Little Forest field in the snow

On The Farm in January

Yesterday the meteorologists forecast snow and wind. The media got over excited and our local news was filled with photos of gritting lorries and dire warnings of ice and tidal surges.


Slamseys Farm drive


In the evening we had a light covering of snow.


snow on Slamseys Christmas trees

frozen puddles


Not enough to cause disruption but enough to make the farm look pretty this morning with snow dusted fields and patterned ice filling the puddles.


dovecote in the snow


Today is grey and overcast with flurries of snow and everyone wants to find a job inside to escape the icy north west wind. I may just be able to keep them employed for a while.

It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.

Clearing the decks

hanging Christmas decoration

Last week the hall was decked with holly, ivy and all manner of greenery and I was happy celebrating, relaxing and eating leftovers. But on Monday I awoke with a determination that the season to be jolly was over. Suddenly it all seemed too much. The decorations were taken down, the turkey carcase was rammed into the stockpot and the Christmas tree shoved out through the front door.

I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions nor do I forensically examine the past year but it’s a good time of year to take stock of the here and now.

Loving: longer days. It’s always a relief to pass the shortest day of the year and though the mornings aren’t yet getting lighter, the afternoons are drawing out slightly.

Eating: from the freezer. The fridge is empty, the Christmas food is finished and we only have leeks and artichokes in the garden. It can be a bit of a lottery fishing out frozen lumps from the freezer and I must learn that a spell in the freezer doesn’t magically transform food from tasteless to delicious.

Drinking: egg nog, which is one of those drinks that I’d heard about, yet never tried. Finally, I made this rich custardy rum infused drink and was not disappointed.

making natural fire starters

Making: fire starters with the remains of Christmas. A few snippets of Christmas tree branch, the dried-up greenery from Christmas decorations, orange peel that has been left to dry on the back of a stove and some discarded walnut shells all wrapped up in a sheet of last week’s newspaper. I do like recycling Christmas.

Wearing: warm clothes and hand knitted socks because I’ve been working in an unheated barn all day.

Planning: Christmas 2017 for the Barley Barn. I know. Ridiculous. The round of trade fairs and showroom visits starts next week and by the spring we’ll have placed our orders.

Wondering about: the future of blogging. More of my favourite blogs bit the dust last year, posts on others (including this one) are becoming more sporadic and there are fewer comments everywhere. I hope that 2017 will see the resurrection of blogs, which are more personal and informative than the froth of Instagram.

Enjoying: life.

Feeling: content.

And you? Is 2017 looking good?


Slamseys Christmas

Sloe Down for Christmas

Tomorrow we will open the Christmas Shop for the last time this year. There will be last minute buyers for Christmas trees and decorations, people stocking up with Slamseys Gin and the final customers will collect their turkeys and geese.

Cranberry sauce with Slamseys Sloe gin

At noon we’ll shut the doors of the Christmas barns and walk to the plantation to cut down our Christmas tree and pick holly, ivy and mistletoe to decorate the house. The smell of cooking will fill the house , the radio will be tuned in to the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from Kings College, Cambridge and the festivities will begin.

Today, the house is quiet and unadorned as I write the blog for the last time in 2016. When I have finished, I shall light the fire and close the shutters. Perhaps I might have a festive drink after supper. We devised this Sloe Down cocktail back in November when we were surrounded by cardboard boxes, glitter and baubles as we rushed around trying to get everything priced and displayed before the Christmas shop opened (which now seems an age away).

The recipe is below should you need to take time out to relax with a little squeezing and slicing as you inhale the Christmas smells of cloves and orange.

Whether you’re freezing in snowy conditions, sweltering in the summer heat or somewhere inbetween, I wish you a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New Year.

Will be back in 2017.

Sloe Down for Christmas

Cloves and orange combine with fruity sloe gin to make this simple Christmassy cocktail

Slamseys sloe Gin cocktail

Push a few cloves around the ‘equator line’ of an orange and then slice off the top and bottom of the orange to leave a wedge or slice of clove studded orange. Squeeze the juice from the remaining orange.

Drop ice into the bottom of a glass, add two measures of Slamseys Sloe Gin with one measure of the freshly squeezed juice.

Garnish with the clove studded wedge and enjoy.

Add tonic water for a long drink.