Loafing Around

It’s been quite pleasant, today;

although the stiff breeze hurried the clouds along & punctuated the intermittent blue skies with sudden showers of stinging rain & hail, culminating in a spectacular thunderstorm overnight as the wind raged on around us.

We made an admittedly half-hearted attempt to move the wether lambs onto fresh pasture; they really cannot stay where they are, there is no sustenance for them & the silly creatures won’t even come up to the trough for some concentrate feed.  We slithered down to the bottom corner of the field where they were grazing, & drove them up the fenceline with a modicum of success; but then as ever, one particular plucky little devil (who will be first in the freezer at this rate!) makes a break for it after which chaos inevitably ensues.  As it is so muddy we decided to quit whilst not exactly ahead, coming up with another strategy….. 

We are bringing the ewes down to our lower pasture in the next few days, & will herd them via the fields rather than down the road.  Thankfully they are always keen to follow a vigorously-rattled feed bucket; so with a bit of luck if we bring them through the field where the wether lambs are, the flocking instinct will come to the fore & the lambs should join the others, who we’ll then move onto their appointed pasture.  And if that doesn’t work Plan B will have to be activated – begging the use of a neighbour’s sheepdog for ten minutes!

Talking of plans, today Tony spent most of the day researching costings for the Business Plan whilst I chased up quotes etc & wrote some farm & production briefs which will be required when we’re up & running.  We also had a visit from a local electrician who might be able to do some work for us; he came up with lots of interesting suggestions for sourcing equipment like the bulk milk tank we’ll need.  So things really are starting to come together at last!

A few people have asked about the barleycorn bread I made the other day, & how it turned out?  Made with organic mixed grain flour, it makes a lovely pale brown loaf.  The flour itself is a mixture of wheat, barley & malt flour with tasty malted barley flakes & linseeds; I’d thoroughly recommend having a go.  So here’s the recipe I used:



500g/1lb barleycorn flour; ¾tsp salt; 1tsp dried yeast; 1tsp sugar; 275ml/9floz warm water; 1tbsp vegetable oil.


Mix the flour, salt, yeast & sugar together in a large bowl. Carefully measure the warm water & roughly stir it into the flour.  While the dough is still craggy add the oil & knead well until it feels smooth & pliable.  Leave the dough in a bowl covered with a cloth in a draught-free place.  Allow the dough to double in size, which takes about an hour.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface & knead firmly for several minutes, then shape it & put it into a 1kg/2lb oiled loaf tin.  Cover with a warm, slightly damp cloth & leave again to rise for about another 25 minutes in a warm place (I rest mine on the back of the Rayburn).  Bake in a preheated oven at 220°C/425°F/Gas 7 for around 35-40 minutes.  Once baked remove the loaf from the tin & leave to cool (if you can resist the temptation to devour it there & then) on a wire rack.  Gorgeous, especially if eaten whilst still warm & with a goodly knob of butter melting into it! 



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, February 2008, Food, Life, Livestock, Recipes, Sheep, Smallholding. Bookmark the permalink.

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