Posted by: hencorner | February 2, 2015

Munching Marmalade…

“I came all the way in a lifeboat, and ate marmalade. Bears like marmalade.”*

*Paddington BearApricot Pecan Toast & Whiskey Marmalade

This year, I may have more in common with Paddington Bear than ever before. We both live in West London, wellies are a favourite footwear and, of course, a jar of marmalade is always close to hand. However, this year, Paddington and I both have a vested interested in the BAFTA Film Awards next weekend. Paddington for his two nominations (Outstanding British Film and Adapted Screenplay) and I for the 50 jars of honey that we supplied BAFTA 195 last month. I don’t think our honey will be on the menu for the big night as Head Chef Anton Manganaro was planning the menu with Nigel Boschetti, Executive Chef of Grosvenor House, back in September last year, but maybe I could pass on a jar of marmalade just in case the bear fancies a munch!

And so timely, as last week hosted our annual Toast and Marmalade Course where a small group of us gathered to bake beautiful bread and make marvelous marmalade. I chose to add apricots and pecan nuts to my loaf which was delicious toasted and served with the whisky marmalade – wonderfully warming and more than welcome on a wintry morning!

‘Sara is a fantastic tutor; engaging and informative in perfect measure. These courses are excellent value for money; to learn in a home environment that you can easily replicate, with like minded enthusiasts.’  Karen, January 2015

Family Feathers in CLComing up at the Corner

We have courses running right throughout the year with four places left on Saturday 28th February for Families, Feathers and Fun. March then welcomes the builders to create a fantastic new kitchen that will facilitate a wide range of sessions exploring artisan cooking skills and we are back outside with the chickens in April, kindly promoted by Country Living Magazine.

All our confirmed courses are open for bookings and we are planning new sessions such as Summer Scones and Strawberry Jam, Perfect Pasta, Breads: Sweet and Savoury… Which would you fancy for yourself or as a gift? If there is something that you’ve always wanted to try, let us know by commenting below, and if we make a course of it we’ll give you a free place!

Other News:

  • Four of our hens are laying again and we’ve planned the new kitchen around the colour scheme of their eggs
  • Sara is delighted to have been asked to join the panel at the Country Living Spring Fair next month, giving advice on how to turn your rural dream into a reality
  • We are thrilled to be staying in a Luxury Safari Tent in Cornwall with Classic Glamping in the Easter Holidays, we’ll tell you all about it, but for more info see here

Jobs for this week:

Have a good week yourself…Hen logo good

Join us on the Journey!

Posted by: hencorner | January 26, 2015

Why did the chicken go to school?

The Holmewood School Thank youEducation is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”*

*John Dewey

We had a lovely surprise in the post last week; this thank you card from the staff and students of The Holmewood School. It’s been a privilege to build a relationship with this school, that has a vision to be a centre of excellence for Special Educational Needs, since one of their teachers joined us for Urban Hens – Keeping Chickens in London. Last Tuesday I took Madge and Bunty, two of our gentlest hens, to the school with me and we had a great time over 4 sessions across different age groups. ‘This is the best day ever!’ said one of the Key Stage 2 pupils as Madge started walking around the classroom. After an introduction to Hen Corner, we looked at the responsibilities of caring for chickens, their life cycle and then started to explore where our food comes from and some of the issues around its production. We are now hoping to arrange a student visit to Hen Corner for a Bee Keeping session where the children can watch the bees safely, whilst they are behind glass in our Observation Hive, then dress up in bee suits to come a bit closer to the open hive.  ‘Great to have you in school Sara! The kids loved your workshops (as did the staff!)’ Naj DSilva, The Holmewood School.

Our support to local schools can complement their curriculum in so many ways be it life cycles and habitats in Key Stage 1 or reproduction of insects and birds in Key Stage 2 alongside a broader understanding of where our food comes from and how we can produce some ourselves. Key Stage 3 students benefit from exploring ecosystems, insect pollination and animal welfare through to sustainability and the impact of changes in both the environment and climate on our food production.

