Friday 8 September 2017

Season of Mists

Autumn fruiting raspberries. 'Autumn Bliss' variety here
Well into Autumn in these parts now, with plenty of wet, gusty days, mellowing fruit on trees and bushes and the lighting of ranges in the evening. As I sit typing this in my 'under the stairs' cozy nook, I can feel the warmth of the fire on my back. All the livestock is sorted (except for final lock-up, obviously), supper is in the oven and the day has been very much in the harvesting, safely gathered in, winter stores and gathering winter fu-u-el mode. Even the supper has this tint as we are now doing a close audit on the freezer(s) to use up long-term stores to make room for the imminent arrival of pork.

This morning I was over to Sue and Rob's where Friends of the Blog will be pleased to know the lady has recovered well (physically anyway) from the mauling by that billy-goat. She may take a while before she is comfortable mentally near billies but that'd be quite understandable and also manage-able. The mission was to cut down and cut up a dead old tree that had been worrying them with the possibility of it demolishing the poly-tunnel.

Buff Orpington hen 'Bobtail' ignores that the month is September
and goes broody, due 15th. 
Connoisseurs of all things 'chain saw' might be interested to know that this was a bit of a tricky one. The tree, dead at least 2 years had dried out and seasoned to hard-as-iron where it stood and the trunk had split in half with the grain roughly in the same plane as I needed to cut my wedge-cut. Rob's chain saw was failing to make much impression on this tree so he'd asked me to see would my saw do better.

In box 4, Stumpy goes for a 2nd bite at the motherhood cherry.
She is due to hatch the 5 eggs I slid under her on 29th. She has
already successfully reared 5 babies to independence. 
Long story short, we got on OK. It was hard going but my saw managed the cuts needed - I cut my wedge out of the downhill half of the split trunk and then my back cut into the uphill side hoping that 'my' half would work like the normal "hinge". We were both quite relieved when the tree started to fall in the intended direction with no sign of the split opening up and un-springing dangerously. With the tree down it was normal every-day stuff logging up the smaller stuff and Rob decided we did not need to slice up that hard gnarly trunk today; I just cut it into 5 foot lengths for stacking and use later.

Caught red handed. Well yellow tongued, anyway. Kato
is 'washing up' the egg wash from some Lizzie baking.
Next, well, this is Sue and Rob's, so tea and CAKE. Better even than normal, this logging job had been postponed a day because the pair were busy cooking cakes to enter in Strokestown Show on Sunday. I had been promised tasters of the spare baking - Sue's 'normal' fruit cake, Rob's "boiled" fruit cake and some nice chocolate cake too. How we suffer.

Red wine kit bubbling away.
We have finally got around to making the wine from a kit we were given as a gift months ago, just when we stopped drinking wine regularly and evolved into gin and craft beer drinkers. So long ago, in fact, that the box of the kit featured as a prop in the Village Play at Easter, which required the lead actor to delve in his bag of purchases and pull out "wine making equipment". To make the wine we simply had to get motivated and then re-unite the box with its former contents, including all those little sachets (A through E) and the instruction sheet which were, obviously, "just on the surface somewhere". (Family in-joke)

A disc of soon-to-be-rinded goat's cheese curds
In the cheese making Liz has branched out from the quick and easy recipes in the Strawbridge book (Feta style, 'fresh' or 'soft goat's), to a harder, pressed and rinded type described in the 'Gubbeen' book (maybe I need to start doing a proper bibliography for these posts?) .

Those yellow fungi I posted a pic of recently have now opened
fully and split in the rain to make almost daisy-like shapes
This one we made in the muslin-lined-colander technique but we have now ordered on line some proper plastic cheese moulds (with 'followers' - the slightly smaller cylinders that push down into the moulds under pressure). We are promised another 8 litres of milk from the goat-milkers (Thanks, Sue and Rob again!) when these moulds arrive, to try them out. Meanwhile the first one is being salt-sprinkled and then saline-washed and is developing a very convincing rind. It takes 10 days at least, apparently to develop the acidity and savoury salty tastes to taste like a real cheese. We are all excited.

Poppea (left) and Deefer (nearly 11 now) sound off at the
neighbour's cattle from a handy tree stump. 
Not much else to tell but I will add a few more pics just because I have them. Till next time, then. Good Luck now


Home made suet - clearing the freezer. 

Mathematicians need to decide whether the Fibonacci series
is followed by the birds REMOVING seeds from a sunflower.
There's a project!

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