Monday, 25 April 2011


Can you Adam'n'Eve it.....  I'm fifty years of age, and I developed a spot yesterday.  I always, always go weird on a Full Moon, no word of a lie.  Now.  Having told you that, you're all thinking that down here on The Funny Farm, we've ALWAYS got a Full Moon on the go?! and you may indeedy well be right Children.  Trousers was tucked up with Teddy when I took this photo the other night, when it would've been lovely to share 'the man in the moon' with him over a glass of homemade olcoholic tincture, but he's been working his sox off and deserved his Zs.

  The very loverly metal-detecting peeps he's making friends with, introducing me to them back at home here are all putting orders in now for Sloe Gin, Sloe Whisky, Strawberry Rum, Damson Voddy, Rhubarb & Chilli Schnapps..... and given the breathtaking blossom this year, uninterrupted by frosts, I am hopefully going to be 'up to one's armpits' in luscious fruit for bottling, pickling, chutneying, jamming, jellying, crumbling, creaming and fooling.  I mentioned to you in the previous blog that I've been sad enough to start amalgamating all of the contents of my recipe books where it's relevant into a 'What to Do With A Glut Of .........?' and to be perfectly honest, I can't remember a time in my life when I actually did anything quite so sensible as that.
(see Wellie smile to herself and kiss the cat sat next to her on the kitchen table - I know she shouldn't be on the kitchen table, but she always does when I'm tryping my blob with a glass of ?!)

I used to love Trousers.  But I don't anymore, because instead, I absolutely just adore him...?
Yesterday we took Moneypenny (4x4xBond it says on the back of my truck) up to The Top Field, to ask Ted to fix the fencing down in the lower paddock, but he wasn't there.  No, just joshing with you.... because we went specifically to pick Wild Garlic Leaves, and Trousers had told me that there's acres of the stuff.  And he wasn't wrong.......(Nice pants luv!) and you'll be glad that my first blog photo was of the full moon Children?

 With two carrier bags of wild garlic leaves, a short visit to Cheppie Market, where we bagged a 2.5kg block of excellent Parmesan for fifteen quid, we were back at The Funny Farm, putting our mornings' work into action.  Namely, a very tasty twist on the gorgeous Basil Pesto that one normally buys:  Wellie's Wild Garlic Pesto, which I then freeze down into useable quantities for use later in the year.  It is truly amazing added to risottos, garlic bread, soups, casseroles, quiches.......
 Which is also exactly why I've now harvested, prepped and frozen my mini-leeks.  They're just beginning to get designs on 'bolting/sending up flowering shoots', which will ruin the culinary crop for me, so USE IT OR LOSE IT is my motto here, and it'll only be taking up freezer space for a very short time, being incorporated into delicious savoury tarts and the like between now and when I run out.
 Then it'll be the turn of whatever else is free food from The Funny Farm.
Not these I'm afraid! but the view from up here is just stunning. 

I think I'll bring him and his mates a Funny Farm Picnic up here one of these sunny days, and we'll just lay about in the grass for an hour enjoying the sunshine.

Before I go, I must just send a hug to my friend Gloria because she wrote extensively about me on her blog last week, having come here to photograph 'stuff', which I love her doing whenever she can because it photographically helps her, and reminds me of how my own late father used to take endless photos all the time when I was a child.... and I hadn't expected her to blog it, thinking that it was ultimately for another gorgeous project up her sleeve. 
I shall get a link from The Funny Farm blog to her blog for you, and then you too can appreciate just why it is that I adore quality time spent with this talented, witty and creative Honey Bunny.X

In the meantime, I curtsey and thank you for yet again following my blog update, hoping that maybe I've informed, inspired, amused or entertained you.
And I'm going now.....

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Spring's Sprung at The Funny Farm

 And that means the first of my forced rhubarb 'to play with' in my kitchen.   And because my mind tends to go blank with wot to do with my harvests, I started a number of very sad reference books, (completely for my own use, obviously) a while back, that logs every single recipe in all of the books that I own, so that I don't have to waste time every season, searching endlessly through each and every to find out how best to use and preserve it?....  Now, I just open my reference book, search through all of my listed recipes, whether it be Rhubarb, Crab Apples, Jerusalem Fartichokes, Parsnips or Leeks, and choose which recipe best takes my fancy that day of harvest .
 I must admit to having wanted to throw in the towel on occasions when I've been compiling the references, but I'm applauding my own anorakness and perseverence now, because as my harvests increase, so does my culinary repertoire. Unfortunately, so does Trousers' waistline?!

