Tuesday, 7 August 2012


Its been so long since I last spoke to you all. Well everything in the orchard is very green after having  had so much rain. The call ducks love it and the hens in the orchard hate it, they dash as fast as their little legs can into the nearest house or under one of the apple trees. Although we have had a very wet summer so far everything is doing very well. We have had lots of baby Call ducks, a couple of Quails and cute little frizzle bantam chicks. The kitchen garden is giving us abundance of tasty vegetables it is so lovely walking down past the orchard to pick fresh vegetables, it makes all the hard work earlier on in the year worthwhile. The hay-meadow was cut last week having just enough time in-between rain showers to get it cut, turned the next day and baled up.

The hens enjoying the sun in-between showers

The ducks enjoying the puddles

Cutting the hay meadow

All wrapped up for the winter

The Kitchen Garden

In the kitchen garden the vegetables are abundant and we are feasting on lots of beans, courgettes, beetroot, onions, radishes, chard, spinach, cucumber, purple podded peas, carrots and broad beans.Due to the wet weather the potatoes did catch blight but we still managed to have several rows of tasty new potatoes.  Life here in our orchard is still so exciting, we still have ups and downs but always try to remember that we are still privilege to own our little bit of paradise. Hope all your gardens are doing well. Please let me know how you are getting on and look forward to you visiting me in the orchard again.

Pumpkin flowers

Onions and lettuce

The brassica bed

The glorious flower of the purple podded peas


Runner Beans

Pumpkin and courgette bed

Sunflowers, beans and angelica

Salad bed

Kale and purple sprouting broccoli

The lovely apples getting bigger

The grass left long for the hens to play and rummage through

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Special Delivery

Hope you are all well. It has been another wet day. A good day to chat over cups of tea and coffee with biscuits in a warm kitchen with family and friends.
This week in the post I had a parcel arrive, it was lovely to receive it with 2 packets of special seeds in. Firstly, Chinese Asparagus Beans, these seeds are meant to grow to 6 feet tall and the beans themselves have a phenomenal growth rate of flower to bean in 2 weeks. The beans pods can grow 3 feet long (but better picked at 1 foot long for a good taste).
The other seeds are Purple Podded Peas that grow to 6 feet high, have very pretty flowers and are very tasty. I am hoping to get them tucked up in the seed compost tomorrow. Can't wait to see them grow, I will keep you posted.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Rain Rain Rain

We have had such a lot of rain the last week with puddles everywhere. The streams are all flowing in a hurry and are so high I cant get over to the meadow, well I suppose I could jump over the stream but I don't fancy falling in. The water is nearly up to the top of the village bridge, if it over-flows it will be a different route (the long way round) into town. We so need the rain but it is very extreme at the moment, how come when we get the heavy rain we get such strong winds as well, the kind that blows your umbrella inside out and makes you feel like you are going to take off like Mary Poppins. Yesterday we had hail-stones and then a few minutes later brilliant sunshine and then rainbows. With so much water it seems hard to believe we have a hose-pipe ban. But there is something so invigorating about walking in the rain when you are wrapped up and warm, the heady woody smell that is so fresh and earthy. Everything within days looks a healthy bright green and any seedlings in the greenhouse that had started to look a bit parched and pale light green are now looking strong and dark green.
The ducks are loving it and the ladies in the orchard hate it, they spend most of their time sheltering in the hen-house, this is when they tend to go broody in the dry, clean and warm meadow hay.
 Well hope you all keep warm and dry.
Sarah xx

Sunday, 22 April 2012

The Weekend

The weekend has been good. We have got the asparagus bed edging in place, we just need more sand and top soil to give them the best possible chance. I suppose its a bit like sheets and blankets to them with fertilizer being their breakfast in bed. We have put in Red Baron and White Sturgeon onions and more garlic which I have started in the greenhouse in little plugs pots, I find this works quite well as the cheeky birds dig them up. I have planted more lettuce and carrots. I didn’t know you could start to grow carrots in pots, but that’s what some gardeners seem to do so I thought I would try this, it makes sense to have them  growing in pots first I suppose a a bit like children  in nursery school, rather than sending them straight in at the deep end to big school. I have transplanted courgette plants into old tin buckets to give it a rustic feel to the kitchen garden. I have blood, fish and boned my roses and rhubarb so it will be well watered in by the heavy down-pours.
Well I am sitting in the orchard while tea is cooking, writing this with the birds singing after a big rain shower. The smell is lovely, earthy and sweet as the cloud burst on the freshly cut grass and now the sun is shining and the meadow steaming. I am having difficulty writing this as Shadow one of the farm cats wants to play and demands my full attention for some strange reason when I sit at this bench.

Shadow waiting on the bench 

Well tea is ready so thank you for visiting me and I hope you have a good evening.
Take care.

PS Thought you might like to see these pictures that I took when we went for our walk yesterday morning. So you can share with me and see why I love our meadows and fields. 

