Monthly Archives: October 2011

Christmas Goose

Well we did the deed. We slaughtered the first goose a few weekends ago. Its always sad, but the deed itself was no more tricky than home slaughtering a duck, and was very quick. The plucking took an age, but I am reasonably happy with the finished bird. It weighed in at 3.7 kg which I think will make a lovely christmas dinner for four people. This one will be finding another home, but we will be fattening own  another one to slaughter fresh on Christmas eve, for the Sencemeadow family christmas, which will be 8 adults. We may serve it with a ham, to make sure we have plenty to go round.  We have decided to keep one of our young geese as a breeder. Beacuse she came fromMelton, she is unrelated to Lucy or Pierre, and will enable us to have a trio, this will mean that they are assured of compnay in old age, as Geese don’t do well alone.


Bunny love (at the wrong time of year again)

Much to niece 1’s delight, the bunnies have decided we have kept them apart for too long again and have ruined our breeding plan by escaping. Last weekend I found Flo out (which was fine, it’s good for them to stretch their legs anyway) but then I noticed she had company. She had dug out and he had forced his way out. So she will be kindling in 3 weeks which means we’ll have babies in winter again, that joyous time when the waterpipes are frozen and there is only an hour of light a day. Never mind, as long as they had a nice time 🙂


My Day

I’ve had a lovely day today. Went to dog club this morning, my grandad and great aunt came over for lunch and chat (great to see them, hope I’m as ace as them in my late 80’s) then we went to pick up a dead deer I had spotted on the roadside on the way back from dog club. And this is where it gets a bit weird I suppose…

Anyway, I mentioned to z that I had spotted it and we thought we’d just go back and check it out, having checked legalities obviously, and what signs to look for. I pulled up on the verge and z got out to have a look, looking a bit shifty to be honest. To cut a long story short, it looked like it had primarily hit by a car in the head and it had happened pretty recently. Rigour was only just setting in, which probably meant it had happened this morning. The grass underneath it was hardly flattened and there was no sign of attack by crows or anything.

We took it home (the joys of a Volvo estate) and sneaked it across the footpath in a sheet and over to the polytunnel. Z butchered it and we could see no signs of anything dodgy, it was a young healthy muntjac deer. We decided it was best to avoid the gut cavity and butchered the legs, shoulder, saddle and neck off, with a few other bits for mincing. So from this:

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We got 5.5kg of venison:

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RESULT! We had burgers tonight which were scrummy, hopefully the rest will be too.


Winter Stock Take. The hungry gap on a smallholding.

Compare last years post.

So, the nights are drawing in , yesterday it was 4 degrees. Things have stopped growing. The frosts are coming. Its time to take stock of what we have to see us through the winter. One of the aims of our project here is to see how self sufficent we can be year round in terms of fruit, veg, eggs and meat. In terms of fruit, we will now not get anything until the Rhubarb starts in late March, the first veg will be early salad in April, and the next meat harvests (apart from the Geese and lamb) will be the first rabbit breed in March time, which will give a slaughter date of June.

The freezer is looking choca block but if you take the dates above into account, we have to live between now and March on what we have which is 5/6 months. So see below, the idea is I can look back on this post and see what we need to grow more of next year.

Ground Store.

In the ground at the moment we still have about 60 leeks, and 10 chard plants, and the lovely salad bed that Becky wrote about a few blogs ago.

Dry Store

In the dry store we have.

60 onions

2 large pumpkins

8 small pumpkins

100 cooking apples

30 eating apples

I small bag of dry beans

1 jar of coriander seeds

7 jars of rasberry jam

2 jars of redcurrant jelly

1 jar of plum jam.

Freezer

Meat

Rabbit for 2 portion packs 13

Rabbit stew packs 1

Duck whole 1

Duck portion for two pack 4

Duck Stew pack 4

Duck liver 3 bags (2 portions?)

Venison large joints 4

Fish

1 norwegian cod pack (swapped for a chicken)

Ready made sauces and meals

Rabbit curry for two 2

Tom pasta Sauce 3

Curry sauce 1

Pizza 2

Rabbit stew 2

Cakes

Apple cake 1/2 8inch

Swiss Roll 1

Courgette cake 1/2 8inch

Raspberry Roulard 1

raspberry muffins 6

vegetables

5 bags of green beans

1 bag of chopped apples

5 bags of raspberry

1 bag of strawberries

24 lunchbox rhubarb pots


Wildlife

Despite having been sucking the joy out of my own life for the past couple of days with my laziness I managed to get myself out for a run tonight. And I’m glad because I saw something that warmed the cockles of my overworked heart – the unmistakable sight of a barn owl. I LOVE them and it’s the first one i’ve seen anywhere close to the plot. It really cheered me up so I thought I’d write down all the more unusual wildlife we have seen while living here just to remind myself:
Barn Owl
Little Owl
Kingfisher
Grey Herons
Pheasant
Grass snake
Hares
Vole
Buzzard
Kestrel
Red Kite
Green Woodpecker

As well as the more common birds and mammals. I’ll still be looking…


Rambo

We’re still a little undecided exactly what we will be doing with the soays, but we do know we will be keeping our lamb number one from this years lambs, hereby named Rambo. He is lovely and very friendly (for one of our soays…).

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Winter Salad Bed

Or, should they sweet potato not last, this is a bit more promising. It’s all looking quite strong at the mo (sugar snap tips, rocket, pak choi, mizuna and a couple of other things I can’t read the label of as it’s faded). Hopefully we can extend it through to Xmas if we cover it with a fleece when the frosts start. We’ll see.

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