Thursday 28 July 2011

I'm in Charge.....

Mum is off to Scotland with Lovely Hubby so I'm in charge of the farm, I have staff stationed in the various areas. 

I'm in charge in the Paddock !

I have it all under control in the Orchard.....zzzzzzz !!

This Blog Post by
Caldwell........... The Boss xx

Tuesday 26 July 2011

So Tasty.....

Sometimes on your Blog hopping travels you discover a Blog that is informative, useful and just a brilliant read, when it's one that also gives you ideas for your tea, it's the best blog in the world.

When I stumbled on Shaheen's Blog last year, I immediately sensed a like-minded soul and sat back and read it from the very beginning (that always makes me feel a bit like a stalker but it gets you in tune with the person writing the Blog and explains what they're talking about now).

Her Blog is called Allotment 2 Kitchen, and from it I print out sooooo many recipes my little folder is bursting at the seams, they all work and they are all delicious.  The one I printed most recently is the quiche above 'Carrot, Puy Lentil and Parsley Flan'.  I read it and within 2 hours I had my very own sat waiting for me to have a slice for my lunch.  We took the rest to Bleinhem with us on Saturday and ate it as part of our picnic, and it was equally delicous 2 days old.  I must point out that the filling gave me enough for 2 quiches so if you are filling a standard sized quiche base just use half quantities.

Lovely Hubby's blood sugar levels are evening out nicely now thatwe are following a very healthy low-carb diet, so much so that he can choose to eat a limited amount of carbs each day, so he's back on about 2 pieces of fruit a day, and he can enjoy gorgeous tasty things like Shaheen's Flan.

Piggy feeding time off I go.

Have a good day, and wishing a very safe journey to my lovely folks who are heading to the farm today to visit us here in cloudy Oxfordshire, lets hope the sun shines on the righteous (and us as well!!)

Sue xx

Monday 25 July 2011

What a weekend......

Wow...what a weekend.  It was a short one for us, usually Lovely Hubby is off Fridays as well but for the last two weeks, due to pressure of work he has had to work long five day weeks, he works a ten hour day so they were long weeks indeed.  This meant that by Saturday we were both ready for a day off the farm relaxing.  We headed off to the CLA Game Fair, held at Blenheim Palace, as we are members of the CLA we had free tickets and Member Enclosure passes which made for a very good day.

We took the dogs and they had the time of their lives.....because everyone else took their dogs too!!  Lots of doggy friendships were struck up and of course it meant that strangers didn't stay strangers for too long as one thing all dog lovers do is talk to each other. 

 It was a three day Fair and we had chosen to go on the Saturday, and we were really glad we did, as on Sunday the temperature shot up and the sun shone on the farm all day, it would have been simply too hot to do all the walking we did on Saturday in the heat and the dogs would have suffered too.

As it was we spent Sunday tidying the farm, strimming, mowing, deep cleaning two of the chicken houses and watering the animals on a regular basis.  Maud, who is due to farrow in a week sensibly stayed in the shade and slept the day away.

The younger pigs found quiet corners and snoozed between mad games with each other.

We decided to let all the birds mingle from now on.  Now that we have no large cockerel, we thought it was about time the chickens learnt to get along with each other.  Many little skirmishes went on but nothing too serious, until a Welsummer decided to take on Caldwell, the cockerel.  Surprisingly they were an even match and both backed down in the end, although poor little Caldwell had a few sore bits!!  The Welsummers are at least twice as big as him and so tall, she definitely had a height advantage.

The Lavender girls were all a bit intimidated by the large hens and ran to Caldwell for reassurance over and over, he was very good and each time would take them into the group and stay while they helped themselves to some food.  Already things are settling down and mostly they all keep to their little usual groups of friends.  The latest hatching of eight boys and one girl still run around together, she feels safer with her brothers for now, but I'm sure she will join in with the other girls soon.

Off course their small size means they fit through the electric fencing and through the stock fencing into the orchard, so young Pekin met young pig for the first time and they had lots of fun getting to know each other.  The piglets chase the little birds who waddle off at great speed.  Lots of fun to watch, but not caught on camera yet.

