Friday, 17 February 2017

Little People

Its that time of year when the little people come to visit
 My eldest is here at the moment and has brought with her some of the grandchildren, some of hers and one from my youngest daughter.
Its just been time for 
 Tree climbing πŸ˜›
Puddle Jumping πŸ™Œ
 Tree planting πŸ’
 Animal feeds πŸπŸ”πŸ–πŸΎ
 Wellies a must for everyone πŸ’¦
 spreading wood chips
 many hands make light work πŸ’ͺ
 we got half the fruit cage done then run out of wood chips
walks in the wood  πŸ”
 for everyoneπŸ“΅
including SolπŸ•
last night the girls were trying out yoga😁
followed  by a  late night walk in the dark across the fields, I took them out all armed with torches as they were convinced there was something lurking nasty that was going to attack them hiding in the dark, standing in the far field I even got them to turn there torches off so they could enjoy the night time and see there was nothing there that was going to eat them, although the owl hooting raised a few shrieks. πŸ’€
Normal service to resume when they go home on Sunday πŸ˜ƒ


Monday, 13 February 2017

Canning Salmon

All the salmon that was pulled out of the freezer yesterday was to be canned, 
 Once it was defrosted it was cut into chunks washed and drained,
no need to remove the skin or bones, the bones soften during the canning process and add extra calcium.
 The jars were steralised in a hot oven and the lids were popped into boiling water, the salmon was packed into hot jars
 Then into the canner, which already has water, no extra liquid is added to the jars,
 Lid on and the canner is set to come up to pressure
 10 lb of pressure needed to be maintained for 110 minuets 
this is were I am glad I have a solid fuel Rayburn, although once it is up to pressure if you were cooking on gas or electric you would turn down to maintain pressure, I move the canner across the stove to the simmer side which isn't so hot, the hottest part of the Rayburn is directly over the fire box.
 Once the time is reached, the canner is removed from the heat allow the pressure to drop to zero remove the lid and lift out the jars, they are still very hot and the contents are still bubbling away, as the jars cool, the lids get sucked down making a popping noise and the jar is sealed.
The liquid in there has come from the fish.
 4 pints of salmon done
 The salmon is the same as what you get in a tin, perfect for sandwiches and fish cakes 
While sorting out the freezer yesterday, I pulled out some odds and ends, chicken and some of our sausages we made.
They were put together with some chorizo rice peppers onions and canned tomatoes to make Jambalaya 
A nice hot and spicy dinner.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Freezing And Freezers

I really don't know were the time goes,
yesterday I made a batch of waffles for us to have over the week end
 and the usual week end loaf of bread
 Then it was strip the bed, hoover through, get all the house stuff up to date, the remainder of the day I spent down in the cabin working on some new ideas for up and coming craft fairs, while Martin popped out for animal feed, he spent the rest of the day splitting logs and re-filling the log shed.
This morning I decided to pull out the contents of freezer 2 (mainly meat) re-do the inventory and get the meat from freezer 3 into the freezer 2, clearing out a freezer in readiness for a pig we are slaughtering in a couple of weeks.

 There is 4 pages listing the contents of the freezer

 I have lists on all the freezers, what is canned. pickled, preserved and dehydrated, they all live in this folder that lives in the kitchen
 when something is used its crossed off, this way I can see what we have and with vegetables it helps me decide what I need to grow, no point in growing loads of chilies again when I have plenty in storage, the space can be given over to growing something we are running low on.
While going through the freezers I pulled out a load of salmon
I am going to get this canned later today, it will then be ready to use for sandwiches or fishcakes, fish doesn't keep long in the freezer before it spoils.
Its bowing a gale outside and cold with it, yesterday we had on off snow flurries. It ha been a cold week, and many a morning I have to clear thick ice of the animals drinking troughs, the ice still hasn't defrosted just sitting there were I left it.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Talking Tomatoes

Today I will be setting the first of the tomato seeds, 
I have spent a lot of time of winter reading up about different tomatoes there is a lot of variety's out there
Having been at the hands of blight two years running which has severely effected the harvest.
This is what I have settled on 
 Amish Paste
  • Cordon (Vine) Tomato.
  • Large sized plum tomatoes have deep red skin and a rich dense flesh ideal for pasting.
  • Suitable for protected and outdoor growing.
  • Open pollinated, heritage (heirloom) variety.
As the name suggests, this is plum or paste tomato. Originally from Wisconsin, USA this is one of the largest fruiting plum tomatoes that we know - and not only are the fruits large but Amish Paster reliably produces a heavy crop of them!
The fruits are virtually core-less and have a really rich and sweet tomato flavour - making them perfect for eating in salad or for making sauces and passata.


