Thank you to Ruth and Paul, the editors, for sending me another copy of HOME FARMER MAGAZINE to review on my blog.
As usual lots of different topics are covered, not too much on any one subject. I found there were only a few things that I was really interested in this month. I think we've been smallholding too long!
I was keen to look at the article on making a Stilton cheese. Because we kept goats for almost 20 years I have had many tries at cheese making. Soft cheese was usually successful and I made lots of Panaar or Paneer cheese but every attempt at hard cheese ( and yes, I had all the kit at one time) ended in failure. I'm not sure if it was me, the milk, the recipe or my small kitchen which was the cause of all the failures.
As well as step by step instructions for Stilton there are kits for sale which include everything you need. Cheese making is not a cheap hobby and I don't think saves money in comparison to buying it from a supermarket if you have to buy the milk ,but very satisfying if you can get it right.
The second thing I read was Dot Tyne's Smallholding Diary, looking back to August where they entered shows, sorted out the sheep flock and did something I always wanted to do years ago - went to The Annual Ryeland Sheep Show and sale. We kept Ryeland sheep for several years, they are lovely placid sheep with faces like teddy bears!
Next I turned to a couple of pages all about the demise of rural Post Offices. We lost Post Offices from both local villages over the last 10 years so it's too late for an MP to say there have been fewer POs closing recently. Then last year we even lost the local post box, when it was demolished and stolen. I wouldn't be at all surprised if we lose 6 days a week delivery in the next few years.
I turned to the back to read an article titled" Diary of an Incompetent Smallholder" by Norfolk Smallholder Richard Barr. He starts by saying "We had the idea that our smallholding could help us to become self-sufficient with shelves full of honey and freezers brimming over with vegetables, fruit and legs of lamb. However because of lack of money, time and skill things have not gone to plan. My message is: don't do as we say or do".
My thought was why are you smallholding then? We had a lack of money and time here but still managed to grow things, keep sheep and goats without dozens of disasters. We just got on with it, learned how to do things for ourselves and all without spending a fortune. I assume this is the first in a series of amusing tales from the smallholding.
( I'm a cynical old bag! but I'm sure some people invent mishaps just to enliven their writing!)
The other features in brief,
There is a very good piece about planting trees and another about pruning.
Some good ideas for what to grow during the winter in a polytunnel.( We've got lettuce, salad leaves and beetroot in ours)
Tips on creating a garden that will sustain wildlife during the winter. I liked the list of fifteen of the best things to grow for wildlife. For fruit eaters:- Cotoneaster, Holly, Crab Apples,Hawthorn and Rowan. We have all these around the smallholding. For Seed eaters:- Sunflowers, teasels, Scabious, Knapweed and Clematis. Oh dear, we have none of these. For nectar and pollen during the winter:- Primroses, Ivy, Winter honeysuckle, Mahonia and Winter heather. We have plenty of Ivy and primroses, a small Mahonia but not a winter honeysuckle or heathers.
Digging a pond on a low impact plot ( by hand and hard going!)
Foraging in November. ( wish we had mushrooms but it's always too dry in this part of Suffolk)
Orpington chickens and Native British geese.
I skipped over the article on bees, but it is about increasing colonies.
Pickles through the ages by food historian Seren Evans-Charrington was interesting
There are a couple of pages of unusual Potato recipes; Potato and Spinach souffle, Potato and apple casserole, Potato scones and Home made Potato Crisps.
This months reader offer is 20 Tulip bulbs just for the cost of postage
There is a step by step guide to building a brick oven for your garden, I skipped over this too - not something we want to do.
The close up look at how to darn socks and turn up work trousers will be very useful for people new to frugal and self-sufficient living.
And finally in Next months issue which is in the shops on November 2nd
John Harrison looks at what's new and 'trending' in the seed catalogues.
There are instructions for making a gingerbread house
Potted food as they did in Georgian and Victorian times
And OH YUM - Making Fudge!
And a PS. Welcome to BCandIKB on Google friends (another Suffolk resident) and to Sue and retireewannabe on Bloglovin'.