Saturday, 20 October 2012

Chutney on toast

My frame of mind was not happy. Don't know why. Maybe the changing seasons, maybe the upheaval in the house because we have to move into the Half Barn soon because the builder is supposed to be coming in to put up the two remaining ceilings and make a staircase, maybe because I am of an age when cruddiness can be seen as acceptable, maybe because I am overloaded with work, maybe because I have not been out scything the fields lately, maybe it is a full moon, maybe because I have a stack of worries nibbling away in the background of my mind. Whatever. I was cruddy and therefore inattentive to what I was doing. 

Breakfast. Nothing fancy because we have a cooked lunch at mid-day or thereabouts, 'thereabouts' often being towards two o'clock in the afternoon, or even after that, if I have been sidetracked by some task or another. 

So, breakfast. One peanut butter on toast, one jam on toast for Lester. Jam finished up. Now my toast. Wandered over to the produce shelf. Didn't have my glasses on. Got a new  pot of jam. Onto my toast I spread it. Brekkie delivered to Lester, who was now at his PC, me over to my PC, switched it on, took a bite at the jam on toast. A bit of a surprise arose in me. 'Twas not sweet, that toast, but spicy, very spicy, and actually quite delicious. 

Plum chutney on toast. That is what I had made for myself. Will do it again. It most certainly woke me up. It also snapped me out of my cruddiness. Spicy plum chutney on roasted bread! Very do-able!

And so the day proceeded. Hubs had declared that it was a 'must do' day for working on The Build in the Tall Barn, this project being the building of a walled enclosure so that Lissie and her mates the goats could all bed down together, thus leaving the Sheep Barn for the sheep, all of which have taken to sleeping out in the Paddock because Lissie and her mates insist that they do. Lissie is short for Elise, who is our young heifer who has not grown her horns yet but heaven help us all when she does as she has mastered the art of doing some startling head swipes, which, if there was a set of horns attached to her head, could do some mischief to one of the team, whether that team member be two or four footed. 

I have been busy elsewhere for the first three layers of The Build, as Hubs calls it, apart from being required to be the listening ear for his lengthy discussions about where to put the enclosure, how big it needed to be, what it should be made of, should someone else come in and do it (no, we can't afford that), how he was going to try making it in block brick ..... no perhaps wood ...... or perhaps wire ..... no block brick is best, what the best plan was to keep the bricks going in a straight line both along and up ... that string was needed to do this..... that the homespun ball of wool he happened to come by in the house was not the right string to use because it broke when he pulled it too tight..... that a role of electric fencing wire was just the job, and so on. 

I was on site for the laying down of the first line of bricks, not cemented though, just artistically laid down, just to see what the enclosure would look like should they become cemented in eventually. 

The Tall Barn looked very clean......

...... swept, swept and swept again, Hubs declaring that to do The Build properly required a very clean space. Shame about the Courtyard though because everything which had been in the barn was now dumped outside, and not very tidily. Pile of stuff here, piles of stuff there, crikey  but it looked a mess. Not to worry, I did attend to this untidiness. I just covered over the piles of stuff with tarpaulins. Now we have nice green piles of tarps decorating the Courtyard. Strewth, but I do hope that one day we shall be tidy, but I fear that this will not be any time soon seeing as how we now have no storage space, the Tall Barn having served this purpose up until The Build project arrived.

Thereafter, for the building up of the wall, I was elsewhere although paid frequent visits to Hubs as he worked on site, just to show that I was appreciative of his efforts, this being the first time he had tackled the joining together of cement and block bricks. 

Ta Da!!!! 

But then all work stopped as Hubs became stuck to his computer. For days he became stuck to it. Rain became forecasted. Tried to get time off work so he could get more of the wall done. The rain didn't arrive. Good job really. He couldn't get time off anyway. 

And then he did. Rain on the way. Needed to get Lissie and her buddies into the Tall Barn overnight to ease the pressure off the Sheep Arbre. The rain beat us to it. Grim faced, Hubs strode into the house after getting soaked as he sorted the animals out, saying "I'm not going to mix cement in that weather". 
And so I said, "I'll help you. I'll go get the sand. We can do it". 
And we did. I became his Gofor. He worked me hard. We got the cement mixer lifted into the Tall Barn. I carried buckets of sand from out front. I got bored standing about. I always find that the role of Gofor is boring. Through my head runs a whole list of things I should be doing. I don't like wasting time. I can get quite tetchy being a Gofor. 

