The veg is really coming on in the garden and I am able to pick something for supper most days. The potatoes are starting to get big quite quickly as it has been so wet. They still have that beautiful, unforgetable flavour if cooked, as freshly dug, with a handful of mint. leaves. Lunch is usually salad in some form or other.I managed to get most of the redcurrants before the blackbirds and deliberately left quite a lot of berries on the bush for them to feast on. This is in the hopes blackbirds will not start on the loganberries which are ripening fast.
I still lhave fruit at the bottom of the free from last year – so a jam making is session is really needed before this year’s soft fruit goes in, but I can’t see that happening in a hurry as I am off to Switzerland this week to see the family.
I’m picking mangetout (sugar snap peas). Have tried several varieties. The most prolific and longest producing pods is “– ‘Carouby de Maussanne” with beautiful purple flowers and yellow green pods. But don’t leave them hang on the vine long as they can go a bit “stringy” Back in the early spring I grabbed an extra packet of Sugar Snap off the shelf at Home Base as I was a bit short on seed; sowed them in a tray and duly planted them out a few weeks later. I could not understand why they were climbing the sticks so slowly unlike my other peas. On re reading the packet I discovered they were a “compact” variety ie. dwarf. What a waste of time. They have managed half a dozen miniscule little pods. Lesson learnt – check the packets!
The neighbour came down last Tuesday night and the sheep are now without there woolly jackets. I am sure they are very relieved to be cooler. My better half missed the fun! He has been in Oregon for 3 weeks on a holiday exchange: having a wonderful time it seems. One host collected World War 2 stuff. So GOS (Golf Obsessed Spouse for those new to my blog) got to ride in a jeep and have a flight in a 1944 bi-plane. We have our exchange Americans back here in September.
You can only shear when the sheep are dry and the warmer the day the better as the wool will”lift”. Our ewes are very large Texel breed sheep so it’s hard work. My job, once I have got the sheep in the shed, is rolling the fleece once it is removed. The lanolin is wonderful for your hands, but extremely smelly! Apparently, the world record for sheep shearing is 721 ewes in 9 hours. The fastest time for shearing one ewe is 37. 90 seconds, which is staggering. A lot of the young farmers from around here go to New Zealand and Switzerland to shear for the season and earn really good money. One of our local village shows now has a sheep shearing competition and it is tremendous fun, a lot of banter and fooling about with all the young farmers trying to out do each other. Son’s trying to beat their Dads. Some of them are not far behind on the record times either!
Once shorn and turned back out with the lambs all hell breaks loose as none of the lambs recognize their Mum’s and I guess they smell different as well. It takes them ages to settle down and stop bleating pathetically looking for Mum.
Actually time to go and put a joint of lamb in the oven …
May not post till I’m back from my travels…
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