One of the young Middle Whites cooling off in the shade.

For tea we picked ourselves a Cauliflower.....

...and a couple of the sprouting Broccoli's and had a wonderful Cauliflower Cheese (with broccoli), followed by home-grown Rhubarb and cream, a lovely end to a very nice weekend.

Sue xx

Sunday 24 July 2011

Five Lessons

Grab a coffee, pull up your chair and take five minutes from your day ......... it's long but important, take the time to read all of'll be glad you did!! 
Five lessons about the way we treat people

1 - First Important Lesson - Know People.

During my second month of college, our professor
gave us a pop quiz.. I was a conscientious student
and had breezed through the questions until I read

the last one:
"What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"
Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the
cleaning woman several times. She was tall,
dark-haired and in her 50's, but how would I know her name?
I handed in my paper, leaving the last question
blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if
the last question would count toward our quiz grade.
"Absolutely, " said the professor.. "In your careers,
you will meet many people. All are significant.. They
deserve your attention and care, even if all you do
is smile and say "hello.."

I've never forgotten that lesson.. I also learned her
name was Dorothy.

2. - Second Important Lesson - Help People

One night, at 11:30 p.m.., an older African American
woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway
trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had
broken down and she desperately needed a ride.
soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.
A young white man stopped to help her, generally
unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960's. The man
took her to safety, helped her get assistance and
put her into a taxicab.

She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his
address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a
knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a
giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A
special note was attached. It read:

"Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway
the other night. The rain drenched not only my
 clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along.
Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying
husband's' bedside just before he passed away... God
bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others."

Mrs. Nat King Cole.

3 - Third Important Lesson - Always remember those who serve you.

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a
10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and
sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in
front of him.
"How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked.
"Fifty cents," replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and
studied the coins in it.
"Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired.
By now more people were waiting for a table and the
waitress was growing impatient..
"Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied..

The little boy again counted his coins.
"I'll have the plain ice cream," he said.
The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on
the table and walked away The boy finished the ice
cream, paid the cashier and left.. When the waitress
came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the
table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish,

were two nickels and five pennies..

You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had
to have enough left to leave her a tip.

4 - Fourth Important Lesson. - The Obstacle in Our Path.

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a
roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if
anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the
King's' wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by
and simply walked around it... Many loudly blamed the
King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did
anything about getting the stone out of the way.
Then a peasant came along carrying a load of
  Upon approaching the boulder, the
peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the
stone to the side of the road. After much pushing
and straining, he finally succeeded. After the
peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed
a purse lying in the road where the boulder had
been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note
from the King indicating that the gold was for the
person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The
peasant learned what many of us never understand!

Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve
our condition.

5 - Fifth Important Lesson - Giving When it Counts...

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a
hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who
was suffering from a rare & serious disease. Her only
chance of recovery appeared to be a blood
transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had
miraculously survived the same disease and had
developed the antibodies needed to combat the
illness. The doctor explained the situation to her
little brother, and asked the little boy if he would
be willing to give his blood to his sister.
I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a
deep breath and saying, "Yes I'll do it if it will save her."
  As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed
next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing
the color returning to her cheek. Then his face
grew pale and his smile faded.

He looked up at the doctor and asked with a
trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away".
Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the
doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his
sister all of his blood in order to save her.

We can all learn from these tales.

So in your life it's important to ....... 

'Live with no regrets,

 Treat people the way you want to be treated,

Work like you don’t need the money,

Love like you’ve never been hurt,

and........ Dance like you do when nobody’s watching.” 

I got this on an email from my Mum yesterday, she sends me lots of wacky ones, some I can't even download because our internet connection takes soooooo long to download things, most I just read and delete straight away (I really don't like these 'round robin' type things) but occasionally there's one that makes me think, this was one of them.

I though I'd share it with you, I hope you enjoyed it.

