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Archive for September, 2013

Thursday 19 September 2013

As you may have gathered in the five or so years I’ve been babbling on and you’ve been dropping in and out to see what I’m up to, housework is not really my thing.  Cooking falls into that category, but every-so-often I have a little burst of enthusiasm for toiling over a hot stove.  Autumn (or the beginning of Autumn) tends to be one of those times.  I’m a bit of a gatherer you see.  I hate to see anything, especially anything delicious, go to waste and that includes hedgerow pickings such as sloes and blackberries.  This year a friend gave me access to her garden with three or four heavily-burdened damson trees and between us we must have picked about 30lbs.  Several pounds of mine have already gone into gin bottles with added sugar ready for decanting at Christmas, both Dan and my friend have done the same, and the rest have gone into the freezer until I decide what to do with them.  They’ll probably become jam as I feel a preserving-mood coming on.  I also made a bottle of sloe gin and one of blackberry vodka so it’ll be interesting to see how that turns out.  The apples in my garden are starting to drop off the trees and it’s a race between us and everything else that likes to run off with them.  Foxes mostly I suspect, but possibly badgers and definitely birds love to take them from the lowest branches, poop all over the garden and disappear with them.  There are plenty there this year so that’s not so much of a problem although sadly our beautiful Victoria plum tree died during the summer, managing to produce about six plums before giving up all together.  I ate one plum whilst checking out the garden, but by the time I went back later they’d vanished without a trace.  I planted a cherry tree a few weeks ago and that’s been heavily protected to stop the deer stripping the bark before it has a chance to establish but history shows I don’t have a lot of luck with them so if it’s still alive next year that’ll be a bonus.

Our calving season continues on with the successful delivery of four heifers in the past week, all of which have been registered pedigree already: Alexandra, Nancy, Jenny and Tiny.  They’re quite large and mostly black calves as well as being strong and healthy so we’re very pleased with them.  We had another stillborn this morning which brings the total to four so far in the past few weeks, but the mother is fine and that’s the main thing.

Last week Gordon and I celebrated our anniversary by going on the West Somerset Railway again.  We went to Watchet and looked around the harbour, where Gordon made a friend on a torpedo boat that was open to the public.  The guy who has restored it also used to fly microlights so they had lots to talk about.  The drizzle finally drove us back to the station where we ate ice-creams and waited for the return train – we had attentive company.

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Well, I can’t hang around here, I’ve got apples bubbling on the Aga and have decided to make an apple and blackberry crumble.  I’m also waiting on a grocery delivery so I’ll have sugar to start my jam making.  Oddly enough, I’m quite looking forward to it.

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Monday 9 September 2013

That seemed like a very quick month but I’ve been busy with real things rather than virtual so please excuse my absence.

Our heifers and cows have started to calve again after their ‘summer break’.  So far we’ve had four heifers calve with two live girls, one live boy and a female calf that died followed quickly by the mother who damaged her back severely during the calving.  We actually had to call the vet to help us get the calf out, but we’d already fished the mother out the ditch that morning.  It’s always tragic when this happens and takes a while to get over.  This morning one of our older ladies gave birth to dead female twins but we’re hoping that’s all the bad stuff over for the season.  Sadly, I doubt it will be.  On the whole the heifers who’ve recently joined the herd have been well-behaved in the milking parlour but there are a couple who have yet to stand still.  Whilst milking yesterday I was kicked in the arm and it became black and stiff during the night.  The bruise has followed my veins so it looks like I have a strange map on the inside of my forearm!

Since I last wrote I’ve had a little jaunt to St Ives in Cornwall with a small group of female friends.  We went during a particularly hot spell and I managed to burn my shoulders again.  I really am rubbish with sun protection which is why I simply prefer to stay in the shade, but on this occasion I went on a boat trip.  This is a big step for me, especially since I get travel sick very quickly.  I took a tablet and was fine until we reached the rocky outcrop in the sea where there were supposed to be seals, but the guy in charge informed us after we’d got there that they’re usually out feeding at high-tide, so we bobbed around on the waves trying to spot them in the water.  There were only a couple, but unfortunately the bobbing about finished me off so I took another tablet then fought nausea all the way home.

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I did manage to catch a photo of this one though.  I think he might be asleep although he could just be resting his eyes!  The sun was very bright after all.

A couple of times I took myself off on my own to wander around the beach while my friends went swimming – in the sea!!  I don’t do swimming at the best of times and although the water was clear it definitely looked cold.  I had my camera so that was me happy for a couple of hours.

I took this photo of what I thought was a sandpiper, but it could be a bird called a turnstone according to my book.

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The smell jogged so many memories of my childhood when we used to go to the seaside regularly.  This was the most pungent.

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The smell of wet seaweed!

It was such beautiful weather that we walked around in the evening in just t-shirts and jeans.

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