To find out more about some of these opportunities for your local school, teachers can book in to an INSET training session that we are delivering with Heathland Learning Trust on Thursday 5th February. We have been supporting Heathland School since June ’11 and are delighted to see how they’ve integrated their chickens into daily school life and look forward to seeing many more children engage with both nature and where their food comes from as they begin their bee keeping journey after installing their own apiary within the school grounds.

For more information on how we can help local schools, please see here.

FFF Skylar

Coming up at the Corner

We have courses running right throughout the year with two places left for Toast and Marmalade this Wednesday 28th January then Saturday 28th February welcomes all ages for chicken keeping with Families, Feathers and Fun.

All our confirmed courses are open for bookings, and there are many more to come, so whether you want to try something new or treat someone to a wonderful gift, have a look and book in early!

Other News:

  • Many new seasonal courses are being planned; Afternoon Tea, Easter Special, Perfect Pasta, Breads – Sweet & Savory, etc.
  • It’s great to see London Bee Keeper Steve Benbow in the new, in store, Clarks Shoes posters
  • We’ve been trying some recipes from River Cottage’s new book Light & Easy

Jobs for next week:

  • Final preparation for our INSET session with Heathland Learning Trust
  • Put together the new courses that we’ve been dreaming about
  • Grab a day in the garden, getting ready for spring…

Have a good week yourself…Hen logo good

Join us on the Journey!

Posted by: hencorner | January 20, 2015

A Sweet Start

January Honey Tasting“Life is the flower for which love is the honey.”*

*Victor Hugo

Well, for creatures so small, they still love our attention even when they are huddled together in the hive throughout the coldest months. Usually, a honey bee colony is at its smallest this time of year, with enough bees to care for the queen, feeding and cleaning her, as well as nursing her brood and ensuring all is in order whilst waiting for spring. A couple of weeks ago I opened the hives to treat them for Varroa mites, nasty little creatures that can do a lot of harm, one colony was smaller, quiet and gentle as expected yet the other was large and very active as though it was June not January. After treating them, I gave them a big block of fondant icing each ensuring they had enough food to munch on whilst it’s too cold to fly out to forage. Knowing that the bees were happy, I joined our local bee keepers for a special training session led by the lovely Emily Scott who journals her bee keeping in her blog Adventures in Beeland. Emily has been studying honey bees at a much higher level than most other bee keepers and is working her way through many modules including Honeybee Products and Forage. After explaining how bees choose which flowers to explore on their nectar hunt and how plants communicate back to bees that they have already been pollinated, we were able to taste around 30 different honeys that had been produced around the world. Emily’s post about the honey tasting can be found here and I concur that Alan and Betty’s honey from Hayes was a favourite with its hint of citrus and number two for me was also the Kew Gardens honey, I’m sure that the constant variety of flora available at Kew Gardens contribute to the beautiful flavours.

I have since volunteered to join the bee keeping team at Kew Gardens allowing me new opportunities to learn and develop and maybe a chance to harvest some Kew Gardens honey for myself!

If you’d like to come and meet our bees here at Hen Corner, we are opening our hives for courses on Wednesday afternoons from May – July, more info here.

TM Toast

Coming up at the Corner

We have courses running right throughout the year beginning next week with Toast and Marmalade on Wednesday 28th January; a whole day course introducing both marmalade making and baking bread.

Next month we are chicken keeping with Families, Feathers and Fun February 28th.

All our courses are open for bookings, so whether you want to try something new or treat someone to a wonderful gift, have a look and book in early!

Other News:

  • Sara has been volunteering at The Shelter Project, providing dinner, bed and breakfast for local homeless people, such a valuable project during these cold months
  • Some of our Chickens have started laying eggs again after the winter break – this is due to longer days not warmer weather!
  • We are nearly there on our new kitchen designs, but the big question is which of the companies do we go with? Currently, it’s between Homebase/Schreiber, Wickes, Howdens and Benchmarx – One is clearly in the lead at the moment… Any recommendations?

Jobs for next week:

Have a good week yourself…Hen logo good

Join us on the Journey!

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