Foraging Course with Suffolk Smallholders Society April 2015

We had a great first foraging course with expert Jon Tyler as part of our Suffolk Smallholders Society programme of events.

We had a great Sunday morning walk round a local forest whilst finding and tasting local foraging items including Birch Sap, Beech leaves and watercress. Additionally, we had a fantastic session at the end of the day with cooking and trying the produce we had collected in our wicker baskets during the walk.

We prepared and ate/drank the following:

-Dandelion Marmalade

-Birch Sap

-Birch Liqueur

-Blanched Ransomes with butter and lemon

-Nettle and Wild Garlic Pesto with crackers

-Pine and Nettle Tea

Overall, we had a grand time and each want to try all our new ideas out at home! On my list of things to add to the smallholding is another decent foraging guide to assist me when I head out to find small quantities of foraged goods. Can’t wait!  We will be holding more foraging courses during the year so it would be lovely to see more members!

Katy, The Good Life In Practice xx

A selection of pictures below but I will put more up on The Good Life In Practice facebook page.

The Good Life In Practice – article in US Homestead.org online Magazine

I was lucky enough to have my proposed article idea approve by Homestead.org for their online smallholding magazine site. I wrote an article comparing the US and UK smallholding approaches and issues for their regular newsletter and site. I hope you find the read interesting : )

Here is the link to the article on their site if you wish to read it or any of the other great articles: Homestead.org Article

I loved writing it and was so excited when it came out! : ) The Good Life In Practice xx

Guest Bloggers: Flockable Lasses

Here is the story of ‘Flockable Lasses’ and how they set up their website and adventures after being part of Farmers Apprentice which was televised last year. I hope you enjoy reading their story and take a look at their website to see more of their sheep farming and about farmers apprentice:

Annabelle and Sophie are two young sheep enthusiasts, who met during the ‘Farmers Apprentice’, a filmed competition ran by the Farmers Weekly Magazine. From then on they became friends with a shared goal to change the face of the UK sheep industry and educate and attract others to the world of sheep farming.  With this in mind, Flockable Lasses was born. By branding themselves the girls have created a following on Twitter (@FlockableLasses), and their website where they feature written blogs and #EweTube videos of their sheepy experiences.

Whilst competing in the farmers apprentice competition, the two girls realised how similar they were and just clicked. They were pushed out of their comfort zones, tested and judged over five days, having to complete an array of farm related challenges. Annabelle and Sophie loved every minute of it and would do it all again if they could. With such positive feedback from the judges the two girls felt like they achieved so much during the competition and left with boosted confidence and an enthused spring in their step to pursue their joint dream.

The two girls found the competition to be truly life changing and since then they have set up their website which has brought about huge interest and opportunities for them; including financial investors, press articles, on farm professional filming, butchery lessons and most importantly a whole new set of contacts offering invaluable advice and opportunities also. The future is very bright for Annabelle and Sophie with a lot of exciting prospects in the pipeline.

The successfulness of their website has made the pair even more determined to achieve their BIG goals and aspirations. Eventually they want to run a sheep farm, utilising every part of the sheep. Producing the animals; butchering and selling the produce themselves. Annabelle and Sophie just established their site in November 2012, so they are aware they have a long way to go before reaching their dreams, however they are truly dedicated and determined young ladies.

Chocolate, Apricot and Sultana Scones: Recipe by Katy Runacres

So this combination does seem a little odd I know! We fancied making scones but realised we had no raisins to put in them and no round cutters! Therefore they are raisinless and heart – shaped! Additionally, I am an avid chocolate lover often getting told off for adding chocolate to everything – To keep up the tradition I did it here too!

I added some cocoa powder to the mixture and also chopped up some dried apricots and sultanas to make the mix a little more interesting. Although they may look a little odd they taste brilliant – we had our warm with a thick spread of Nutella on!

Ingredients (makes about 12-15):

  • 300g plain flour with 1 teaspoon baking powder (or can just use self raising)
  • 1 cup of cut up dried apricots
  • 1 cup sultanas
  • 50g butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • approximately 120ml milk

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 220c.
  2. Mix flour and butter together. then add other ingredients (apart from milk) and mix well.
  3. Add the milk a little at a time and mix in.
  4. Flour a clean surface and roll out mixture to approximately 1 cm thick. Cut out and continue until all the dough is used up.
  5. Place on baking tray and bake for 18 minutes and remove from oven.
  6. Cut open and eat with copious amounts of Nutella or the more traditional clotted cream and jam!

