Tuesday, 30 August 2016


If we were to believe every diet 'fad' that comes out we would become nervous wrecks, changing what we eat almost every week.

However, the latest dietary news does seem to make a lot of sense.   This is the news that we should try to maintain more of a Mediterranean diet - which doctors and scientists say is better than statins for our heart health.

I must say that I read Cro Magnon's post every day (on my blog roll) and quite often he posts about what he is eating for his next meal.   As he lives in France, where the climate is warmer, and as he has plenty of gardening space, he does grow much of his own food.   And when he puts this food on his blog it always looks delicious.   Simple, undoctored, just fresh food - and it always looks appetising.

I experimented with it today - and the result was surprisingly good.   I put chicken thighs, herby sweet potato chips, red and white onion chunks, peppers, potatoes, courgettes and cherry tomatoes into a dish - drizzled them with olive oil and mixed it in well and then put the dish into the Aga for an hour.   The result was very tasty - even the farmer commented on how good it was - and he is the most conventional eater in the country.

There is enough chicken left for tomorrow - I shall add more 'mediterranean vegetables' and perhaps a can of cannelini beans for a change.   Can I keep it up rather than return to meat and two veg?   We shall see.

Monday, 29 August 2016


A couple of days of warm weather, a good downpour and the end of Summer always mean just one thing up here on our farm..........field mushrooms.
I had just begun to prepare chicken thighs for today's lunch when the farmer came through the door with four pounds he had picked in our fields.

All thoughts of chicken thighs were abandoned.   Friend W was e mailed to come and collect some (I know she loves them), as I write this my son is on his way round to have some and we shall offer some to our neighbours later on this afternoon.

I put a mixture of rape seed oil and olive oil in a pan, added a good blob of butter and a teaspoon of lazy garlic and let it cook gently for a couple of minutes, then added the mushrooms and cooked on a high heat for five minutes.  They made their own glorious liquid - and they tasted like heaven.   Nature's bounty indeed. 

Derek has reminded me (thanks Derek) that there is a programme on BBC Four at eight o'clock tonight.   If you want to see the area where I live, this is the one for you:   All aboard!   The Country Bus is a journey through the Yorkshire Dales.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

What a difference a day makes.

I'm glad you all seem to have enjoyed the farmer's photographs of the Wensleydale Show - I gave him your thanks.

They were so lucky with the weather - it was a lovely day until about half past five (the Show closed at five).  After that it began to rain.   Then at six o'clock this morning there was a violent thunderstorm.   I slept through it and never heard a thing but when the farmer looked in our rain gauge later on we had had 21mm (25mm is an inch of rain) of rain in a very short time.   So today the show field will be a boggy mess.   The fields opposite, still standing with straw which was shaken up again only yesterday, are now all soggy again and it is beginning to look as though it will be past it before it can be gathered in.   The rooks are loving it and they are making the fields black over with their cawing bodies as they search through for grubs.

Today we celebrated our twenty third Wedding Anniversary by going out to lunch.   Our date was actually last Sunday but it was a walking day and I was already out to lunch with my girl friends so we deferred it for a week.   

We went to the Queen's Head at Finghall and it was delicious.  (Soup and then roast beef for the farmer; crayfish and apple cocktail and sea trout for me) and returned home at around two o'clock replete and ready for a sleep.   Next Sunday the farmer is walking and I am not going out with friends as they are all busy doing something - it will be the first Sunday lunch I have been on my own for a long time - I shall have jacket potatoes and butter (my favourite but not the farmer's) and am looking  forward to it already.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

The Wensleydale Show.

The farmer has just returned.   There was a good turn-out and the weather held until closing time, when suddenly it began to rain heavily - but of course by then it didn't matter anyway.

He took photographs as he walked round - so I will just let them speak for themselves; it gives you a taste of what the event was like:

Notice the large rumps in photo number three - Belgian blue cross beast - there would be plenty of good rump steak there.

Hope you enjoy a taste of our Show.

Friday, 26 August 2016

The Build up gets faster

In spite of the fact that many places seem to have had a lovely sunny day yesterday (John and his wife on the beach in Wales), it was awful here in North Yorkshire.   It was dark and foggy all day with that awful missly rain falling.

All the marquees are up for the Wensleydale Show tomorrow - it is just at the top of our lane - but yesterday they all looked wet and dejected.   Everything about the Showground spelled misery and gloom.

What a difference a day makes.   Today there is a stiff breeze and bright sunshine.  All the tents and marquees have dried out and are looking spruce.   The sheep pens are up ready for the sheep first thing in the morning; the cattle tents are all ready for the show cattle; the main ring is all fenced off and ready to go and all round on the walls and gates there are notices telling visitors which area is which - where to take the produce, where to park their cars and such like.

The forecast is more or less the same for tomorrow, so it should be a good day.   The farmer has agreed to take the camera, so hopefully there will be some photographs for tomorrow.

