Remarkably enough, the to-do list is a done list, as far as possible – I wasn’t able to speak to one person, but I’ve left a note asking him to phone me. So I’m all ready to crack on with next week’s list … but I haven’t actually written that down, so I can delude myself until tomorrow that I’m all sorted out for now.
I’ve been exchanging emails with the daughter of a longtime auction client. She has asked me to take her father off my mailing list as he’s gone into a nursing home and sold his china last year. I remember him well, he was a delightful old man – he’s now 97, still very aware and interested in things, but finding he can’t look after himself any longer. Still, he likes his new home and is still looking forward, which is rather lovely. She was pleased that I remembered him fondly and I was glad that she’d told me about him, sentimental old thing that I am.
The squashes were affected by the dry weather and some of the butternut squashes are tiny, and there are only four of the deep orange ones – I can’t remember the name of the variety. The self-seeded ones did extremely well, and so did the spaghetti squashes. I’m looking on them with some alarm. They are summer squashes and won’t keep very long and I suspect that the chickens will have to deal with most of them. Still, the kitchen garden is gradually being cleared and we’ve partly weeded, partly weedkilllered the drive and, if the weather holds, we’ll be as tidy as we ever are, within a couple of weeks.
On my way over to the garden centre the other day, I called in at a local farm shop that I’ve been meaning to visit for a long time. They have a small herd of Jersey cows and sell the raw milk. They let the calves stay with their mothers, name all the cows, they sound lovely, I was surprised, all the same, at the high level of trust. The milk itself and a couple of other items are in a coin-in-the-slot dispenser, but all the meat, the eggs, honey and various other things are right there for anyone to take, with an honesty box that’s full of change. There is a book to write down what you take, but I can’t see that they can be sure that you’ve paid the right amount.
I bought a litre of Jersey milk, some bacon and some venison and was able to leave the right money. I’ve had it in mind for some time, to try yoghurt from Jersey milk and it’s been a spectacular success. I simmered the milk for a few minutes, as it was unpasteurised, and made the yoghurt in the usual way. When I came to remove it from the Thermos into jars, there was no spare whey at all and it had to be scraped out. It was almost as thick as Greek yoghurt, without being strained. We tried it for breakfast this morning and it was delicious. I drank a little of the milk yesterday – the Thermos only takes 800 ml so I had some left over – and it took me right back to childhood. My mother bought ordinary whole milk for cooking and Channel Island milk for drinking. Even though she took the cream off for coffee, the milk still tasted different. I used the last of it in celery soup and I could still taste the difference.
I was very tempted to light the fire this evening, but we decided that we could wait until October.