2009

Tragedy and trauma for Thursday

Today I have murder in my heart, yesterday when I went up to the chickens I suddenly remembered that in all the tiredness of the previous evening I had forgotten to lock them in. Well that turned out to be and expensive error. The hen run looked like there had been a snow storm and all four hens lay dead where the fox had left them. I would not have been so unhappy if it had take one to feed it cubs, but no, it just killed the lot and left them there. Sadly I just gathered them up and put them in a bag and put them out for the dustmen. I was not feeling up to plucking them and boiling them for the dogs. So a total waste and what a start to the day. Am I pro hunting you bet your sweet life I am.

Anyway, enough of that I went shooting and shot an average round the cold was making me feel a bit light headed so I was pleased to hit anything. We came home and had a nice lunch, a starter of pigeon breast and a plate of spaghetti carbonara. Once I had cleared up it was off to bed fo…

Wednesday and bin day

Rose canary bird in flower. This is one of the first roses to come into flower in the garden the others don't usually come into flower until June. It is still a young plant but making good progress. Talking of progress Basso did well again last night at gundog training and is learning to do what he is told rather well. It was a long session and we got pretty cold and Sheila didn't give in until it was very dark and the mist had rolled in over the fields. It was nice to see so many people there we had 4 trainers as there must have been about 40 people with their dogs. We were promoted from the puppy class to the novice class which was pleasing and I now have plenty to work on this week before I go to class next week. One thing I have to teach him is how to jump over obstacles so I will have to make an obstacle course in the garden to practice on. I have also put my name down for a day course in dog first aid. I am hoping that this will be useful if the dogs ever get in…

Tuesday and the sky is blue

The tree peony is in flower and looking very lush despite the butchering I gave it in the autumn. Yesterday was a pretty quiet day I got the dogs out good and early before the rain started, it then rained on and off for most of the day. I busied myself in the kitchen - firstly I made some nettle tea with a handful of nettles that I picked while walking - the taste has something of asparagus about it and is not unpleasant. Why? you ask yourself - well I think I am trying to get a cold and it seemed like a good idea!!!! I marinaded some lamb chops for diner and prepared the vegetables including a large pan of mash which I put through the ricer and then put into containers ready for the freezer. Today is going to be difficult as it is dog training evening and we have to leave at about 6pm and don't get home until 10pm which kind of makes diner a difficult meal. I think this calls for high tea and supper but what to have I need to think about. Perhaps toast and some of the copiou…

Monday morning

The queen is caught and marked and all seems well with the bees. The photo is taken through the dirty shed window so the quality is not much good but I thought you might like to see what was going on. She is laying well and so the colony have been given another feed just to help them along. Terry brought me a new hive but it is in flat pack form so that is going to take a bit of effort to sort out there are instructions but the pieces are not so easily recognisable. It looks like a bundle of sticks and planks. Today the forecast is for heavy rain it was supposed to make it here over night but as yet we are still dry. I think the dogs will need to be got out for their walk early if I am to stay dry. I sorted the pigeon out and was delighted to note that I had shot it straight through the back of the head and it was killed outright. Strangely the rest of the pigeons avoided my garden yesterday and the leaf buds on the three are safe to develop and unfurl. Today, I have some tree lilies t…

Sunday and a day of rest

Good morning everyone - well what a day I had yesterday - I got up feeling unwell and did not improve with several doses of caffeine, but I decided that there was nothing for it but to soldier on as I has so much to do. All the fish got smoked but the salmon is not a success as I didn't leave it long enough in the cure and consequently it is soft and pappy. It is however not a total write off as I will make it into salmon pate and the like so it is not wasted. The trout and the haddock however have worked very well. We decided that neither of us felt very well so it was a day for Jewish antibiotics in the form of chicken soup. Mike went and did the shopping while I got on with the stew and the the bolognese sauce and smoking the fish.

