around and about

We have had a bit of a pumpkin fest recently from our three pumpkin plants. Two of the plants yielded no pumpkins and the other one produced just one. But one very large pumpkin, which was similar in size to last year’s because there were still some seeds in the packet and even though I said to Bill (very clearly) that they were far too big and we did not want any more that size, he decided it would be wasteful to throw away the seed. Thank goodness only one grew.

Consequently, we have eaten pumpkin in many ways, some more popular than others. For the finale, with the very last slice of pumpkin,  I decided to make pumpkin scones. I made some the other day by adding pumpkin flesh to my normal scones and though they tasted fine, I decided to do it properly and follow a Pumpkin Scone recipe. Big mistake. The mixture was far too sloppy so I threw in extra flour. Then a bit more with another spoonful of bicarb. Then a whole lot more. Then I dolloped the mixture onto the girdle and cooked them. The result was not the normal light, airy scone but a heavy, claggy doorstop that shouted indigestion. So no scones to eat and a heap of washing-up for nothing.

As usual, in times of frustration or in need of a good think, I pulled on my wellies and went for a walk.

mistletoe growing on apple tree

The mistletoe seems to be growing faster than the apple tree and for the first year has berries. It’s difficult to believe how much it’s grown from this tiny bud back in 2012.

spartan apples

A quick detour to pick up some crisp and juicy Spartan apples that have fallen to the ground. Spartan are my favourite apple and with their deep red skins, I always think of them as Snow White apples.

sloes for Slamseys Gin

We’ve picked kilos of sloes for Beth to make her sloe gin, but there’s still so many left that the hedge looks blue now that the leaves have mostly dropped. This blackthorn hedge was planted in 2012 and has grown remarkably well, though when you consider that the name of our farm originates from the Old English for “enclosure of the sloe tree hill” and we live in Blackley Lane, perhaps it’s not so surprising.

Old Man's Beard

Along the farm track, Old Man’s Beard threads its way through the hedges.

oilseed rape

The oilseed rape crop is looking remarkably healthy. At the moment.

ditch between The Ley and Lakes Field

The oilseed rape is growing in a field called The Ley. On a map of 1849, this is shown as three fields called Old Leigh, Little Leigh and Spring Field but by 1895 they’d been amalgamated into one field called The Ley. This small ditch runs between The Ley and Lakes Field, so named because Mr Lake once owned it. There’s not much water in it at the moment, but if we get a wet winter the level will rise as the water drains from the fields into the ditch.

autumn leaves

The leaves are falling fast from the trees and some trees are already winter bare. There’s nothing like kicking through a few leaves to bring a smile to my face. And hurrah, no more pumpkins.

30 thoughts on “around and about

    • Anne Wheaton says:

      I have made sure that there are no seeds lurking about for Bill to sow next year! I can imagine your pigs love pumpkin. Ours used to love melon skins, which aren’t totally dissimilar.

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  1. Dale says:

    What a lovely post. I had two pumpkins that have been roasted, chunked and added into chili, puréed for future treats, turned into soup, frozen… My dog loves it as well, so he gets a scoop here or there…

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  2. Mrs Thomasina Tittlemouse says:

    Sorry to hear about the sad tale of your pumpkin scones. I suspect the water content of pumpkins varies somewhat depending on size, growing conditions etc so that may be why recipes using home-prepared roasted pumpkin purée seem to vary quite a bit in terms of the quantity of other additional liquid they suggest using. Lovely autumn pics! Happy November days (with no pumpkins!) E x

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  3. Brian Skeys says:

    Pumpkins are, I think, a little like courgettes there is a limit to how many ways you can use them!
    That said I did have a slice of a very nice courgette cake when visiting a garden this year. I should of asked for the recipe.

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  4. Sam says:

    So many sloes! I, too, enjoy a good kick through the leaves. I’m ashamed to say that I threw the remains of a pumpkin onto the compost heap. Just couldn’t face it…

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  5. Jane @ Shady Baker says:

    I feel peaceful and calm after joining you on your walk Anne! What is Old Man’s Beard? Some sort of vine? It looks very interesting. Those apples look picture perfect. There is nothing more frustrating than a cooking fail followed by a sink full of dishes….I feel your pumpkin pain x

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    • Anne Wheaton says:

      Old Man’s Beard is a clematis that grows wild. It really does look like an old man’s beard! The scones produced much more washing up than normal ones so it was doubly frustrating.

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  6. dianeskitchentable says:

    I always meant to post some photos from a big farm fair that they have in the area every year. One of the big events is the pumpkin event with the largest pumpkins winning a prize. Anne, you should see some of these monsters! Some are as big as a Mini Cooper.
    Wonderful walk and I really enjoy the photos. You’ve got such an eye for making the ordinary things we never would notice, interesting works of natural art.

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  7. e / dig in hobart says:

    oh, pumpkin scones always make me think of a politician’s wife in queensland who was famous in the 70s or 80s for her pumpkin scones … but I’ve never made them myself. perhaps they require a specific type of pumpkin? a dryish one, not a watery one? still, there are much better fates for a pumpkin than a scone.
    I love the sloes – so blue!

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    • Anne Wheaton says:

      I suspect my pumpkin wasn’t dry enough but I tend to agree that there are much better things to do with pumpkin than make scones. And much better ways to make scones than use pumpkin.

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  8. Sarah says:

    Felt a huge pang reading your post. Something about the English countryside at this time of year…..reminds me of that Back To School feeling! Your mistletoe is just gorgeous. Not sure we have it over here but I must find out. And Old Man’s Beard – what a fantastic texture!

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