Winter has arrived in our magical valley minus 9 last night, Morwena our mud maid looks ethereal coated silver in ice. She lies asleep in the Stumpery, made from logs we found in the field. The area is in the shade and is planted with ferns and other shade loving plants, toad lilies appear in the spring with there little nodding heads. The magnificent angelica appears in the summer and happily self seeds in the area.
It is all fairly new this only being the second winter, earlier in the year she was completely covered in moss but with the hot summer, the moss disappeared something I am hoping to address next year.
She is 9 feet (3 metres long) with grass for hair which turns red in the summer. She is raised on a slope in the front I have planted a patchwork carpet of ground cover which will flower, in the summer like her very own flowery duvet.
We have had an amazing apple harvest this year with an ancient cooking apple tree so laden with apples the branches were almost touching the ground. We also have another very old eating apple tree which was struggling when we arrived with barbed wire growing into the trunk. After lots of TLC and the removal of the diseased dead or damaged branches it has been rejuvenated and provided an enormous crop of delicious eating apples.
They have all been collected including the windfalls, Sunday we spent the day pressing and bottling the juice, so far we have 40 litres of refreshing juice with at least 4 times that amount to do yet.
The large cooking apples were cut into two, the eaters left whole. They are then put through a garden shredder.
An empty pillow case is placed into the apple press with the pulp then put into the press and the pillow case pulled across the top of the fruit. The handle of the press is then twisted and the lid lowered onto the fruit. The resulting juice then pours into the bucket underneath.
Some of the juice we put into clean plastic milk bottles and it was frozen.
The remainder was Pasturised and put into sterilised empty wine bottles.
To Pasturise the juice it is placed into a large jam kettle and heated to 74degrees centigrade for 15 seconds.
First post for ages, main reason being the enormous Clay Oven in the background of this picture it has been a labour of love and we are still working on landscaping the area underneath it.
I will also admit I am struggling to get my head around using the site i am hoping to get better. These little posts are a practice run.
I hope to post full instructions on building the oven together with photos of the process.
The vegetable beds have been neglected this year due to all the time spent trying to get the flower garden and river bank under control.
We had a good frost last night so I decided to have a look at the parsnips this morning and this was the beast I dug up. As you can see it was enormous, enough to add to a beef stew and roast some in the oven, despite neglect and its huge size it was delicious. Throwing the water from the duck bath together with their poop is obviously feeding them well.