Friday, 26 August 2016
The community garden at the Whinnies in Sunniside (we rent our allotment from them) has what is effectively a tunnel of 2 hedgerows of hawthorn, some of which is 4-5 metres high. It hasn't been cut back for as long as people can remember. In this unmanaged state, the trees are blocking light to allotments and gardens. So I have come to an agreement that I will gradually cut down the branches and reduce the height of the hedge down to under 2 metres. The advantage for the community garden is that it will save them hundreds of pounds as they won't need to get a contractor. The advantage for me is a good supply of food for the goats and firewood. Everyone is happy!
I've made a start though it waits to be seen if I get through the job before the autumn sets in. Once the leaves are gone, what's left to do waits until next year (and bird nesting could delay completion further).
Thursday, 25 August 2016
As part of my contribution to Planting Up Whickham, 2 years ago I cleared this corner of the car park behind Whickham Library of the feral ash trees and shrubs that had taken over and were partly blocking the neighbouring path. After 2 years, the vegetation had returned. Over the weekend, I returned to cut it back again. I spotted other areas around the edge of the car park that need doing. I'll be back! In the meantime, my goats enjoyed the ash leaves.
Tuesday, 23 August 2016
Our mountain of quail eggs keeps growing. We are getting 18-20 eggs a day at the moment but we don't have much of a market for them. So, to make inroads into the mountain, and to use up some eggs left from June, I made a quail egg salad. It included potatoes, chives and 3 rashers of bacon from the last pig we bought a couple of years ago. As 60 eggs went into it, I have enough for lunches for at least a couple of days.
Monday, 22 August 2016
We have gluts of ricotta cheese and duck eggs (the latter caused by the discovery of a stash of eggs recently hidden by the ducks on the allotment). So I invented a recipe to use up some of this surplus. Glut pudding consists of the cheese and eggs along with breadcrumbs, 3 small jars of hedgerow jelly (made last year but it hadn't set properly), redcurrant puree made from the pulp left over from making redcurrant jelly and some raspberries picked in gin - the by-product of making fruit liqueurs.
The ingredients were mixed together, put into baking tins and then baked at 180C for 30-45 minutes.
I was rather pleased with the outcome. Effectively all the ingredients were either gluts or by-products of other recipes.
The glut of summer vegetables continues. On Saturday we made a small inroad into the pile of marrows we got in a recent food swap. We made marrow soup. We did a search through the freezers for other ingredients and found a bag of cabbage and one of sprout leaves. We were happy to use them up to create a bit more space in the freezers. I also added some curry powder and marmite to the ingredients. The stock was made a couple of weeks ago from boiled up broad bean pods.
Saturday, 20 August 2016
I received a message from Planting Up Whickham yesterday to ask me if I would pick up a dumpy bag of weeds they had just cleared from Duckpool Lane. So I went down, filled the land rover and took it up to our livestock allotment. The ducks and hens spent the evening sifting their way through it looking for bugs. Today, the ducks turned the heap into a comfortable bed until the rain arrived and they headed for cover. Recycling at its best!