The Greener Grass

After a hard day,

experimenting with ice cream & associating with the animals (the kids decided to suffer an attack of smelly scours – aka diarrhoea, today – eugh), this evening we luxuriated in a genuine treat – dinner with Carl & Boo at their beautiful Maes Y Derw Country House (if you have any excuse to stay there – just do; you won’t regret it!).  Fortunately they’d specifically arranged not to have any guests this evening; so we were able to enjoy an especially lengthy & convivial, private repast together.  A typically tasty starter of homemade hummus dressed with zesty lemon juice & served with a variety of fresh crudites plus warm, plump pitta breads, was liberally washed down with a generous glass of Bombay Sapphire gin & tonic in the spacious kitchen-cum-breakfast area, before we headed into their grand dining room for a satisfyingly hearty autumnal main course: for Boo had slow-cooked meltingly delicious lamb shanks, sloshed in a port wine jus & served on a bed of celeriac & potato mash which was accompanied by a dish of spiced red cabbage.  This was followed by an exquisite dessert of individual, snowy mountains of homemade meringue dressed liberally with whipped cream & a tumble of freshly-plucked, unctuous hedgerow berries – an absolutely wonderful marriage of tart & sweet tastes.  Thus satisfyingly replete, we retired to the lounge for glasses of smoky-dark Irish coffee topped by islands of floating cream, along with an elegant crystal flute of Boo’s boozy sloe gin which is an intoxicating, ruby-red liqueur; this dry, subtle 2006 vintage is as good as it gets.  Coupled with pleasant conversation & the inevitable ‘pulling up of sandbags’ as always happens when ex-military personnel get together, made for a memorable & wholly delightful evening brimming over with bonhomie.  It made us forget our cares & concerns about FMD & BTV for a few hours; although as ever the stark reality hit us along with the blast of cold evening air when we had to dip our boots & spray the wheels & underside of the car on our return to reality & a chilly breeze at the top of the Ffarm drive a few short miles away.

It’s funny though; chatting to Carl (who is still in the RAF) makes us realise more than ever, that the grass really isn’t greener on the other side of the fence: give us the green, green grass of our home valley any day, rather than return to what we were doing before.  The hours may be much longer & the work often far more physically & mentally demanding & stressful; but the more we talk to friends who are still ‘doing time’ in the military, the more glad & grateful we are, that we’ve taken the plunge & left that particular treadmill.  We may have our fair share of frustrations; & the future is indeed worrying when a multiplicity of diseases are directly & really threatening our livelihood (& the next item on the agricultural agenda, will inevitably be concerns over avian influenza with the onset of the autumn migrations); but at least we can carve a modest but satisfying future for ourselves – no matter the challenges ahead, we wouldn’t stick our heads back through the fence – or indeed back above the military parapet – for all the tea in China.  After all, you can be poor in purse but rich in what you value – & we truly cherish the green, green grass of home, more than ever, with each & every passing day….oh, how lucky, we are. 

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About LittleFfarm Dairy

The LittleFfarm Dairy Team: Jo - Goat farmer & Gelatiere Artigianale, plus General Dogsbody; Tony - Airline Pilot & part-time Herd Manager, Product Taster, Accounts Secretary, Handyman etc!
This entry was posted in Cooking, Diary, Entertainment, Farming, Food, Life, September 2007. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Greener Grass

  1. nora says:

    There’s a whining at the threshold, There’s a scratching at the floor. To work! To work! In Heaven’s name! The wolf is at the door!

    – C.P.S. Gilman

    Hi Jo – I’m reading MFK Fisher’s book “How To Cook a Wolf” right now, and she opens with that poem, which seems an apt approximation of the earnestness of good labors in the face of danger. Her wolf happened to be the scarcity of WW2, and yours seems to be FMD & BTV, but both of your remedies are equally as delicious and inspiring. Thanks!

  2. LittleFfarm Dairy says:

    Well, I can’t wait to try out you fabulous recipe for hocks n’ beans – with autumn nipping at our heels, we’re looking forward to the excuse for such rib-stickingly gorgeous dishes after a hard day on the ffarm (& your supplementary descriptions are such a great read, too!). I’m looking forward to trying it with some of our home-reared pork, with beans from the veg garden as we’re doing our best to rise to your ‘eat local’ challenge. Unfortunately so was the buzzard who fancied a chicken take-out; swooped down & made off with our pot-plump cockerel….didn’t even queue like the girls in your local market, how rude eh?! The last two piggies of the year will go in the next month or two, so I’m looking forward to trying a bit of dry-curing to complement your lovely recipes. Keep ’em coming, gal!

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