Blossoms on a tree that we thought had died

One of my ladies

Celandines or Marsh marigolds


A lovely little corner of the hay meadow

Daisies I love these with the pink edged petals

Down by the dew pond in the meadow

Mitten joining us for a walk

Friday, 20 April 2012

The Kitchen Garden

In the kitchen garden I have planted my seed potatoes (Duke of York). Each day I search for signs of new baby leaves emerging. It looks very neat and tidy without any weeds but now we have had so much rain I'm sure the weeds will jump up to say “hello”.
I have planted 2 rows of broad beans plants that I have had growing in the greenhouse and tied them to little willow sticks that I have cut from our hedgerows last year. It has been very windy here so I don’t want them being bullied by big gusts of wind and thrashings of rain. It is possibly not the best time to have transplanted, but I thought they might do better with natural rain settling them in.
I have a few rows of garlic planted; some I have bought from the supermarket which I thought might be successful and also 3 elephant bulbs. I have never tried growing these before.

Garlic growing in the greenhouse

Freshly planted in bed

 The kale has started to go to seed but I will definitely grow it again. It’s been so good in stews, raw in salads and lovely in omelettes and quiches. The girls in the orchard love it also they rush up and snatch it before I have even let go of it.


Lovely Purple Sprouting Broccoli
The purple sprouting broccoli is in full growth alert with plenty to be picked on each plant. I have been boiling and steaming it. Boiling makes it loose it colour so I thought I would give a try at dying some sheep’s wool or interlining to see if the colour will catch. I do enjoy taking my trug and picking a basket full. I have also put a few batches in the freezer.

The rhubarb is growing well and we have had some tasty crumbles with it. It has such a lovely bright green leaf with eye-catching red stems. It looks so pretty with puddles of fresh rain collected in the robust leaves. I have had one plant where I have had to remove a flower head. Hopefully it will produce tasty stems.

Well we have lots of plans to be in the garden this weekend but think we will be dashing in-between April rain showers. These cloud burst make good stops for a nice cup of coffee while planning where the spade and fork will dig next. Will be in-touch soon. Have a super weekend. Take care and enjoy life.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Birthdays, Biscuits and Bunnies

Oh what clever girls

I hope you all had a Happy Easter. I had a really good time it was my birthday during the holiday, yes another year older and another day where I was spoilt by the special people in my life. It was a bitterly cold day, but with the sun making its debut first thing and a brilliant show of stars later in the sky in the evening, the day was just how a birthday should be. I had some lovely presents, breakfast in bed to start with which is a special treat. We had a trip to one of the local markets which was good to be able to buy local produce and chat with the stall-holders. A very tasty meal at a local traditional Pub with my lovely mum and dad. I spoke to goldilocks and the 3 bears (my daughter and 3 sons) throughout the day. Then had a leisurely evening watching some of my favourite programmes on the TV.

The next day I made lemon biscuits and wrapped them up as gifts for the family and friends. Made some bunnies out of curtain inter-lining, it makes them so soft and it is easy to dye. Just leave in cold tea overnight for a flesh tone. They are not dressed yet but I am working on making them some clothes.
Easter Sunday was a family get-together day with my sister and her husband and also our son and his wife (the newly weds)  came over for a good old Sunday roast leg of lamb. I also tried  a new recipe for Yorkshire Puddings they turned out wow - its a really good recipe. For those that would like to try it I have copied it out below for you. I know it seems a lot of eggs but it really does work.

Yorkshire Pudding Recipe 
260g Plain Flour
1/2 Pint of Milk
6 eggs
Cooking oil to put in muffin tin

Put everything in a mixing bowl
Whizz with a hand blender
Strain through a sieve
In a muffin tin fill all sections except for the middle 2 with a small amount of cooking oil. Let it get smoking hot in the oven. Then add your mixture filling up to the rim. Go and have a nice cup of tea for about 20-35 mins. Open the oven door and hopefully everyone will say wow. ENJOY
Oven Temp 200c

Lovely presents

My little Easter display

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Many Thanks

Many thanks for being my friends. I just thought I would write this as blogging is still new to me. It is so good to have friends like you all around the world and see what you are all doing and how you live your wonderful lives. We all have ups and downs and really we are all trying to achieve the same contentment and harmony in our own way. It is so nice to receive your lovely comments and I look forward to getting to know you all. I will try and answer all comments but it will not always be straight-away. Well do pop by if you were here with me I would make you a coffee, or afternoon tea and cake. Good times and I will pop in and see you at your blog soon. Many happy times.
Love Sarah xx 

Coffee for you

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Life in the Orchard

Life here is a joy in the orchard everyday there are such pleasures with different colours of the rainbow mainly clear blue skies, wonderful fresh luxurious green grass with brilliant white daisy popping up their heads with bright yellow eyes to say hello. The pale delicate blossom with tissue paper thin petals that smells so sweet. Daffodils blowing their trumpets along the path, previously walked by badgers and deer. The first butterflies are emerging sunning themselves on the top branches. It is such a joy to visit the ladies in the orchard and being greeted with happy clucking and rewarded with eggs with sunshine centres. I sometimes still rush down to see them in the morning in my dressing gown and welly boots never open-toed shoes as they think my toes look rather tasty. Today they are in for a treat black-berries that I have found at the bottom of my freezer. I boil them up, strain them and then re-boil with sugar to taste. Let them cool down then swirl it through vanilla ice-cream then return to the freezer for awhile. Delicious and the girls have the pulp.