My friend then rang to ask to borrow my sewing machine as she had to make 2 Greek dresses out of some bed sheets for the children's school play. Well as you can imagine we had some fun making these as she had inadvertently bought fitted instead of…

Saturday and we are forecast showers

Morning all I am up at stupid o'clock again feeling like death but too scared to go back to sleep as the last time I did that I ended up with a terrible head ache which lasted all day. We had a lovely time with our friends yesterday but I did have to keep a close eye on Basso. Fortunately he was pretty good with the exception of finding and eating a toilet roll while we were eating lunch. It makes a great deal of mess but at least it is only paper which is easy to clear up. Louise was not feeling very well so he was spared the ring craft class. We had a nice walk along the crest of the north downs at Bluebell hill which affords you a view over the entire valley and on a clear day you can see the south downs. The only draw back is that it is a bit windy as you are so high up and exposed. I though I would have a change from photos of flowers and show you my 12 bore it is not a very good photo but you get the general idea. Today I have loads of fish to deal with - I have brined the …
This is the clematis that is growing in a pot on the flat roof and as you can see it is just a mass of white blooms. As yet it is not very big but it certainly gives you your moneys worth in flowers. I managed to accomplish most of the chores that were on my list yesterday including mowing the grass so I felt quite pleased with myself. The new bulb is in the filter in the pond now all we have to do is wait for the water to clear. The runner beans are now in the glass house which has reduced the number of area that I need to check and water. Today we are going out for lunch and I am not sure yet if Basso is off to school tonight or not. He has been very tired following the gun dog session but after a couple of days rest I expect him to be full of beans today. My youngest son rang to say that he is at last going to go back to work on light duties and after 6 weeks of enforced rest I think he will be glad to get back to normality. I will also have to ring Terry [the bee mentor] and…

Thursday and onother sunny one

Very late this morning it is nearly 7 a.m unheard of for me. I was pretty tired last night and slept like a ton of bricks. The shooting went well and I managed to shoot a 9/10 on one stand which I was very happy with and it made my over all score look a bit better. Lunch went down very well and I can confirm that salad nicoise works very well with salmon and a few anchovies for added punch. By the time we had finished lunch and had coffee it was 4pm so the day was all but done. Basso was very tired from his late night and was more than happy to sleep in the car while we went shooting. He is fast getting to the stage where I will take him round with us for the practice. Shiona is off to France for a fortnight next week so we will be down to two for shooting.
Today, being Thursday, it is the wonderful Jane so the house will be nice for the weekend and I will be free to get out into the garden and carry on the relentless chores. I must admit that the garden is looking pretty good at the …

Wednesday and bin day

Well last night was gun dog training and I was really tired after a good day in the garden but I braced myself and decided to go anyway.
I am so pleased that I went Basso was brilliant and the trainer could hardly believe he was the same dog. She had obviously made an impression on him as when she came close he scuttled round behind my legs for protection. He did everything that was asked of him walking quietly at heel while we weaved in and out of the other dogs and sitting stock still while the walked all around him. We finished up with the dummies being thrown and the dogs sat without their leads and asked to stay, he didn't move a muscle - what a star. When we got home he was so tired that he threw himself in his bed and became unconscious in moments. I must admit he was not the only one who was totally knackered. You can imagine my joy when next doors cat started howling at 5am just what I need as today is also another busy one as I am going shooting. I have cooked all…

Tuesday morning and getting warmer

Feeling a bit more like a human being this morning and up much later than usual - I wonder if my silly early rising is gradually changing. Anyway 6am is so much better than 4am at least it is light but we are bathed in a thick mist.
Yesterday, was a beautiful day without the cold wind it was quite warm and very pleasant. I managed to get some weeding done though nowhere near as much as I had hoped. I seem to get bogged down in the trivia of the day and shopping always takes so much longer than I think.
Basso, who has been very good lately, has just decided to have another purge on excavating the garden and has dug a huge hole in the middle of the lawn and move about half a ton of chipped slate. I feel that he is not solely to blame as he missed out on a good walk yesterday and is just too full of beans to contain himself. Young adolescents are always difficult and need to be kept entertained or better still exhausted. Anyway I have learned my lesson and will take him for a good …

Monday morning blues

Morning all, I am very late this morning and feel like a dish cloth at present. I'm sure I will perk up as the morning progresses and the caffeine kicks in. The sun is trying to shine through the clouds and the wind seems to have dropped. The photo is of one of the two patches of rhubarb in the veg garden and I think it is time to start pulling. I have a passion for rhubarb especially with stem ginger. Yesterday morning I took the dogs out bright and early down to the river and as it was cloudy I assumed it would be relatively warm. How wrong I was, it was freezing with a wind blowing straight from Siberia. Needless to say the dogs were completely oblivious to the cold. While I was down there I noticed that there were acres of newly sprouted nettles so I set to and picked a small bag full with which to make nettle soup. Fortunately, I had some really strong chicken stock or the soup would have tasted of nothing. The last of the roast chicken ended up in a souffle for supper it…


