Sunday, 25 October 2009

Autumn at Clun

The recent winds and rain have virtually stripped the trees, and given us gentle encouragement to batten down the hatches and turn our thoughts to working on the inside of the house again. This winter we hope to get the two downstairs rooms reworked, refloored and decorated... its quite ambitious, but that's the plan.

Of course there are still the outside jobs that need doing as and when the weather permits. Today we made a start on the chicken / duck enclosure. Getting the posts in is going to be quite a challenge but the thought of fresh eggs is spurring us on - we just need a couple of weekends and the right kit to get the job done. Thing is, we haven't quite worked out exactly what we need! Past experience says you never have the thing you need, no matter what you've got to hand.

Last week the sheep that found their way into our field finally got picked up, not before one of them managed to get itself well and truly stuck in the fence though. It's true they are remarkably stupid , and continually looking for new ways to die! Thankfully we spotted it and got it out of its rather ridiculous predicament, unfortunately the fence didn't fare so well.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Chocolate and Courgette Brownies

So we've had the last glut of courgettes, just the odd one is still arriving. The last lot gave us the chance to tweak the choc and courgette cake recipe (originally from Riverford). Try it you'll be really pleasantly surprised!

120g butter / marg
125ml sunflower oil
100g caster sugar
200g soft brown sugar
3 eggs
125ml milk
350g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp cocoa powder
50g chopped walnuts (optional)
450g peeled and finely grated courgettes
1tsp vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 190 c / 350 f

Line a 8" x 12" tin with greaseproof (if you haven't got a tray this size use a smaller one and use any left over mixture in muffin cases).

Beat the butter, oil and sugars together until light.

Slowly add the eggs and then the milk until thoroughly mixed.

Sift the dry ingredients together and fold into the mixture.

Add the walnuts, vanilla essence and grated courgettes.

Spoon into the tin, and / or muffin cases and bake for 40 mins approx. until a skewer comes out clean. Muffins will take about 25 mins.

Delicious eaten warm, but you can freeze them too!

Changing Times

Autumns here ... and properly I mean. Not the nice sunny late September, the weird up and down, one minute its raining and the next its blazing, type autumn that makes keeping Tom dry, warm but not too warm sooooo difficult!

Anyway, the raspberries continue in force. Every dry day is a picking day, and the freezer is now brimming with this year's harvest. Which is just as well as we just have a few odds and ends coming in now, even the tomatoes are nearly all gone (but not quite!).

With the chicken house all painted, we are designing the run that will hopefully keep the new recruits nice and safe as well as giving them a great area to play around in. Can't wait until we are able to actually go and get some!

The darker evenings are turning our thoughts towards the inside of the house once more. Having totally abandoned work inside since about May, we're itching to get the sledgehammer and paintbrushes out again. What will be first? Whatever it is it's sure to mean some pretty drastic changes of use for rooms upstairs and down, whether they become permanent we'll just have to wait and see!

Friday, 2 October 2009

the last bits and pieces...

So that's nearly it for the lovely summer fare now. Just a few tomatoes left, 1 aubergine and a few peppers... oh and a lot of chillies!

The beastly spider mites that took over the beans have found their way onto several other plants. Found this useful site so going to try them with the soapy water trick and if that fails nuke them with alcohol!

We are hoping to get an asparagus bed established this Autumn ready for planting next spring but are debating whether its OK to put it in the tunnel or whether we need to find a permanent spot for it outside. The former is quite straightforward to achieve the latter much more tricky as the list of jobs gets longer and longer. If anyone has experience of asparagus in a tunnel do let us know how you got on.

Being the first year doing this, we don't have much else to keep us going on into winter, so any suggestions for things we can plant now appreciated.