Happy Easter by Catherine Evans :: 12th April 2009

Traditionally we always go for a family walk on Good Friday but this year the weather was so awful and Becky was away that we decided to go today (Easter Sunday). So today we have walked from Barnslands to Neen Sollars and back, partly along the River Rea and partly along the old railway line. All the banks are full of spring flowers – primroses, violets, cowslips and wood anemones to name but a few. All the hedgerows are also in blossom – I think Spring is my favourite season – full of promise for the year ahead.

More Lambs by Catherine Evans :: 11th April 2009

The first Broome Park lambs of the season arrived last night – we were beginning to think our ewes would never lamb – they are about 2 weeks overdue according to John! Richard and I had to give a helping hand but mum and babies are now doing fine. Hopefully the other 5 we have to lamb are not far behind!

Cherry Blossom by Catherine Evans :: 29th March 2009

It has been another beautiful spring day and the cherry blossom tree in front of the house is in full bloom. It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago and the family bought me a hammock. John has hung it today and I even managed 10 minutes uninterrupted relaxation before Richard called me in to answer a phone call! Hopefully I will get plenty of opportunities to use it this summer!

Spring is here! by Catherine Evans :: 20th March 2009

Hopefully as we approach the Spring equinox spring really is here. I have certainly felt like getting out in the garden this week and am making good progress. I have finally planted my strawberry plants into a new bed at the far right hand end of the garden and have 3 blueberry plants to put in along side them once I get some ericaceous compost. I have also planted a jostaberry bush – a cross between a blackcurrant and a gooseberry that I bought at the Neen Savage Harvest Supper. The beds in the foreground are awaiting seed potatoes and beans and squashes will go beyond the raspberry canes. I always think this is the most exciting time for gardening when everything is full of promise – before endless rain dampens everyone’s spirits!

Comic Relief by Catherine Evans :: 16th March 2009

On Saturday the Bell Inn Band did their bit for Comic Relief! We all dressed up in our silliest hats, wigs and red outfits and played on the High Street for 2 hours. Amazingly we managed to raise £300 and enjoyed ourselves at the same time. Many thanks to Ian and Sharon at The Crusty Cob for providing hot drinks at half time! Thanks too, to all those who listened and donated.

Brewery Visit by Catherine Evans :: 08th March 2009

This week John and I visited our local Brewery, Hobsons, as members of the Shropshire Hills Sustainable Business group. Hobsons have excellent green credentials using ground source heat pumps to heat and cool the building, buying raw ingredients locally where possible and recycling the spent grain as animal food. The company is just about to install a wind turbine to generate electricity to power the site.

On top of all this they also produce an excellent range of real ales! John sampled the award winning Mild (Champion Beer of Britain 2007) whilst I enjoyed the latest addition to the range – Twisted Spire – a pale, crisp, low-gravity beer with a light, natural fizz. Owner Nick Davis was an excellent host and gave a fascinating tour of the brewing process as well as an insight into the company’s environmental ethos.

Spring is near! by Catherine Evans :: 22nd February 2009

This is a photo of the clutter on my kitchen windowsill – I thought it was full of the promise of spring – new growth, primroses and an Easter chick!

Yesterday afternoon I trimmed and tied in all the summer fruiting raspberry canes, hopefully ready for a bumper crop again this year. Once the ground dries out a bit more I am ready to plant onions and shallots; maybe some garlic but it is really too late. I am also starting a new strawberry bed – the plants get tired after about 4 years (and my old patch was over-run with couch grass).

The pigs are growing well and will probably be ready by Easter, lots of lovely sausages!

More Cider Making by Catherine Evans :: 10th February 2009

At the weekend I racked off some of the cider into demijohns. This involved siphoning off the clear liquid to clean demijohns, leaving the sediment behind. The resulting brew is quite dry so I added more sugar, dissolved in a little water. The jars are then fitted with an airlock to keep out contamination and allow the cider to ferment further.

Homemade cider is an acquired taste, not at all like commercially bought cider, which is sweeter and fizzier than the real item! I intend to mull some soon to see how that tastes!

More Snow! by Catherine Evans :: 05th February 2009

Today we have had another snow day – yippee! I have spent the morning baking – sponge cake, coffee buns and my current favourite – lemon and raisin bars. I then tried out a new recipe for sweet potato soup – something I have never cooked with before – very tasty, served with beer and cheese scones – yummy!

After a rest we have been enjoying the snow – the photo shows the results of our efforts – he is quite intimidating at over 7 feet tall – I am (weather permitting) expecting guests tomorrow and hope he doesn’t scare them off!

Snow! by Catherine Evans :: 03rd February 2009

What a difference a day makes! Like everywhere else we have had snow, although not as much as some years. However we have all benefitted from a couple of snow days! I have been able to catch up on lots of paperwork whilst the children have enjoyed sledging, snowball fights and making a very sorry looking snowman.

John has been the only one working – the animals still all need feeding and it is harder to get around as the lanes are icy and snowy. He has spent the morning making a shelter in the field for the lambs to protect them from the cold.

Early Lambs by Catherine Evans :: 01st February 2009

Some of the early lambs, born at Curdale – the hub of the farm – during January, have been put out to grass in the fields opposite our drive. I always think it is one of the first signs of Spring – like the snowdrops that are popping up around the garden – when there are lambs in the fields.

Unfortunately with the cold weather forecast over the next few days it is certainly not spring weather and the lambs will welcome the comforting warmth of their mothers as they shelter from the wind and snow.

Big Garden Birdwatch by Catherine Evans :: 25th January 2009

Today has been the Big Garden Birdwatch, organised by the RSPB to monitor wild bird populations throughout the country. Our neighbour, Jim, is a keen bird watcher and regularly reports on the bird population around Broome Park in the Parish magazine. The local countryside supports a wide diversity of birds and to encourage more John has been making and putting up new nesting boxes today.

Happy New Year by Catherine Evans :: 03rd January 2009

I danced in the New Year on Thursday with Crooked Steeple Morris. Despite the freezing cold we danced at The Bulls Head, Chelmarsh on New Years Day. For the first time in ages we had 9 dancers so were able to dance all the dances for 8 – a real treat! The Landlord, John, was the perfect host serving mulled wine and hot sausage rolls – a wonderful antidote to the cold.

Boxing Day by Catherine Evans :: 28th December 2008

Boxing Day was another perfect winter’s day – cold and bright. After a quiet morning we took the dog for a walk after lunch, following part of the Jack Mytton and Simon Evans Way to Detton, across Titford Bridge then back by Reaside and Chiltern.

Merry Christmas by Catherine Evans :: 25th December 2008

This is the beautiful Christmas wreath made by Rachael, from Fred’s Fruit and Veg, that greets all my visitors this Christmas.

All the family here at Broome Park wish all our friends and guests past and present a Very Happy Christmas and Prosperous New Year!

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