Tuesday, 25 October 2011
Misty moisty weather.
Do you remember the old rhyme we used to sing when we were children:
One misty, moisty morning,
when cloudy was the weather -
there I met an old man
cloth-ed all in leather.
Cloth-ed all in leather
with a hat under his chin.
how de you do and how de you do
and how de you do again.
Well I would not have been surprised to see that old man this morning for it was just such an occasion. Contrary to our expectations, there has been no traffic at all on our lane - the diversion signs occurred further up the main road. So we have been exceedingly quiet. I have been quite relieved for the sake of the farm cats as they are not used to heavy traffic - but I am expecting a pair of new boots by mail order and, of course, I really don't see how the delivery man can get through. So - you win some, you lose some.
But it did mean that this morning, in order to get into town, I had to go the long way round. Every farmer on our lane is muck-leading and every dairy farm still has the cows out. These two things together mean knee-deep mud. At nine o'clock this morning it was so dark and misty that I needed the car lights on. Our neighbour at the bottom of the lane has pedigree limousine cattle and they were gathered round a feeder in the mist - such a lovely sight and I didn't have the camera with me.
There were literally hundreds of pheasant about on the lane. The shooting season is just about to start but the birds have not yet learned to keep hidden (believe me they soon learn once the guns begin to go off in their direction.) Progress through them is slow because they have a habit of running in front of the car rather than getting on to the side. At one point about fifty pheasants flew over the car from one field to another.
I have embarked upon making a batch of sloe jelly. Even the recipe says that it is not always a success. Would you believe - sloes are very low in pectin. Obviously sourness does not necessarily mean pectin. So I have put equal quantities of sloes and cooking apples into the preserving pan (cores, skins and all) and cooked them to a mush. Tonight they will strain through muslin and tomorrow I shall boil them up with sugar and lemon juice. The yield is quite low too but I thought I would give it a try.
The sloes are hanging from the branches of our biggest blackthorn tree - the farmer can never remember it being so heavily laden. We went down the field together after lunch - with Tess - and picked enough (two pounds) in just a few minutes. Tess could not resist going into the wild marshy field belonging to our neighbour. She took quite a bit of getting back and came back the long way round, studiously keeping out of reach of the farmer and sitting quietly by me! I am afraid the pull of rabbits is very strong.