Friday, 25 September 2015

The geese, the dogs, the sloes.....

The geese on a mission to get into the veg garden. Last year they did the same, and their feet made a horrid mess of everything they trod on, weeds or veg, didn't matter which. It's their feet. Huge paddles they are. Great for getting along in the water, or running away when they have been caught doing mischief, but not so good when delicacy of foot is needed. And here they were again, intent on doing a raid.

The 'gate', which is only a plank of wood, had been removed because Lester was going to and fro with the wheelbarrow. Moving the spoilt straw from out front to the middle veg plot where it will rot down and act as manure, helped by the two adult Tamworth pigs when they are let out into that paddock, that is what he was doing. But that will be after we have picked the pumpkins which self seeded themselves and which are joyously producing more of themselves. Another surprise harvest!

Anyway, I was cooking lunch, and saw the geese rabble making a real good effort to get into the veg patch before anyone saw them. 'Nooooooo! Get out!' I yelled through the open window, in a most unladylike fashion. 

Well they stopped and thought about it, but decided that I was too far away to be a bother to them. With one mind, they turned and sped as fast as they could go into the veg plot. Lester was called for. Lester responded with speed. Boss man had arrived. It's surprising how fast those geese can move when they want to get out of trouble.

The Dye Project.

The pale yellow dye from the fig leaves has been sieved and put into one of Lester's wine containers, which I have 'borrowed'. A splash of vinegar went into the dye as well, which is supposed to stop the liquid from getting mouldy. I was going to pick some sloes to see if they would change the colour of the dye, but decided against it. I can fiddle about with colours later.

A surprise find in the freezer....

So I didn't have to pick any after all, because I had a bag in the freezer, left over from a hedgerow forage last year. Not sure what I thought I was going to make with them, definitely not sloe gin, perhaps jam, ........

But the!

...this is without them being squashed, but already the water has a lovely tinge of purple. This is looking good for giving a strong, but quiet, colour. 

Couldn't resist a forage for some more out into the back field I went...walking along the hedge line on the right of the photo....

......passing the brambles, who have given such a good harvest of blackberries this year, but will have to be cut back to the fence this winter otherwise they will pull the fence down.

Now at the blackthorns shrubs /trees, and yes, a few sloes were still on the branches.

Picked a bowl, and they are now added to the ones in the pot. The colour of the dye is now a gorgeous deep purple. 

Maz, our guard dog, who is a softie, but looks scary.

... and her sister Blue, who does not look as scary....but....

......put the two together, and you have the Rottweiller girls. 
They are a pleasure to have,
are good friends to us, 
and would watch our backs should things get difficult.

And this is Bools, our springer spaniel. If things got difficult all he would do is bounce about like a kangaroo and bark himself silly. 
He is also a good friend,
but would not watch our backs, bless him.

As for the day, 
....canned five more jars of potatoes, so have fourteen in the larder. Would have had fifteen but we opened one for lunch because I was in slow mode, but we needed to taste the potatoes to see if they were alright anyway, and they were. 
I put some of the tomatoes outside in the sun to ripen up, then sliced and into the dehydrator overnight to dry out. Had a nibble. Very tasty. Anyone know what they would taste like if I soaked them in olive oil? 
Also dehydrated some kale for winter storage.

Actually managed to bake a couple of loaves. We so miss DIY bread, because it actually has a taste.
Lester managed to get a few more wheel barrows of stones into the ditch where the chicken hut is going to go, but really, for most of the day, we were companions to each other, enjoying the late summer sunshine together as we pottered about around the smallholding, 
which was priceless. 
We also found the bush beans, which were hidden beneath a forest of weeds. Two buckets we picked, and there is still another row to do. So this is another surprise harvest.

Ah well, time for bed. 
So  bye for now,



John Gray said...

They are bright creatures geese.....they stand and watch

Vera said...

JOHN, they do! But they watch us so they can get into mischief!

rusty duck said...

That sounds like a good day. Apart from the geese... they are such characters though, you have to forgive them, non?

Dawn McHugh said...

well you have packed a lot into the day, I havent started my canned potatoes yet hope to get them done this week end, did pick a tub of sloes today, the dogs are lovely just having them there gives you peace of mind, sleep well :-)

Cro Magnon said...

Loads of big fat Sloes here this year, but no Blackberries. We'll be eating Tayberry and Apple Crumbles this winter.

Vera said...

RUSTY DUCK, we do forgive those geese! So many times they have been threatened that they are to go into the freezer but we always back down. As you say, they are such characters.....

DAWN, what are you going to do with the sloes? I picked some for the freezer last year because I thought that there must be something I can do with them apart from sloe gin, but never had the time to do any research or experiments. We do have a lot of blackthorn here so to use the sloes seems sensible. But they do look like making a lovely colour for dying the wool. As for the dogs, they do give us peace of mind.

CRO MAGNON, we are nearly past our sloe harvest, so I shall have to wait until next year before I can pick a good supply. 'Tayberry and Apple Crumbles', does that mean you have tayberries to harvest?

PioneerPreppy said...

I thought about geese once. Then I saw a chicken chasing the cats and decided against it :)

Cro Magnon said...

No, they're in the freezer.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

i love how the geese think about you yelling at them.. then decide what to do. ha! ours do the same thing. the Rottie girls are STUNNING! just beautiful. keep up the great work on your food processing!

Kerry said...

We also have lots of sloes but I never know what to do with them. I'm not a gin drinker but there must be more uses. Further investigation required x

Vera said...

PIONEER PREPPY, oh that's funny! But our geese are very placid, and only wave a beak and do a mild hiss when not amused by anyone else's behaviour, and this is mostly over who has ownership of the water bowl!

CRO MAGNON, ah........already harvested then!

OHIOFARMGIRL, geese really do think things through, don't they! As for the Rottie girls....Blue is coming along very nicely as the chief catcher of the calf. Lester was having endless trouble catching her to bring her in at night, but after several evenings of being chased by the black demon dog she now comes in quite well. And if she does get naughty, as soon as she sees Blue she becomes docile! But if we put the two girls on to the calf there would be calf left!

KERRY, and you treasure....if you do come across any other uses for sloes other than gin and dye, then do let me know!

Kirsty Udall said...

Vera, the picture of the geese are hilarious, I can picture you yelling at them from the window. It amazes me how smart birds can be if they think you can't get them! Try and get then to do something you want though and they go back to dumb.
When I was at uni I got cornered by a goose who had taken an adamant dislike to me and trapped me on some steps. James was at the bottom wetting himself.

Vera said...

KIRSTY, I was yelling very hard and very loud, and still that did not stop them! Fortunately, though, our geese are quite docile in comparison to some other types of geese. A friend of ours has a goose which is a veritable dragon of a bird, and will fly at you to do damage given the slightest chance!