Tag Archives: butter making

Beavers!

What do you say?

One of the parents said: “They’re very excited about this visit.”

You could tell that from the fact they were milling about looking at everything and chattering. It was clear that this wasn’t going to be a night for reflection and following instructions, and although I had all the stuff ready for toasting marshmallows it was also clear that it wasn’t a night for naked flames!

If they ever come back I’m going to be sure to pack a rugby ball and my whistle plus some maps and compasses. As it was, we did think about running them round the farm but it started to rain. So it was visit the sheep, visit the chicks and keets, look at the young goats in their new field (they aren’t happy at being taken away from their mothers), view the guinea fowl doing impersonations of vultures, strain to see the geese (who had taken up a position at the back of the field) and go back to the centre.

Julia set them going on making folded paper animals (Orifarmi, as LEAF call them) and I set up the butter-making, which is generally enough to sap the energy from the most energetic of small people. It just about worked. We are getting more cunning as time goes on.

In amongst the frenetic effort there were quite a few questions to field too – about the building, farming and animals. Even whilst running about they didn’t miss much, and you need to be on top of your game .

It’s nice seeing all this youthful enthusiasm but I wouldn’t want to have to try and direct it every week. I really don’t know how their leaders do it.

I’m off home now – not sure what awaits us as the kids are cooking the evening meal. I suspect it will feature chicken, vegetables and salad. I’m sure it’s healthy and wholesome, but it’s not food as I know it.

(It turned out to be sausages in baguettes, with red onions and barbecue sauce and chips and a modest salad on the side.)

 

On the second day

On the second day God created the sky: on my second day I supervised the making of 31 pizzas.

It’s quite clear from this that I’m slacking. On the other hand I do have arthritis, varicose veins and a tendency to need the toilet more than average, even for a man of my age. I’m well past my peak, and on a rapidly increasing downward slope which, like Gray’s paths of glory, lead but to the grave. Fortunately this middle-aged man bladder problem is cancelled out by standing with my back two feet away from four fan ovens blasting out air at 200 degrees C. It’s difficult to find any spare moisture when you are being desiccated.

But manage, I did, and the evidence was clear to see as splashes of sweat spotted the floor. I paint such a lovely picture of kitchen life don’t I?

By the end of the day I was reduced to opening the fridge door and standing next to it.

Here are some pictures, which are probably cute enough to drive my word picture from your mind. It was a great day with lots of sun and happy kids, and a great contrast to the pouring rain yesterday.

The dark stuff in the plastic tub is a sourdough starter – we looked at dried yeast, live yeast and sourdough starter (it was having a mild day, just a trifle vinegary, quite unlike some of the acetone/vinegar blasts you sometimes get). There were a few expressions of distaste, but nobody fainted. The yellow stuff in the other pot is home made butter.

Note the Florentine-type pizzas with nettles in place of spinach. I’m finally getting back to wild food.

Why doesn’t my spell checker like welly whanging?

Simultaneous with the volunteers yesterday, we had a group of kids for the afternoon. They did a noisy nature walk, had a welly whanging competition, a festival of shouting and made bug hotels. When all that was over, we made butter.

Thirty hyped-up kids, screw-top containers, double cream, shaking…

What, as they say, could possibly go wrong?

Apart from one kid throwing up, one turning green (we blame the jumping up and down technique of shaking for this) and one lid leaking – nothing.

You can’t count the kid that sprayed himself in the eye with the automatic air freshener because that wasn’t caused by butter-making: that was, I confess, caused by me forgetting to screw the air freshener to the wall out of the reach of kids.

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Bug Hotels

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Butter. I felt the need to explain that because it does look like er…not butter.

We then pass to Men in Sheds. We made more signs and welded up a bracket. We were also commissioned to build an adaptor to fit a square heater to a round tube in the grain dryer. There’s a song about that, isn’t there?

Actually, when I check the lyrics, there’s one line about that – There may be trouble ahead…

The rest of the song, with it’sĀ moonlight and music and love and romanceĀ doesn’t really match with my experience of Men in Sheds.

Most memorable moment of the day was the one where the Man welding up the bracket turned and said “I’ve just welded it to the vice!”

It soon came off, with the help of an angle grinder, as we all tried to keep straight faces…

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One bracket, welded to vice.

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One angle-grinder in action.