Monday 29 February 2016

Memorandum Monday: New People, New Experiences, New Tricks

Waving again to Sian and all the other bloggers on this last and extra day in February. Well the last weekend of the month has certainly been a busy one for us. It really started for us on Thursday with the arrival of my Goddaughter and her boyfriend. This was a kind of a first for us as we had not met her boyfriend before. They have been away travelling for the last two years and are off on more adventures again soon. It was of course an opportunity to introduce them to the hens.

Then there was time for a bit of high jinks.

So Friday meant saying goodbye to them and wishing them well on their travels. It was then strip the beds and remake them for the next visitors namely my niece, her husband and baby. So it was a chance for some new experiences for Great nephew. He had been taken round the farm once before but is now old enough to take some notice of his surroundings. So it was meet the cows.

Then the hens.

And of course a horse.

My girls enjoyed spending time with the little chap and teaching him some new tricks. 

Then did I say that at sometime on Saturday I fitted in five friends calling in for a cuppa and then getting that focaccia from last weekend out of the freezer and ready to serve at a village hall event. So Sunday was roast for 7 and then time to say goodbye to our visitors before a restful Sunday evening.

Sunday 28 February 2016

Loving It!

We have a very special visitor this weekend. My great nephew with of course his mum and dad. He and Socks certainly seemed to enjoy each other's company.

I can hear him purring from here!

Saturday 27 February 2016

Snowdrop Time

It is lovely to see the snowdrops out everywhere. They are still in full bloom on the farm.

Each year Brian works hard separating the clumps of bulbs after flowering and replanting some elsewhere.

The hard work has paid off and we now have a good show.

They look lovely intermingled with othe bulbs that are now emerging.

One of the main issues is discouraging the horse owners from letting their horses up onto this grass. They are not Brian's favourite people when they do that! 

We have several patches of snowdrops around the farmhouse. This is one of the most established.

They have been looking beautiful for some weeks.

Friday 26 February 2016

Six Word Story: Break

On Fridays I join in with Miriam's meme Six Word Story where she provides a word with which you create a story from six words to accompany your photo. This week the word is break. Anyone who reads my blog will know that our dog Monty regularly appears on it. So for this week:-

                                 Give me a BREAK from Stardom!

Thursday 25 February 2016

A Variety of Water Features

A Fountain is No. 19 on the list for The Winter Photography Scavenger Hunt and I have come across a few whilst out and about. The first one that I found was in the grounds of a private hospital in Bath. I was dropping younger daughter off for a day's work experience at The Bath Clinic when I spotted it in their garden. When she was safely out of site ( she would have been a touch embarrassed if she had spotted me) I slipped out of the car to photograph it.

I came across several when on the Sculpture Trail around Bristol. The first of these is the King George Memorial which dates from 1981, a curiously long time after his death, it is on the other side of a Portland stone statue that I posted before.

The next one is hidden behind a pair of gates in an office courtyard and is of the Roman Goddess of the River Severn called Sabrina. She is depicted in bronze with her youthful supporters.

Castle Park is an area of recreation made on the site of where a lot of buildings were destroyed during the Bristol Blitz in the Second World War. The derelict remains of St. Peter's church stand in the centre of this.

There are fountains as part of a water feature in a sensory garden around this church. This is called "Beside Still Waters" and features pineapple shaped fountains at either end. There was no water on the day we visited.

Nearby in the same park there is a fish shaped water fountain that is supposed to represent the search for more cod which precipitated Bristolians discovering the New World.

Walking through the Milłenium Square I wondered whether the very modern water features counted as a fountain.

The last one spotted that day was outside the Council Building where there are three similar fountains.

Last but not least at the other end of the country this final fountain made a wonderful photo spot just outside the hotel door at the wedding reception.

So which is your favourite to use for the photography hunt?

Wednesday 24 February 2016

Snap: a little bit of jumping.

II described last week our walk up towards Stickle Tarn in Great Langdale, Cumbria. The girls got further up the hill than me along with my camera. It seems they had a little bit of fun with it so no apologies for showing two sets of Snap this week to join in with Helena



Tuesday 23 February 2016

Egg and Chips for Tea

I have probably mentioned on several occasions that we produce potatoes and eggs on the farm. The majority of the eggs and a large number of the potatoes are sold wholesale but we also have a lively farm gate trade.
The potatoes are graded in the shed by the house which is one of the main farm jobs at this time of year. The potatoes are sent over a grader where bad ones and stones are removed and then they drop into bags ready for weighing.

It is a noisy machine but frequently the sound of older daughter cheerfully chatting away can be heard over the clattering as she stacks the bags. Her father and uncle silently listening to her chatter as they work. The large sacks once weighed, tied and stacked are stored ready for sale.

Then some of the potatoes are graded over another machine for bagging into smaller 5kg bags.

Eggs are brought up from the hen houses and so all is ready and waiting for the customer.