Well the sunshine finally made it to us and we had a glorious afternoon. I managed to get out into the garden and did a bit of work in the chicken run which was in need of a good clean. Then it was on with the weeds that have been growing just as well as the plants. I found a patch near the pond where goose grass had established itself in profusion so that was the most urgent task and I'm glad to say it is now done for the time being. The electricity supply has been restored to the garden so all the pumps and filters in the pond are now working but sadly the water has got quite green in the days that it was turned off. The roast chicken lunch went down very well and I now have some bones for stock and the two breast to have in some way today. I haven't decided yet what I will do with them but I have both mushrooms and some cream so I don't think it will take much thinking about. Anne, I was interested in your idea of joining your husband at the cricket at least that w…


Talk about April showers, we have had a bucket full of those and now with any luck we are in for a period of sunshine and increasing warmth.
I was glad that I got out early with the dogs yesterday as it rained most of the morning so at least I got it over with bright and early. The new hat was terrific and not only did it keep my head dry but it also kept the rain off my face. The only draw back is that water builds up on the brim and when you bend forward it gushes off usually all over the dog. My list of gardening chores just seems to be getting progressively longer but now that the weather is improving I should manage to make some head way with it. I am leaving the bees alone for a couple of weeks to allow time for the new queens to get mated before I go in and try to identify them and mark them and perhaps clip their wings. Which should prevent another swarming episode. I think this might be a more delicate job than clipping the chickens wings. Today for lunch I am going to roa…

Friday morning is here again

Columnar flowering cherry tree now in full bloom.

Doesn't the time fly suddenly it is the end of the week again. Yesterday, I decided to provoke the Gods and hang some washing outside. Well they soon showed me who was in charge the heavens opened and it poured with rain so it was all back in again and into the tumble dryer. It continued to pour all morning so all my good intentions of getting some gardening done were scuppered. I did however manage to get some begonia tubers planted in a tray. They were a free gift with some giant lily plants that I ordered which as yet have not arrived.
Today I am going to give it another go and try to get some washing out and hope that the rain stays off.

I watched professor Regan last night and thought the program was dumbed down it did come up with the conclusion that there is only one way to loose weight and that is to eat fewer calories than you burn. Well I think we all know that already - certainly all the WLR members know that that is the o…

Thursday and the week is nearly over

I thought this photo might amuse you. I am fast asleep and my pack have come to join me while I have my siesta!!!!
Yesterday was a bit of a mix up with the bins after I had put them out I realised there had been a Bank Holiday and the bin men come one day later. This meant taking them back in as the local cats and crows rip the bags to bits if they are left out. Today I will try again!!!! Shiona and Mary came to visit and we went to the local cash and carry where I have tried to become a member. This meant filling in loads of forms but we were then given a day pass to go shopping. We were like kids in a sweet shop!!! while we were away Mike took himself off to the hospital to get his chest X ray and now we wait up to 3 weeks to get the results. Tomorrow he is going for his Glucose Tolerance test which is going to be a bit of a bore and I will run him there and pick him up which will save on the exorbitant parking charges. I had plans to do some gardening but never got round to it…

Wenesday morning and Bin Day

The Korean fir has developed loads of little cones which at the moment are red in colour but will turn a bright purple as they mature and grow.
Yesterdays planned gardening got put on hold as I had a couple of errands to run. Firstly I had to go an buy another thousand cartridges. The gunsmith is in West Malling which is about three quarters of an hours drive away so we combined it with a trip to Staplehurst to pick up a tray which has been re-silvered. It was a wedding present for Jeff the brother in law and had been polished down to the brass. It really looks splendid now so I hope he will be pleased with the results.
After giving the kitchen a good clean I made the salmon souffle for supper and much to my delight it turned out really well. We had it with a portion of spinach from the garden which made a nice light meal. I did manage to get a couple of loads of washing done so now I have plenty of ironing to keep me occupied. The promised rain did not arrive until the late evening whe…

