Thursday, 25 August 2016

Bottling Tomatoes

 The past few days tomatoes have been ripening up and every couple of days I have picked a couple of pound
 Mainly the big beefeater ones at long last.
I had to get something done with them, the small tomatoes we happily eat in salads or Martin just eats on the go.
I had a couple of pound of plum tomatoes as well that I managed to harvest before I lost them to blight.
 I want to show you how easy it is to bottle tomatoes safely without any fancy equipment.
 Firstly the tomatoes have to be skinned, dropped the tomatoes into boiling water when the skin splits drop them into cold water the skin slips off easily, I chopped up the tomatoes because they were big ones.
 This is the hot pack method, pop the tomatoes into a saucepan and cover with boiling water, simmer for 5 mins
have your jars sterilised and lids 
spoon your tomatoes into the jars leaving a head space of at least half an inch, add quarter a teaspoon of  lemon juice to each jar,
 wipe the rim and put on the lids
 have a deep pan of boiling water ready, pop the jars into the pan,
make sure they are covered with water 
Boil for 40 mins, keep an eye on the water level.
 as it was a hot day, I did mine outside on my portable stove, these little gas stoves are brilliant.
once the tomatoes are done lift them out, stand the hot jars on a tea towel and leave to cool, as the cool the lids pull in creating a vacuum seal,
that's all there is to it, 
they will keep for years providing the seal isn't broken,
These tomatoes are the same as the ones you get in a tin.  
Next I have to get some french beans canned they are coming along thick and fast now
Every few days I am picking this amount, the purple ones are more productive than the green, its a shame they turn green when you cook them.
This batch I popped into the freezer
 simply just cut up into a zip lock bag and into the freezer
 I like the Ikea zip lock bags, you get two different sizes in each box
and they have a double zip seal, they are suitable for freezing, can be washed and re-used many times, and they are an excellent price.
Freezing is OK but I don't want to fill the freezer with veg harvests knowing we need the space for up and coming meat.
The next lot of beans I will be canning.
October 25th Monday 1982
Washed Calendines bottom, had breakfast.
Took pick up to have wiring sorted out, dead short to brakes?
keeps blowing fuses for horn, lights washers etc.
Wrote to mother about Molly picking up Prince.
Douglas had exhaust seen to.
Bill for pick up £33.43, Molly and Douglas left about 4-30pm.
Collected headboards for the beds.
Washed floors, swept through and brushed mats, Did ironing and washing, got tea.
John shifted more machinery from top field.
Coates phoned wanting £1.35 per bale for hay not £1 as originally agreed.


Wednesday, 24 August 2016


Its time I did an update on the new herbs that were sown last month
These are all tender herbs and I want to see if I can keep them going through winter in the poly tunnel, they are to be planted among the citrus trees.
 Cinnamon Basil, although the cinnamon taste is not too overpowering, it does smell very much of cinnamon.
 Stevia not doing to well. It was old seeds need to pick up some new ones.
 The tray of salad leaves are coming on great now ready for picking
 Some more young plants ready for planting out.

Basil has done very well in the poly tunnel I have been getting some dehydrated to use through winter as well as using it fresh
 One of my favourite ways of using it, a handful of leaves, some pine nuts garlic clove and a splash of olive oil
 Blitzed up together
 and used to dress some pasta, its a bit like Pesto but without the Parmesan, very quick and easy I had this lot with some smoked salmon and salad.
A few new herbs to try
I was told about this one and managed to get some seeds to try, Acmella Spilanthes Oleracea, otherwise know as the Toothache plant, the flower buds and leaves when chewed numb the mouth, they can also be dried this is one for my medicinal plants beds, it is a hardy annual.
 German chamomile
 Bolt resistant Coriander, 
I will be starting these seeds in the spring, I am compiling lists of seeds for next year, is anyone else starting on next years lists.

