Flavour Of The Month….

Our Flavour Of The Month Kingfisher Tea promotion continues!! During September it is the turn of the award winning Darjeeling Earl Grey tea. Both the retail packet and a cup of take away tea are on special offer at a reduced price. Pop into the Farm Shop and try a cuppa yourself!

We also have a range of delicious farmhouse cheeses, fresh eggs and locally grown vegetables. With the winter months drawing ever closer the creamy, warming taste of Kilbeggan Organic Porridge is what everybody wants and we have packs of .5kg, 1kg and 3kg available in both Oatlets and Jumbo oats for you to tuck in to.

While you’re at the shop the children can enjoy a visit to the farm animals with baby goat “Billy the Kid” always keen to get a carrot!

 

Our Farming News for August

News Article on Waterfall Farm

Did you see the article about the farm on the news website Digital Print News? Click on Cottage Industry to read it. It is a really nice article and focuses on the real grass roots farming and food industry in Ireland.

News On The Farm

Normally at this time of year the silage making would be done and dusted for the most part, but this rainy season… I mean summer has been a little different. So Michael is still a little bit caught up with that but he is also getting the ewes and ram’s ready to flutter their eyelids and make coy smiles at one another when the mating starts in September/October time! This involves foot bathing them to prevent foot rot and other lameness and also trimming their feet. The ewes have already been done but the rams got a trim yesterday. One of the ram’s was a bit frisky and Michael managed to stick the point of the hoof trimmer half-way into his hand. Which made a nice, bloody, gaping hole! Lovely! Some of the ewes have been “sponged” to bring them into season earlier than normal, so they’ll lamb in February as opposed to March. ‘Sponging’ the ewes involves inserting intravaginal sponges (pessaries) of hormones (progestagens) into the ewe for up to ten days. Then removing the sponges and injecting the ewes with PMSG and the ewes should ovulate within 48 hours. The ram is then kept busy as all the ewes come into season at the same time! When it comes to spring the flock’s lambing starts a little earlier and is spread out a bit more and although it’s longer it is not as intense.

With the sort of muggy, warm-ish wet weather we are having at the moment the flies have been a real problem. Some of the sheep have been getting sores on their heads, around their eyes and ears made by the flies. Pretty yuck! The poor sheep are then tormented by the flies and lose condition. So we have to bring them in away from the flies and dry out and treat the wounds so they get a chance to heal and then put the condition back on. We hope to have the sheep ‘dipped’ this week which will help stave off the horrid maggots and other creep crawlies. ‘Dipping’ the sheep is when they are run through the dip-trough, a long trench filled with water and pesticides, deep enough to briefly immerse the sheep and ensure the creepy-crawlies get zapped. We are ‘spray-dipping’, the same idea but instead of dipping the sheep we are spraying them to achieve the same result.

One of the official Southern Ireland Lleyn sheep sale is coming up shortly and Michael will have some sheep at that. He was also at the ram inspections recently, where he had some ram’s inspected and passed. This is taken very seriously by the breeders and there are no sub-standard rams passed. They must meet the breed criteria and even a little brown hair or tiny bit of pink on the  nose is not allowed. I think it is good that they adhere to such high standards as it maintains the integrity of the breed and gives buyers confidence.

 

The Next Knitting Project Begins… Sort of!

I  know you have all been waiting, on the edge of your seats, to hear how my knitting project has been coming on! Well, I have been busy. Mainly casting on and ripping out stitches and starting over!! I’ll admit there have been a few pitfalls along the way. Well quite a lot actually, but it’s important to look on the bright side, as Monty Python Life of Brian says don’t forget the Spanish Inquisition. As some of you will know since my last (first and only) knitting project I decided to make a jumper. Nothing too technical, just a nice little jumper. Easy peesy, lemon squeezy. I spotted a pattern that I liked, but there was a slight snag. As the bottom of the jumper was ribbed, I’d have to learn how to knit purl stitch. Ok, no problem there, just a little bump along the knitting road. I’ll get the Mammy to show me. Which she did and she even wrote out instructions for me for when she wasn’t around (which I, very handily, lost pretty much straight away). So I cast on a gazillion stitches and then I said to myself “I better practice this purly wurly business”. Further to this sensible thought process I cast on 10 stitches on separate needles just for practicing. After doing a few rows of purl I felt I had it, although my stitches were a little bit tight. “Maybe that’s just because I’m a novice” I thought and ripped those stitches out. As the recipe, I mean pattern, called for a knit 2, purl 2 method I thought it would be a good idea to practice that. Again I cast on 10 stitches (I was getting good at the casting on) and practiced knit 2, purl 2. Mum told me I should see the rib beginning to form. I didn’t but I just put that down to it only being 10 stitches and didn’t give it much thought. Now I felt ready to launch into the pattern head on. But then I changed my mind and decided that I’d like to do the rib in blue and the rest of the jumper in red. But I ‘d have to learn how to change from the old wool (blue) into the new wool (red) when the rib was done. No problem, easy peesy, it’s important to think positive. Don’t let naivety get in the way!! So I ripped out the gazillion red stitches and cast on a gazillion blue stitches and I was ready for off. I had to do about 3.5 cm of knit 2, purl 2 before I’d change wool and do the stocking stitch (another day’s work, don’t ask!!). I pretty much had this done but couldn’t really see the rib pattern forming and it bothered me that the stitches were a little bit tight. On top of that I found it hard to hold the needles and wool and knit and not drop stitches.  Time to have a consultation with the knitting Guru (Mum). Upon show her my knitting efforts, she says, in her very Irish Mammy type way “Yeah, no, you’ve gone wrong there” (‘there’ being the whole lot). “Show me what you have been doing”. I show her and, yes, I have been