Tuesday and no change in the weather

The photo shows me going for a walk with the dogs in the Rendlesham forest while we were away in the van. The strange light you can see is called sunshine something that we don't seem to have seen since we returned. Well that's Easter over, the leg of lamb was delicious and I have plenty left to make a shepherds pie. We took James home last night and the journey was lovely as it was like a Sunday with little traffic to slow us down. I sent him back with a dozen eggs, some frozen stew and home made pies so he will not starve. Not that that is a real worry as he is quite a competent cook. Having looked at the weather forecast for this week and found that it only going to deteriorate I decided to mow the grass while I had the opportunity so it got a quick hair cut yesterday. The patch of lawn is small and is quite a mess where the beloved Basso has made modifications, at some point it is going to need re-turfing but not until the boy has finished his gardening experiments. …

Damp and dismal Monday

The Amalanchia at the end of the chicken run has burst into bloom, but as you can see it is still very damp and dark with no sunshine.
Yesterday stayed mostly dry but misty all day there was not a breath of wind to blow the cloud away. Today looks much the same and if the weather forecast is to be believed it is only going to get worse as the week progresses. We took the dogs for a run and Basso managed to jump into the car both on the way out and back so I think the penny has finally dropped. Today we are going to have the leg of lamb with roast potatoes, swede and carrot mash and peas. The I think I will make a bread and butter pudding for desert as I have half a loaf of stale bread and loads of eggs to use up. Anne how did the Yorkshire pudding turn out? The only really critical factor I have found is the heat of the fat before you add the mixture it needs to be smoking hot. The more egg in the mixture the more they rise - my standard recipe is 2 eggs, 4oz flour to about on…

Easter Sunday Morning

The garden is looking good despite the neglect and Basso' copious pruning. It would have helped if I had removed the brown wheelie bin before I took the photograph but never mind. Thank you all for you good wished I am feeling 100% again and what ever struck me has passed.

Today I have no plans other than to take the dogs for a walk and generally relax. The washing and ironing can wait for the better weather. It is still damp and dismal with the odd showers of rain so not really a day for being outside.

We had some very nice venison that I bought in Suffolk for supper last night and today we are going to have a seafood risotto for lunch and some veal chops for supper, again bought in Suffolk. Veal is almost impossible to get locally so I always try to buy some while we are away.
I had planned to make a simnel cake but allas that has gone by the wayside - but we do have some hot cross buns to eat instead.

Are you doing anything special for Easter? I have a leg of lamb for lunc…
Well folks I'm back from my couple of days away. We were so blessed with the weather it rained in the early hours of Wednesday morning but after that it was wall to wall sunshine. The dogs had lots of fabulous walks both around the farm and also in the Rendlesham forest.

We made our usual pilgrimage to the Oyster place in Orford and had a large plate full of their delicious oysters for lunch. We also had a stunning meal out at the local pub at Easton. Other than that we spent lots of time just chilling out and watching the world go by. The journey back yesterday was via London to pick James up and we were very pleased that we were headed into and not out of London as the traffic was horrendous. We finally go home at about 3 pm and I was not feeling so good - in fact I was terribly sick and now feel like a dish cloth. It cannot be anything I ate as we all ate the same and Mike is fine so who knows what it is. Today I will stick to water and give my stomach a chance to recove…

Tuesday and away we go

I studied the weather forecast in intimate detail last night and it looks like we should get to the van and get established in the dry as the wet weather is coming from the west and we are staying on the eastern fringe of the country. Yesterday, was a fine day and I managed to get some of the gardening done. One vegetable bed dug over and my second sowing of Kohlrabi carrots and curly kale got done. The bees seem settled and were busy going about their business as usual so hopefully that drama is now dealt with for the time being. As you can see the red double Camellia is at last in full flower.
My friend Elaine rang me to tell me that there were jeans going cheap in M&S and what is even better she volunteered to come with me and do the running in and out of the changing rooms while I tried things on. Well, it was a great success I bought 2 pairs of jeans one black one blue at £12 each, plus a packet of 6 pairs of pants reduced to £3 which in my book makes them all but disposable. …

Miserable Monday

All the lovely sun has disappeared and we are cover in a blanket of cloud. The dogs had a nice walk down by the river and Tuc managed to roll in something noxious so he went on a enforced swim from the boat jetty. Basso paddled in the mud and got absolutely filthy so he got hosed down when we got home. But one good thing was that the message about jumping into the car seems to have sunk in and at least I didn't have to lift him in.

