Tuesday, 19 January 2016

This And That



At long last we have some proper Winter Weather. It was -4 when I drove over to the farm this morning to collect some of the cover crop to check for nitrogen levels, and -1 when I drove home a couple of hours later. The pots (buried 90cm down in the Chalk) have only just started yielding water- did you know that the average date for drainage to start in the UK is November 27th? Before that the soil moisture deficit is too high after the summer months (how fascinating will I be at dinner parties). There is still ice in the shady bits in the garden and the birds have been keeping up a non-stop flow too and from the feeders all day and I am eating far too much :o)

Pop had a V.E.T. visit at lunch for a booster. She is Mrs Brave when Teddy is there too, effecting a kind of casual insouciance that compares favourably with Ted's shakes and shivers and fooled me thoroughly last time, but today she was on her own and it was a Very Different Matter. She scrabbled up on my lap the second I sat down and remained there with her tail firmly wedged under her bottom, growling at everyone who walked through the door. The humour aspect was largely derived from each person looking round for the expected enormous dog and then grinning broadly when they realised the source of the ferocious noise was a small, scruffy terrier who only measures about ten inches at best when she's standing. She was fine and told Ted all about it when we got home. She came out running with me through the gloaming this evening so I don't think the experience has left her all that emotionally scarred.

We are having Duck for supper (special 1/2 price offer at Waitrose). I haven't cooked it before and when I googled it everyone said 2 1/2 hours. This seems way too long to me, so I'm betting on 90 mins. If you know different and happen to read this before about 7pm please correct me :o)

Before I go, I urge you all to pop over to Leanne's blog (if you don't already read it) and take a look at her photos of Goose Barnacles washed up on the shore of her beautiful beach in Cornwall. I've never seen them before and have been thinking about them all day. They are wonderful things. On a similar theme (because you'll find Leanne talks about birds a lot too), the two books above are well worth a read. I've learnt masses from both and they are written in a very accessible and easy to digest style. The Sparrowhawk's Lament was only published last year so all info is bang up to date. It has a chapter for each of the fifteen breeding UK birds of prey with info on their ecology and conservation status.

Right, the Duck is calling and the fire needs lighting and there is a mountain of washing in the airing cupboard to sort and distribute among various bedrooms before we all run out of pants and (even more urgent) there are two hungry dogs looking at me telling me it is past their supper time and what on earth do I think I'm doing blogging when I should be feeding them....?

Hope all are well,

CT :o)



  1. Can't wait to hear how the duck turned out. I've had domestic duck once at a Chinese budget and found it delish. I eat wild duck often and it is much different.

  2. I love all your photographs today but dare I say the one I love most is that one of those deliciousd cakes!!

  3. IT has certainly been cold here in Hampshire today, minus 7 on my way to work this morning and haven't really been able to get warm all day. I am pleased to hear that Pop is none the worse for his traumatic visit to the vets. On my way to view Leanne's blog now, sounds right up my street, thank you for signposting. xx

  4. I think you would be very fascinating at any dinner party. Poor Poppy I'm glad she was brave enough in the end. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Leanne's post this morning I love her style of writing & I felt I was at the seaside too & I did learn something new about goose barnacles. Good luck with the duck - I wimped out & bought duck breasts which will be for Friday night! Take care x

  5. Hope the duck was good and the dogs are well fed now! Poor Poppy must have caught the love of the vet's off Teddy! Sarah x

  6. I sometimes wonder what the varied species of UK wild duck taste like? Anyone eaten mallard, wigeon, etc.

  7. I think that is fascinating about the drainage, but then I don't get out to dinner parties much, it's really not that sort of town. Leanne's goose barnacles were fantastic weren't they, and so beautifully photographed. I do love to see all the Cornish nature. Eating too much here too, but compensating by keeping the heating off a lot of the time, which other half informs me will make me thinner. I'm not sure how long it takes to work. Well done little Poppy on being all scared and fierce, and well done both on the running. CJ xx

  8. Never cooked or eaten duck. Hope it turns out good. Those doggies are so cute. Those little ones can sound awfully fierce.

  9. I love duck and always cook it on a rack to let the fat drip off into the pan. Can't get enought of those two little rascals.

  10. It has been lovely to see so much birding in the garden since it became cold. I don't artificially feed the birds as I have lots of seed heads and berries and tasty bits from my regular application of compost. I added some dollops of compost yesterday and the blackbirds and robins were having a field day sifting through it. I love Leanne's posts too. If you want a holiday reccommendation for L's part of Cornwall I can wholeheartedly recommend the Landmark Trust's holiday cottages at Lower Porthmeor, about 2 miles west of Zennor on the beautiful West Penwith coast. We've stayed there many times over the years and it's been magical every time. (No TV, no Wifi just seals and owls and butterflies, walks and swims and fish from Newlyn and home made cream teas.) The moon was a funny shape tonight. I've never eaten duck but tomorrow I may buy a locally shot partridge from the farm shop, if pheasant takes an hour a partridge should be about 50 mins so maybe your duck would take 2 + hours. Let us know tomorrow with pics please!

  11. It`s hard not to feel extra hungry when it`s so cold outside (and your cakes look so good), but what a beautiful day it has been.

    Well done to the brave dogs at the V.E.T.s!

  12. So how was the Duck? Love both your dogs and i have read the Cuckoo book, Excelleent read.

  13. You know the old joke about about checking on the duck too often is called Peking Duck...oh somebody stop me!!!!
    You are brave...apart from crispy duck from the Chinese masquerading as something entirely different with all that flavouring and sauce..I cant eat duck or goose.
    How did you find it?
    Laughed at the VET visit..sounds like Murray whenever he goes anywhere without the Edster.
    Life is busy and blissful in your house...apart from all that washing and folding.
    Rosamund Pilcher...short stories The Blue Bedroom has one story called A Day at Home...if you get a chance and come by it, read it, it reminds me of you and your days.
    Happy baking....muffins look yum...
    I made spicy apricot compote (glut of apricots) and apple, onion and apricot chutney yesterday...very industrious.
    Happy days. off on hols on Saturday..camping/beach holiday.
    Love to you xx

  14. I've only eaten duck once and it didn't really agree with me. Nice looking muffins. Are they chocolate chip?

  15. I'm glad to hear i'm not the only one eating too much -- honestly, I can't stand myself. nor can I stop shoveling food into my gob. I'll blame the extreme cold and lack of sunshine. At least you're running it all off.....;)

    The birds are eating me out of house and home --- I have to completely refill the feeder every day at this point. Which is fine except it means I have to venture out into the howling, arctic, winds to refill it!

    We've had a hawk [red-tailed] hanging about lately -- alas, I think it may have made off with one of our hens as we're missing one. Which is a bit upsetting, but at the same time, it's deep winter and the hawk needs to eat.


  16. Hey CT,
    Thank goodness I realised I had missed a post! Cheers for the mention, lovely. The goose barnacles were quite fabulous. They were gone the next day. Taken back out on the very high tide. I'm glad, because my neighbour told me that she saw someone ripping bits of it away from the bouy. What's wrong with people?
    Leanne xx

  17. I too will now be more fascinating at dinner parties, relating my moisture knowledge.


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x