Sunday, December 29, 2013

I don't no where to start it seems so long along since I wrote a post. So lets start before Christmas.

After finishing work on the 20th we have had an absolutely mad time, smoking meat and cheese, making chipolatas and pigs in blankets. Dressing the turkeys. Despite being so so busy it was very rewarding all the comments have been excellent and already we have orders for next year.

I did make a slight error, I sold all the hams leaving us just a small pice when we usually have a whole leg!

While smoking I included 60 wild duck breasts which I had prepared, absolutely delicious I'm very pleased and i have another 30 birds in the fridge waiting to be done a  wonderful addition to the freezer.

Both Gareth and I had the pleasure of our families enjoying what we provided for Christmas. 

Father Christmas was very good to me, I am the proud owner of a Vigo strainer which discharges a specific amount of juice into bottles. Roll on apple season! 

I have a lovely new boning knife and a shot detector to make sure no more of those bits of pellets in our game.  

I also have a food dehydrator, I have dried banana, lemon, orange, lime and plums. I look forward to doing biltong and dried herbs. 

I also have a sock peg loom, so fingers crossed I will be making socks soon. 

I have been so lucky and I hope everyone liked their presents.

I am a terrible food hoarder, I have so many freezers and must confess  we have had to purchase another this Christmas to have space for the turkeys.  I have been keeping some jersey cow milk that I was given in hope of making cheese, but I just don't have time. So I have given it to our friends Belinda and Warren who are going to turn all 25 litres into hard cheese and then give us a lump back. A great swap I think. Thank you Belinda and Warren.

Everyone has been on at Gareth and I about its time for kids, so we are pleased to announce we have twins. Yesterday we collected two beautiful Alpine cross Boer ladies from Kirsty at Hens For homes. They have settled in really well although they are cheeky little monkeys standing in their hay rack.  We have called them Edith and Murtle.

Maurice and Craig have been busy digging out muddy gateways and filling with crushed concrete. It will make things so much easier.

We are off to look at some pigs on Tuesday. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

I attended a St Johns Ambulance first aid course last
Week for work. I must say an excellent two days learning life saving skills.

Our local area was threatened with a tidal surge on Thursday night. Some people in nearby Heybridge were evacuated but luckily the flood defences protected us.

Me and our family friend Craig pressed the remaining apples on Friday. It was a lovely sunny day although he apple washing kept my poor fingers freezing. We managed to press over 20 litres. I will pasteurise some tomorrow and the rest will go as cider.

Saturday saw the East Essex Smalholders Christmas Party. A truly fantastic night with excellent food and company. Father Christmas visited the Children and we sung Christmas Carols! I made some mulled cider that everyone really enjoyed. Mum spent all day cooking the most wonderful food and Father in Law Terry turned the most beautiful wooden bowl filled with nuts as a raffle prize. Beautiful!

Sunday brought a well earned rest! Fire alight and a good film. I couldn't do it every Sunday but it was a lovely afternoon.

I took a picture of Esme and Gareth last week which i want to share.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Time flies when your having fun!

We made sausages and they flew out, we managed to prepare enough pheasants and received some excellent comments about the port and cranberry. I also made some different pheasant sausages for us. With a whole head of garlic, oregano, fennel, Maderia and lemon zest. Some say too garlicky but we loved them, apart from the smell the following day! 

We also picked  up Son of Kirk the billy goat from a neighbouring small holding. We have re named him sticky and are really fond of him. He took to Esme straight away so hopefully kids next year!

Mum and I attended a Christmas Fayre at the local secondary school last week with East Essex Smallholders Group. A great evening raising funds for the group, as well as Furzedown Mincemeat and  Plum Cordial on sale. Not to mention Gareth's Uncle Norman's bird boxes a fab evening.

I collected another 25 brace of pheasant and partridge tonight I want to mince it for spag Bol and lasagne. 

It's the EESG Christmas Party this weekend time for Gareth to dust his dancing shoes off! 

I hope all your plans for Christmas are going well.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The cows are home, it's wonderful having them back, I open the back door and I can sniff cow, lovely!

We arrived at Rectory Cottage at 10am prompt,  Simon had brought up some gates to assist us, and Sally who has been looking after them for us was rather tearful, she has grown rather fond of our Dennis and although its not time yet, he won't return to Rectory Cottage next year. 

They loaded a treat, up into the yard and straight up the ramp and in.  What good little Dexters. 

They are enjoying being home, they have made their bed their own and decided who is eating out of each trough.

We also brought the last few ewes back form their summer grazing, Fred the ram has been put in with them after fitting his nice new shiny raddle. So far this week lots of bottoms have been coloured in.