I managed to get lots of jobs done in the garden and the fountain is now running in the pond but the water is white with chemicals that are supposed to clear the water and get rid of the blanket weed. The runner beans are planted in pots to germinate but will not be ready to plant out for a while yet. Today I need to get three rows of successionally sown seeds into the veg bed which means that I will be more or less up to-date with the major garden chores.

The bees got their feed of sugar so they should settle down nicely in their new hive. When …

Sunday and a day of rest

Yesterday started unremarkable like any other day but little did I know it was going to turn into a day of high drama. After a leisurely start and an interesting visit to the local pet cash and carry I decided that it was time to sort out the chickens as they needed cleaning out. While I was doing this my neighbour came pottering up the garden so we started chatting over the fence when suddenly we noticed lots of bees. Instead of flying off to forage they were gathering and circling over the vegetable patch. Then gradually they gravitated to the other neighbours fence and started to accumulate on the trellis post - yes you've guest it they had swarmed - my horrified neighbour fled indoors but in my capacity as beekeeper it fell to me to sort out the problem. It is almost unheard of for bees to swarm this early but the bees haven't read the books so they don't know this. Anyway it was on with the bee suite and collecting a cardboard box and a brick I went off to collect the…

Good morning all

Well it's the weekend so let's hope the weather improves -yesterday was one of those damp dismal misty days - today the weather forecast is for a damp morning and an improving afternoon. A bit of sun shine would not go amiss and would certainly lift the spirits. I spent most of yesterday cooking and was so fed up with food that I didn't bother with dinner and we had some biscuit and cheese instead. However, I now have plenty to take with me to the caravan and my freezer is back up to its usual full position.

I took Basso for a lesson in how to jump into the car - this necessitated backing the car up to a bank so that there was only a short distance to the tail gate. It worked really well and he jumped in with no trouble so we then moved the car forward making the distance greater until he was jumping from the road into the car. Mission accomplished or so I thought by the time we had gone to Tesco and done a bit of shopping and got home he had forgotten completely and …

Friday and the end of the week

I had great plans yesterday but was thwarted by the weather - it was horrid and cold and misty first thing and thought I did venture out to do some weed killing I was driven back inside. I had decided to prepare all the food so that I could devote time to the garden and as I made my way back from the garage with a bowl of frozen peas Tuc bolted through my legs and tripped me up. I fell backwards landing on the angle of the the patio doors. However the momentum carried peas onwards and I found that the entire contents of the bowl had been sent in flight across the dining room. You have no idea how far a bowl of frozen peas can go!!!! I think I will be finding peas for some time to come. As you can imagine I thanked Tuc with warm expletives, he spent the next few hours keeping out of my way. He has strong survival instincts...... As it turned out it was a bit of a blessing in disguise as I had to pull out all the furniture so at least it all got cleaned and hoovered. Basso, ble…

Thursday and sun is forecast

As a shooting day yesterday is probably best written off. I shot so badly I thought I deserved a refund as I had damaged very few of the clays. I was very tired and off colour and really feeling my age but that is an excuse - however the lunch went down rather well and the hot cross buns were also a great success. Somehow I knew they would never make it to the freezer!!! I guess I will have to make another lot if I want some for Easter. I will also have to make a simnel cake as it is one of Mikes favourites.

Today I am intending to spend the day in the garden, generally clearing up and tidying. Lots of weeds are making their way through the paving and it is time I went round and gave them a weedkiller spray. If it is a warm day I will also give the bees a final feed just to get them off to a good start. Jane is coming today so the house will get a good going over, this weeks laundry is done and I have already got the food out of the freezer for lunch and dinner. For lunch we are goin…

Pinch punch first of the month and no returns

Yes it's the first of April, an no I still haven't grown up. Yesterday, was a good day after I had taken the dogs for a walk and done the laundry my neighbour came round and we made hot cross buns which took the best part of the day. There is not that much work involved but there is a lot of waiting around while the yeast does its stuff. Anyway they were a great success and I have managed to save a few to have with our coffee this morning before we go shooting. Both Jeff and Shiona are coming so we should have a good time.

Lunch will be the ox cheek stew I made the other day and plenty of creamed potatoes. I must admit I feel like death warmed up today as I have had a couple of really bad nights but I am hoping a hot shower and a quick walk with the dogs will brighten me up a bit.

Talking of the dogs, we had a bit of a disaster with one of the terriers, Tuc, who ate all Basso food when I was distracted by the phone. He looked like a barrel on legs and has had the most terrible …