 Sue x

Friday 22 July 2011

Pretty farmhouse pictures.......

Pretty farmhouse pictures......I don't think so!!  Have you seen my kitchen table at the moment.  Dual purpose....strimmer workshop and a painting bench.

As you can see I have yet to step away from the green paint. 

I love this colour, it is the colour we had mixed for the farmhouse exterior doors to match the original peeling paint that was on them when we moved in.  I have one more chair to do and then I will leave the remains of the tin for the next tennants to be able to touch up the doors again, they need doing every year or so because we are so exposed here on every side.

I though I'd better give you at least one pretty picture, so here are Sara, Iris and Fern tucking into some Spinach yesterday.

The sun is shining beautifully here today and has been since 5.30 this morning.  The 'chicken feed' is calling me (weeds, for those of you who missed yesterdays post). 

 We're off to the CLA Game Fair tomorrow and hopefully we will be doing a Car Boot sale on Sunday, so I may be missing for a while.

I hope you all have a good day today and a lovely weekend, fingers crossed we keep the sunshine for a little bit longer.

Sue xx

Thursday 21 July 2011

What am I up to......

At the moment I am spending lots of time' gathering chicken food''s my new name for weeding.  Everytime the girls see me at the veggie beds they cluster at the fence waiting for the tray of weeds to be flung over so they can have a good sort out and nab the tastiest bits.  It also means when folk come to the farm and say "my, what a lot of weeds you have" I can truthfully say I am saving them for the chickens!!

Also I'm taking great delight in watching the bees buzzing about the Borage and the lavender.  Lots of lavender has been left unharvested, the weather conditions this year here on the farm have not been that good for it and the bees are loving the mass of flowers.

I'm also now reading these books after finishing the others at the start of the week.  Every time I come in for a cuppa or collapse on the sofa in a heap at the end of a long days sorting out or 'gathering chicken food' I grab a book and read a chapter or two.  Hopefully some of the information will be sinking in, but I'm starting to feel 'all carbed out'!!

Sue xx

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Seven Links

I've been tagged by the lovely Laura over at Our Wee Farm to share with you seven links.  This idea was started over at Tripbase Blog and has travelled around the world gaining momentum as it goes.  I simply have to choose which of my previous Blog posts fit into these seven categories.  No easy job I seem to have done hundreds!!

I hope you like my choices, I'm sure there are many more suitable ones but it took me long enough to find these!!  (Just click on the heading to be taken straight to the post in question.)

In my opinion a wonderful tribute to one of my favourite girls.

So many people clicked on, copied and then tried their own versions of this, we're still drinking it now (the Champagne didn't work though!!).

I don't do controversy, but I did tout for votes here....and I won....Thank you!

This was sort of a tie as another really helpful post, according to all my lovely readers, was the using toilet roll centre to start all your seedlings in and planting them straight out without disturbing the roots.  But this one seemed to come at a time when lots of you were debating about or actually getting your very own chickens for the first time.

Lots of you rallied to my aid with coments and emails.......and the best dish to come out of all the trials... the Cheesey Coleslaw.  I am a definite convert to Kohl's yummy!

This got the most ever emails sent to me as well as the comments on the actual post.  I thank you for your support.

This was a strange one to do, I don't 'feel' that my posts 'deserve' your attention at all, that you chose to give them it is wonderful, and I am grateful to have found this little band of Blogging and Blog reading buddies.  So thank you for giving me your attention, and I can assure each and every one of you that takes the time to leave comments and get in touch are treasured.  Those of you who stay quiet are just as welcome, but you should be brave and venture forth, join as a follower and leave your comments, I love to read them.  So as a treat to those of you who have joined later in this Blogs life.....The Very First Entry.

This has been a lovely, but time consuming post to do, it has made me look back over past entries, occasionally with a tear in my eye, but it has been a good way to spend an hour or so, I hope you enjoy reading the choices I have made.

I am supposed to 'tag' five other Bloggers who I would like to have a go at this, but I realise most of you are busy, busy people.  If you would like to have a go consider yourself tagged.  I would love to hear if you are going to give this a go so I can view your choices.

