Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Food for the Soul

Things are connected. Yesterday I picked the first big strawberry from the walled garden. I cut it four ways and we all had a taste, Hubby made a face as he'd just had a sweet cereal but we three thought it tasted delicious. Truth was, it wasn't quite ripe but I'd noticed a small hole and a red ant gorging! I wasn't up for sharing.....

Then, as I drove to school I noticed the elderflower trees had opened their white blossoms. Ah ha, time for cordial making. The connection was made; clearly the time had arrived in the seasons where I need to use up last year's stocks from the freezers, to make room for this year's crops of strawberry, plum, damson and far, far, more.

I knew I had a turkey carcass in one of the freezers so I began my stock take by actually making some -stock. The garden is bursting into life so I used a couple of juicy onions, tons of coriander or cilantro and a bunch of parsley and thyme. I added salt and pepper, a little honey, last year's garlic, fresh ginger and chilli and turned on the slow cooker - very low, to cook for most of the day.

Today for lunch I strained the amber liquid into a saucepan, added a little more chilli and began to bring it to the boil. While it was heating I picked fresh baby cavolo de nero kale and shredded it finely and de-podded young broad beans and added them to the hot soup for two, three minutes tops.

It was amazing. Food miles = almost zero.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Irresponsible Parents.

I may not be perfect but I do not consider myself to be an irresponsible parent. In actual fact neither am I usually judgemental about others but sometimes you need to stand up and be counted when it comes to protecting the rights of the offspring of irresponsible parents.

Yesterday I did just that.

Would you allow your very young, precious babies to wander about for hours while they cried out for you? No, didn't think so. These parents did!

Would you roam far, leaving your babies in dangerous places where any passing revolting predator could strike? No, didn't think so. These parents did!

Would you leave your little ones out in the chilly wind and drizzly rain while you went for a flying lesson?..... How decadent can you get! No, I didn't think so! These parents did!

Well I don't usually interfere but this time I couldn't help myself. I scooped these babies up* and made sure they were safe from harm.

Then I called the authorities, the NSPCT.... (National Prevention of Cruelty to Tits obviously, no disrespect)

I'm proud to say they survived the day although I was on constant cat watch!

Yikes, the stress of nature.

*Didn't actually touch them, just scooped them up off the floor with my trusty fishing net and popped them up where the pussy cats couldn't get them. Golly gosh they were noisy.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Chick Wars.......

After little Moon died we were left with nine chicks and Mummy Hen (plus our 13 free range hens and Rooster.) Mummy Hen is a pretty white bantam, Lord only knows what the chicks are! There are two black chicks and one has the look of a Moor Hen, without the feet. There are three brown chicks with stripes like wild boar piglets! Then there are four white chicks one of which is enormous, she/he has been named Figgy.

Last Sunday, as we ate lunch in the walled garden, there was the most almighty rumpus. In the little coop Figgy was being beaten up by a snow white brother or sister sporting a little red Mohican. It was a very vicious attack so I extracted Figgy quickly.

She/he was terrified but soon relaxed in the 8yo's arms.

After a reasonable time had passed we tried to put Figgy back into the coop but the same thing happened and little Figgy desperately flapped to be let out into the safety of a sproglet's embrace. I suggested we might call the little aggressor Malfoy but that seemed to upset the 8yo even more.

'She's called Snowdrop and I love her too, even if she is mean...!'

I backed off.

It was very fortunate that the punch-up happened on a Sunday and that I am married to [Hubby never used to be Mr. D.I.Y. but The Larches forces roles on a person.....personally I thought that having trained the sprogs out of nappies I would never have to handle poo again - it's almost my daily activity here at The Larches!]

Anyhoo, hubby was fantastic. He divided the coop into two, luckily there was already a back door and a front door so he divided the coop inside diagonally and then he made a new run........ all with minimal swearing. Now on one side of the coop lives Mummy, Figgy and two black chicks and on the other side Malfoy Snowdrop, the three other white chicks (must be a joke there somewhere but it eludes me....) and the two striped chicks....