And then Hubs gave me a trowel. Not a big one like he had, but a small one, and under instruction I was allowed to pick up the bits of cement which had dropped to the floor on my side of the wall. And cementing suddenly became fun. Did you know that you can draw patterns in wet cement? Well you can. And I started tidying up the bits that Hubs missed. And I was allowed to use that long thing which says if something is straight or not, the thing which has a pretty bubble in bits of it which is supposed to stay centre of its marks, but mostly didn't, well not when I was using it, although it seemed to behave itself when Hubs was handling it. 

I think I like cementing block bricks together. I didn't even mind sweeping up the mess, as instructed by Hubs, me of course being the Gofor therefore this task being mine. 

The wall has become finished. We stopped at five bricks high. We don't think the goats will jump over it, but they can't go anywhere if they do. 

The target for Lissie and co to bed down in their new accommodation is Monday evening. It has rained and rained and rained. It is urgent that they get into this space. Tomorrow Hubs has to make a gate for the enclosure. Then we have to go buy straw to put on the ground, the hay I made not being suitable enough for use as bedding. There were a few piles of hay that could have been used. They were out in the Far Field. When I looked a few days ago, though, they had all but disappeared. We think that they have got munched on by deer. How do we know this? Because Lester saw one in that field the other day. Oh well, nice to be feeding the wild population of deer. They were quite big piles though. The deer must have enjoyed them. 

Well all this was yesterday. Today we did not do any work in the Tall Barn because we were involved in the slaughter of two of our piglets who left home last spring, via a man with a van, to live their lives somewhere else, together with four of our lambs. But the man with a van has had a blackout in one of his eyes and can only see out of one eye. Having had an unsuccessful as yet operation, he is under instruction not to get involved with any physical movements beyond the norm. Getting ten month old piglets into the freezer is not of the norm. So we did it for him. We had help though. Three strong men, and the wife of the man with a van. Exactly like last weekend, that is what happened. Lester into the pig enclosure, humane gun to the head of one, kaboom, down she went, the humane gun to the other, kaboom, she also went down. They never knew what happened. Surprise was on the faces of all in attendance. They expected mayhem, noise, horribleness, but there was none. No squeal did those piggy girls make. And I was so proud of Hubs, who helped a fellow man out. 

It came to be a good day. We all helped to get those girls ready for the freezer, and my prayers go out to the man with the van, that his eyesight is restored. It should be. I hope.  He had done the ten month old lambs before his ran into trouble with his eyesight. They are in the freezer, except their fleeces. These are spread on the floor of the house as rugs. They have, I would hasten to add, been seen to via the use of various chemicals. This has intrigued me and I now off to investigate, via YouTube, exactly how this can be done. 

And Hubs and me can build a block brick wall. Woweeee!!!


rusty duck said...

So envious of your barn! It could almost make a house. The goats should be very happy there.

And very smart brickwork too..

Horst in Edmonton said...

Wow, you and your Hubs have been busy. Slaughtered 2 more pigs and building a wall. My goodness you two are hard workers. I bet it feels good to get so much work done. Although a farmers work never seems to be finished, always more to do. Vera, you have a wonderful Sunday. Hopefully it can be a day of rest for you and your hubby.

Vera said...

Jessica, the barn is quite big but not anywhere near as big as most barns around here. We were quite pleased about the brickwork as well, even if the wall does not go to a straight line exactly!

Horst, I hope you have a lovely Sunday as well. It does feel good to learn how to do new things, and most certainly keeps one young, but I think that we need a restful Sunday as well!

Zimbabwe said...

It amazes me what we are all capable of when you have to do these things. I have even got around to plastering around the doorway into our kitchen, I was really chuffed with the result. Well done with the building, you are going to have happy animals.

Now chutney on toast, I must try that it sounds interesting and I have plenty to use up.

Have a good week Diane

Vera said...

Diane, oh well done you for having a go at plastering! It's great to learn these new skills when one has a lot of years behind one!

Dog Trot Farm said...

Spicey plum chutney on toast sounds devine...My, what an interesting life you have...challenges make it even more so! Sending Fall greetings from Maine, Julie.

Vera said...

Julie, it was devine as well, and unexpectedly so! Sending you best wishe, too, fro, South West France!

DUTA said...

Changing seasons can make one unhappy, even depressed. Apparently,plum chutney on toast could make the above feelings vanish.

You and your husband seem to be a very good, efficient working team. That's great!

Vera said...

Hello Duta, hope you are well. I have come to love the changing of the seasons since we have started a smallholding, but harvest time does leave one tired. It's all that jamming and bottling! It seems to go on forever!

Jean said...

What a day !!