Mittens exploring

In The Garden

In the garden we have made a new cottage border planting 2 Peony trees and lots of perennials. Sometimes when we have made new borders it is hard to get it right size height colour. I am awful at making decisions and now feel if we like, we try and give it a go, if the colour grows that way in nature then it’s got to be right. We have now decided to put a nice cottage looking trellis up and grow roses with strong scent and lovely flowers again what colour do I choose at the moment I quite fancy white or pale peachy orange. Have you got any ideas for me?

New Cottage Bed Still In The Making

The Orchard

The orchard is just about to burst from bud to leaf especially the crab-apple and pear. The newly planted hedge is in leaf too – the daffodils are scattered in the meadows and hay field with Celandines and Primroses growing along-side the brook. Tadpoles are now wriggling and swimming in the dew pond. The two usual Magpies are getting ready to nest in the ancient Oak above the hen-house. Rabbits are playing hide and seek in the fields and the Blue-Tits are twittering in the old dead apple trees, busily taking little soft bedding including bits of Daisy’s moulting fur that had blow around the garden and little shreds of sheep’s wool.

Wild Daffodils (Lent Lilies)

Catkins (Lamb's Tails)

More Daffodils In The Hay Meadow

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Spring Flowers

Love it, love it, spring flowers have arrived in my garden. These are the first to make their debut they are such a joy to see and add colour in the garden and meadow. They are the belles of the ball dancing and nodding there cheery petals in the wind.




Tete a Tete miniature Daffodils

Wild Daffodils in the Meadow


Well hello again  just  seen my rhubarb plants I get quiet excited by it when I see the red shoots suddenly appear then burst into leaf.  I have 10 plants in total, 4 that I was given, 2 that move here with us and 4 I grew from seed that was passed on to me. They are all doing well but last year they all had big seed heads on them which I had never seen before. Has yours had this?  The stems did not do to well either, all I made was 2 crumbles with them, so I am hoping for a lots more this year. In the hot spells I put sheep wool fleece around them to keep the moisture in it does seem to do the job. Have you got any good recipes for using rhubarb?

Crumble here we come

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Hello Friends

Oh what a beautiful morning the sun is shining through the window and although it looks very cold outside after the weekends heavy rain it is beginning to look like spring. The green wood-pecker has arrived and keeps hammering in the ground for bugs and insects. The lady pheasants are sunny themselves down by the hedge with Mr. pheasant watching over them to make sure they don’t find the new toy boy parading in his glorious new adult feathers giving them the eye across the other side of the hedge. Rabbits are just watching and waiting for me to get some juicy lettuce in the kitchen garden. The daffodils are just starting to appear and buds on the trees are starting to emerge with a leaf within. My little apricot tree that we planted in the garden last year is just waiting for a few warm days to blossom, but I tell it to hold off just for a few more weeks if not it will have to have a warm fleece on at night to keep it cosy and protect those little baby fruits growing. Sadly one of my girls from the orchard died at the weekend she was a very old bird but had a very good life. Her pal is missing her though and I fear she will give up soon as they were the same age and were inseparable like bookends.She has had a few cuddles today and given first peck of the corn at tea-time and a few grapes which she loves.
Well look forward to speaking to you all soon. Would love to hear from you. Have fun.
A Few Of My Girls

More Girlies

Kitchen Garden and Vegetables

I have my seed potatoes on the window sill and you can see their eyes emerging everyday a little bit more.
The manure heap has been spread on a lot of the plots.
The garlic from the local supermarket was planted at the weekend in the kitchen garden. I started it of in the greenhouse first, it is an experiment. I went to use it for a bolognaise sauce to find it had already sprouted so I thought I would give it a go to see if it would grow. The kale is still growing strong and although the family are not big fans. I always add small amounts into casseroles and pies. It is lovely if shredded up small in an omelette. Any more recipes would be much appreciated and greatly received. The chickens adore it and it is quite funny to watch them if you hold it in the air they jump for it. I do believe it has all the best nutrients and they say birds and animals know what is good for them.
The purple sprouting broccoli is just about ready and is so tasty we even eat it raw. It has a nutty flavour and looks so pretty.

The good old green stuff Kale

Purple Sprouting Broccoli

Apricot Call Ducks

Yesterday I put in the incubator 21 apricot call duck eggs. Apricot call ducks are the most gorgeous little ducks they have a lovely nature and are so friendly. They are as good as a burglar alarm and let me know as soon as anyone or thing is approaching and a lot more friendlier than mr goose which last year I had to arm myself with a rake to let him out in the morning and to put him to bed at night or I would have to make a quick dash for it. So I will keep you all posted. I would love to hear from any of you that have any eggs in the incubator at present.?

My friendly little ducks