managed to do it totally backwards. I’m so far in reverse an AA route map couldn’t get me out of here!! I seem to have gotten really good at ripping out and casting on, which is just as well because that’s exactly what I had to do. Again! Back to the start. Mum kindly gave me a million demonstrations of how to do purl properly and (woohoo) I finally got it. With quite a lot of tongue biting and concentrated frowning I knit the required 3.5cm rib without mishap and now my next task is to change into the red wool. No problem. Piece of cake. Hmmmm, we’ll see. At this rate the jumper might not get sleeves! I guess I have really jumped in at the deep end, having to learn how to purl stitch (properly!), change the wool, stocking stitch coming up!! Argh! At least I can cast on to beat the band!! Til next time NaNu NaNu.

Knitting. Ta Dah! The Completed Project!

As I was saying in my last knitting post Martha, our knitting instructor assured me that, even from my meagre knitting efforts, I could make a little bag. First I had to learn how to make a button hole. No, you don’t just “drop a stitch” (whoops) which is what I thought was the way to do it. I had to knit the line to half way, then cast off a stitch, actually two stitches cause I chose a big button, then knit the rest of the line. Then, on the way back, I added those two dropped stitches back in (cast on) and knit a few more lines. When I was happy I’d enough of a flap, I cast off. Which is basically knit a stitch, then knit another stitch and pull the first stitch over the second and carry on like this until you reach the end! Easy peasy. On the last stitch though, you knit another stitch and pull the wool through, cut it and pull it tight and you have made a knot, so your project won’t unravel on you. There are loads of types of knitting stitches, a bit like potatoes, you don’t realize there are so many types ’til you go planting them! I was doing Garter stitch, and there is also Moss stitch, Purl stitch, Rib stitches, Eyelet and Lace stitches……. And on and on. Its a bit mind boggling. Seeing as my little knitting project worked out so well and I’m really diving in at the deep end here, but I’m going to make a jumper. A little one! Can’t be that hard….. Can it? (You may be waiting a few months for the end result). I will endeavor to keep the blog updated with my undoubtedly disastrous knitting attempts and my, inevitable(!!) triumphant outcome. Stayed tuned to this knitting channel!!!

Jam Making Adventures…. Continued!!

I know you have all been just dying to hear about my latest jam making calamities!! Well it hasn’t been so bad and I am learning by my (many) mistakes and this week I made Strawberry and Raspberry Jam all by myself. No jam making expert at my elbow this time!! She wasn’t even in the kitchen! After the fun (and success) of making the Summer Fruits Jam last week I thought I’d really get too big for my boots and make Strawberry and Raspberry Jam, together, you know, in the one pot! I’ve never had Strawberry and Raspberry jam before although I’m sure that it has been made plenty of times by loads of jammy experts, but it’s a new one on me and I thought I was being quite adventurous. While tackling the forest of weeds in the garden (I know, I know, I am a bad gardener) I happened to spot the raspberries were looking pretty ripe. Well most of them. So no “I’ll just wait for them to ripen” naivety this time. I whipped them bad boys offa that bush and into the kitchen! I only got a pound but better than none at all. As we have no strawberries (cause I ate them all already) I used a punnet of the Wexford strawberries from our Shop, which is also about a pound, and went about my jammy business. From previous experience I know to weigh the sugar and pop it into the oven to warm. Next I then prepare and weigh the fruit and put it into the pot. Then I like to mash the strawberries, with a potato masher, it’s great fun and means they’ll soften quicker when cooking so you don’t get big hard strawberries in your pot of jam. This time I used some lemon juice as both strawberries and raspberries are notoriously low in pectin and I was after a good jam set! I have also invested in a jam thermometer, for my sins, and it makes life much easier as it has “Jam Set” written on it and an arrow pointing to 103 Celsius. A bit of a no brainer really! Once my fruit had sufficiently softened I added the sugar and brought it up to setting point. Put my little tester blob on the testing dish, got a wrinkle and wey hey, quick as you like scooped the jam into my sterilized jars. I wasn’t too sure if this combination would work, I thought it would. I hoped it would and, in the words of Gift Grub’s Joan Burton, “can I just say” it was ddddddddddddddelish!! Strawberry and Raspberry Jam rocks!! I urge you to give a try, we have all the ingredients in the Shop including Jam Sugar for added culinary ease!

Farming Fun This Week!

Michael has been very busy on the farm this week. The weather finally came reasonably good and everyone was flat out (like a lizard drinking) getting their silage and in some cases hay made. Because the bad weather had delayed the silage making for so long the grass was very heavy and this was hard going on the tractors, balers, hay rakes and the ground! This meant that in-between turning, baling, wrapping or stacking Michael was back in fixing and repairing the machines for the next day’s onslaught! No time for watching London 2012!!

While Michael was mainly concerned with making silage this week he also managed to squeeze in an interview for BBC Radio 4 (click on the link to hear it). The debate on GMO foods has been raging recently, with GMO testing being carried out in Ireland for the first time in fourteen years everybody is talking about it. BBC Radio 4 are right on this hot topic and the views expressed by Dr. John Spink, Gillian Westbrook and Michael give interesting perspectives.