Thursday, 7 January 2010

Milk collection again, Frosted labradors, Bread making, Keeping the Home Fires Burning


Well, the milk tanker has been and gone, thank goodness! After much anxiety and what are now becoming regular phone calls from the driver, the tanker st out from its base in Pembrokeshire and got to us and hopefully to all the other farms on this organic collection route.
Again, the Farmer & Eldest Son spent time making the drive navigable and waited with a tractor at the end of the drive for the lorry in case it should need help in or out of the yard.
So, that's it until Saturday (we are on every other day collection)when the same scenario will have to be gone through again as there seems to be no sign of a let-up in this weather.

Despite the difficulties, we are on the whole enjoying this real winter. This morning we had thick fog but that has now lifted and we are in glorious sunshine though still with sub-zero temperatures.
Walking the black labs this morning it was so cold that their whiskers & eyebrows were frosted making them look quite comical and they were so full of joie de vivre, leaping and cavorting about in the now quite deep snow in the fields. They do love it.
Molly, our wonderful working sheep-dog, was demonstrating how well insulated her coat is this morning, by having a light frosting all over making her look quite grey rather than her usual smart black & white.

Not having been off the farm now since the Monday before Christmas I have had to start making bread again.
I used to make most of our bread for many years, but in this last year a friend who is an artisan bread-maker has built a magnificent wood-fired bread oven and is making the most delicious organic breads.(See www.mairsbakehouse.co.uk) We have a regular order from him, but as he lives down a track twice the length of ours he is unable to get out and so the bread supply has come to stop.
Certainly bread baked in the old-fashioned way in a wood-fired oven has a very different flavour to so much of the bread on offer nowadays.The bread from Mairs' Bakehouse is made from organic flour milled in Maud Foster Windmill in Lincolnshire and makes beautiful breads, both yeasted & sour-dough. I know that the bread I make today will not be nearly as good!

Today is the first day that I'm finding the house cold. We do no have central heating yet the house is perfectly comfortable with the two wood-burners kept going and the the oil-fired Rayburn in the kitchen, however for some reason today the house is distinctly chilly. I sit here in the office wrapped in a cashmere shawl and wearing those most wonderful Australian export, Ugg boots.
I bring in a couple of wheelbarrow loads of logs every morning, keeping the large log box in the porch topped up. Fortunately we have very efficient wood-burning stoves and once the they are filled do not consume vast quantities of wood too quickly. The Farmer chops the logs and I have the job of getting them to the house...it seems a reasonable division of labour. The loading & trundling of barrows across snowy yards is a pretty effective warming excercise!
Apparently it has measured minus 10 degrees here today.

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