Week in review: 32 [2019]

Some high wind warnings where we are this week, but no damage. Bit blustery but nothing for us that caused a problem. To be honest, each winter storm we weather shows us the weak points to fix – usually the old fence panels! But we are down to just two of the old ones left – and we actually have the replacements in the alley waiting to go in anyway.

The school holidays move on. The play equipment has hosted many of Robin’s friends this week. It’s good to see such a multi-purpose space working out for our household. We pitch tents in it, let children play in, free range our chickens in it, relax in it, grow food in it. Smashing.

This week’s previously unseen photo

Ladybirds are our friend.

Out on a lunchtime walk recently, I spotted this activity. Ladybirds. It looked like they had just hatched because they were waving their wings as though to dry them. I could be wrong. But that’s what it looked like.

They were on a wooden barrier designed to stop vehicles going into a car park without going through the official entrance. Quite an old barrier under trees: you can see the lichen growing and the wood was aged and split.

Even unlikely environments can be great for wildlife if they are constructed sympathetically. Metal barriers, for example, wouldn’t have hosted this scene so easily.

Grow

6kg of Dunluce potatoes, and another 440g of green beans.

Another earlier than planned (or required) potato harvest. The bantams spent the week telling me their dust bath facilities in the run were inadequate. By digging up about six or seven of the small potato containers and bathing in them! So they had to be harvested because the hens wouldn’t leave them alone and potatoes go green (inedible) in the sunlight.

6 kilos of potato in total and another 440g of green beans were ready. Theo helped me in the kitchen yesterday. We washed, cut, blanched and froze the beans. The potatoes were peeled, cut small, then blanched and frozen. Later they will make great additions to soups or stews. They could be roasted as they are in small bite sized pieces, or used to make mash.

Make

Pasta bake. Mmmm pasta bake.

A really simple pasta bake, using up some of the dry macaroni pasta we have in our cupboards. Added in: tomatoes, our own green beans, some sundried tomato, tinned tomato, half a cauliflower, seasoning and some cheese on top.

We made a really big batch – two of these dishes worth – because we had a few very busy days coming up. I just didn’t want to be in the kitchen cooking each of those days. All in all, we got maybe nine good portions out of the entire batch.

Mend

Cotton tape. A very quick way of covering things.

Theo has a slight allergic reaction to nickel – particularly if it rubs against his skin. He gets a red, itchy rash.

Usually this isn’t a problem but these shorts have studs set into them with nickel backs that press onto his skin. Not great. It happens with some of his trousers, too.

When I first moved in with him, I had much more free time (no garden, no chickens, no child) and I’d sit and stitch little patches over the back of each one while watching television.

I have much less free time now but luckily in the intervening 17 years I have discovered cotton tape. Originally I got this for making bunting without having make metres of bias binding to stitch the flags into. Since then I’ve discovered it has lots of applications. Including a great cover up strip.

Elsewhere

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