10 August 2012

Notes from a small holding

 An update from AW about their small holding.
This year’s lamb who did start out life as Bambi ( a male!) is now called Terence Munchkins as the husband cannot remember all the various animal names. Apparently  from now on everything that we are to eat is called Terence Munchkins, so this includes 4 geese who are coming on nicely, we do give them some wheat but it’s lovely to think as a bird that they are growing their meat on grass. Mention was made the other day of the dispatch of 15 cob chickens (meat chickens that can reach very heavy weights), yearly this is not something I look forward to. I’m not bothered about the actual killing it’s the plucking and gutting afterwards along with the time it takes that doesn’t appeal. It is however fantastic to have your own reared chicken and I’m able to eat it without thinking about Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. (Chicken Out campaign).
Back to the lamb, being a single Terence will be able to go off (for slaughter) this year, but we also have last year’s male twin who is ready for the freezer now, the freezer will be full of chicken and lamb, if only we had a cow and a pig we wouldn’t need to go out shopping at all. The veg garden is looking great and the wet weather has held off the cabbage and little whites until now, in the last few days we have seen them doing courtship dances so are getting ready to squash caterpillars, a dirty job but strangely satisfying.

I don’t think we have any plums and I’m not sure on the apples, I did manage to gather some gooseberries before the birds ate them all but then wished I hadn’t bothered as I then had to do something with them. Gooseberry fool was a bit too much like hard work so I just stewed them, I wonder why I bothered really  because the children pulled faces and I’ll have to force them down.                        

The two sheep are now shorn, hand clipped by the husband who is from farming stock but doesn’t like to admit it. Blossom was a bit feisty and without handles (horns) was far more difficult to clip than Keith, a Swaledale wether. Keith who is now 11ish is just resigned to the fact that his jacket comes off every year and doesn’t put up a fight.
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It's been a strange week weather-wise, the deluges on Tuesday, followed by bright blue skies and sunshine and this morning thick fog.  But it seems that year might have turned, although here are still some swifts they are not so numerous and the young swallows are gathering on the wires whilst the bird song is more autumnal (robins especially).  the plants are showing signs too with the leaves are beginning to look a little yellow on the trees, my rowan sapling is definitely turning but then it is currently in a large tub waiting for planting (with fingers crossed later this year or maybe in the spring)  and my poor crab apple which got heavily frosted has shed nearly all its leaves.  All in all it's been a rather strange year.

This week's edition of CJS Weekly is printing and digital copies are on their way.  This week there are 14 pages with 40 new paid posts of which 29 came direct to CJS and the upsurge in voluntary posts continues with a further 19 adverts this week.