Who'd have thought chickens were so aggressive and needy.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Award Season....

Thank you projectforty for my lovely new award, bestowed upon those bloggers with less than 100 followers. At 97 followers I'm rather hoping I won't qualify for this in the near future..... but hush my mouth you can't count yer chikins 'fore they hatch and I should know, I'm contantly counting mine - we're up to 23 now (don't tell Hubby.)

I'm free to pass on this award to 3 Blogs I love so, drum roll please, here they are:

Bubblegum Diaries @ 56 followers

FatScribe @ 57 Followers

I'm So Fancy @ 89 Followers

Hope you love them too....... BTW if you do like them sign up and become a follower too. xx

Monday, 16 May 2011

Bloggers Block....

I thought I'd lost my ability to blog but it turns out I had just temporarily mislaid my humour, couldn't for the life of me think where I'd left it. I felt lack-lustre and dull. Checked all my pockets and everything... found the library cards though - result! The funniest things would happen and I would merely observe, unaffected. Last Friday my missing bit turned up, thank the Lord. Turns out I'd dropped it in the school car park, among the crunchy stones and hair grips.

I remember the moment I found it, I was stuffing my wax coat into another mummy's boot, four of us were absconding for the day to the Malvern Spring Show (ahhh bliss.) Driving Mummy closed her boot and Cool Farming Mummy commented that she was looking forward to travelling in a Volv, as previously she'd only experienced the ride quality of a Volvo. Driving Mummy giggled while assuring Farming Mummy that she still had the O safely tucked away.... That's the kind of funny that appeals to me, so I mentally bent down, rummaged in the stones and reclaimed my funny bit, slipping it back into my pocket where it belongs.

Expect humour in future blogs, but at the mo I'm just limbering up, trying to remember how to bluudy write. Small steps, small steps.....


Malvern Show was ab-sa-lootely brill. Best day out I've had in ages: 4 funny women (I'm included as I'd reclaimed my mojo by then,) a field, plants, food, alcohol and minimal rain.... Perfect day really. AND I saw James Alexander-Sinclair.... he looked totally different to how I'd imagined him. Not bad, just different. Gorgeous voice on the radio.... sigh.... 

Book Club was good, always much more fun when the book choice is liked and disliked equally; Room by Emma Donoghue stirred things up. We had a rather tame meeting when we read The Help!


The Larches Shop is going well..... for the children! They have negotiated 25p per day per child to set up and run the shop. Last Saturday my sproglets demanded minimum wage and then the 8yo's friend needed paying too... I was 75p in the red! Luckily they covered my costs when they sold one strawberry plant and a pot of chives.... Running a Larches Rural Corporation is exhausting.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Lou is NOT Margo! Gotit?!

Twice this week I have been likened to Margo (below) once by the plumber and once by the wonderful man who fits our log burners..... I want a stewards' enquiry. Enjoy!

(If you have received this post as an email but cannot see the video, click on the blue blog post title to open up my blog.)

Salad Days......

'Do you know what Mummy?.......' said the 6yo

'What lovely?'

'....................I think someone's been nicking my chocolate.' He didn't look up, (so clearly I wasn't a suspect in the investigation,) instead he concentrated on peeling away the tricky foil wrapping from yet another Cadbury's Creme Egg...... a skill I have mastered over the past weeks...

'Gosh,' said I in a whisper. 'Must be Daddy.'


My diet really need some normality to flourish. I can't take these half-hearted weeks any more. I need children and husband out of the house 5 out of 7 days and the chocolate to have run out...... Oh yes and there might need to be rain too as the cook outs in the field are scrummy but dangerously more-ish. S'moor anyone?

Ah well, maybe an hour with yea olde mattock will do the trick.... so, off down the field to earth up. (See, I know ALL the phrases nowadays....)

pic courtesy of yum....

The Archers at The Larches

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Snowy and Moon

Snowy and Moon