An Ordinary Week

Reading blogs from around the world and particularly prompted by Sarah’s post Finding Your Normal, makes me aware of just how differently we live. Your normal, ordinary day is my extraordinary. Sarah knits with a lamb by her side as she waits for her cheese to set; Glenda has bucket loads of passion fruit to deal with whereas I buy a few at 60 pence each to use sparingly; Jane deals with heat and looks across a red, dusty landscape; Sam gazes from her home across an ever changing seascape …

Here’s a glimpse of an ordinary week at Slamseys. Nothing exciting. Just the normal day to day. But possibly quite different to yours.

oilseed rape crop

 

I walk past this field of oilseed rape each day and have watched it grow from tiny seeds, been grazed by marauding pigeons and finally it has burst into flower. The poles carry the high voltage power lines that make up the National Grid, which are a pesky nuisance for tractors to negotiate around when they’re in the middle of fields but remarkably handy when you want to turn on the lights.

 

Miss Rachel's Yoke sweater

 

I try to always have something on my knitting needles but am between projects at the moment since I finished this sweater (Miss Rachel’s Yoke  from Kate Davies). This sweater was straighforward to make as it was knitted in the round and only needed real concentration for the patterning on the yoke.

 

ducks waiting to be fed

 

The ducks waiting to be fed. Some days, they decide they can wait no longer and come to the kitchen window to chivvy me along. Before I kept ducks, I imagined they would spend most of their time on the pond, but instead they wander all over the place. Last week, I found them marching down the chase headed for the road and a few years ago they ended up sitting on the central reservation of the nearby dual carriageway.

rusty duck

 

 

Every day, when I shut up the ducks, I walk past a building with doorways that have been blocked with rusting metal panels. As I waited for one of the ducks, who was waddling particularly slowly that day, I noticed this little duck in the rust. How apt.

 

Slamseys Blackcurrant Cooler

 

Drinking a tot of gin at the weekend seems a perfectly normal and sensible thing to do, especially when Beth needs tasters for some product development. This Slamseys Blackcurrant Cooler looks set to be my favourite during this spell of warm, sunny May weather.

Easy to make and oh so easy to sip.

 

Slamseys Blackcurrant Cooler

2 shots Slamseys Blackcurrant Gin
1 shot fresh lime juice
Ginger Beer

Drop some ice cubes into a highball glass and pour in the Slamseys Blackcurrant Gin and lime juice.

Top up with ginger ale and garnish with a wedge of lime or a sliver of cucumber.

Find a sunny spot in the garden and enjoy.

What’s your normal, ordinary? Do share.

If you want to know more about oilseed rape, you might be interested in Fields of Gold, which explains why it’s grown and what it’s used for.

 

 

 


the cockerel has a new harem

 

cockerel

 

Hen numbers have dwindled during the winter so that since Christmas, Nickel Arse the cockerel had only one little wife to run along beside him. With spring just around the corner and news that a local farm was clearing out a batch of their free range hens, it seemed an ideal time to boost numbers so five new hens were brought home and smuggled into the hen house while the others were out.

In late afternoon the wanderers returned to find the new hens hanging around by the feeder. The guinea fowl stuck their heads in the pop hole, saw the new hens and ran off. Eventually they plucked up enough courage to dash into the hen house and fly straight up to the rafters where they could keep an eye on everything. Nickel Arse strutted in, did a double take and promptly jumped over the barrier to safety. Peering back over, he flapped his wings and puffed his chest. Several times. The new hens stared in amazement and if the old hen had eyebrows, I’m sure she would have raised them skywards, muttering “men” under her breath.

 

new hen

I think I’ll stay put thanks.

 

Next morning they were still segregated either side of the barrier but they were all alive and the new hens had even laid eggs. The new girls stayed in the run for a couple of days but then I decided that the cockerel may as well take his new harem to explore the garden. Three of the new hens stayed in the hen house, the old hen busied herself scratching under a bush on her own for the day while Nickel Arse strutted off with two new girls in his wake.

In the evening Nickel Arse returned with only one new girl and left the other one sitting in the undergrowth at the end of the garden. We tried to persuade her in but she was having none of it, so we left her out for the night. Naturally, we haven’t seen her since which means she’s either hiding or been eaten by a fox or jumped the fence and ended up perplexed on the dual carriageway. Any of the three are likely but I suspect the fox found her.

 

ducks

 

Meanwhile, the ducks remain non plussed by the whole situation. So long as the hens don’t eat their food, they take no notice of them.

 

guinea fowl jumping fence

 

guinea fowl flying over fence

And the guinea fowl continue to do what guinea fowl do. Why would you walk through an open gateway when you can jump onto the wall next to it and then fly over the fence atop the wall? As you can see from the wire, this is their regular point of entry into the hen run.


my commute

Yesterday I helped Beth on the Slamseys Drinks stand at an agricultural show.

It took an hour and a half to drive there and made us very grateful that our normal commute to work consists of

orchardstrolling through the orchard

ducks preeningpast the ducks as they preen themselves at the side of the pond

duck shakingand have a little shake

pig sleepingleaning over the fence to say hello to the two pigs, who lead a busy life

DesmondDesmond, the Gloucestershire Old Spots pig

Nelsonand his brother Nelson

(named after Peace-keepers this year as opposed to famous Dictators in previous years)

We know which is which, because Desmond has two black spots, one on each ear

raspberriesand when we arrive at work, after a minute’s commute,

we have the taxing job of picking raspberries in the sunshine.

A post that I shall look back on in November, when we’re out picking sloes with freezing fingers and scratched, cut hands.