Taking stock

I can’t believe it’s only two weeks since Hugo died.  It seems like months.  It’s also three months now since George died and that seems no time at all but also a lifetime ago.  Victor and Fred seemed to have settled in ok together.  They still have minor irritations and Victor has learnt to stand his ground against Hector, so he is rather more forceful than he need be when telling Fred he wants something and Fred is in the way.  Poor Fred seems quite taken aback by the change in his fortunes.  He is in all his old haunts, but the newcomer seems to have taken over.

Yesterday I decided they were sufficiently settled to remove the third cage and put it away in the garage.  It fits on the back seat of the car so will come in handy for a holiday trip.  And with just four pigs to handle a holiday in a cottage will be nice next year.  I love my house but it’s good to get a change of scenery once in a while.  Having taken the third cage away, I could also move the freezer back to the garage and the microwave back on top of the fridge, then the box of bird seed and hay back into the kitchen, so all in all the place is looking much tidier and back to how it used to be.  Hector and Humphrey also seem very content in their larger cage although still jump when I come in through the garden door.

Moving the freezer back allowed me to do a stock take of the contents – not too much that is way past the proper eat-by date!  I have frozen a lot of runner beans this year but that is more or less all the vegetable produce from this season so far.  But then the tomato season hasnt started yet.  I have a number of asparagus flans and asparagus soup pots, probaby not as many as last year, and an onion tart and a rhubarb streusel cake!  There are a couple of leek and walnut puddings from the new year that could be eaten up, plus a bag of brussels sprouts, and a few tubs of broad beans that are this season’s.  But there are very few what I would call prepared meals like curry portions, which is not surprising since I haven’t been making them, or eating them up over three days instead of one for me and two for the freezer.  That’s something that will probably change as the vegetables in the garden change.

The garden is doing fine, although the peas ended up with mildew and have now been taken out.  The swiss chard is doing well as are the celeriac plants.  I want to grow the swiss chard larger than previous years so I can use it through the winter but it is tempting to use it now… hopefully I can do both by keeping two plants to grow and harvesting from the others.  I have had two small cucumbers and one large one from my brother’s plants; mine died much earlier on after starting well.  Too well, given the drought with cold nights.   The french beans also suffered then.  Mustn’t start the seeds too early for eithe rof those next year.

The kale and broccoli bed is looking a bit crowded, with all the plants growing well and hardly any caterpillars getting through (although I pick off a few every couple of days).  Maybe a kale pesto would freeze well, I have a nice recipe for it.  I also pulled up the summer broccoli, which did produce another couple of meals but was generally wasted space and overshadowed the corn so that is still really small.  Maybe it’ll grow now.  The rabbit seems to be leaving the garden alone since the grass started growing again, so let’s hope we get a late crop of all the things he nibbled.  The local farms are producing corn so I can get fresh anyway for the time being.  That reminds me – the sweetcorn chowder that I made last year was delicious.  Now there’s a thought.

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