I couldn't even begin to tell you what variety of Mint this is, but it's the best Mint I've ever tasted, and I've neglected it for two years now, so I thought I'd pretend that it'd won the lottery, so divided it, replanting it in a redundant recycling container - which seemed rather fitting, so that it can go forth and multiply itself.
 Fert'n'Liza look as 'cream crackered' children as Wellie is feeling this evening, because they've mowed The Orchard.  And the reason they did that, was because much much later in the season, the sheeps won't be eating this grass here, the fruits fall, the Heffers aren't sposed to be let in here, but somehow they magically appear, and then lick all the fruit, trample all the windfalls, and Wellie completely loses the will to live......(!)  So, this year, I thought we'd NOT have that happen, if I can help it?! 
And, having picked up, and removed large stones, I'm confident now to keep The Orchard floor more manageable so as not to wreck the mower.  (Of course every time I mow, I'm hoovering up Sheep droppings too, so whether I'm putting the grass clippings on the compost heap, earthing up my potatoes, or mulching any of my vegetable beds, I'm adding valuable and totally free nutrients to my productive plot......
(Clever Wellie?!)

Okay..... Now this greenhouse, last year, and the year before was completely dominated by overgrown Grapevine, Nectarine and Peach, and it was an unruly mess from years' of neglect.  You can't have things like that destroying the structure of a greenhouse, growing through the sides and roof, so this year, I'm trying to bring a sense of decorum..... (no laughing at the back now kids?!)

 Ooh! and what a surprise!  Wellie's Gardening Cat is strutting her latest on The Cat Walk?!
 Having not been able to capture the male Black Cap Bird in my garden for you on film (gutted, obviously), I was rather thrilled to have captured this lovely moment (Worcesterberry/Chockerberry - never can remember which!!), but not hugely in focus (Bum. Bum.  See Wellie Jump up'n'down with clenched fists kiddie-winkies?)
And I'm going to leave you on this rather sad note:  I used to wonder why one never saw a juvenile Pigeon, and today, rather sadly, I learned the answer....
A SparrowHawk flew into the nest, grabbed a hold of the baby Pigeon, and I saw it fly off with it.
I have never felt so gutted for a parent pigeon in my life as I watched it come to terms with its loss, not only immediatly, but for the next half hour or so.......
and then it spent the next hour 'comfort eating' the ivy berries around its nest.......

Monday, 11 April 2011

Pip Pip! & Toodle Pip!.......... aren't those two lovely old-fashioned sayings?
Our friends came to The Funny Farm for lunch yesterday, and to share the day's free entertainment in the back yard, which was a Point to Point: "Pip Pip! Daddy Gave Me This Land!" (hence the late blog update).  And todays' blog title has been chosen largely because Trousers' metal detecting mate on the left is called Pip.  See Pippy and Trousers not know when to stop eating cheese children?!  ( bit like us girls growing up away from home in the olden-days when Daddy used to pay off our overdraft, as in: "I can't be overdrawn, I've still got cheques left?"! )
Lunch wasn't a huge success, I'm afraid, because I tried out the savoury tart recipe I wanted village peeps to make in our local Village Show on 2nd July, and it didn't come close to being as nice as it sounded on paper, so it's back to the drawing board on that I'm afraid! but phew! far better to find out now, than involuntarily pose as The Village Idiot on the day, eh?!

......and then we've got the most beautiful blossom on the trees in The Orchard (later to produce pips.... see what I did there?!) and to be perfectly honest, the sheer amount of blossom is absolutely 'blowing my frock up'.  So, provided there aren't any untimely frosts to knock the blossom on the head, there should be the most amazing fruit crop this year.

And today, I sloshed a bit of water onto the outside of the 'Draughty Dutch Greenhouse' to disperse the green algae on the glass, because I wanted to begin to tie-in some of the lower branches of my Pear & Sour Cherry trees, and the hybrid blackberry inbetween them loosely onto horizontal canes.

I also had a brilliant 'ping' idea about training my Crab Apple tree that I've let start to produce stems all the way up the lower trunk, to form a living and productive criss-cross dividing fence, bringing the crop down to a much more 'pickable' height than last year.

