Denise: The first batch of home-made pasata 2015. Late, due to lack of tomatoes ; and quite likely Last, for the same reason. Usually I make a couple of dozen of these to fill up a shelf in the pantry, to add a bit of sunshine to our winter diet. But this is quite possibly all we’ll get this year. So, as the peppers and chillis have done unusually well this year, my ‘usual’ make-it-up-on-the-spur-of-the-moment-depending-on-what’s-available recipe has something added to stimulate the sluggish winter circulation! Not sure I’ll bother labelling these, as they’re not for sale!
Jonathan: We first started keeping chickens in 2005, long before we got the croft, but here in the Big Garden we were struggling to work out how best to house and contain them. In Spring 2007 we realized that as the ‘hummocky’ area in the SE corner of the garden was too rocky for growing fruit and veg and even hardy shrubs didn’t seem to thrive, we should fence it off and build a good sized walk-in (well, stoop-in!) hen house. Our own design proved to be very successful and robust, except that the Onduline roof sheets are not very durable, and the space under the building proved a haven for rats. Last year, having rebuilt all the other outbuildings, we decided that we’d rebuild the house to the same internal design, but of blockwork on a concrete base, and – to harmonize with our other outbuildings – clad with timber boarding and a galvanized corrugated steel roof, and this time complete with fully paved inner courtyard, drainage etc. In short, keeping all the best features and improving on the could-have-been betters. That rebuilding was finished this Spring. With insulated floor, white-painted walls, well ventilated but free from draughts, and good light (except of course in nesting boxes), and outside plenty of greens brought to them, dust bath and access a scratching area it’s henny heaven!
Jonathan: Denise and I are fortunate in that we share so many interests, and even more fortunate in that we’ve had the opportunity to make those interests the basis of our daily lives. But being interested in something is not the same as having the time to do it. We’ve had quite a ‘traditional’ married life in that I’ve been the chief bread-winner, and Denise has been the chief home-maker. I’ve predominantly worked outwith the home : Denise has had periods working in factories and offices and care homes, but mostly Continue reading →