Christmas Barn at Slamseys

On the farm in December

On the farm, there’s not much to do in the fields apart from keeping the pigeons off the oilseed rape crop, which means the gas guns need checking to make sure there’ll still working and haven’t been vandalised or stolen, the scarecrows and various whirling, blowing and flapping devices need moving around the field and standing up after they’ve been blown over in the wind. The rest of our time is spent working with the Christmas trees.

Christmas tree barn at Slamseys

This weekend will be our busiest of the season. The Christmas Tree Barn has been filled with Christmas trees and the netting machines are lined up ready for action.

Christmas decorations at Slamseys

The Barley Barn is filled with reindeer headbands, decorations and Slamseys Gin.

vintage corner

There are vintage items to investigate

photo props

and photo props. Should you need some.

5 steps to a wonderful Christmas Tree

And if you haven’t bought your Christmas tree yet, here’s quick guide to making sure you buy a wonderful Christmas tree this year.

July wildflower walk

Simple pleasures for July

Eating vegetables from the garden every day.

beetroot

We’re in that blissful period when there’s enough vegetables for meals but before the summer gluts of courgettes, tomatoes and runner beans.

digging new potatoes

The asparagus and broad beans have finished but we’re eating sweet carrots and thinnings of beetroot and we scrabble in the dirt to lift the new potatoes, so far unsullied by slugs or scabs.

cherries from garden

Picking fruit

It’s a bumper year for cherries. Last year we had a crop of just three cherries that we watched slowly change colour. And then they disappeared. Just as they were almost ready. This year we netted the tree more carefully and have been picking cherries by the bowlful along with blackcurrants, gooseberries and loganberries while out in the fruit field we’ve started to pick raspberries for Raspberry Gin.

baking tins

BAKING BREAD

In July we light up the outdoor oven, though it always takes me a couple of sessions to get back into the different way of cooking. The pizzas were successful, cooking in three or four minutes with a crispy base and bubbling hot topping but the loaf of bread I put into the oven afterwards was less successful because I didn’t let the oven cool down enough. The base was blackened and inedible so I sliced off the bottom, scooped out the middle to make breadcrumbs and put the top into a slow oven (indoors) to dry  out so that I can use it as a bowl. In theory. Maybe.

There have also been experiments with Devonshire Splits, which I’ve started to make instead of scones because they taste so good, especially when eaten with cream and freshly picked strawberries.

cow parsley gone to seed

ENJOYING THE COUNTRYSIDE

A lack of rainfall this year, coupled with a few hot days last week has tipped the countryside from green to yellow. The wheat crops are already turning colour, the oilseed rape is dying off and the cow parsley in the verges has run to seed.

being creative

I’ve been trying some different screen printing techniques and doing more jelly printing. And I’ve been dyeing wool and fabric. With beetroot and rose petals. Hmm. I think I’ll stick to printing.

simple pleasures for july

What are your simple pleasures for July?