Sunday, 8 August 2010

Twins Depart, Birds of Prey, Puppies, Home-grown Sunday Lunch

Our household is back to its normal proportions today after the departure yesterday of the Twin Nephews. Their parents came to fetch them and we had a pleasant family day, though I had to do my cottage changeover as per every Saturday through the summer.
The Twins had a busy week helping their cousins with the major works going on in the milking parlour and doing various jobs around the farm, including mowing the lawns and helping the Farmer plane many miles of floorboards for a building project we have on the go. They were quite useful in the way of 14 year old boys and I think had good week with us.

A neighbour has just called here to discuss getting his fields mown by Elder Son, but over the kitchen table the talk veered onto birds of prey.The neighbour rears many hundreds of pheasants for his shoot and has trouble with goshawks taking the pheasants. It is real problem keeping them away from his rearing pens. The Farmer has found we have a sparrow-hawk nesting in a small conifer plantation in a corner of the farm. The sparrow-hawk wreaks havoc in the garden and hedges with the small hedgrow birds (hence its name) and we cannot do anything about it as these birds are all protected. They are beautiful birds, superb killing-machines and as much a pest as foxes.

The puppies are continuing to do well. Their eyes are open now and they are just beginning to lurch around their nest with a sense of direction. Hattie still just does her duty by them, while Poppy revels in having them mountaineer all over her. They are very sweet.

We are enjoying the fruits of the Farmer's labours in the polytunnel with some superb courgettes, cabbage and glorious sweet-peas. The tomatoes are being rather slow to ripen and I suspect this is because of the quality of light coming through the plastic sheet of the poytunnel...it is time the sheet was replaced which is big job. It will wait now until next year and meanwhile we will have a late crop of toms. The sweet corn is  doing well and the variety that has been grown this year has the most lovely deep red tassles of corn silk.
We have already had some new potatoes and there are many more to come, both inside the tunel and several rows outside that should keep us going for a good parrt of the winter. I am tempted to try storing the cabbages in a clamp which is the old-fashioned method of keeping vegetables after harvesting and is very successful with root crops and some brassicas.
Lunch today is being cooked by the Farmer and is virtually entirely homegrown; the beef, the veg. the eggs & milk for the Yorkshire puddings & custard. Very satisfying.

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