Monday, 17 May 2010

Curiosity of Cattle & Neurotic Labradors, Puddings for Anticipated Australian Visitors, Parenting Skills of Thrushes, May Greenery

Cattle are such curious (as in nosey as well as peculiar) creatures...as I was walking down our driveway yesterday with the dogs, the younger labrador who is of a rather nervous disposition when it comes to cows, was very alarmed to see three of the dreaded beasties looking down at her from the top of the hedge bank. They were just checking out the comings & goings and were telling of what they saw to the bunch of heifers in the field opposite who in their turn had ambled up to the fence to see what we were about. The poor dog was a wreck with all this bovine attention and her relief was visible as we turned back up the drive and away from the coven of cows. What the loopy Lab doesn't realise is that that cattle have Attention Deficit Disorder in bucketloads and have forgotten all about her as soon as they see the next luscious clump of grass.

I have spent the afternoon cooking & baking for guests from Australia who arrive to stay with us for 4 days this week.
I am trying to use up what is in the deep freeze from last year before the new seasons crops are neeeding to go in. It is always a challenge to think of something interesting to do with what is lurking at the bottom of the freezer in unmarked boxes! Today I found a quantity of blackcurrants so have made puddings for the week;  a blackcurrant sponge pudding, a blackcurrant meringue pie and a fool. Its a good thing we like blackcurrants!
Our Aussie visitors are in the UK on a study tour of organic farms and we shall be meeting them off the ferry at Fishguard on Tuesday after their stint in Ireland. We shall be taking them to various organic producers in West Wales including our friend the Artisan Bread-maker,(http://www.mairsbakehouse.co.uk/), a fully working water-mill  (http://www.felinganol.co.uk/), a cheese maker (http://www.cawscenarth.co.uk/) and a couple of organic farms in the area. It should be an interesting few days for us all.

The pair of thrushes that were so busily building their nest in sight of one of my kitchen windows, have now it seems, hatched their brood as the couple are busy all day long running a relay of feeding. Yesterday I saw one them hovering like a huge humming-bird outside the nest while it waited for its mate to emerge so that it could take its turn to feed the ever hungry young. They are frantically busy and the speed with which they deliver their food parcels and are off on the next forage is amazing. We haven't dared look in the nest to see how many babies are there, but even if there was only one I'm sure the parents would still be as frenetic.

May is really underway now with the countryside steadily donning its green robes. The oak trees are a superb verdant gold while the huge beech trees adjacent to the farmhouse are thick with their beautiful salad green new leaves. There are pigeons roosting in one of the beech trees and every now then they emit a curious groaning sound, very unbird-like, but presumably of great significance if you are a pigeon, though just comical to the Farmer & me as we were drinking our post- lunch coffee in the sunshine.

I must now go and continue with getting the house ready for our Antipodean guests and I have a horrible feeling I really ought to clean the car which is very 'farmy'. I think it would be unfair to expect people to put themselves & their tidy luggage in it! The detritus that accumulates in a vehicle that is used for everything from going shopping to taking wet labradors on shoots and muddy collies to round up sheep, to say nothing of the large chunks of wood that the Farmer collects for various creative purposes,  is pretty terrible. Ah well...thank goodness for Henry!

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