Mmm, we really must remember 2014 for the long warm season that began in April and is still proving mild in mid-October, there’s still food growing in the kitchen garden and it’s not quite coat weather yet!
Unusually, I’ve had to buy eggs from the supermarket for two weeks in a row now. Come on girls, there’s sixteen of you, surely a few of you could give us a daily offering? Or most of you could just lay a couple a week? Sadly, I’m in the position of having more chickens here at Hen Corner than ever before and nearly all of them are moulting, hence the rations in the baking department. Pictured left is beautiful Bunty our Chocolate Brown Bantam Orpington, photo taken by Sunny Day Photography back in August, today I picked her up and the feathers literally dropped from her tiny frame. I couldn’t possibly show you a photo from today as she’s looking indecently oven-ready! I know that this is time limited and very soon all the girls will be sporting the latest fashions in winter warm plumage but whilst they are focussing all their energy and extra protein on growing these feathers they are taking a break from egg laying. Hopefully, our three hybrids should come back into lay with enough eggs for our Christmas baking but I’m not expecting the pure breeds (yep, that’s the other 13) starting back until that traditional date of Valentine’s Day.
Whilst most of our harvest is safely gathered in and preserved for winter we still have courgettes, squashes & inca berries (Cape gooseberries/Physalis) ripening in the Kitchen Garden. The winter squashes are great as their hard skins ensure that they keep well for months, and if we have more courgettes than we can manage we’ll knock up another batch of Courgette and Cumin Chutney; as for the inca berries, which I planted Spring ’13 and over-wintered a little bit too well, they have taken over two whole raised beds and are becoming the stars of a new preserve that I’m making this year. If you’ve been growing pumpkins this year, do try out this chutney recipe, it’s perfect for bonfire night with sausages and matures well for a Christmas accompaniment for cheese.
This year we have had courses right throughout 2014 giving everyone the opportunity for ‘A little bit of country life in London’. The next sessions coming up are Family Feathers and Fun! on 8th November and Stir Up Sunday on 23rd November.
Why not come and join us? We have also planned all of our courses for next year, so whether you want to try something new or treat someone to a wonderful gift, have a look and book in early!
By Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
I love all the River Cottage books, and how trim Hugh is looking on his lighter diet, but this one unveils the recipe for a Courgette and Raisin Tea Loaf… I’m definitely trying that one soon!
This book is available with many of our other favourites books from the Hen Corner Shop!
- We’ve been treating our apple, pear and plum trees with a Codling Moth Nematode
- It was wonderful to meet the delightful Anna Scott of West London Mum for an interview
- Men’s Fitness magazine came round for some photos and a chat and about the nutritional benefits of growing your own food
Jobs for next week:
- Triple filter my entries for the National Honey Show
- Continue to feed the bees ready for winter
- Put the new winter covers over the Eglu runs to keep the chickens dry throughout the wettest months
Join us on the Journey!