Blog Articles

Orchard Exploration Day
I have had another interesting day today thanks to Jodie at Discover Local. I visited Mahorall Farm to discover how they make cider. We started with an interesting talk about the history of the farm and of cider, including the fermentation process. Next we headed out to the orchards, partly along a designated nature trail around the farm – this is downloadable from thier website. Fortunately the weather was dry and sunny and the views down the Teme Valley and beyond are breathtaking. Our walk took in an established comercial orchard and a recently planted orchard on the farm. Then it was back to the farm to learn the secrets of cider making! I was surprised to fnd it very similar to the process we use for our small amount – we must be doing something right. Finally...
Tenbury Applefest
This afternoon the Band played at Tenbury Applefest – a celebration of all things apple! There was cider, apple pies, a hog roast with apple sauce and of course lots of apples. We are lucky enough to have Frank Matthews nearby – a well respected grower of all types of fruit trees. They have over 200 different varieties of apples and many were displayed in a huge marquee. I had guests stay with me recently visiting their apple tree that Matthews were trialling due to its tolerance of wet conditions. If successful it will be called Gressingham Lady so look out for it!  Tomorrow is our annual apple pressing day! I must confess our cider from last year is not much good although Amy and Adrian have supposedly made a quality brew – I hope they bring a sample for...
Happy Harvest
I love the feeling of satisfaction at this time of the year when all the fruits of our labours in the garden are gathered in! This is the extent of my pumpkin crop – not great considering the number of plants I had but probably enough! There is lots to gather at the moment – damsons, apples, sloes and other hedgerow goodies. I attended a fantastic course on Tuesday organised by Shropshire Hills AONB, in the morning we walked the hedgerows around Craven Arms collecting fruits and berries and in the afternoon made goodies from our bounty. I am now going to make hedgerow jam, butter and ketchup!
Ludlow Food Festival
This weekend has been Ludlow Food Festival – one of the busiest weekends of the year! Becky and I managed a couple of hours there on Friday – I am always amazed by the number of local producers in our area, we are very lucky because we can shop from most of the exhibitors throughout the year without travelling far. On Sunday our local country holiday group were manning a stand at the Festival and I had volunteered to organise it! Although I say it myself the stand looked quite smart and there was certainly a lot of interest – maybe that had something to do with the samples of homemade cake and Shaun the Sheep stickers we were giving away! Anyway I am exhausted now!
Cramer Gutter
Yesterday evening I joined a walk around Cramer Gutter, organised by Shropshire Wildlife Trust. This is a nature reserve of national importance, being the only place in the Midlands where marsh gentians and sundews still survive. August and September are the best times to see the marsh gentians in flower but we were a little late in the evening and the flowers had closed up – they are a vivid blue in colour. The sundews are a native carniverous plant, catching small insects to survive in the extremely boggy conditions. Cramer Gutter is a 12 acre site rich in biodiversity and well worth a visit. I am now hoping to attend a bat walk on Saturday evening on Catherton Common, also arranged by the Wildlife Trust, who have recently purchased this expanse of heathland.
Honey Extraction
Yesterday was the day we decided to extract our honey from the hive! We had already fitted a clearer board between the 2 supers on the hive to clear the top one (with the honey in) of bees, so were able to remove the frames quickly and efficiently. We then placed 2 packs of fondant in the empty super to feed the bees – we had noticed that they had already been uncapping sealed cells of honey as the weather has been so unsettled. Phase 1 completed successfully we were on a high!   Sandra had collected a honey extractor from LDBKA so we thought we were ready to go. Using a heated bread knife we carefully uncapped the first 4 frames and placed them, as instructed, in the extractor. Following instructions we slowly turned one way, then turned the frames around and...
Extra Touches
I am always looking for new ideas to enhance my guests stay with us and recently whilst staying at Millstream Cottage in Dunster we were given cookies in a jar in our room. So now cookies are on offer on the Broome Park Farm tea tray! Although I am going to have to refine my cookie making technique as most of the cookies I’ve made today are too big to fit in the jar!! An update on the bees – we have had to requeen the hive so fingers crossed the new queen will have settled in by the time we hope to extract some honey at the weekend. Combining is now in full swing – although repairs were necessary over the weekend – John is busy as long as the weather is fine! We also have 6 baby chicks – photos soon as I am too scared of the mother hen to get too near at the...
Pure Nostalgia
I have been extravagant this week and treated myself to a traditional cake stand – the photo doesn’t really show off the stand to full effect – each plate is a different floral pattern, resulting in a nostalgic look. I also bought 16m of bunting – I’m not sure why, except it is so pretty! So next time guests come to stay their homemade cakes may be served on my new cake stand! The cakes featured in this photo are fruity flapjacks, made with jumbo oats and Alpen; gooey chocolate brownies; lemon and raisin drizzle bars and my favourite – traditional gingerbread. My great aunt used to make this so it really is nostalgic – she also made beautiful shortbread biscuits with ground rice in – I must see if my mother still has the recipe.
Garden Harvest
Although the weather has taken a turn for the worst, the garden definitely appreciates the rain. I have picked this bowl of raspberries this morning and they are absolutely gorgeous – plump and juicy – delicious with warm toffee waffles and icecream! I will probably freeze some too, ready to make jam later in the year. I have also harvested my first courgettes and gherkins – although I am not sure what to do with them! The mange tout have also cropped really well – we can’t eat them quick enough!
Harvest Home
Ludlow Food Festival
Powis Castle
Powis Castle is built high on a rock above the Welsh market town of Welshpool, just over the border of Shropshire, about an hours drive from here and well worth the drive.  The castle, originally built circa 1200, began life as a medieval fortress but has been modernised over the years and was the family home of Clive of India. The world-famous garden, overhung with clipped yews, shelters rare and tender plants. Laid out under the influence of Italian and French styles, it retains its original lead statues and an orangery on the terraces. Owned by the National Trust the castle and gardens are open year round and there is an excellent restaurant and tearooms. Plants from the garden are also on sale.
Snow Days
Snow Days