Tuesday 31 March 2015

Flowering Delights

A walk around mum's garden as always reveals some delights. There is quite a selection of plants in flower giving snippets of colour. There are the expected spring flowers such as Jetfire daffodils.

Primroses in the lawn.

Violets in several different shades.

Dwarf tulips.

It is good to see the cherry blossom about to emerge. No doubt it will be in bloom when I next visit.


A lot of the greenhouse wall is covered in this Chilean Glory Vine.

Then there is even a single rose!

Monday 30 March 2015

Ground Preparation

Preparing the ground for the seed potatoes is a lengthy business. We only grow a few acres but the land used is on a strict rotation so that it is some years before the ground is returned to. This helps to prevent disease. The ground is spread with  manure from the farm and mushroom compost from a local mushroom farm. It is then ploughed and rotivated to break up the soil. This is what is happening in the pictures.


The ground has then been ridged. When the weather improves again the bed will be formed ready for seed potato planting.

Sunday 29 March 2015

The Farmer's Traditional Sunday Roast

Like most farmers Brian is very keen on his Sunday roast. When he is unable to have it on a Sunday he hopes to get it the day before! He is pretty traditional in his tastes but I do try and inch in a bit of a twist. This Sunday we had a joint of roast pork. We don't produce our own  so we have just bought in some pork from a neighbouring farmer. There is nothing quite like a fresh joint with some good crackling.

We do of course have our own potatoes to roast (More on the potato planting to come another day).

Traditionally we normally have sage and onion stuffing with pork but today I decided on a variation. When I was watching the television the other day The Hairy Bikers were cooking roast pork. They were cooking a sage and caramlised onion Yorkshire pudding as a side. I didn't have a recipe but thought I would give it a try.

It went down well with some spring greens, carrots and leeks. It was worth a try!

Saturday 28 March 2015

A Busy Time Ahead

Lambing has started properly now so the ewes have been brought into the barn. 

They are then in the dry and out of the cold wind when they lamb. They will be checked regularly.

The ewes that have just had their lambs have been moved into separate pens.

The girls have a busy few weeks ahead of them.

Friday 27 March 2015

March Walk and Talk

For our walk this month we did a walk at East Harptree that I had done on New Year's Day. You can see that walk here. We were lucky to have sunny weather. We walked up to the Smithan Chimney that I previously blogged.


It was a good day for reflections.

We walked through a small amount of Frances Plantation which is a 197 acre area planted in memory of Countess Frances Waldegrave.

On the return down the hill we had fabulous views across the Chew Vallley.

Thursday 26 March 2015

More University Looking

Yesterday Emma and I took a train trip to Cardiff to the university open day. This is the forth she has looked at and the one she has liked most up till now. Cardiff was bathed in sunshine which always helps. I would love to have had my camera with me but that is not what the day was about. Nevertheless I did manage to sneak a few on my phone without too much huffing and puffing from her ladyship!
I managed to capture a taster of the modern architecture.

And a taste of the more traditional surrounded by the buzzing prospective students.

I am not sure that many stopped to admire this beautiful magnolia just in flower!

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Pairs Then and Now

My subject for Helena's Pairs is not what I had originally intended. I was swayed by a post that my sister-in-law put on facebook this morning.
Today is Lady Day (Feast of the Annunciation).This was traditionally the day that landowners started and ended tenancy agreements and "the time of entry" of farmers to vacant farms. It is 90 years today since my husband's family came to our farm. This picture must have been taken a little after that because the little chap on his mother's knee is Brian's dad. He was born here soon after they arrived. The family have subsequently gone on to purchase the farm and increase its size.

I have chosen in contrast a modern day picture of the ground being prepared for planting potatoes taken this week. I wonder what that generation would make of the many changes over those years? Tractors have not only come into use but have changed dramatically as has all machinery. The size of the fields are much greater. This particular field used to be several smaller ones until the hedges were removed many years ago.

 Domestic life must also have changed. Brian's granny rarely left the farm. Her groceries were delivered and I suspect her life was one of continuous chores. Sadly nobody in this picture is now here to tell their tales. The last of the brothers died a few years ago.

Tuesday 24 March 2015

A Conflict of Interests

I have already mentioned in previous blogs that part of our farm is a disused quarry/mine. The details of which can be found here. It is now an area of conservation and signs of spring are becoming evident. There are primroses emerging.

The pond is also showing signs of new life with frogspawn rapidly growing.

Sadly not everyone respects the beauty and importance of the area. Some see it as a big boy playground. Despite it being private land someone has driven around the whole area with a quad bike doing damage to the grass 

They have cut down wire in order to obtain access so must have known they were trespassing. It will heal but causes us some frustration.

Monday 23 March 2015

Chaos in the Conservatory

It is at this time of year that the conservatory is used to its maximum. I don't have a greenhouse so bring on all my summer plants in it. Firstly however I have to budge Bella out the way.

Can it really be comfortable to sleep like? Surely the cat bed must be more cosy? Meanwhile things are set up to repot plants, take cuttings and to start sowing seeds.

The seeds are at the ready.

Some of the cuttings I took last year are coming on well. This is a type of lavender that is not totally hardy.

What I would like to know is where my good trowel has gone so I am left with the dog chewed one.....sigh...

Sunday 22 March 2015

Malt Loaf

I always think it is nice when making recipies to remember the person who gave you the recipe. When I was working as a children's nurse it was not unusual for someone to bring in a cake or biscuits that they had made for the coffee and tea break. One of the auxiliary nurses who I worked with for many years often brought in malt loaf. It was a great favourite. Believe me it tastes nothing like those rubbery bought ones (or "boughten" as people round here would say). It is simple to make and freezes well.

You don't have to be a good cook to make this.

Malt Loaf
1 mug of "All Bran"
1 mug of mixed dried fruit
3/4 mug of sugar
1 mug of milk.
Put the above ingredients into a bowl. Mix well and leave for an hour.
Then add
1 mug SR flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice
Mix together and put into a greased loaf tin.
Bake for 1 to 1 and 1/4 hours at 180 C. 

Saturday 21 March 2015

The Winter Photographic Scavenger Hunt Final Link Up

  Today is the last day of The Winter Photographic Scavenger Hunt that I have been joining in with over the last few months hosted by Eileen  and Joy. I have had great fun with this and made some more blogger friends. I have posted all photos in my blog but today I have picked out my favourite for each category.

1. Reflection in Water 


2. Someone Wearing a Funny Hat


3. Ornate Door Knocker 

4. Breakfast 

5. Something that is over 100 Years Old

6. Winter Weather 

7. Someone Dressed for the Season 

8. A Fish

9. Festive Lights

10. A Letter Shape in Nature or in an Object.

11. Polka Dots

12. Silhouette 

13. Stained Glass Window 

14. Partly Built New Building 

15. Bunting 

16. A Collection (of autographs this one done by my Grandma)

17. Texture 

18. Shadow 

19. Street Musicians 

20. Nativity Scene

There were 2 alternatives that I have added today.

A. New Life  A farm is all about new life. This week we have had a lamb born. It is a little early and rather small. It is needing a little help with feeding.

B. A Decorated Tree. The tree I can see from my kitchen is doubly decorated with bird feeders and lots of birds feeding! 

Many thanks again to Eileen and Joy for the inspiration. Now we can look forward to Rinda's summer hunt.