Change of season

| 10th November 2010

All the leaves are brown

Autumn is definitely here; the leaves are changing colour and giving us nature’s confetti as they cascade down from the trees to the ever-deepening carpet all around.

Ascot, our Silver-laced Wyandotte, has come out in sympathy and shed loads of her beautiful feathers… Fortunately, before we started checking for mites, we could see the new quills peeking through and realised that this was the first moult that we’ve experienced here at Hen Corner. We started the flock with hybrids, who don’t tend to moult, but since Ascot started – all the other pure breeds have joined in the bald-party! Fortunately, this years three new hybrid hens from Charlotte’s Chickens are all happy and are laying each day…. good job too as I’m making my christmas cake & pudding this weekend!

Poor Old Ruby

Some sad news on the hen front, poor old Ruby went downhill again and died a couple of weeks ago. She certainly hung in there for as long as she could; she’d been ill for over a year – a beautiful Spanish Penedesenca who laid hazelnut brown eggs. We’ll miss her.

Kilner Surprise!

I received a phone call recently from someone I hadn’t spoken to for years…. ‘We’re clearing our my mum’s loft to insulate it, we’ve found some old Kilner jars, can you use them? Otherwise we’ll take them to the charity shop…’

Ooh, Yes please!

It turns out that they were a wedding present in 1943, I managed to track down some new seals from Kilner Jars UK and they’ve cleaned up rather well…

In the front you can see the Damson Gin and to the back are a couple of jars of Sloe Schnapps, mmm, all ready for Christmas!

That reminds me, we need to check on the cider. It’s still bubbling now and then, but we’re planning for a second ferment with some sugar added in. This will not only sweeten the cider, but the extra CO2 produced will help give it that extra sparkle!

Piggy Wiggy Woo…

Whilst on holiday this summer, we watched Christine Hamilton make a Pigs Head Terrine on Celebrity Master Chef… ‘I can do that!’ I thought… Fortunately, our local butchers gave me these heads, cut in half for ease, and I boiled them up with a pigs hand/forearm and stock herbs & vegetables.

After several hours, the meat came away from the bone quite easily and we packed it into loaf tins and topped them up with the cooking liquor. It was a great first attempt, we enjoyed one with pickles and fresh bread and the second one is in the freezer for Christmas…

In the Garden

  • We’ve brought in the chillies (in pots) and harvested the peppers before the frosts.
  • We’ve planted broad beans for next year – they should flower before the black fly get to them.
  • We’ve brought in the squash which are hardening up in the conservatory.
  • We’ve planted a Loganberry bush – half price for a quick sale!
  • We’ve got carrots, leeks, cauliflower, purple sprouting broccoli and potatoes still growing.
  • We’ve still got raspberries ripening… it’s so worth having a few varieties!

In the Kitchen

  • We’ve made Green Tomato Chutney with those saved from blight.
  • We’ve made nine individual Membrillos costing 7.6p/100g
  • The fruit for the Christmas Cake is soaking in mulled port.
  • The fruit for the Christmas Pudding is soaking in rum.
  • The Physalis, Cape Gooseberries, are ripening nicely in the conservatory.
  • We’re still working on that Panettone recipe… any suggestions?

I know it’s got a bit colder recently, but you need the frosts to sweeten up the parsnips…

A change in season is great – enjoy it and look forward!

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