"We must achieve the character and acquire the skills to live much poorer than we do. We must waste less. We must do more for ourselves and for each other. It is either that or continue merely to think and talk about changes that we are inviting catastrophe to make. The great obstacle is simply this: the conviction that we cannot change because we are dependant on what is wrong. But that is the addict's excuse, and we know that it will not do."
—Wendell Berry

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

New butterflies

Another thing I love at this time of the year.
I found a few of these butterflies new hatched from the chrysalis this morning. They have been beautiful big caterpillars on the kumquat for a few weeks prior. I reckon a few leaves are a small price to pay for this.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

In other news..

I am pleased to announce that Anna, the matron of the Cloud farm, has delivered a fine healthy heifer calf. We are very happy because although bobby calves become good to eat, heifer calves become good to sell. Jersey cross Dexters appear to be quite popular too. The last heifer we could have sold a dozen times over judging by the amount of calls we received.
 We all love having a new calf on the place, they warm your heart and make you remember the joys in life. The youngest Cloud farmer has named her "Jessie".

Bring on the chillies

The warmer weather is setting in and so the chillies have become heavy with fruit. As I have plenty of my usual chilli sauce in stock I instead took the opportunity to try making a Tabasco style sauce. This is something I have been wanting to do for a long time now. I actually did try last year too but did not secure the lid properly and the fruit flies got in to lay maggots. Yuck. Who would have thought they could live in near pure chilli puree?

Anyway, I had previously done a bit of research and found that Tabasco sauce is apparently quite a well known recipe. Essentially you take Tabasco chillis of the correct ripeness, mash or puree, add 2% good salt and age in an oak barrel for three to five years. Then strain and add wine vinegar.

Now I have no Tabasco chillis sure but I have plenty of my own Fiesta chillis and I reckon they will do just fine. So I picked the bushes clean (good for them anyway as too much fruit robs the plants vitality) of all the lovely vibrant red fruit. I then topped them and minced them fine in a blender, adding approximately the required 2% salt. As a side note, do all this outside the house. If you cannot work out why then you should probably not be handling chillis anyway.
 The mixture was then carefully spooned into a large jar where it will be allowed to ferment. I also added a small handful of french oak chips from the lid of an old wine barrel I keep for this sort of thing. This will allow the oak-barrel effect without having to use the whole barrel. At least that is the idea.
I find the colour to be the most glorious shade of red. It is currently residing on my desk where I can keep an eye on it for the initial fermentation- the cap is slightly loose to allow the escaping gas. When it settles it will go to the back of the cool pantry cupboard where I shall forget about it for a year or so.
The chilli bushes will soon put out another heavy crop of fruit. They always do when I clean pick them. So I am intending to make another few batches this summer. This is so I can produce one early batch of sauce each year without having to wait a full three years first. I hope to then continue making a batch each year thereafter.
Obviously I am not using Tabasco chillis so I cannot in all honesty call this a Tabasco sauce. The most obvious alternate name is Fiesta sauce, after the Fiesta chillis. I think it is much better.