…pickling, preserving, painting and a whole lot of fun with sheep…

…Autumn has quickly taken hold…

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…and I have been busy picking blackcurrants for fruit cheese, foraging mountains of blackberries for jam, breaking my back with pounds of damsons for gin, and hoarding buckets of apples to mulch and crush for our latest obssession – cider making…

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…My larder is slowly filling up with bottles of apple juice and hopefully by the end of next weekend our first few bottles of lethal cider will have started to appear too…

I’ve also been painting – a huge still life, saved at the last minute after a gruesome attack from an unruly boy wielding a loaded paintbrush…

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…and a little portrait oil sketch…

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Out of the studio and onto the land, last weekend was spent on a much anticipated sheep rearing course at the wonderful Humble by Nature farm in glorious Monmouthshire. The sun beat down, and clad in obligatory woollen jumpers we learnt lots of weird and wonderful things about sheep.  We spent the whole day with the wonderful farmers Tim and Kate, and saw the whole cycle of life – an unexpected arrival of a little ewe lamb, a death, and all the glorious and gory bits in between.  We saw maggoty bottoms, rotting feet, and learnt how to grapple the sheep onto there backs.  We clipped nails, sheared and cleaned said grubby botttoms, identified scald, sprayed foot rot, tagged ears and checked teeth.  It was a magnificent day (honestly!) and we learnt such a lot from our marvellous teachers.

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It’s just a matter of time before we get our own flock of woolly friends for our fields and our smallholding life will have truly begun.  The only downside to the course is that Kate managed to convince me (rather quickly I might add) to ignore the practical advice of getting a different breed of animal a year and to just get on with it.  I feel it’s only a short matter of time before the goats, ducks and the rest of Noah’s Ark descend two by two onto our little patch.  I think I may have just reserved myself two kunekune sow piglets, and once our DEFRA number comes through next week there’ll be no stopping us…rare breed sausages here I come…

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6 Responses to …pickling, preserving, painting and a whole lot of fun with sheep…

  1. Crease says:

    As long as these foreign pigs don’t taste like sushi……xx

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