Monday, 28 July 2014

The First Glut of Courgettes


image: courgette and tarragon soup on the HenSafe smallholding
Yellow Courgette & Tarragon Soup

Now is the time I think, “why on earth did I plant 4 courgette bushes…?”, but this soup is a winner and takes only 40 minutes to make. Here is my recipe for:

Courgette & Tarragon Soup

2 onions
8-10 yellow courgettes
4 garlic cloves
4 tablespoons of olive oil
3 tablespoons of dried or fresh tarragon leaves
1.75 pints of milk
1.75 pints of veg/chicken stock
Extra vegetable bouillon powder to taste
Black pepper & salt

What to do
Peel and roughly chop the onions and soften them in the olive oil. Add the courgettes and herbs and stir. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the courgettes are soft, then blend until smooth.
Add a swirl of cream and some more fresh tarragon to each bowl if you like. Easy peasy!

Serves 6 to 8 people and freezes well.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

And they're off...

Image: Swallows have flown the nest at the HenSafe Smallholding
Our swallows have flown - wonder which are ours?


Mixed feelings today. It’s been fantastic to see the swallows develop and find their wings, watching them have flying lessons and getting braver and higher every day. Now they’ve joined a larger flock we’ve lost them to nature and they’re no longer “ours”. On the other hand we’ve had the privilege of helping to raise them by providing a place for them to nest and plenty of mud from the pig pen to help them build it.

Learnings:
“Build it and they will come”: a ledge in the right place will encourage swallow nesting.
Watch their behaviour to see which sites they favour, then give them space to raise their family.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Learning to Fly


Yesterday saw our 3.5 week old swallow chicks take their first tentative flight – about 2 metres to a beam in the barn… but hey we’ve all got to start somewhere! Still being fed by mum and dad. They went back to the nest for the night - everything’s a bit new and scary out there.  Maybe tomorrow they'll go a bit further.
Image: First day out of the nest for swallow chicks on the HenSafe smallholding
First day out of the nest for the swallow chicks

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Four Swallows Make a Summer


Our Swallows are growing fast and becoming ever more demanding of their parents. It’s a real treat to watch the comings and goings and to see the chicks develop day by day. Getting a bit tight for space in the nest now, especially when they stretch out their wings for size. Surely it can't be long now before they take their first flight?

Image: Swallows nesting on the HenSafe Smallholding
Feeding time at the Swallow Nest