Friday, 16 May 2008

A Productive Rainy Day

I was hoping to get the front lawn mown today, its getting on for 6 inches high in some places and plant the last of the garlic, but around 10 am, well before the grass had dried sufficiently to be mown, it started raining again. Time for a change of plan.

My son A, has finished his university course out in Singapore and is arriving at the weekend for a visit so I though I would get some bread made so I didn’t have to do that next week. I decided that if I was making up 500g of bread flour I might as well make up 2kg. It doesn’t take that much longer and the oven only has to heat up once.

I got the dough mixed and on its first rise and started on the next project when the ‘phone range. It was Ann to tell me that as Regis had been unable to get on with his work today because of the rain he’d rung round some local contacts about the fencing and hay making equipment. Ann and Regis are such good friends I would be really struggling without their help as I just wouldn’t have the local knowledge or contacts.

The guy who has the post machine it turns out doesn’t hire it out or do work for other people but he may know someone who does so Regis is awaiting a telephone call tonight about that after which he’s going to talk to someone else who might know a direst supplier for the 500 odd fencing posts I’m going to need. So nothing actually sorted but very definitely in progress.

He then contacted the guy who has one of the old style small balers sitting rusting in his field. The guy had said that he wasn’t using it any more and had received hundreds of enquiries about it but wasn’t selling it; so there it will sit and rust. So plan B was to visit a business near Villeneuve that sells second hand agricultural equipment and that Regis would be at my place at 13:30 to take me there.

The project I’d started was a cherry cake that required an hour and a half cooking time. Since it was already 12:30 the cake went on hold. I’d decided on cherry cake as I still had some glace cherries I’d made last year so it was time to use them up before this years harvest. Well I hope there will be a harvest; I found just one fruitlet on the Reine Claude and one on the normal plum, one of the sour cherry trees has no cherries this year along with the nectarine. The sweet cherries seem to have a few fruits and there is one sheltered sour cherry that has a reasonable amount at the moment.

I’d decided not to use the food processor today and set about creaming the butter and vanilla sugar by hand. I’ve not done that since school cookery lessons and had forgotten that it was reasonably hard work, well at least until the butter had softened quite a bit. Thankfully I’d not added the flour before Ann called so it could safely wait until my return. I still can’t get over how yellow the mix was using my free range eggs

The trip to Villeneuve took place in a heavy downpour which wasn’t too bad in its self, the only problem was when we were on a piece of road that was only tarmaced yesterday; it was noticeably slippery.

At the dealers, my luck was in; while he didn’t have a baler there he had one coming in next week and I have first option on that. Apparently a lot of the old equipment suitable for small farms like mine is being bought up and shipped for sale on Poland where there are far more small farms so I’m quite lucky. This baler was used last year so hasn’t spent the last 10 years rotting in the corner of a field so I’m hopeful it will be fine. I’ve also an option on what I think is called a tedder, the piece of equipment that turns and fluffs the hay. This one will also move the hay into the lines ready for baling. All I need now is the flail cutter as there wasn’t a suitable one there.

We came back via another couple of dealers, the first only had cutters that were far to big for my needs and therefore too expensive and the second was just far to expensive, quoting nearly double the others for similar stuff. The guy at the first place is going to telephone me if he gets a suitable cutter in so a very positive outcome there.

Back home and cake was put in the oven to bake, bread dough was divided up into 3 loaves and 8 large baps and left to prove again on top of the now warm cooker – what next? Well I’d also remembered the rest of the home-made pasta dough I’d frozen when Sue was here. That had now defrosted so I’ve turned that into tagliatelle to have when A is here.


Georgina said...

Wow, while I was photographing poo you were really busy. Enjoy your time with your son. Debs x

aims said...

I've got my fingers crossed for you on the equipment. I've always been amazed at how stubborn some farmers are. Why not get rid of old equipment if they aren't using it anymore? Sheesh!!

Your pics just made my mouth water and you know I couldn't have any of it as I'm a celiac. Ah well. How lucky your son is to have a mother who makes her own bread products! Does he know that?

VP said...

2 out of 3 isn't bad. Hope you get the other piece of equipment soon!

I love the look of that bread too - you can't beat home-made.

Have a great weekend and time with your son!

PS Thanks for finding the Gardening Today link for me - you've been given due credit over at my place :)

dND said...

Hi all,

Debs, yours was a far more interactive day! I'll have to think about photographing my poo picking one day.

aims, It must be really tough to be celiac, I love my food so much (no size zero likely here) I'd be devastated if I wasn't able to eat what I wanted. How do you cope?

As for the farmer, he's probably holding out hoping someone will pay over the odds - I've been told not to buy a baler that's been outside as they don't work well if they get wet. Thanks for the crossed fingers, I'll let you know asap so you can uncross them otherwise you'll never get any knitting done.

VP I'm ecstatic at 2 out of 3 it is so good for France.

I couldn't believe it when the link came up as the 3rd item on my search but then I've seen that happen before. Different computers seem to get different search results for the same key words, very strange and I know if it had been me, I'd be niggled until I'd remembered the name. I'd forgotten about the programme but I can remember watching it a few times but my favourite was dear old Geoff.

david mcmahon said...

G'day from Australia,

Have a wonderful weekend with your son.

david mcmahon said...

In aswer to your question, yes, I was born and educated in India.

Tell your son the weather has really turned cold in Melbourne this weekend, very wintry even though winter is still a fortnight away.

Temperatures are about 12 Celsius, but drop a lot further with the wind chill!

Debra in France said...

Hi Deborah, Your pictures have made me hungry! I have been making my own bread since January this year. We love granary bread and have found some lovely flour in Netto.

dND said...

I've been meaning to thank you Debra for the bread flour from Netto tip.

That bread is Netto's sunflower plus equal quantity of 'normal' flour which seems to work really well. No need to add extra yeast if making by hand and giving a double rise.

Breezy said...

Lidl's rye bread mix is also rather good. Now that we've switched the Rayburn off for a while I've unearthed the breadmaker and have been really pleased with the results