Sue xx

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Giving me the runaround......

Certain little piggies were giving me the runaround yesterday.  Sophie, the Border Collie was in true 'Lassie' mode.  Every time they got out of their enclosure she came in the house to tell me.  They went back no trouble but in the end the fence that they were getting over was in no state to be fixed anymore, so it was decided after Lovely Hubby came home from work that we would move them to the Orchard.

We were going to do this at weekend because these Middle Whites are only four months old and new to the farm so we haven't had time to fully bucket train them, so we thought it might take a bit of time and a lot of persuading.  But they showed us their intelligence last night when they followed and indeed, ran ahead, to their new home, straight to the only unoccupied pen and stood waiting expectantly by the food trough, all in under 10 minutes.

Clever little piggies.  They certainly look happy enough to be giving me the runaround!

Sue xx

Monday 18 July 2011

And when I got there......

After feeding the chickens and pigs this morning I walked the dogs through the fields, what a difference from last week, it is cold and windy, the weeds have died right down, and if you were looking down at your mud covered wellies and didn't look up and see the trees in full leaf you would have thought we were on the verge of Autumn.  I hope the warmer weather comes back soon, we have a big show we are going to next weekend, the CLA Game Fair at Blenheim Palace, and then hopefully a Car Boot sale on the Sunday morning to jettison some more 'unnecessaries', so a week of warm, dry weather will make the ground much better.

After feeding I tore slices of one of the large Hestons we have, (see above picture, only ours are straw and that is hay)  and distributed them amongst the pigs.  Pigs like to have a 'door mat' so they don't walk mud into their arks and after moving the Kunes ark yesterday it was sat on soil and they definitely needed some straw outside it,  then looking around I saw everyone was a  bit muddy so they all got a bit to give them something dry to lie on today after the weekends downpours.

Then after all that activity, and covered from head to foot in straw it was time for me to come in for my breakfast.....

...and when I got there..... the bread bin was bare!!

The cracker tin is pretty empty too!

4 sausages = 0g carbs,  4 rashers of bacon = 0g carbs,  2 eggs = 0g carbs

But Lovely Hubby's breakfast plate (picture taken yesterday), looks pretty impressive.

1 slice of bread = 17g of carbs,  1 Apple = 10g

We are now starting properly on our Low Carb Diet using the book at the top of my sidebar as our guide.  It is important to keep your carbs as low as possible for the first couple of weeks on the diet so you have to restrict them carefully.  This is to get your body burning your stored fat rather than only burning carbs and then telling you to eat more to replace them, which is what has the bad effect on your insulin levels and thus your health.

  The ideal figure to stay below is 40g of carbs a day but you have a 'safety margin' of up to 60g if you are struggling a bit, so  I've found myself reading the little nutrition boxes on foods carefully once again.  Years ago I did the Atkins Diet, which is a slightly unhealthier version of this, but with impressive and quick results and I got used looking out for the hidden carbs in everything I ate.  On Dr Charles Clarks High Protein diet you are allowed almost unlimited amounts of most vegetables and one piece of fruit a day, the fruit is included in your carb count but the veggies are outside it, as well as lots and lots of protein.  The good thing about the diet is that the protein and fat you are allowed keep you feeling full, and you completely lose the urge to snack between meals.

We'll see how it goes over the next few weeks.    Better get back to the book for more inspiration.

Sue xx

Saturday 16 July 2011

A reading kind of day....

The weather has turned wet and windy and it really is a reading kind of day.  Just as well really as we have rather a lot of reading to do.

After Lovely Hubby's diagnosis the other week the medical profession sprang into action and he had an appointment with the Diabetes Nurse this week.  She recommended the sort of diet that she thinks will suit him down to the ground, luckily it's one I do VERY well on too, so we can share.

