On the farm the cattle and sheep have verified the change in the season – we were amazed to see that their consumption of haylage almost doubled – keeping them in food has now become a twice daily, chilly, task.
Inside, we are enjoying our advent candle, which takes pride of place on the kitchen table. For the kids, it is of the utmost excitement, to watch as the flame burns through the numbers and brings them one day closer to Christmas. One simple dinner recipe I have turned to a lot recently is homemade baked beans, we have these alongside baked potatoes and cheese for dinner. The leftovers also make a great breakfast, with the beans piled inside a tortilla wrap, topped with cheese, folded, and lightly toasted in a pan. A great way to start the day on a frosty morning.
This year I am aiming to make as many Christmas gifts as possible and preparations are well underway. My gingerbread pre-dough is in the cupboard, where it will have 3 weeks to mature and develop before I use it to bake chocolate dipped gingerbread hearts. I have filled jars with apple, pear & ginger mincemeat, mince pies to follow. Last week I made Christmas-spiced salt, Beetroot and ginger chutney, and honeyed fig vinegar, and just before Christmas I will make some sweet festive treats; peanut brittle and mini Christmas pudding truffles.
Work on the farm over the last few weeks has been centred around making some alterations to our cattle shed to create extra space. When we originally had these sheds put up, it seemed as though we had plenty of space. However, with the addition of the sheep, and with our flock of cattle increasing in numbers, we have recently been running short of capacity. We managed to salvage some materials with which to create some extra feed barriers, allowing us to use the full length of the shed for housing the cattle. When it comes to calving in the Spring, this extra space will be invaluable.
So far, we are finding that the sheep are very self sufficient, they are continuing to do well in their newly fenced field and seem to be making inroads into the rough grass. Delighted to report that there have been no breaches of the fence line either, which is a small victory for us.