Sunday, 3 July 2016

A little visitor on the wall.....

A little bat has taken up residence in the hallway,
not sure why it is there,
but it must be comfy because this photo was taken a couple of days,
the intent being to put it into a box for the rest of the day,
and then release it outside when it got dark.
However, things got in the way,
like the shearer man arriving to shear the sheep,
and then it was off to a local bar to cool down,
shearing being quite a hot and sweaty task
and all I was doing was sorting out the fleeces,
for Lester and the shearer man it was much harder work,
especially because the sheep were spooky and uncooperative,
which is not like them at all.
I think it was because the weather has been so unseasonably cool,
so they have not been tired out by the usual heat
and therefore see no reason to be manhandled by a man wanting to take their fleece off them.
Anyway, the shearer man went on to other local smallholdings,
we went off to the bar,
and the bat was forgotten about.
So this morning I went to see how it was doing.
Yesterday it was about a metre up from the floor,
but today it was half way up the wall.
Maybe it had been flying last night,
perhaps that is why the dogs were restless,
because the bat is near their sleeping quarters.
And just to get an idea of how small the bat is,
that blurry piece of 'rope' on the right is a piece of spun wool,
so the little creature is indeed very small.
We have had a 'let's go on strike' day,
well it is Sunday after all,
so we shall probably leave the bat alone until tomorrow.
we did manage to get some cherries off our trees,
not many,
but enough to get a few jars canned up ready for winter use.

At least we got a harvest, even if a small one.
Fed up with buying in supermarket jam I have got round to making our own marmalade.
Wow, that is all I can say!
A friend blitzes the orange peel in a food processor,
but I cut the peel into small slices by hand.
It took ages,
but  was well worth it.
This was the first time I have made marmalade,

made six pots,
now left with three.
It is addictively yummy,
and easy to do,
although there was a panicky moment when I was slopping the hot jam into the jam jars
and not using the special funnel to steer the jam where it was meant to go,
when meant the jam went everywhere.
Not to worry, the mess was scooped up,
went into the jars,
the funnel was found and then used,
and everything turned out alright.
I have also been canning some pork,
two large legs in fact,
so our larder is starting to fill up again,
which is a relief.
Otherwise, I have been doing this and that,
like dehydrating some mallow flowers,
not many, just a few,
because I have kept running out of puff lately and seem to want to sleep a lot.
I still think that we are catching up with ourselves after our first hectic eight years here,
because Lester is feeling the same.
Our mojo seems to have run out of energy.
Not to worry, hopefully it will return soon.
Meanwhile, hope you had a good Sunday,
and saying
bye for now.
As for the vote in the UK to leave the EU.
It is as it is.
I wait with interest to see how the UK gets out of this hole it has dug for itself.
For myself,
I like being European, but did not vote 'in' or 'out',
because I did not think I had the right to seeing as how I have no intentions of living in the UK ever again.
Moving forward, that is what we are doing,
and I hope that the UK will find its way,
despite the cat fights which are going on in the political parties.
Loving France,
and being glad that we had the courage to move here when the opportunity arose,
despite the hard work, the uncertainty, the ups and downs,
France is our home now,
which is why we did not vote in the UK referendum.


rusty duck said...

We had a bat in the bedroom once, it flew in through the open window. I woke up to find something flapping around my head. Most disconcerting!

Vera said...

JESSICA, just as well that, although we are living on the ground floor of our house, there are still three doors between us and where the little bat is likely to be flying around....I hope!

Kerry said...

We managed 450g of cherries this year before they birds got them, but as they are sour I'm not too worried. Our neighbours have given us some gorgeously sweet Morello cherries, which were much nicer but I didn't think to bottle them but popped those in the freezer too. Perhaps I could be cheeky and ask for some more.

Coco said...

Oddly enough, I can never find Seville oranges to make marmelade. They must send them all abroad.

I bought a big box of cherries and had a go at a Clafoutis, which was tasty. But my cherry pitter broke halfway through, so I stewed the rest with the pits.

Someday I´d like to put up a bat house to help with the bugs. Don´t think V will go for it. He hates anything rodent-like, even with wings.

Vera said...

KERRY, our cherries were not particularly sweet either, but they will sweeten up in the canning jars because they were canned in a sugar syrup. As for storing cherries, last year I took the pits out, cut the cherries in half, then dehydrated them. They were a useful substitute for currants and raisins when I was making cakes, lasted for ages, and were delicious.