Maurice and I managed to put the last roofing sheet on his new rotevator home and they are all parked in a nice line.

This week has been busy so far, we took the last two pigs to the abbatoir yesterday morning a 4am start.

They are such lovely people at the abbatoir we use Fowlers Bros in Burnham on Crouch. They are gentle with the animals and patient with us when we have a tearful moment.  They very kindly delivered the carcasses home today and hung in the fridge ready for our last batch of sausage making for the year.

We have 30kg of sausages ordered for collection on Sunday. I no what i will be doing on Saturday! I also hope to prepare 20 pheasant so I can make the pheasant, port and cranberry recipe again. 

I find myself writing this post sitting in front of the fire drinking tea, whilst Gareth is  boning out the pork at 9.30pm.  Never a dull moment but we wouldn't have it any other way!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

​​What a wonderful, successful weekend!

It was my birthday on Sunday, I had pressies all weekend and what a lucky girl I was. A new Stihl Strimmer with cow horn handles,I do love a good strimmer! Mum and Dad have brought me some lesson in preparation for my trailer test. My father in law has carved me the most beautiful spinning chair out of oak from a local wood. I have an IPAD from my wonderful husband which I can currently typing this post on. Plus loads of chocolate and smellies and money towards my next lot of fruit trees. Thoughroughly spoilt! 

The long weekend was also our first weekend selling sausages from the farm gate. We had  a wonderful time, breaking the carcass down and mincing all the meat, before turning it into sausages on saturday. We SOLD out and had to delay some orders until the next pigs go on Tuesday.

Everything went really well and we were very pleased with the packaging. Although time consuming I think it really finishes our special product.

We also made some pheasant sausages with port and cranberries for customers to try, they went down really well and we will be selling these next time.

The order book is now open for Sunday 24th November, please email me your orders to avoid disappointment, as before sausages will be priced at £8 per kilo.

We have now sold 11 out of 15 turkeys and more hams. 

We really are enjoying sharing our small holding life!

The cows are coming home this weekend, I can't wait. Tilly is really big now, we are pretty sure she is in calf and due at the end of April. 

Nite nite

Thursday, November 7, 2013

I've finished work for the weekend, the pig has arrived home, sausage making here we come!

We are pleased to share our Hygiene Certificate:

Monday, November 4, 2013

We have had all of our T's crossed and I's dotted by Environmental Health and Trading Standards. 

We are pleased to say that next weekend will be an exciting time for us! We will be making our first batch of Furzedown Smallholding Sausages that will be For Sale.

They will be made using our home reared Oxford Sandy and Black pigs that have been reared in our woodland. 

The flavours will be:
Breakfast Sausage
Furzedown's Fiery Dragon

We are taking orders now, as only one pig is going to be used. 

We will only being offering sausages up to six times a year, so don't miss your chance. 

They will be priced at £8 per kilo and collection is only on Sunday 10th November. 

Small orders excepted.

Wow i'm so pleased to have finally posted that! Such an achievement for us. So order you sausages now, by email or phone: or 07854595640.

Apart from preparing for sausages, we have been busy with other things. 

As much as I try to be good with a camera, I'm not very clever with it! But here is me having a go!

We took Lottie and Annie over to meet Mrs Stockwells unrelated ram on Saturday Morning. It was Annies first time on a halter and what a good girl she was. A little tickle on the bum by Mrs Stockwells Daughter riding her pony made it a swift walk up the field. 

We collected the rest of the grapes from Langford where the sheep have been grazing and I have another demi john of wine brewing and more bottles of juice. I'm so pleased we have made use of them, rather than them being put on the compost heap. 

We also popped into the orchard and collected some more good windfalls. I didn't have as much juice left as I had hoped for cider making from the apple day. So instead of getting the press out, I decided to extract the juice with the pasteuriser.  Much less mess and two demi johns brewing away!

We are trying to work our way through the game in the freezer so Saturday night Mum served Oak Smoked Wild Duck, its was delicious. 

We are a little later than normal but on Sunday we collected the first of our game birds for this season. We are having them from a different local shoot this year and what lovely people they are. Fingers crossed we will fill our freezer with a great variety over the winter. We hope to have Muntjac, Hare, Rabbit, Duck, Pheasant and Partridge. 

We checked the bee's at lunchtime, we started with the small colony, little buggers! I have a nice sting on my thigh now. They are doing well, although we are supplementing them with Fondant, what sticky stuff that is. The older colony seem well, they are so quiet and gentle. When you open them up you just get a little hum, whereas the others are much noisier and in your face!

