Welcome back to Hen Corner!
We hope that you have had a good break over Christmas and are now looking ahead at all the opportunities that 2013 may hold. If, like us, you’d like to weave a little bit more of the country life into your busy day to day schedule then maybe you could make it a resolution to produce some of your own food and learn a new skill…
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A Beautiful Day…
As I write this, from the sofa, I’ve got a bowl of leftover trifle to hand (loganberry and fresh custard don’t you know…) and am enjoying the end of another bank holiday musing about the weeks and months to come. Today welcomed beautiful weather which we hope will be the beginning of much more throughout 2013. As a family, we took a cycle ride down to the Thames towpath and along to The London Apprentice, a local pub with stunning river views. We popped in to the garden centre on the way back and I had a good hunt through the seeds in the 50% off sale. My bounty included Aubergine Prosperosa, Tomato Cuore Di Bue, Purple Mangetout Shiraz, Melon Eldorado, and finally some Honey Bee Wild Flower Mix to keep the colony happy.
Hiding in the Brassica Bed…
For a while now we’ve been gazing out of the window at the over grown greens in the Kitchen Garden, ‘I’m sure that they will sprout broccoli soon…’, I try to reassure Andy. With all the bad weather last year the beds were either flooded or decimated by slugs and snails, I was pleased just to see something green that was still alive. Only this week, on a closer look, I discovered this wonderful head of Romanesco Cauliflower and another behind it. There were also Winter White Cauliflowers starting to form in the centre of other grand green ‘bushes’. Hopefully we are past the caterpillar season and too early for the slugs of spring so we may have a few dinners from the veg patch still to come, elsewhere the leeks look happy and I’ve popped a bottomless dustbin over the newly sprouting rhubarb crowns.
Lay a Little Egg for Me…
It’s been our faithful White Leghorn, Salt, who has kept us in large white eggs over the recent weeks, along with the small brown eggs from Bluebelle our new hybrid who just started laying last month. I can’t believe that, with 15 hens here at Hen Corner, we are not even guaranteed one egg a day. Fortunately, we’ve had enough for a couple of pavlovas (using raspberries that we froze in the summer) and then used the egg yolks for the custard in the aforementioned trifle, we also added our loganberries that have been steeping in sugar and vodka for a few months, topped with whipped cream it was really something special, albeit rather boozy! So why aren’t the other girls laying eggs at the moment? Well it’s mainly due to the shorter days; the more sunlight, the longer they eat hence the more eggs they lay. It’s traditional for pure breeds to go ‘off lay’ during the coldest, darkest months so that counts out 11 of our girls, then from our 4 hybrids, one hasn’t started yet, one has just been concentrating on growing new feathers and the other two are laying 4-5 eggs each a week. ‘Well roll on Valentine’s Day’, as for us hen keepers, it marks the beginning of the new season and I could get up to 15 eggs a day… best order some egg boxes!
This is a beautiful book, slipped under the Christmas tree for me, that combines the story of Fortnum & Mason’s food hall, the history of preserving, an introduction to their bees and some lovely recipes that incorporates all of the above. A great little coffee table book with inspiration for new treats from the kitchen.
This book is available with many of our other favourite books from the Hen Corner Shop!
- We have quite a few people already booked in for our courses this year
- All our honey has now been sold with advance orders for next year!
- We treated the bees with oxalic acid for varroa mite and fed them extra sugar fondant
Jobs for next week:
- Sow seeds in the propagators ready to catch the winter sun as they germinate
- Write my next article for Out and About magazine
- Give the fruit trees a prune and winter wash
Have a good week yourself…
Join us on the Journey!