Monday, 10 August 2009

Feeding the Animals

I've been given my first beat to look after, temporarily, as Mike's underkeeper is on paternity leave. A beat is a huge pen full of pheasants. Looking after them involves keeping them in and fed, and predators out (and hungry).

There was a fox in my own garden around midnight last night, worrying my chickens. The chickens give a distress call which will wake me up from even a sound sleep, though I tend to keep an ear and the window open to make sure I can hear them if they need me. I will go to bed with the flashlight and a .22 rifle tonight.

Playing gamekeeper took up most of the day, but I found just enough time to prepare some hanks of wool for washing, and to make sure we were fed at least as well as the animals. I've got to find time to practice my breakmaking skills before Saturday when I will be entering a loaf of bread and a sponge cake in the 'Homecrafts' section of the Beaminster Summer Show. Summer shows and country fairs are a big part of the rural calendar. There are categories for everything from a carcase of your own home raised lamb to a jar of homemade honey to 'The Longest Runner Bean' - the latter being a prestigious and much sought after accolade. A lot of competitors take their entries very seriously, but some are like me and just participate to be a part of village life. Entering a cake is one thing; I wouldn't have the bravery (or secret fertiliser recipe) to compete against the hardcore bean-growing mafia.
This is what we had for dessert tonight, and it's one of Mike's favorites. Easier than pie, and you can make the crumble topping in big batches ahead of time and put it in the freezer. Great for dealing with September's glut of apples!
Apple Crumble Recipe

Peel 4-5 good sized apples and chop into rough cubes. Mix in a tsp of vanilla essence. Sprinkle with 1/3 c sugar if tart (cooking apples), less if sweet (dessert apples). Tip the apples into an oven ready pan and pat down.

In a separate bowl, mash together with your hands:
1 c flour
3/4 c light brown sugar
handful of Quaker oats
1/4 lb cold butter
until you have a crumbly mix. Throw in a big handful of chopped pecans to finish. Sprinkle this mix over the apples and bake at 325F about 40 minutes, or until crumbly topping is browned. Serve with ice cream or cream

1 comment:

Poppy Cottage said...

The hanks of wool look amazing!! And the crumble make me want to invite myself to supper!!

Oh well, hopefully see you tomorrow!

Nun night.