 ......and then comes the first  'Toodle Pip', because once the wild garlic is over, it magically disappears into the ground, and you don't see it again for another year, which is why I get truly obsessed with it whilst it's gorgeously here.  Like a woman obsessed, I wilt it like spinach, make pesto from it, add it to quiches, stuff things with it, and freeze it.

.....and to my second 'Toodle Pip': a ceremonial burial here for my first, and failed attempt at Pickled Walnuts.  But what you're unaware of, is that this hole is about 4ft deep by 4ft wide by 4ft wotsit, making it a sizeable hole in any instance.  But the hole in the ground happens to have just 'appeared' IN OUR DRIVEWAY?!, which could have been disastrous, had I been turning my MoneyPenny Truck (4x4xBond)around: Ooh! Where's Wellie Gone?!
But thankfully, it was noticed before such disaster struck, and we're busy filling the hole with a multitude of sins, gradually, methodically and rather frantically now.  Hence, a choice graveyard for my failed Pickled Walnuts, that had indeed formed a shell prior to me pickling them last year, but I am very much the wiser now......  (Will be picking the green walnuts during Wombledon Week this year for certain).

Thank you, you're very kind to have read my blog again, and I'll meet you here again next week, if you're not too busy.X

Sunday, 3 April 2011

April.... So Have to be Completely Potty Now.....

 Okey Dokey.... I've got this Paper Potter device thingy, that with very little skill, but does take an initial 'knack',  allows you to make your own sowing/growing pots, and I know I've talked to you about it before, but it is definitely the mutts nutts, and is this year, for the very first time, making my dream of  'Successional Sowing' an absolute DREAM.....  Largely, because in previous years, I've been faced with endless bare soil, not knowing exactly WOT to sow exactly WHERE, because I'm daunted by the sheer amount of blank canvass, and then of course, you procrastinate, and end up sowing not a jot.  When that happenes, you end up with no crops at all, which is next to useless.

Bear with me:
 "Now those Cauliflowers are looking good.....they've germinated well, and the previously sown ones are ready to be planted into the ground now with their roots beginning to show better get some more sown today then Wellie Girl!"..... See what I'm doing here?
Sow some.  Wait a few weeks.  Sow some more.  Wait a few weeks.  Sow some more, etc. etc.

Anyway, enough of teaching your grandmother to suck eggs.  I have a serious project now to address, because with running our local village produce show this year for the first ever time - See Wellie knock knees like Prince William, but not have to go up the aisle?  And therefore, I MUST reinvent my darlilng Flobalob Flowerpot Peeps, because I'm wanting to make the most fantastic poster to bandy around the locality to advertise and get peoples to come visit The Show,........., and I thought that everyone of my own half a century age grew up with Bill'n'Ben' & Weed? and how lovely it would be to kind of  're-invent' that, to spark a twinkle in people of my tender years, and, also to maybe excite/inspire their own Ankle Biters to want to visit a boring old Village Show?
I managed to delegate something the other week, which is hugely unlike me, so I'm personally thrilled with myself for managing that.  And I'd asked my lovely Mate At The Gate (Gina) to liaise with Ann(e), who I met on New Years' Eve to procure new ideas for 'The Childrens' Classes', and I am here to tell you that they have done THE most amazing job.  Not being able to eat a whole child myself, I find myself wanting to enter each and every class that they've devised because I find it so exciting:-

Now, tell me THIS Funny Farm Followers.... how could you possibly NOT want to make an edible necklace out of sweets.  At any time in your life?!  The girls have just done a magic job for the schedule, and I have a huge smiley on my face.  Ann(e) is now going to target the GingGangGoolie Clubs to drum up a bit of business, because largely, the Big Schools tend to be heavily involved in the Big Boys' Heavy Brigade Shows, and I want to keep ours definitely 'Village' ? because there's a Vicar of Dibley in all or us me thinks.X

 I found this little bee in my conservatory this afternoon, almost dead to the world, so the only thing that I know to do is to pick something high in nectar,one of my overwintered wallflowers, and try to introduce it to them.  If he doesn't survive the night, at least he will have died happy.

I've been incredibly busy in The Funny Farm Kitchen Garden today, whilst Trousers has been out with A Chum detecting on the Daddy Gave Me This Land, and there's been A Pony Club Event happening for the last two days, so Wellie has been subjected to Tarquin & Jasper having completed a clear round, to accompany her weeding, and evidently Tamara and Rupert having just jumped superbly..

I've loved you listening, and I hope you've loved reading

Until next time!X.