Monday 28 September 2020

Wild Camping With My Girls

 For a long time I've been keen to take the girls camping, but something always comes up or gets in the way. That's why I was pleased when a mate mentioned that for his daughters birthday he'd like the girls and me to go "wild" camping with them. 

So no tents. My eldest has been camping before (admittedly in different circumstances as was a huge scout camp!) but not like this, and my younger daughter is yet to sleep outside (bad dad I know). They were both super excited about it though. 

Friday 25 September 2020

Meat Crosses Hatch

This year we've been plagued by bad hatch rates, I've kept changing my methods but I think having posted eggs really doesn't help things. 

These chicks are from our own eggs, with a Indian Game cockerel over some Colombian Plymouth Rock hens. 

What a difference in hatch rate!

Sunday 20 September 2020

Simple Food Is Best

Really simple dinner of pasta and tomato sauce.
We picked from the garden about 35 fresh tomatoes of different sizes, shapes and colours, a clove of garlic, medium onion and a huge handful of basil along with some bought in chorizo used more as seasoning than anything else.

 Tasted amazing and shows with a few good ingredients it's sometimes all you need.

And of course I had my two chefs with me. My eldest help chop the tomatoes and stir the dish, while my younger daughter made biscuits for pudding. Lovely to spend time in the kitchen like that, laughing and joking. 

Friday 18 September 2020

Saving Cucumber Seeds (Fermenting!)

 So it's the time of year where my mind really turns to making sure I have enough seed of everything. This year should have hot home to so many people that buying seeds from a shop isn't always guaranteed or possible, I was pleased that my seed saving obsession meant I had jars of tried and tested seed ready to go.


The video above shows how I save the seeds from my cucumbers. I got sent these seed from America via a twitter friend, so it would be really great to keep this strain going. We have grown lots of different cucumbers over the years, and this one seems to hit the sweet spot for us. It's prolific, perfect for eating fresh, perfect for pickling and crops over a long time.

So who else ferments their cucumber (and tomato) seeds for storage? 

What's your favourite type of cucumber to grow?

Wednesday 16 September 2020

Youngest Started School

 So that's it - all three of my babies are at school now! 

6 years of being a stay at home dad have come to an end! Blink and you miss it!

Monday 14 September 2020

Like Father Like Daughter

 After tea we tend to watch a program on TV to calm the kids down before bed. It's normally nature related and lately we've been watching the original series of River Cottage. 

The kids have loved it and I've heard some full belly laughs from them as they take it all in (the bit where he sunbaths in the polytunnel, chases the rabbits off his land or ties the string to his toe to protect his pigs) 

I've loved watching them again but it's been great to share them with my children. And when I walked down stairs the other day my daughter was reading my old copy of the River Cottage Cookbook, she stayed there for at least half an hour flicking through the pages. 

What was your favourite episode? 

Saturday 12 September 2020

Planting Grains To Raise Seed Stock

 So I have a friend who is interested in this small scale grain raising like I am - I know I was as surprised as anyone! 

so he sent me a few grains to get going in my plot here, ones I could over winter. 

Thursday 10 September 2020

An 8 Year Old's Lunch

 I know I've posted before about the kids packed lunch, but now they're getting older they pack their own and it's interesting seeing their choices. 

Normally they have school dinners but due to the school figuring out how to handle social distancing and stuff the eldest is having to take a packed lunch for a few week - I swear she was more excited about this than going back to school. 

It should be noted that the beaker is used like Tupperware as we can never find any lids for anything else. 

She packed herself a huge chunk of focaccia and then a little tiny jam jar that contained oil and balsamic to dip in it (what have we done here! Lol!), then to go with that she went and picked herself some cherry tomatoes, cucamelons, achocha and cucumber. For her desert she got some homemade blueberry cake from the freezer, four damzines (a damson plum cross) and a discovery apple. 

Apparently her one friend said to her "Your lunch is very healthy" to which she replied "Well I just pick what's ready really! 

Then the second day by the time I'd come downstairs all three children were in the polytunnel raiding it for tomatoes to take as snacks during the day! 

So glad the kids love their food as much as my wife and me!  

Tuesday 8 September 2020

Knife Skills

I know I've often posted about the little ones using tools safely but I just had to share my 4 year old boy cutting up this cucumber for lunch. 

He hah such concentration on his face as he did it. 
"Wow, you're pretty good with that knife, did Jamie Oliver teach you to use it?"
He looked up and shrugged his shoulders 
"Nah, my sister taught me"  

Sunday 6 September 2020

Hulless Oats

 I foolishly said on a previous post that threshing the grain wasn't the issue - Well it turns out I was wrong there as well. 

My hulless oats have been causing me trouble as well. 

Friday 4 September 2020

Eating Bantams...

 In the last post I talk about processing a few of our Indian game hens for meat. One was a bantam and a respectable 1.3kg.

But as they say the proof is in the eating - so on Sunday we had a little roast chicken for tea. 

Thursday 3 September 2020

Processing Purebreed Chickens - Indian Game

The children and I processed three of our chickens the other day. These were the purebreed Indian game cockerels - two full sized birds and one bantam. 

I decided it made sense to do it after some canning so the hot water from the water bath could be used to scald the chicken for plucking. 

Tuesday 1 September 2020

Gloster Bounty

 "Gloster Bounty" (deliberate spelling mistake apparently) broad bean.

These are from 20 beans I sowed in the polytunnel -semi isolated for my own seed use, they should hopefully be pure. Looking forward to trying them next year! 20 is about the minimum to keep enough genetic diversity in the crop - I got them from the heritage seed library and asked nicely for an extra packet for this purpose.

Always amazes me how many you can get from just 20 seeds. Who else is saving bean seed at the moment?

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