  • Cordon (Vine) Tomato.
  • A late ripening Beefsteak variety that can be grown in the normal way or the fruits picked green to ripen in storage over the Winter.
  • Suitable for protected and outdoor growing.
  • Open pollinated heritage (heirloom) variety.
Without doing anything 'out of the ordinary' this meaty beefsteak tomato is possibly the latest variety to ripen naturally with the first fruits being ready to eat late September / early October - even under protection. This makes this the perfect tomato for anyone trying to extend the cropping season
But where this variety really comes into its own is just how well the Autumn picked green fruits store, and can be later brought into warmer conditions to ripen - giving the potential to be eating 'fresh' home grown tomatoes as late as February.
 To make the most of this varieties long keeping we would advise a second sowing around May / June to ensure a large quantity of green fruits hanging on the vine in October. These should be picked complete with calyx (the little green 'spider') and wrapped dry in soft tissue and stored at around 50ΒΊF (10°C).
Throughout December, January and February transfer the green fruits to a fruit bowl as required, take off the tissue and place a ripe banana; at normal room temperature of around or apple amongst a few of the green tomatoes. In a temperature of 70°f - 75°F (21ΒΊ - 24ΒΊC) will ripen over a period of about two weeks and have the taste of summer tomatoes.


  • Cordon (Vine) Tomato.
  • Large smooth fruits have crimson skin and really sweet flavour.
  • A good variety for picking green and storing for ripening later.
  • Open pollinated, heritage (heirloom) variety.
Originating from the Himalaya Mountians, this variety produced masses of large fruit - not quite a beefsteak but larger than a 'regular' tomato. The smooth skinned fruits rarely crack and are consistently well rounded. The flesh within is extremely sweet and juicy making it perfect for just about anything!
One real bonus of 'Nepal' is its keeping qualities. Pick the fruits green and store individually wrapped in tissue just as you would apples - and then bring into warmer conditions to ripen as you require; this way you can have fresh home grown tomatoes right up to Christmas and beyond.

  • Cordon (Vine) Tomato.
  • Arguably the most blight resistant variety of tomato currently available.
  • Sweet juicy cherry tomatoes hang in bunches like grapes.
  • Suitable for both outdoor and protected growing.
  • Open pollinated.
Bred in Germany, this new cherry tomato has possibly the highest resistance to tomato blight (Phytophthora infestans) of any variety and is very well suited to outdoor growing where it will thrive - and interestingly the fruit has a better flavour if grown outside than in!
We first trialled this variety in 2013 and found it to be extremely strong growing - out performing all our other outdoor tomatoes with the exception of its cousins from the same breeding program - 'Clou' and 'Primavera'.
The bright red fruits have a crisp texture and a lovely sweet and juicy flavour. Hanging in dense bunches almost like grapes, the fruits are early to mature (early July outside is not unusual).

 All the info and photos have been take from Victoriana Nursery site, So this is what I chosen, to run with I got then all from 
I am looking forward to see how well they store and it would be great if they do store to eat fresh into winter
speaking of which I came across this article on preserving tomatoes in wood ash I am going to give that a try as well just as an experiment 

What are you growing this year and more importantly why have you chosen them.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Ready Steady Grow

Yes I have made a start with this years growing,
No mad rush just made a start with a few
Pepper seeds have been set to germinate
 Three kinds of peppers, purple, orange and green

They are now starting to show signs of germination
I have also set some of last years peas

 They are also germinating
the peas are for a first early sowing in the poly tunnel.
germinating like this means I am only growing on viable seed, I am being choosy over what I grow this year. 
I had to do a repair on my favourite everyday coat

 It had a big tear on the sleeve that let the rain in,
It might look a bit messy but it works, this is the coat I wear everyday when doing the feed rounds so an untidy repair doesn't matter
 I used this glue as it is on the sleeve it needed to be flexible and waterproof.
A new bit of equipment arrived yesterday for Martin
 Its to help make the butchering of meat carcass easier
The carcass is suspended by the back hocks on the hooks then it can be raised up and hung for a few days. 
I had a trip to the dentist yesterday, check up time, I knew I had a broken filling, have to go back in a couple of weeks for a repair and polish, on NHS £42.30 for the complete treatment, I am more than happy with that, we are lucky to have the NHS.