I see that the Wensleydale Railway is putting on special trains  from Leeming Bar to Leyburn.   The cost is to be £10 per adult and £1 per child.   I am sure the railway need the money, as does the Show, but it does make it rather an expensive day out for a family of Mum and Dad and two children - £22 in transport costs before they pay for entry to the Show itself.   Maybe I am out of date but really things do seem to cost a lot these days don't they?

Thursday, 25 August 2016

The earth moved.

How very pleased I am that we don't actually live on one of the faults.   The earthquake in Italy is absolutely awful; of course there have been worse ones in recent years but somehow the nearer they are to one's own country the more real they become.

There cannot be a worse feeling than the ground actually moving beneath one's feet and knowing that there is absolutely nothing you can do and nowhere you can go.

At least one hopes that a rebuilding programme and aid for the survivors will start immediately, unlike some of the quakes in the Far East where there is still chaos.

After several pleasant warm sunny days the sun has never emerged today - it has been cloudy and misty all day.   The straw in the two fields opposite, straw left after the crop was harvested for whole crop, was tossed in the sun yesterday and I expect the farm expected to bale it up today.   But no such luck, rain overnight means that it is now as wet as ever it was.

Speaking of farming, Rachel (Rachel in the Ukraine on my blog roll) gave a jolly interesting commentary on the crops in her area of East Anglia, which made fascinating reading to us up here in a grassy area with next to no arable land.   If you haven't read it, do go over to her blog and read it.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Wonderful nature.

Linda (Life on a Colorado Farm on my Blog Roll) has put on two beautiful things this week - two things which show just how remarkable nature is.   The first was a spider's web where the central 'hub' was heart-shaped rather than round and the second, this morning, is a humming bird's nest complete with one newly hatched baby and three remaining eggs.  She now has the web as her header.

It reminded me of a photograph the farmer took several years ago when he was on one of his walks.   Some of you will have seen it before but I have many new readers since then, so I am posting it again.
He was on one of his Sunday walks when they went into an old barn to have their lunch.   This pair of old trousers was hanging across a beam and a long-tailed tit had utilised them to build a nest.   Birds are on the look-out for safe nesting sites and this seems like a good one to me.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016


...or lack of them!

I rather think I did put a note about my knitting on a post a few days ago - so I may be repeating myself, but I have a new great grandchild due in December and am busy knitting cardigans.   I really enjoyed knitting the first one - mainly because they grow so fast and are soon finished.

One afternoon last week I decided to sew it together, but after an afternoon of careful sewing I realised I had left out the raglan sleeves.    The next day I spent almost ten hours unpicking one seam but when I started on the other I just could not find an end and finally gave up in despair.

Friend C told me to give it to her (she is an expert knitter) and she would unpick it.   I gave it to her on Sunday when we were out for lunch and she had only been home a short while before she sent an e mail to say she had done it.   I was so grateful.

So after lunch today I decided I would spend the afternoon sewing it together again - the only trouble was that although I remember putting all the separate pieces in a bag I couldn't remember where I had put the bag!!

After ten minutes mild panic I made myself relax in the armchair and forget all about it - and after a few minutes I remembered where I had put it.   And sure enough it was there.

Is it old age?   To some extent I suppose as our brains get so full of rubbish as we age, but I also know that in my case, although my mobility has slowed down and I cannot do as many things as I used to do, I also try to work at the same speed as ever - and it doesn't always work.

Is it just me or does everyone have these problems as they begin to age?   Sewing together of the garment will now begin later on today.   I will post a photograph if it is worth taking one of the finished product.

Monday, 22 August 2016


We have had an inch of rain over the week-end after several weeks of what they call up here 'droughty weather'.   The fact that the two fields opposite have been harvested but the straw has not been gathered does not seem to bother anyone - presumably it will be shaken up and will dry out later in the week when the forecast is for better weather again.

Next Saturday is one of the most important events in our local calendar when The Wensleydale  Agricultural Show takes place - and its location happens to be just at the top of our lane, which makes it handy just to walk.  I no longer go as I am really not mobile enough, but it is one of the highlights of the farmer's year and he is already looking forward to it.   Before he goes, however, he has to go along to West Witton, a village just a little further into the Dale, where he judges the fruit and vegetables.   He has done this for quite a few years.

We are well into the Show season up here with maybe only another half dozen or so before it is all over.   Wensleydale is one of the larger ones, with sheep and cattle classes, usually heavy horses, events in the ring, produce and handicraft tents and all the usual trade stands.

Many years ago when travel was much more difficult, when few people had cars, these shows were certainly the highlights of the year for everyone.   It would be such a shame were they to die out through lack of support.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Sunday lunch

Out to lunch again today as the farmer was walking.   It is our twenty third wedding anniversary today but we have decided to celebrate  it next Sunday so that we could both do our own thing today.

Eight of us today, a record number - and a new pub too - The Woodman in Burneston near Bedale.  Roast ham, roast beef, roast pork and a nice variety of puds - all followed by coffee.   Now, six hours later, suitably full and not in need of any more food today thank you.