In the end, the rare breed beef I bought was a piece of Shorthorn topside - very large, but fitting nicely into the oven. Any that is left will make lovely sandwiches and/or go into the freezer. There is no point in buying a small joint as it always seems to shrivel to almost nothing. The said joint is now sitting on the worktop getting to room temperature, prior to being put into theAga at around 5pm. The Yorkshire Pudding mixture is made and is resting and as my cookbook says you can always cook them early and hot them up at the last minute, I shall make the puddings early. Aga cookers do tend to lose their heat and Yorkshires need a very hot oven.
Meanwhile, outside the sun is shining although there are occasional showers and the birds are really amusing me as they are so busy and active. Two cock pheasants in the side garden are falling out on opposite sides of the wire fencing. One is in the paddock and the other is in the garden. Neither has the sense to fly over so they are fighting through the wire. Men!
In the marshy field a pair of oystercatchers are very noisily going about their business of finding a nest site. We get oystercatchers every year and they advertise their presence for weeks before they actually build a nest - as do the countless pairs of curlew who are doing the same in the meadows.
In the Scots pines a collared dove has built her nest and as far as we can tell, a mistle thrush too, although it does seem a precarious place and one open to raiding magpies and jackdaws. A tree sparrow is nesting in the box put up to attract tree creepers and tree sparrows are also nesting in the blue tit box which had its hole pecked large last year by a greater spotted woodpecker.
In the clematis in the front garden a blackbird seems to have young as it is going in repeatedly with beakfuls of worms and a hedge sparrow must be nesting quite near to it as the clematis is not all that big. There are countless blackbirds nesting in the holly hedges which surround the vegetable garden and also stretch down the side of the paddock - a pretty good place I would have thought, particularly in the wet weather we have had for the last week.
Last year a pied wagtail nested in the concrete mixer. I was rather hoping that it would do the same this year, so that I could take photographs, but so far no sign of activity. There is, however, a robin nesting in the barn, although quite where the farmer has not discovered yet.
Oh yes - it is happening everywhere. And to add to that all but six of the heifers are now outside. Those six wait until Thursday because they need freeze branding and that is the earliest the man can come - easier to leave them in than to try and catch them so soon after being let out. Our neighbour came to walk the last few back across the fields to his farm this morning, let them out and they took off, tails in the air, at a fantastic speed!
On an entirely unrelated subject does anyone use Picasa and an MP510 Canon printer to print off photographs? And if so, can you print four different ones on to one sheet? Try as I may, although I put the four photographs into the tray at the bottom of the page, the printer prints them individually, even though I click on the sheet showing four. It is driving me mad.