Here at Clarendon, I do my best to give the guests local ingredients, and you can’t get more local than our own eggs from the chickens in the garden. Delicious!
For the past month, we have had a problem, and maybe someone out there has an acceptable solution to a tricky dilemma. We have 6 chickens: Snowy, Misty, Gladys (after Granny who lives with us), Henrietta hen, Pinot and Grigio. Now then, clearly we are fond of them, they’re not pets, but we’ve named them after all. But now 4 of them are old and aren’t laying eggs. The henhouse ideally sleeps 6. We can’t just buy 4 more because the house is too small. Do we do the unthinkable? I know what a Devon farmer would say, and I know what the cat would like to do. But could we seriously do away with Gladys?
Are there retirement homes out there for old hens? Can I put them on Preloved or Gumtree? Or should we build a henhouse extension? Or we could just buy eggs from Ullacombe Farm shop, just up the road, and let ours live out their days in Clarendon luxury?
Answers on a postcard please, and half a dozen eggs for the winner.
Usually my owner’s wife, Helen, writes this blog but today she’s doing something strange with gin, so I’m taking over. When I say my owner’s wife, that’s because I know Neil is my pack leader, so I don’t actually have to do anything that Helen says, because she isn’t actually my boss. She’s the one who lets me on the bed though, so that’s why I’m keeping in her good books by helping today.
I’ve had a successful week. I tried not to overdo it, and managed to spend 80% of the day sleeping. We had the usual attempted daily break-ins from those men who always wear shorts and drive red vans, but I saw them off. The guests this week responded well to the facial expressions I’ve been practising, (I find the one that conveys hunger, with adoration and sadness works best) and I won 2 sausages and one piece of bacon fat. Not bad. We get other dogs staying, and I’m pretty good at showing them how it’s done.
Helen took me to a doctor for dogs and he said I was getting fat. I don’t agree. This is how cuddly looks. I’m not allowed to do my faces to the guests really, but it’s too easy. If you wanted skinny, you should have adopted a whippet.
That will do for today, time to keep watch, I need to stay vigilant.
With Autumn just around the corner, and inspired by the plethora of gins for sampling at last weekend Nourish Festival in Bovey Tracey, (that’s not easy to say if you’ve done lots of sampling), I am delighted to announce that I now have one raspberry gin and two big Damson gins infusing in the cupboard. The good news is that the raspberry gin will be ready in two weeks, so if we have that Indian summer we’ve been promised, it will be a perfect summer tipple to have in the garden, over ice, with tonic and a raspberry on top. This is the first year that I’ve had a fruit cage – who knew that I could get so much excitement from something you can buy in a seed catalogue? It works! Saved from the birds, the raspberry bushes have surpassed themselves, and it looks like we’re also having raspberry jam on the breakfast table for a while.
The Damson gin is allegedly for Christmas presents…..but nothing quite beats a warming glass in front of a roaring fire when it’s cold. Maybe we’ll just keep one bottle for ourselves, purely for sampling after a bracing walk on Dartmoor. Traditionally, sloes or slones as they are known locally, (as in “ow be the slones doin?”) should be harvested after the first frost, and seeing as it’s made with water from the moor, Plymouth Gin would be a purist’s choice. The question is do we really need sloe gin as well? Silly question.