Sunday 29 December 2013

Last Blog of 2013

So on December 29th 2013, we visited our Allotment, to find the un-protected Cabbages have been eaten by Pigeons or Pheasants, a pane of glass had fallen out of the Greenhouse door and smashed, not surprising really, the glazing clips had rusted thin and not up to the job, I can blame the damage on the strong winds most of us have experienced over the last few weeks, luckily no flooding here though.
Oh well, I have been sampling the wines I have made from this years fruit and I can say the Beetroot Wine has come out favourite, doesn't taste of Beetroot, sweet, lovely colour and very nice. 

The others I made are also rather good, Rhubarb, Blackcurrant, Rhubarb/Raspberry, Beetroot/Rhubarb & Rhubarb/Pear.

Here is the Beetroot recipe so you can have a go:

3lb Uncooked Beetroot
12 pints Water
3lb Granulated Sugar
6 Cloves
3 Unpeeled Oranges (washed & sliced)
Teaspoon of Wine Yeast

All equipment must be clean, best to sterilise with baby bottle cleaner or boiled water, preferably both, rinse well with clean cold water. Even the Muslin/Jelly Bag must be clean best to soak in Boiling water. 
Use a Brown Demi-john or wrap a clear one with a black bin liner, restricting the light will keep your wine purple/red, if not it will go brown.

Wash Beetroot well (do not peel). Cut into thin slices and put in a large pan, add water and bring to the boil, simmer for 40mins until Beetroot is tender.
Strain* off liquid into a 12 pint bowl (discard the Beetroot) put liquid back into the pan and add Sugar, Cloves and sliced Orange, heat gently for 15mins. Strain* the liquid back into bowl and leave to cool, best temp between 20-30 degrees then add yeast and cover with a cloth for 3 days, stir daily.

After 3 days, syphon into a Demijohn (topping up with cooled boiled water) and leave to ferment, using an air-lock check daily until bubble rate stops, rack the wine into a fresh Demijohn to clear the sediment, do this twice over the next 3-4 weeks, then bottle.
(* strain through Muslin cloth or a Jelly Bag, this way you will get a clearer wine)

Leave for 6 months, but drink within 2 years.

Good Luck and thanks for reading my Blog, see you in 2014. Ian

Monday 23 December 2013

Feeding the birds with home made Fat Balls

Too cold & wet for me, but the Birds need food too.

So I made some fat balls.

Some bird seed, un-salted peanuts, sunflower seed & some mixed dry fruit (raisins, sultanas etc) and half a block of Lard (not veg fat). Put the Lard in a pan and heat gently, when liquid add the dry ingredients, mix well and leave to cool a little. Will fill about 6 yoghurt pots.
I use washed out yoghurt pots, with a hole in the bottom (use a skewer heated in a gas flame) put a length of string through the hole, then spoon the lard & seed mix into the yoghurt pot, pop in the freezer to set hard. 

When set you can push the fat ball out and if you want to hang them up, you can tie a piece of twig to the string as it acts as a perch. But I'm putting them in feeder's made for the fat balls you buy. I bet they will be gone next time I visit the plot :)

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Sunday 15 December 2013

Wintertime jobs

Just a few winter jobs to do. Have started some more Broad Beans in toilet roll tubes, home made compost and even cut down milk containers for holding them, drainage holes punched too :) 
The variety I have started is 'Super Aquadulce' a good Autumn sowing variety.
Another task I have been waiting to do is prune the Apple trees, these are Cox's Orange Pippins. 
Between Nov and Feb when all foliage has dropped, you need to trim off any very low branches, then reduce all remaining ones by a third to an outward facing bud.

Another job I did do I went to the Stables again and filled the car with sacks full of Horse Manure to fill up the Manure Bin I made recently.

So only a quick visit today, went late in the day and light was fading.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian.

Sunday 8 December 2013

Storm damage at a minimum on the plot

Thursday was, as most will know in the UK, a very stormy day, with a tidal surge and high tide not seen for over 30 years. As we are on the coast we expected some damage on the plot, but as you can see the Greenhouse is intact, only the fleece cover on the Carrots was a bit ripped! 
But sadly and for the second time this year, Wendy Worzel our scarecrow snapped her stave again! 

Think it's time for a new brush handle.

So only a short Blog this week, Christmas preparations took over, but at least the Tree is up and decorated. 

Only things we harvested were some Spinach for dinner & some greens for the Chickens.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian 

Sunday 1 December 2013

Growing update

Been a bit of a miserable day, that very light rain that soaks you right through. 

But we put on our warm, waterproofs and braved it as we needed greens for our Chickens.

The Garlic is growing well as you can see from this photo. 

Even managed a bonfire between showers (see video).
Still haven't started on the replacement boundary fence, despite having enough Pallets now (I hope), but hope to get the Manure bin done over the next week.

Remember to watch today's walkabout video, below. 

Thanks for reading/watching. Ian