Orange Harvest 2015

I have just harvest my orange crop from the tree we have grown from a pip about 30 years age! This year we got nearly 2 lbs of fruit enough to make a batch of sweet orange marmalade, This has been an idea that I have had for some time as we do not get that much fruit staying on the tree every year, you can see one of hopefully next years oranges starting to form next to this years  last 2 oranges.
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Blackcurrants

2015-08-05 13.13.41The black currants have been great this year as has all soft fruit in my garden. They are so good for breakfast with yogurt or on cereals. I have been making some of the surplus into jam or freezing the fruit for later use. My store larder is getting quite full and I am running out of jam jars!

The Mud Pie Kitchen has been a great success !

P1020385Here are some of the excellent mud pies, they look so tasty with a flower on the top. Visiting children have been fascinated with our new Mud Pie Kitchen, Mary Berry and the British Bake Off watch out!

My dog is not a herding dog!!!

P1020376Barley is here having an inspection from an inquisitive lamb. Barley is absolutely useless at herding sheep but my daughter’s very small Jack Russell is far better and gets a good reaction when needed.

Though it does look somewhat ridiculous, I think it is the yapping that helps!

Sheep Shearing

P1020353Yesterday we got the sheep shawn. There were 3 guys clipping so it was hard work for me and my granddaughter to keep up with rolling the fleeces into rounds then putting them into the wool sheets.

These large sacks can hold up to 30 ewe’s fleeces if you pack them tight, which means getting into the sack and jumping on the fleeces to pack them down, a job the children love to do!

We had 70 ewes to shear,16 ewe lambs who had not been shawn before, so they had very large fleeces and the 2 boys or rams who are rather large and can be strong to handle. The 3 shearers had the whole job done, packed up and away in 2 hours including their lunch break! Shearing is a very specialize job only for the strong and fit guys, not me! My granddaughter who lives in the hills behind Rye Hill, travelled by horse, a lovely ride over the moors and through Slaley Forest. It takes her about an hour depending how much time she spends on the phone on her way!

3 Eggs already.

P1020346Having been doubtful as to whether these were swallows or house martins, I looked them up on the RSBP website and they are definitely swallows as they have red on their heads and the tail feathers are very forked.

I crept up the outside stairs when Mrs Swallow was away (Dad wasn’t about either) with my camera, and I could see that there are at least 3 lovely little eggs nestling in the feather lined bed. I am not sure how long birds take to hatch their young, a chicken takes 3 weeks.

Do hope she will stay and hatch them out. Check back for a follow up blog.

New House Mates!

P1020343Last Monday I saw a muddy patch on the wall and a week later the house has been built and Mrs Swallow [or is it House martin?] is in residence soon to lay some eggs.

Guests have found it intriguing watching the building process from their bedroom, the care that the birds take to get the straw or feather in exactly the right place. There is great chattering when they approach the nest but if they see a camera pointing at them they are soon away, one guest hoped to get a picture with her tablet as it hides her face and she also draped a dark shawl over her shoulders to help the disguise!

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