The customers? Well they are a story all of their own. We have an "Open All Hours" policy apart from Sunday afternoons although customers don't really adhere to this. Someone always has to be here to serve customers and when the farm is busy this often comes down to me. I have got used to juggling my cooking with going out to serve customers. The customer is of course "always right" but that is not to say I don't swear to myself if I am in the middle of a tricky sauce or just gone upstairs to tidy up! I am sure they all think I am deaf as they hammer on the door and ring the bell in unison! That's without mentioning those who make me jump by tapping on the window, peering through it or even walking straight into my kitchen!
I have become very slick about talking about the weather. I know all about their ailments from coughs to constipation ( do I have one of those faces?) I know every joke from "egg and chips for tea then" to isn't that just "eggcellent"? It was my husband who was rather abashed by the lady whose trousers fell down as she leant into the car revealing her lack of underwear... 
Joking apart we have a lot of lovely regular customers many of whom have over the years brought us and the children presents.  Many like to see the animals or just pass the time of day. Monty knows which ones will have a biscuit for them and they soon learn not to touch Sky. They keep us in touch with local news and cheer up our day. We see their children grow up, meet their grandchildren and sadly at times see their health begin to fail. It is always a sad day when we hear that one of them has passed away or they simply stop visiting.
My life would be very dull without them even if we do argue at mealtimes over who is going to serve the next customer and all have our favourites and ones we would rather avoid. So if you are passing by do pop in for your eggs and spuds for tea and as long as it is not raining leave time to stop for a bit of a chat. We will be pleased to see you!


Monday 22 February 2016

Memorandum Monday: Nearly Done

Here we are at Monday again. A big wave to Sian and all the other Monday bloggers.  It's been a quiet weekend at home catching up on chores. So what's new? I have learnt to perhaps not to be so eager to volunteer to make some of the refreshments for 70 people but I have a feeling I may not have learnt my lesson. Well the first batch of focaccia is made and ready tucked away in the freezer. Here are before and after baking pictures.

Just one more batch to do! 

Sunday 21 February 2016

A Different Chicken Dish

I often find when I flick through cooking magazines that a lot of dishes that look nice but have a list of exotic ingredients that I don't have in the cupboard!  When looking through a Waitrose book I came across this chicken dish which is surprisingly simple. I managed to find the same recipe on line so you can find more details of this tasty Chicken and Lentil dish through this link here.
Like most recipes I tend to either add things to it or adapt them in some way. This one I added diced carrots alongside the onion.

The first time I made it I used chicken stock which I had made myself and frozen. I didn't have any the next time so used stock made up with the little stock gels that come in small pots.

It is suggested that you use chicken thighs. I used skinned chicken breasts the first time as that was all I had. You don't however get quite the same effect. 

The skin gives a nice browned appearance.

It suggests serving it with some kind of greens. I also served a smal amount of plain boiled potatoes as the farmer in the house would object to no potato on the table. 

I think this a dish I shall be repeating in fact it has already been requested again. The recipe suggests trying with rabbit. I get given quite a lot of pheasant breasts so may try it with them. It also suggests adding bacon which also sounds good. I shall let you know.

Saturday 20 February 2016

Cake for Tea

A week or so ago we went to a friend's house for tea. I promised to bring along a cake. I had quite a lot of marzipan in the cupboard so I made one of my favourite teatime treats.

Battenburg cake is fun to make if not a little fiddly. I have a special tin with sections to make the 4 pieces but you could equally make two rectangular cakes and cut them to size. The tricky bit is rolling the marzipan around the cake.
We were treated to a proper afternoon tea with sandwiches, cheese scones and a variety of cakes. Just the ideal situation for a picture for the Winter Photography Scavenger Hunt No. 14 Afternoon Tea.

I'm afraid I didn't save you any. Sorry!

Friday 19 February 2016

Six Word Story: Work

Joining in today with Miriam's new meme where a story is created with a photo using six words one of each is the word of the week. This week the word is work. My whole blog is really aimed at depicting our life on a farm. One thing I learnt early on was that farming is hard graft. So changing a well known saying slightly and hoping husband doesn't spot the photo I have used. Here goes:-


Looking forward to seeing what everyone else comes up with this week! Have a restful weekend.

Thursday 18 February 2016

Reaching the Snow

On Monday I talked a little about our uphill walk in Great Langdale in pursuit of reaching the snow. We had made the most of our weekend in Cumbria and the good weather by going for a walk on Sunday. We had taken off driving alongside Lake Windermere enjoying the lakeside views. 

We started off not quite knowing where we were going to stop but had an idea that the girls could do an uphill climb while Brian and I chose a more sedate lowland walk. Somehow we were persuaded by the National Trust volunteer in the car park in Great Langdale that the walk to Stickle Tarn and back was only 2 miles. So off we went.
The path began to climb almost straight away and it was not long before older daughter and husband streaked on ahead the latter in his farmer wellies! Younger daughter insisted on walking at my pace which was quite slow on the steep bits.
It do not take long before we had quite a view back across the surrounding fells.

The path followed a sizeable stream of crystal clear water 

and there were several waterfalls along the way.

The path in places was very rough going and became more so as we climbed. There were places where we had to scramble over the rocks.

It was at this stage that I decided to give in being mainly concerned about the scramble back down. I stopped at a spot by a waterfall with suitably spectacular views and so just sat and admired the scenery for some time before descending as a small flurry of snow started to fall.

I handed my camera over to younger daughter to carry on up.

When she reached the top she caught up with the others and reached the snow!

Stickle Tarn is partly created by a dam and is part of a hydroelectric system to supply electricity to the pub at the bottom of the hill.

I was a little disappointed not to reach these heights but the photos they brought back made up for it!

Perhaps next time!