"Maybe Christmas", he thought, "doesn't come from a store."

| 6th December 2013
Advent has begun and we are making lists, checking them twice and preparing for our Christmas celebrations, this week we are looking at hand-made gifts…

Wreath makingA time for preparation…

Since we’ve been producing our own food in our Brentford garden we have become so aware of the different seasons and the roles and rewards that each bring. Now that winter is upon us we need to ensure that the bees are tucked up warm with enough food to see them through, keep the chickens clean and dry, and get ready to harvest the leeks and parsnips for Christmas dinner. A number of our chickens, mainly the pure breeds, will stop laying eggs over the coldest months but the hybrids should keep us going with 3 or 4 eggs a day.

A true reward of a cold day is a real fire in the evening and heating just the room that you’re in saves costly fuel bills which we’ll all appreciate. So we’ve been tracking down various suppliers of seasoned logs for the fire, they need to be dry to burn well, and we’ve got them stacked in the wood store ready to use.

photo(6)After all the preserving of autumn, making jellies, jams and chutneys, we have a nice store of homemade gifts ready to wrap up for friends and family, and we’ll often add some freshly baked cookies, mince pies and brownies which are great gifts for teachers at school. Another idea for homemade gifts is to make biscotti using a variety of store cupboard fruit and nuts left over from the Christmas cakes and puddings. It’s quite easy and a big batch of dough will make loads of slices, pop them into cellophane bags with a ribbon and gift tag and they can also be used as place settings or favours for your house guests.

Alice's broochesWhat are others up to?

Alice Eades is an illustrator and artist who is continually inspired by the wonders of nature, storytelling and interiors. After graduating from Cardiff Metropolitan University with a First Class Degree in Illustration,  pursuing her interest, she has applied her detailed, original gouache paintings to rustic natural surfaces. Her beautiful wooden ornaments can be used to adorn the home, the Christmas tree, and also suspended from decorative dried twigs or in vintage inspired wall displays, all year round. As each piece is original and unique it provides a rare gift that can be treasured for years to come. Alice has recently expanded her range by creating some brooches and personalised gift tags which make thoughtful gifts for loved ones. Watch out for Alice as her plans for next year include a range of greeting cards and wall prints staying true to her nostalgic charm and depicting narratives inspired by fables.

TM Toast

Coming up at the Corner…

This year we have planned courses right through the year giving everyone the opportunity for ‘A little bit of country life in London’. Our next course, on Wednesday 29th January, is right in the middle of the Seville orange season and we invite you to join us to make your own Toast and Marmalade.  Bring your pinny and roll up your sleeves, this special course has been designed to help develop your artisan culinary skills as we create beautiful bread and marvelous marmalade… If you have started to think of gift ideas we have planned a whole year’s worth of courses which can be seen here and can send you gift cards confirming the details.

The River Cottage YearBook of the Blog Post:

The River Cottage Year

By Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Ten years on and this is still my favourite book to help me prepare our Christmas goose. We confit the legs and wings and save them for a French treat on Andy’s birthday in February, the liver makes a perfect pate and then the body is roasted with apple stuffing and all the trimmings

This book is available with many of our other favourites books from the Hen Corner Shop!

Other News:

  • We sold out of honey in the first couple of hours at St Faith’s Christmas Fair
  • Chiswick Buzz came to film some of our Top Tips for Christmas
  • Sadly one of our chickens, Dr Seuss who laid the green eggs, has died

Jobs for next week:

Have a good week yourself…Hen logo good

Join us on the Journey!


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