He has to start on a really low carbohydrate diet and then up the carbs gradually until he finds a level that suits him, very similar to what you do on the Dukan or Atkins diets.  But we are to follow Dr Charles Clarks diet, this include many more vegetables and some fruit to keep you healthier throughout your weight loss and to keep your blood sugar as balanced as possible.  The Nurse recommended some books....of course I bought them all immediately from my favourite place.

 These are the two we are to use the most, we both have to read them and try and follow the diet starting on Monday.  Until then we are to eat normally and monitor LH's blood sugar using his little high tech gadget that links to the computer, after that we will be able to see if switching to the new diet makes things better, the information can be passed to the Nurse in the form of spreadsheets and she will be able to tell us if we are on the right track can see if the diet really does benefit him.  His next appointment is in November, I wonder what he will weigh by then?

The good thing about the diabetic diet is that it's a diet for health, for everybody, so it means I'm not buying and cooking specific things just for LH. I'm working on getting us both as healthy as possible.  This could be the best thing that's ever happened to us!  Once again we are on a journey together.

Looking out of the window as I type, I see it most definitely is a day to curl up inside with a good book.

Hope your weather's a bit better than ours.  Have a good weekend.

Sue xx

Friday 15 July 2011

Now it really is my 'Pot of Dreams'

Ta - Da !!

You would seriously think that out of a tasteful box like this something lovely would emerge......'d be contained this.

I quickly grabbed my tin of paint and hid the Garfield look alike pot under a coat of gorgeous green.

And now it fits happily in with the rest of the kitchen.  Ousting Spotty Jug from his place on the shelf.

Off course while I had a paint brush in my hand......... to pick some more of these before I give the chair another coat.  It's a good job Martha the Middle White likes them, we're overrun with courgettes at the moment.


If you're slightly bemused at my 'Pot of Dreams' it's because I'm taking part in the Sealed Pot Challenge, see HERE.

Sue xx

Thursday 14 July 2011

This mornings' little harvest of goodies for our tea.  I see a deliciously light Summer Soup...what do you see?

~ ~ ~ ~

Don't you just love this pot.......haha....I think it's possibly the worst pot ever!! 

 But when I read about 'The Sealed Pot' challenge on Martin and Amy's Blog and then tracked it back to Sft's Blog I just had to join in.  Now I know I could have just used Spotty Jug again, indeed I've started saving in there already, but he's so accessible and I think if you are going 'sealed' you have to do it properly.

The I debated whether to just seal up a tub of some sort of container from the house, but I have always wanted one of these pots. So while I was in town yesterday I had a look round the charity shops for something suitable, and came up empty handed, then I went in the card shop and there amongst all the gorgeously decorated 'Pots of Dreams' was this monstrosity, now everyone else must have thought so to because it was the only one reduced to half price.  My eyes saw it like this, all bright orange and tacky, but in the back of my mind it looked completely different.

It's halfway through it's little makeover at the moment, I'll show you the finished article tomorrow.

If you're interested in joining in with 'The Sealed Pot' challenge use the links above for more information.  It will be very interesting to see how much we all mange to save and also what we end up spending our money on.

Sue xx

Wednesday 13 July 2011

The Last Tomatoes......

These are the last tomatoes that I will have bought from a shop!!  My own have just started turning red, we shared the first red little jewel from the polytunnel on last nights salad.  Halved it and popped it on top of the pile of delicious leaves and salady bits...a taster of things to come.

Coming on really well this year and being used extensively are our herbs.  Freshly picked to mix in with and to garnish each meal, we are loving the freshness and the intense flavours they bring to each dish and they are aiding us in our aim to eat less salt.  With flavours that zing like some of the herbs do you simply don't need to add extra salt to your meals.

And.....Ooops...I did it again.....ordered from here.   That sidebar button has a lot to answer for !!

This lovely new book from 'the jam people' Bonne Maman,  'The Seasonal Cookbook' is full of luscious recipes including... for my favourite herb...lavender!

And also it has lots of ideas on what to do with those pretty little jam pots after you have scraped every last bit of the jam out.

 Ooooh.....look more lavender ideas!!

Sue xx