Sunday October 24th 1982
Up at 9 o'clock,  weather not very nice, checked sheep and counted them, John fixed up many curtain tracks, Bathroom, two bedrooms and landing. 
Made more bread, sponge and chocolate cornflake cakes.
Celandines foot beginning to go down, Kittens getting braver but not ventured outside yet.
Had a lovely chicken dinner in the evening and a bottle of Tesco's Liebfraumilch very nice £1.99 

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Pickles And A Cake

Yesterday I didn't get much done at all, this virus decided it wasn't yet ready to go, apart from doing the usual chores I didn't feel like coping with anything else.
Today however I feel fine again apart from a hacking cough.
A morning was spent in the kitchen
 I did a couple of jars of the refrigerator pickle, using up some of cucumbers a few chilies and some garlic along with dill.
 I did plan to get some baking done yesterday, did it today instead,
I made a Marmalade Loaf Cake, Link HERE I used one of the jars of marmalade I made last year.
 I also did the usual loaf of bread, we tried a slice of the Marmalade loaf with a cup of tea while it was still warm, it was lovely and moist.
We had to take a trip out over the mountain
 All the heather is in flower and looks stunning
We were off out to pick up a new ride on mower
I spotted it for sale last week its 3 years old but was only used a few times as the owner took ill and passed away, its in immaculate condition, the handbook was with it along with the receipt of purchase, we got it for a third of the price, our old one has been having a few problems it was time for a change.

Saturday 23rd October 1982
Went to the Market and arrived home about 4 o'clock.
Mr Coats had been and removed more items, sleepers, RSJ's etc and the anvil.
Douglas bought a set of drawer's in Woolworth's. 
First frost of the year, 
Sheep all O.K. needed moving into fresh fields, 
Jessie cut her front pad.
Clocks went back one hour.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Harvest and Gluts

Sometimes you just end up with lots coming ready at once,
Cucumbers, I picked 8 this morning

Flash enjoys a chunk of cucumber for breakfast amongst the strawberry plants, but can only eat so much cucumber.
over on Two Men and a Little Farm they had a lovely easy recipe yesterday for refrigerator pickle, I am going to give this a try to use some of the cucumber.
As well as the cucumbers todays harvest
was lots of chilies they will be dried, courgettes and peppers they will be used at the week end in something, french beans and the last 6 corn on the cobs they are now in the freezer.
Last night it was a lovely harvest of mushrooms
I had them fried in butter to have with my dinner.
Tomatoes a good 3lb I am going to make into a tomato base for future meals.
there is also regular pickings of lettuce, spring onions and salady bits,  daily eggs and milk from the goats.

How are you using your gluts up ?

Friday October 22nd 1982
Checked ewes, all OK.
Rained nearly all day, 
did more clearing up rubbish around the farm. 
Molly and Douglas arrived about 10 o'clock
Put sheep licks (2) in the field.



Tuesday, 16 August 2016

A Distasteful Post For Some

Some may find this post distasteful.
Yesterday while working in the veg garden, I heard a commotion in the chicken area, 
A Buzzard had swooped down and was attacking one of the chickens 

I have managed to upload cctv footage of the attack on to facebook but cant get it load here.

The buzzard didnt manage to get away with the young chicken it misjudged and crashed into the chicken house and dropped the bird, which as I got over to it was taking its last breath.
 I was angry in fact I had a bit of rant well more than a rant,
The young chicken didnt die in vain,
I used it to bait the fox trap 
and this morning 
 Yep I have me a fox a young one, proberbly one of the young ones that had my OAP's the other week.
Now awaiting for some one to come and dispatch it.
Yes it may seem unfair being such a young fox, but it is the way things go, it cant be relocated and cause some-one else problems.
Young foxes grow up and breed more young foxes, we already have a population explosion of foxes.

Relaxing And Recovering

Back in the land of the living again, yesterday was a very relaxing day, I was still feeling a bit out of it and once again headed to bed for a few hours, today feeling normal again,
Didn't get much done done at all,
Picked a bowl of blueberries, they have been doing really well picking a bowlful every few days, picked a few courgettes and tomatoes, made a loaf of bread then went back to bed.
When I got up I felt a lot lot better 
 I was happy to sit in the shade spinning
 while Martin worked on getting the concrete down in what will be his workshop.
 Dinner was a very simple affair, courgettes fried in butter with garlic and spring onions there was a few in the fridge needing using
 There was also a few cooked potatoes in the fridge so they go fried up and served with venison steak and salad.
 Mushrooms are coming on great and every couple of days there is some to pick, I am ticking this one off as a success.
I have a few ideas on doing mushroom growing next year.
I will continue with the Diary posts from my next blog post right now I have a lot to catch up on.