By Katy Runacres

The Good Life In Practice

A busy week for seed sowing…

So a quick allotment update!

We are having to start most of our seeds off indoors or on the balcony/windowsill area due to the cold and unpredictable weather. The Asparagus pea seeds are in their pots but will take a little while to get going I reckon.The lettuce seedlings are up and sprouting which is great news so in the next few weeks we should be seeing progress with mixed salad for our dinners! The Leek seedlings have been transferred to a bigger pot to continue to grow before we replant them outside in the allotment patch. The cucumber seeds are in too so hoping they will spring up in next 14-20 days.

Yesterday I planted a big tray of different sorts of seeds from Thompson and Morgan so looking forward to them. I have got most of my seeds this year from Thompson and Morgan and they have been great so here is the link if you are interested: http://www.thompson-morgan.com/

The herbs have been a great addition and we have been using them most nights in pasta sauces, curries and more!

All the news for now, Katy, The Good Life In Practice

The Good Life In Practice on Thompson and Morgan Website:

If you would like to see my guest blog for Thompson and Morgan press the link below:

http://blog.thompson-morgan.com/guest-blog/guest-blog-the-good-life-in-practice/

Also they have some great seed selections on their website! : )

Thankyou, Katy xxxxx

The Good Life In Practice

An update as Spring is on its way!

Hello Hello : ) Or Guten Tag or Gruezi or Grusse for Swiss followers : )

Finally had a proper chance to sit down to let you know whats been happening this end of things! The last week we have featured some fantastic guest blogs on all subjects from preserving to lambing! Hope you have enjoyed them-coming up in next few weeks we have a lovely piece about making and spinning wool from your own self-raised sheep and also a great piece coming from the ‘Flockable Lasses’ of Farmers Apprentice fame. I love hearing other peoples stories and experiences of smallholding on what ever scale so these have been great!

Here in Switzerland the snow has melted and the ski runs have started to close down. This means the village is getting quiet and more relaxed in the inbetween season before hiking time begins for visitors and locals alike. Some of you might remember my pictures and stories from last year all about Ballenberg the open air folk and country museum near Brienz (Switzerland). This is host to many Swiss native rare breed livestock, buildings from every canton from many different decades and also provides a location for rural crafts to be practised  exhibited and shared with all. The theme this year is ‘crafts people’ which means they will concentrate on rural skills such as basket making, spinning, salami making and woodwork. I look forward to Ballenberg opening in just over a weeks time to visit to see all the skills in more detail and the animals in the Spring season.

At our home in Switzerland we have seemed very busy recently in all aspects of life! On the smallholding side we have been sowing seeds indoors, trying to train Podge the cat to go outside more (he is a sofa cat I fear!) and other general tasks. The Potatoes have been chitting for a few weeks now and I have included some photos of their progress. We are putting off transferring them to plant outside until there are no more warnings of snow!

The Romaine lettuce has been doing okay (picture included above) but I think I will repot it again as I think I sowed the seeds to shallow so although they are growing jsut about they cant really root probably. We shall see!

Have been mostly cooking as its been too cold to go outside to work on the allotment area. Have been making jam, making pizza dough for the freezer (for lazy eves!) and coming up with different puds to try at weekends. Tonight we are having Stewed Rhubarb with cream-its in season here now and I love the pink colour! People shudder at the thought of a ‘stewed’ pud but Rhubarb is a tasty one! : )

Also have been making gingerbread cookies and trying different Porridge combos for some weekend breakfast (when there is more time!) such as raisin and maple syrup, apple and cinnamon and random things such as Nutella and hazelnuts!

Anyho, thats a quick update on the happenings here-can’t wait till the sun comes out so we can get properly stuck in to growing our fruit and veg, going to get our new chickens for the garden and exploring the outside a bit more!

Keep smallholding in whatever way makes you happy : )

Katy, The Good Life In Practice x