Well i'm having a cup of tea typing this post before an early night, up at 4.30am in the morning to run the pig to the abattoir ready for sausage making.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

After a busy day and running out of bottles it meant our juice had to sit in the fridge, until more bottles arrived. It was the best thing! All the sediment had settled in the container so we didn't transfer it to the bottle. So we ended up with lovely apple juice, 40 bottles! As well as some more grape juice. That kept mum busy pasturising yesterday!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

What a fantastic weekend

This weekend has officially flown by!

I rushed home from work on Friday to take our winter straw delivery. I hate it, the tractors are massive, the bales are huge! But its manageable and it works well. We now have six lovely heston bales of wheat straw tucked up in the barn, hopefully this will keep us going until February. Thank you Team Blackwater bailing a fab job as ever.

I visited the cows on Saturday, they are looking so well. I've told them to make the most of it, because they will be coming home in the next few weeks ready for the winter.

Despite and extra hour in bed, we had an early start this morning. We were hosting the first East Essex Smallholders Group Apple Day.

What a fabulous day, the sun shone most of the day with a little wind! We pressed and amazing 250 litres of juice and pasteurised 160 bottles. A truly lovely day that showed such community spirit. As well as what fabulous bakers we have with an Apple Pie versus Apple Cake competition. Well Done Team EESG.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Our nice new shiny set of trade scales have arrived this week. Everything is coming together.

Dad has today off work to finish insulating the roof of the fridge.

I love this time of year and all the squashes!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Where has the time gone! It’s been weeks since I haveup-dated our blog not because I have been sitting down relaxing oh no! All atFurzedown have been busy busy busy.

Posted last was an advert for The Blackwater Wild FoodFestival which we attended with The East Essex Smallholders and what awonderful day we all had the sun shone and The Essex Wild Life Trusts garden lookedamazing.

On our stand we had Sausage, Bread and Chutney makingdemonstrations. Gareth’s Dad and Uncle Norman came selling herbs and bird andbug boxes, mum was busy making Wild Berry Bird Feeders with the children andGareth was in Alcohol corner preparing sloe gin.

All in all we had a great day and received a smashing emailon the Monday morning from The Wild Life Trust thanking us and asking us toattend next year.

Oh and great news on the EESG Jams and Chutney’s front theysold like wild fire now we need to set another date to make more.

Dad has been working on the cutting room which is coming ongreat guns we now have a window fitted and fingers crossed it will be done forChristmas.

We have also had some good news on the “Furzedown Produce”front we have been passed by Environmental Health to produce our own sausages,hams, bacon, jams and  chutney’s so watchthis space “Furzedown Produce” will be on sale soon.

Maurice is working on a new shed for his rotevators which iskeeping him busy and I must say with tuition his drill skills are improving Iremember the days when you would see Maurice with a drill in his hand, shiversof fear went down your spine, he could ruin a drill head in 10 seconds but mygoodness he has improved.

We have sad news to report,  we have lost George our very dear Old DutchWarm Blood horse he was an old boy and the sad discussion was made to let himgo. Furzedown has been a very sombre place for the last few weeks, the otherhorses miss him and like to squish themselves into his stable.
George went to Resting Pets for cremation and is now backwith us in the sitting room in memorial corner RIP George. 

First we have a new addition her name is Esme she is a Toggenbergand 3 years old she is such a good girl and has settled in well at the momentshe is lodging with the lambs and seems to enjoy their company.

I have been busy over the last few weeks collecting Applesfor the EESG Apple Day to be held here next Sunday so let’s hope for fineweather finger crossed pleased.
I love this time of year so much produce and so much you cando with it!
 I have been luckyenough to have been given a good supply of lovely black grapes so I have beenbusy making grape juice and wine which is very busy bubbling away in demijohns.
I have to make sure I am down stairs first in the morning toclear up the bubble overspill before mum sees and blows a gasket.

Talking of Mum She has also been busy with Furzedown Harvest.Last weekend she made Spiced Pickled Pears and Pear and lime Preserve oh andnearly forgot Christmas Mincemeat, this weekend she plans Pumpkin and MarrowChutney.

That’s it for now! Animal’s to be fed and put to bed. I haveasked Mum to help me with the blog so hopefully won’t be so long before thenext up-date.

Remember “Furzedown Smallholding Produce” is nearly underwayif you would like to place an order for Christmas just let me know we will beoffering:
Home Grown Turkeys raised with lots of love and treats offresh veg and fruit.

Pigs in Blankets to accompany your Turkeys.

Christmas Hams cured in my own recipe ready for you to cook. 

Sausage meat for your homemade sausage rolls.

And I am hoping Mum will do some more Christmas Mincemeatmade to her Nanny Lottie’s special recipe.

Happy weekend to you all!!!