Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Dried and Frozen

Posted by Simon

Well, the first results of the drier are not too bad although the box needed some initial adjustments. Firstly, it needed a larger light bulb from 60 watt, as suggested in the magazine, to 100 watt. This may be due to the size of the box or that it is in an outbuilding, therefore cooler. Also I put draught excluder around the door to create a better seal, which then resulted in a different hook to keep it shut.

We have dried bananas, tomatoes, courgettes, peppers and chillis, as well as herbs. They all took longer than the suggested times but overall we were pleased with the outcome. The bananas are so morish I've had to do a second batch. The tomatoes and herbs did very well although sage, parsley and rosemary are still drying. With some experimentation I think we'll end up with some useful dried foods. I may put the dried tomates in oil.

Three of the cockerels are now in the freezer. Rosie and I had lessons on how to slaughter them (and we both did!) and get them ready for the oven. We left one whole and the other two have been jointed. Rosie cooked up some pieces in a pasta dish and the meat was lovely. Looking forward to our first home grown roast chicken now.

Unfortunately not all is rosy on the livestock front. One of our sick ewes took a turn for the worst and though we did all we could, she died. Not a pleasant thing to have to deal with. The other one that was sick seems to be doing well and is back on grass again. This is one of the downfalls of having livestock.

Anyway on a lighter note. We did our day at the Faire Play and it did not go too badly. Rosie had quite a few children do her various environmental crafts but was not helped by the windy location meaning her materials kept blowing way. My hedge laying demo went reasonable well and there was some interest but unfortunately I was a little tucked away in a corner and only one of the hourly annoucments was made so I didn't get much passing traffic. But actually I was quite happy with that as I struggled with the language - saved, often, by Rosie, luckily being on the plot next to me. And these are pictures of some of the dragonflies people made and my expo laid hedge.......


  1. Question for Rosie, how do you fix the wings to the twisted pipe cleaners? I can see the wings are acrylic? coloured in, but how does the twist work?

    Nice drier Simon...dried bannanas are VERY moreish ;-)


  2. Hi Compostwoman

    The dragonfly wings are made of photocopiable acetate sheets onto which you photocopy the wing outlines. They are then coloured with either permanent feltpens (quick) or glass paint (slower but more effective).

    Then take 2 pipe cleaners and 2 glass beads. Slide one bead to the centre of each pipe cleaner then twist the pipe cleaners down making sure the ends are even. Twist the beads round twice, then open up the pipe cleaners and slide the wings (facing upwards) into the gap before continuing to twist the pipe cleaners all the way down.

    Voila - one easy to make dragonfly.

    Hope that all makes sense. I can do some photos if that is unclear!! Also, if you want I can email/fax or post the wing template to you plus I have a lovely story I found about the dragonfly life cylce and various other bits and pieces that might be useful.

    Rosie x

  3. Is that the story of the nymph who wonders where his friends go and decides to come back when he "goes" too? but can't once he finds out what he turns into?...I have that one!

    I would love the template for that! it is a lovely idea and one I could use.

  4. Yes Compostwoman - it is that story! I love it and so did the children when-ever I used it in schools.

  5. shame about the ewe. do you know what the cause is?
    it is part of keeping livestock , as you say, but its still difficult.

  6. The ewe first scoured when the autumn flush of grass came through. She seemed OK but then got worse again once back on the grass (even though we put her back for just a few hours to begin with). Maybe she had a bit of an infection as well but now we will never know. As you say that's all part of the joys of keeping animals.

    However, we have bought two more this week - post to follow when they will stand still long enough for a photo!!

  7. Well done both of you taking part in Faire Play. I've been wondering how you're all getting on with the language. Kids pick things up quickly, so I bet the boys are probably fluent by now...

  8. Simon finds speaking French hard but he understands a lot and usually gets by with what he does know and a lot of gesticulating.

    I am doing better and can read and understand fairly well but I'm not too good at verb endings or all those silly little words (since/yet/however/better/so, etc).

    And as for the boys - Tom is pretty fluent and often knows words I don't and Ben is getting there. He lost out a bit as we had been here almost a year before we realised he needed grommets so he had missed out hearing a lot in his first year at school. But the teacher says they are both getting on absolutely fine at school so I am very proud of them.


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