Blackcurrant Schnapps that is.  One made very simply with just 50% blackcurrants and 50% cooking vodka, and the other with 1/3 fruit, 1/3 sugar, and 1/3 vodka.  I’m really hoping that these work out, as they’re so simple to prepare…… won’t know for another few months though unfortunately!

Since the spring, we’ve tried to eat at least one thing we’ve grown ourselves with every meal. However, lots of the veg are coming into season now, and we’ve managed a few meals now that have been almost entirely home grown.

We had one of them on Sunday – Coq au Vin, featuring a load of veggies from the garden and polytunnel, and once I’d managed to actually catch him, the meat from an (unfortunately for him) male Welsummer chicken who we hatched in February.

OK, so we cheated a little and used shop bought wine, onions and mushrooms as well as the home grown stuff, but it’s still not a bad start – we’re not deluded enough to think we could ever be truly self sufficient. And yes, I know you would expect me to say this, but it was absolutely delicious too.

Home Made Ribena!!

The blackcurrants were really good this year, so I was struggling to think of something good to do with them all. No time for jam or wine, but a quick search of the interweb gave some interesting ideas, including this recipe for homemade blackcurrant cordial, which is simplicity itself.


Basically you just simmer blackcurrants and sugar together for a few minutes, then add a chopped up lemon, and simmer for a bit longer, before straining, and pouring into re-used wine bottles, and chilling in the fridge.

The colour is amazing, and when diluted with water (about 25%:75%), it really does taste just like a supermarket ‘Hi-juice’ squash……. Only so, so much better!  🙂

Loving the summer!



A friend described our style as “Shabby Chic” the other day. To be honest, I was a little bit offended to begin with, but then I went for a wander round the yard, and I started to see what she meant!! 🙂


OK, so we’ve been nibbling on lettuces and radishes for a wee while now, but now it’s June, finally the veg in the polytunnel has taken off enough for us to harvest a decent meal’s worth at last. I couldn’t help but smile 🙂


So we bought some day old Hubbard broiler chicks.

They grew….

And grew….

And ate, and grew….

Until finally twelve weeks later, they were ready for the table.

Now, let’s be honest here, this is far closer than most people will ever get to the source of their food, and part of the reason I did this was to see if I had it in me to raise an animal from one day old to fully grown, and then kill it for food. I won’t go into all the details, but suffice to say, we did the most difficult job as humanely as we could, as befits a bird grown with care, in free range conditions.

The final dressed weights ranged from 2.5 to 3 kg (5.5 to 6.5lb).

And yes, I have to say, they did taste delicious!

So, is it something we’ll do again?  Yes, definitely. Mind you, next time will have to wait until I have more time on my hands, since the sheer effort of killing, plucking, and drawing 25 birds was quite considerable. Naturally raising table birds is not something that everybody can do, and nor is it something that most people would want to do (in fact, it didn’t even save us any money compared with buying from the supermarket!). However, I did feel a certain pride at eating an animal that we’d reared ourselves, knowing that it had lived the happiest life possible, albeit for only three months. What’s more, the freezer is now full of enough delicious chicken to keep us going until Christmas……. by which time of course, the turkeys will be ready! 🙂


Well how’s this for a surprise? Our tiny wee pond has a population of resident newts!

I find this pretty amazing, given that it’s only a couple of metres wide, and is dabbled in daily by the geese, and pecked around by the hens. However, we counted half a dozen swimming about one evening.

We’re pretty sure they’re palmate newts. Here’s an adult and a baby that we scooped up just so we could identify them.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make me smile!