Cooking · Gardening · Isolation

Isolation on the farm…

…isn’t, in reality, much different to normal life here.

There’s one big exception though and that is the fact that I currently have no work.

Being self-employed, and working mostly with events, means that I no longer have an income stream whilst the Covid-19 pandemic unveils itself.

Of course I’m nervous about what the future looks like but I’m impressed with the measures put in place by the government for us self-employed folk.

As we work through this unprecedented situation and our new routines, I’m taking the whole situation very seriously and staying put at home.

I’ve been through the emotions of sheer panic, worry and anxiety and, at the moment I’m concentrating on calling loved ones and friends frequently to make sure they have everything they need and attempting to plough through jobs that have been on my to-do list for years.

I’m also using it as an opportunity to delve into the bottom of my freezer to use the things that have been lurking there for quite some time – it’s a chance to maximise those store cupboard essentials and be more creative, right?!

In reality I quite like the challenge of not shopping and using what we have – let’s see how long that lasts for (I last did a shop two weeks ago).

After we all received the instruction from Boris to stay at home in isolation, we’ve set about tackling the kind of jobs that you always mean to get to but never find the time for – and attempting to get on top of the garden.

In four days there’s been:

  • the collection and carting of felled wood (felled more than a year ago) – three big old , heavy loads

  • the splitting and chainsawing of said wood (they’re not my arms)

  • the stacking of wood for the 2021 wood store

  • the planting of numerous veg and flower seeds – I feel we’re going to need homegrown produce more than ever this year

  • the potting up of dahlia tubers – these flowers bring me so much joy

  • the harrowing of all the paddocks – I secretly love a session in the tractor

  • the rolling of all the paddocks
  • the power washing of the patio – half finished

  • the setting of a daily video challenge for the wider family

We’ve eaten:

  • Copious amounts of Sourdough – toasted with Seville orange curd and Seville Orange marmalade with chilli (all homemade), used for cheese on toast and an accompaniment to soup. My sourdough starter, Prudence, is proving her worth although, the lack of flour may be a stumbling point in about a week – anyone willing to send sack fulls of strong white flour please?

  • Jellytots and white chocolate buttons – sent in a care package from the folks
  • Beef pepper fry (a Dishoom classic made with homegrown beef) accompanied by chickpea curry with lemon pickle and poppadoms. A perfect use for a can of chickpeas.

  • Treacle tart with almonds – I’d forgotten how brilliant this classic is. It uses almost a whole tin of golden syrup but the one I had at the back of the pantry went out of date in 2015 so I felt very smug using it up. This recipe also used breadcrumbs from the freezer. Whenever I have the end of a loaf that’s drying up I blitz it and pop the crumbs in the freezer for moments like this.

  • Homemade granola – a staple here and I seem to have enough ingredients left for another four batches. It uses large oats, pumpkin seeds, nuts, coconut flakes and any dried fruit that I have to hand.
  • Burrata and orange salad with sourdough toast – an Italian wonder

  • Scottish stovies made with leftover roast beef – I’d never had them before. Essentially onions are fired off in butter and then steeped with thinly sliced potatoes and beef stock (homemade) before leftover beef is added – it’s pure comfort on a plate and a great way to use up leftovers
  • Spaghetti carbonara with a bacon, breadcrumb and porcini mushroom crumb – made in a method taught to us by a Venetian
  • Red lentil and chickpea soup with yoghurt and coriander – spicy goodness
  • Homemade pizza with chorizo and Baron Bigod cheese – we have homemade pizza most Friday nights, normally with a mozerella topping. This week we turned to the Brie-style cheese from Fen Farm Dairy as the topping having bought a 3kg wheel of it last week – the rest is in portions in the freezer
  • …and all of this has been peppered with fruit, peanuts and Christmas cake.

Throughout all of this we’ve been making sure a cow we bought four days ago is settling into the herd well (she is!).

I’ve also been setting a daily video challenge for my niece and nephew who are off school. Each day we travel to the next letter of the alphabet as the inspiration for that day’s challenge.

We’re now on letter I and it’s quickly become apparent that in our family Whatsapp group, the adults are enjoying the challenge far more than the children…

…I’ll cite day G as an example, the challenge was Guess Who.

All the adults went to full fancy dress and minute long videos!

Most of all, I’ve been enjoying the changes in nature, the burgeoning blooms, the expanding leaf buds and the daily greening up of the hedgerows.

The positivity continues as we head into Isolation day five but niggling anxiety also remains hidden in the background…

2 thoughts on “Isolation on the farm…

  1. I loved reading this email. I must admit I have struggled this week. I am an out door person, I hate being inside day in day out. When I heard we could go to our allotment I felt much better. I am trying to be positive but have my moments. But all you have to do is look at the Spring starting to arrive around us and appreciate what we have. Your photos are brilliant, please keep posting them. Love the Hereford herd so keep posting them.
    I always have a full store cupboard and freezer, so am lucky there. Still havent started my sourdough starter so that’s on my list for next week.🤞 Don’t bake but beginning to think I should start after all this settles down. Keep well.

    1. Thank you so much Catherine. How is your allotment coming along? I still have a few seeds to plant but like to think I’m on top of things! I’ll keep posting and look forward to hearing all about your starter! Stay safe.

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