Yesterday evening, and I was sitting out under the oak tree. It was breezy and slightly chilly, a welcome relief from the hot and sweaty days we have been having recently, with high humidity and heat making it difficult to do anything except sit down and doze. Not to worry, we have managed, but work in general has slowed down, except Builder Jim, who has made considerable headway in the back kitchen. I now have three kitchens: front kitchen, middle kitchen, back kitchen. Now at least I can stay tidier. After the last seven years of working in a tremendous jumble, with nowhere to put anything except in boxes or left in piles of stuff here and there.....I have done my best to make a home, but really, really, it has been difficult. Not that I am complaining, because the renovation journey has been a good teacher of patience. But now we are nearly done with this phase. There is still the upstairs of the house and tall barn to do, but if we are meant to do them, then the Universe will have to provide the money for us to do them.
But.....three kitchen areas! I feel very blessed. It will save a lot of time, and free me up to do other things. In other words, I shall become more efficient, a necessity when one is running a smallholding and providing most of one's food. Of course I am me, so I am confident that there will be times when everything will get into a jumble, but at least most of the jumble will be in the back kitchen which will not be seen by anyone because it now has a door which can be shut!
....and so there I was, out under the oak tree, having an end of day spinning session, watching the lengthening shadows, noticing that the light had changed, that there was an air of autumn just round the corner, that the year is spinning around on its axis, that summer is done although still has to be finished off, which was a strange feeling because we are not halfway through July yet, but it feels like we are coming to the end of August because of the recent spell of very hot weather.
All of us are struggling to feed our animals at the moment, the fields now being burnt off with the heat, and still a long way to go until the end of summer rains. Most of us in France are having to feed our animals winter hay, this I know through the 'Smallholders in France' forums on Facebook. We ourselves are using the last of the hay from the little far field, and soon will have to buy in hay, and start using it well in advance of when we would normally do.
Meanwhile I sat under the oak tree, spinning away, watching the day go to its rest, enjoying the feeling of not being cooked by the heat, letting worries and concerns slip away as the spinning wheel turned. Precious moments.
Aha! Finally got round to buying myself a food cutter (a Ritter from Germany). Thought about getting one for a long time, and now I have. Already it has paid for itself by slicing up the bacon I recently made into thinner slices than those I have been able to achieve so far by using a knife. Door steps, that is what my bacon rashers looked like.
But this bacon, this bacon is a very good bacon, unlike my previous attempts which have been not quite right, although eatable, mostly by Lester, but not by me. Too salty, that has been the problem. But I blame myself for this......bacon needs to be kept in a salt based cure in the fridge for a few days, with attention of a only few minutes being given to it daily. This I forget to do. So in the past the bacon has languished in the fridge for at least the twice the time it should, if not longer. But this time I stayed alert to the needs of that curing bacon, and it only went one day over its time, and it is a good bacon this time, one which I have enjoyed eating as well as Lester.
And now the Ritter has arrived, and the thinner slices are done, the slab of bacon is now all sliced up and made a nice big heap of rashers on the plate, all of which are now in the freezer so that I can pace the speed at which we eat it ....if left in the fridge most of the bacon would, by now, have been eaten.
Apart from being efficient at slicing the bacon, it sliced wonderfully well a couple of onions and a loaf of bread. I think me and the Ritter will be good friends............I can see that it is going to be a very useful friend when I have lots of vegetable produce to prep ready for dehydrating or canning.
Lester needs to be helped to rise from up from the slumberland he is currently visiting, in other words...got to wake him up and get him out of bed....and I can hear twitterings in the hallway, which means that there is a gang of half grown chicks invading the house through the open front door.........
...... so I need to be on my way, but thanks for sharing time with me, ......