Hurry up and ripen up!

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I spied these beauties in the garden last night, can’t wait for them to ripen up. There’ll be tomato salads all round; get the mozzarella and basil out! 

Also, massive excitement for me as my squash seems to be getting bigger everyday. I can’t even remember which type of squash it is as the first ones got eaten/squashed so I planted these as a last ditch attempt and they’ve finally done really well. One plant is smaller than the other – they might be different types but the baby plants forming all look the same – yellow and round. I think you’re meant to put the fruits on straw to stop them from rotting where they touch the ground so will look into that as I have no intention of losing them now.

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Must find time to do some more planning for a quick autumn crop and what will over-winter. Maybe a job for the long weekend, that and freezing the last of the blackberries on the garden for a guaranteed autumn full of pies, crumbles and booze experiments.

And finally, Mabel says ‘Hi’. A proper lady as always.

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Early blackberries

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I’ve been watching these swell and blacken for about a week now, not quite believing that I get to pick blackberries already – it doesn’t seem long since I had made elderflower cordial and already blackberries are out. I think it must be the weather, and that they are clinging to a nice warm wall that’s helping them ripen so quick. Birds don’t seem to have gotten too many yet, but there’s plenty left for both birds and us. I gave a couple to the chickens to see what they would make of them – I thought they weren’t meant to be too keen on fruit but so far I’ve discovered they like grapes, a slice of apple, and now blackberries! 

Now to decide what to make with them. I think this first batch will go to a pie or a crumble. I’m tempted to try another wine if I can get enough in the next couple of weeks, though in order to do that I think the method will have to be collect and freeze in batches. 

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An unexpected visitor

So this evening I went down to do the ‘egg-run’ as I like to call it, and found this chap (or chap-ess) wandering around the garden.

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The girls were quite bemused by it, especially when I dared to give it some of their corn! I edged closer at first, in case it took fright, but it didn’t seem to mind me, or the chooks. I wonder how it ended up there? I wonder how long our unexpected visitor will stay? 

Introduction to the ladies

Still trying to get the hang of doing this on a more regular basis, but while it’s raining outside and I’m pondering the reasons why our onion patch looks like it’s been well and truly trampled (foxes? a nearby dog? squirrels? rampant children?) I thought I’d bring the ladies into the spotlight here.

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Sally and Henny-Penny, our lovely Light Sussex. We’ve now had them about 3 months and they’ve settled right in. I named them after Beatrix Potter’s hen in the Tale of Mrs Tiggywinkle;

‘So Lucie asked a speckled hen–

“Sally Henny-penny, have you
found three pocket-handkins?”

But the speckled hen ran into a
barn, clucking–

“I go barefoot, barefoot, barefoot!” ‘

Now the ladies aren’t strictly speckled hens as such but I do love a bit of Beatrix Potter, and they have such personalities that the names suit them down to the (very muddy) ground. They’ve become a bit like local celebrities as the houses that overlook our garden have noticed there’s now life there – I’ve had at least two people ask about them and tell me they have provided some amusement to watch.

We’ve been having eggs for about a month and a half now and it’s great but I think Sally is still settling into her groove; we get about 4/5 days a week of regular eggs, then a double yolker, then a couple of soft shells, then she’s back to normal again. Doesn’t seem to bother her, and Henny-Penny is laying fine so I guess she’s just an odd one, or still figuring it out a bit. 

We’ve done so well out of them this week, we usually have a bit scrambled egg breakfast on Saturday morning but we’ve been away so I think a lovely quiche is on the cards for this week to use them up while they’re nice and fresh…if it turns out to be a stunner then I’ll post it and the recipe!