Thursday, 26 June 2014

Picnic Time For Domino The Smallholding Cat. "It's All Too Much."

It's been a busy time on the smallholding this week.  So busy that 'Domino' decided to have a nap/siesta in the picnic basket we brought down from the attic.  Domino looks like he is dead but he's just having a sleep.  
We have been sawing up wood and the vet came to test the cattle.  It's always a worrying time hoping they haven't got TB or Brucellosis.  I am happy to report that we can't see any lumps on their necks so it looks like we can sell a few of them.  The vet returns tomorrow to 'read' them so fingers crossed.  Then it's ringing the livestock transport man to take them to mart and decide whether to accept the bidders bid or to pay to take them back home again. I always hate when it comes to selling the cattle.

Any road.  We are thinking of going on a few picnics this summer.  Not today though because the heavens opened and it's very showery today.  Being a farmer and veg plot grower.  I realize that nothing grows without rain.  The silage is in and we could do with some new grass for the cattle to chew.  

Talking of cattle. Guess who paid a deposit for some new calves the other day?  I ("WE") have decided to rear four or five dairy calves and sell them for milk replacements next year.  The milk quotas (yawn..) end in 2015 and dairy farmers can keep lots more cattle than can now.  Any road again.  I will blog about the new cattle when we get them and I promise to show you some photographs of the new girls dancing round the field.  I'll have to buy some hay for them.  Think it's 4 Euros a small square bale at the moment.

So what what's would you put in a picnic basket?  Food perhaps?  8 cans of Newcastle Brown Ale?  What's your favourite sandwich?  Do you hate white bread?  I do?  I like brown bread with cold roast beef and fresh salad from the poly-tunnel or veg plot. Not forgetting getting a good sauce like Branston.  Anybody ever made their own?

Today I am getting the missus to go town and get us the ingredients for a strawberry cheesecake, my favourite!  I will post a picture of it for you tomorrow or today if it's got that 'Jene sais quoi' feel about it.


  1. Apple Chutney (fills 5 large jam-jars)
    3lb apples
    1lb onions
    1pt spiced vinegar
    6oz sultanas
    pinch of salt
    3/4lb sugar (half white, half brown)

    Use a bigger pan than you think you could possibly need (I barely fitted all the apples in my 26cm casserole dish).
    If your vinegar isn't spiced to start with, heat vinegar gently with a selection of whole spices (I used black pepper, star anise, cinnamon, coriander seed, cumin seed, and nutmeg), then strain before adding the onions.
    Chop onions and simmer in vinegar until soft.
    Meanwhile, dice the apples. Once onions are soft, add apples to the pan and cook on a low heat until the apples are tender but not mushy. (I put the lid on the pan for this stage as there is not enough vinegar to cover the apples, but the instructions didn't explicitly say to do this.)
    Add the remaining ingredients, stir thoroughly, and simmer for at least two hours with the pan uncovered.

  2. Thanks for the Apple Chutney recipe, Cumbrian. It sounds good. Bought a cheap bottle of ketchup in Lidl the other week. There was nothing wrong with it.

    We made the strawberry cheese cake. It looked very pleasing on the eye but tasted like cheese. We much prefer the cheesecake mixes you can buy. You win some you lose some.

    Showery again today. Silage fields starting to green up. You can put up with the harsh winters if you get good summers like this. Not that we want to see the gales again!

    Glastonbury Festival this weekend. So it's bound to rain and we see lots of mud men and mud women.. Will watch it on BBC tonight and no doubt complain about the music being terrible. Think I am getting old. Thanks for your comment, Cumbrian!

  3. Chutney recipe is the one I make, goes well with meat or cheese sandwiches.

    Used to buy a it of stuff in Lidl when we lived near one, their products are as good as anybodys, they're a huge company after all. We don't have one near us now but if I happen to be near one I like to have a look in.

    Glastonbury seems fated, should be a good one though, Dolly Parton is making a Glastonbury debut I believe, she's one I would love to see.

    Domino looks like he's at peace with the world, Raggy cat hardly been indoors, comes in early as usual but asks to go back out after an hour or so, then makes itself comfortable in one of its nests in the garden,sunbathing. Comes in 3 or 4 times daily looking for goodies and milk then straight back out.

    Home-made cheesecake never seems to turn out very well, I tried it once and it wasn't too good, strawberries are nice with just a bit of cream anyway?

    Keeping warm here, fields greening up again, Christopher managed to get my back grass cut this afternoon, looks a bit better now. A couple of raspberry canes (volunteers) seem to have some good fruits, not ripe yet but not far off, so might get a feed off them next week, if I can beat the birds.

  4. The Chutney recipe does sound good -thanks!

    I think Lidl and Aldi have improved a lot in the last few years. Believe have bought Netto and going to open 25 new stores similar to the German stores in the UK. I always liked Sainsburys and Netto was very reasonable and I have never bought anything that I couldn't eat or drink from them.

    Once went to Glastonbury in 1989. Twenty eight pounds for the ticket. Believe the first one in 1970 was a pound and they gave you a free bottle of milk. Glasstonbury is a canvas city for the weekend. An incredible and eclectic experience. Dolly Parton should be a memorable concert.

    Cattle passed their test. Hope to sell them soon. Prices still terrible. Think the horse meat scandal's put a lot of folk off the beef.


  5. That should say: Believe Sainsburys have bought Netto...


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