Archive for August, 2013

Loads of spuds!!

We’ve had a really good crop of potatoes.  For regular readers of my blog you will remember that we tried the no dig method of planting through cardboard to stop the weeds coming up.  The potato plants grew up and we didn’t have to earth them up.  So when the foliage died back we started harvesting them.  Yesterday we dug up the rest.  Firstly we pulled the cardboard away.

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This exposed some potatoes near the surface which meant we did have a few with a little green on them unfortunately.

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Our first earlies were Aaron Pilots which were quite successful.

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For maincrop we had planted Desiree and Maris Piper.  I haven’t weighed them yet but I think we have a fair few pounds, enough to last us well into next year, so now we need to wash, dry, and store them in a hessian sack out of the light.

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There’s nothing quite like home grown spuds, steamed with a bit of fresh mint – lovely – no food miles here.

We still have some vacancies in the B&B in September so contact us for more details.

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Lovely Runner Beans

Our runner beans are plentiful and we do so love them. I went picking this afternoon and picked loads.

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We are having them for dinner every night, but we don’t mind as we love to eat fresh and in season, they don’t taste the same if you freeze them.

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We have enough to share with neighbours and friends and in turn they supply us with some things we can’t grow as we don’t have a greenhouse yet.

We still have some vacancies in the B&B in September so contact us for more details.

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Butterflies, butterflies!!

We went outside the front door and on the wall of the house were loads of butterflies sunning themselves.  I suppose the wall was warm and they were attracted to that, but I have never seen it before.

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And then there were probably a hundred or more on the Buddleia.  They were mostly Tortoiseshells.

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Also we saw several Peacock butterflies.

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together with the occasional Red Admiral

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And a Large White Butterfly

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There were also some smaller butterflies maybe Fritillaries but I didn’t manage to photograph them.  Good job I still have my “Observer book of Butterflies” to look up the different species.

We still have some vacancies in the B&B in August and September so contact us for more details.

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What to do with all these courgettes

This year we have had a bumper crop of courgettes (zucchinis).  I bought 4 plants as my seeds didn’t look like they were coming up, and then of course, much later a few sprang into life and I had 3 more plants.  Seven courgette  plants for 2 people is way too many, so I have been giving them away and we have been eating loads.

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I have left a couple on the plant to grow into marrows and these I chop up, cook and feed to the chickens, they seem to enjoy them.  I left one on quite a long time and it was enormous.

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When I picked it I could  hardly believe how heavy it was, so I thought I would weigh it.  It was 9lbs 11 1/2 ounces!!

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We have yellow courgettes as well as green ones, and I have found they don’t last as long in the fridge so I have to use them straight away.  Small yellow ones are lovely cut up raw in salads.  But for the rest of the courgettes I have been making courgette and tomato bake.

In an oven proof dish slice courgettes and alternate with sliced tomato.

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Sprinkle with a little olive oil and place into a hot over 200 degrees C for 25 minutes.  After 25 minutes take out and sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over the top and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.

The resulting bake is delicious.

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Of course there are courgette fritters to make and a courgette cake (bit like a carrot cake only with courgettes) and many other things to do with courgettes.  I don’t mind having a glut of them, I do like to eat seasonally and fresh.

We still have some vacancies in the B&B in August and September so contact us for more details.

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New chickens join the flock

Yesterday we took delivery of 6 new Brown Warren hens who are 19 weeks old.  They came from a poultry farm where that is all they do, raise chicks from eggs and bring them on to point of lay.  We have had chickens from there before and they have been absolutely fine, without disease or any problems.  Brown Warrens are really good layers, nothing special to look at but very reliable birds.  Firstly we put them inside the hen house. They took a couple of hours before they ventured down the ramp to have a peck about, but they didn’t go far. They stayed very close to the hen house.

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Neil had to help them up the ramp last night as they hadn’t got the idea of going to bed when it got dark.  Today they were again reluctant to leave the safety of the hen house and stayed mostly underneath.

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I’m sure it will take a few days for them to acclimatise into their new surroundings and then the new pecking order has to be established with the older hens.  It is possible it will be 4 or 5 weeks before they start laying.

The baby chicks were playing up today.  We have given them a new feeder and they have decided it is something to fear as they wouldn’t come down the ramp into the run today but stayed up top in their hen house (a different one to the other hens) and were churning up the straw good and proper today.  They have grown so much, being nearly 7 weeks now.

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We still have some vacancies in the B&B in August and September so contact us for more details.

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