COCO, I can never find Seville oranges either, so I used organic oranges (the ones which are individually wrapped)and they worked a treat.
As for cherry pitters..... I remember trying to remove the pits manually (with a knife) a couple of years ago. Wasn't long before I gave up, went online to Amazon, and bought a depitter! The cherries I have canned will go into Clafoutis during the winter.
We have a lot of bats here because we have open barns, and it is nice to see them flying at dusk. Hope you get your bat house sorted out soon.

Dawn said...

I had a bat encounter at the week end in the shower, last night there was another in the bedroom, I managed to get a load of seville oranges last year made marmalade and liquer and the rest went whole in the freezer, will have to look out for cherries my trees are too young to be producing yet :-)

Vera said...

DAWN, Oh dear, bats in the shower....must have given you quite a fright!
I have never seen Seville Oranges here, even though we are near to the borders of Spain, but then I only going shopping occasionally so they might well be available in my 'between' times of shopping. But the organic oranges did alright, so I shall keep using them. As for cherries, our trees are also still quite young, and we were happy to have got any sort of crop off them!

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

What a cute little bat!

I adore marmalade. I have canned a lot of jams but have never tried to make that one. I canned carrots and turnips from my garden yesterday. I still have a lot of carrots to go though. They take a long time to dig up.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

We have the migratory bats here in the summer. You can see them launching out at night and then returning in the morning. As they are eating all the mosquitoes they can find, I am only hopeful they will continue to thrive.

PioneerPreppy said...

We don't get bats here like we used to. I don't mean in the house but even outside. I used to set out in the evening and watch for them.

minwks said...

Good Morning Vera,
Glad you managed to take the cherries off before the birds noticed them ripening. I have successfully made red currant jelly from our bush for the first year and now have five gem-red jars to gloat about.
The espalier apple and pear are getting bigger by the day but the golden plum will be three weeks early for harvest I think. We cannot process all the plums so the balance of first pick goes to friends, family and neighbours. The balance we put out on the street with a sign asking passerby so to "take and enjoy". It feels very nice to have enough to share.
Wondering what you will do with the fleece?
Three-fruit marmalade is a treat too.
Regards Janine

Vera said...

LISA, that tiny bat was indeed the cutest thing! Marmalade is quite easy, but just takes time if you want it to have pieces of cut peel as well. My friend uses a food processor, but the peel comes out in a mush. Wow, you must be able to grow decent carrots.....we have tried but our ground is stony so the carrot roots do not keep straight as they grow.

TOIRHEALBHEACH BEUCAIL, Hi and thanks for visiting. I didn't know that bats migrated, but I think ours are resident all year. I am going to check it out on the internet though, just for interest. I love having them here, they do no harm, and as you say, eat those horrible bitey insects!

PIONEER PREPPY, I thought that we had lost our bat population when the old roofs were removed, which would have been their habitat. But it looks like we still have them.

MINWKS, three fruit marmalade is something I am going to try next, but we didn't 'gloat' for long over that first batch of marmalade because we are eating it at fast rate.
Our plum harvest is our main fruit harvest, so some will be made into jam, some canned in syrup to be used as desserts during the winter, and some will be dehydrated to put into cakes. We never give any away, because any left overs are given to the pigs and chickens!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

thank you for sharing your thoughts on the referendum... have been wondering if it was impacting you. also with Blue - sometimes they get those 'hotspots' from allergies to food. here the biggest problem we have is from grain in their bagged food. Kai gets a spot on her leg that seems seasonaly - we think she is allergic to the pine pollen. how weird is that?

Vera said...

OFG, Blue stopped chewing at her leg for a day, and then has started again, making the sore spot a lot bigger. Any helpful hints about we can stop this chewing?

Ohiofarmgirl said...

it can be extremely frustrating, Vera. has she developed a raised sore? sometimes the allergy is fleas - do you have "flea spot" there like Frontline? there are some really good products out there but you have to treat all of the dogs at the same time - this sometimes fixes it. i've had to take a couple of our guys to the vet for steroid shots if it is just seasonal. (this works really well) the problem is that sometimes it's an allergic reaction - which becomes a bad habit. i believe Blue that she is itchy... so i would start there. if you use bagged for her them (i honestly cant remember if you've talked about this) then i would switch to a grain-free food as that is the most common culprit. hope this helps. i know some folks who have had terrible troubles with this.