A disaster then a new flock of bantams

We’ve been keeping chickens for some years now, and never suffered serious losses before. But we didn’t padlock one of the doors the other night, and one of the many local foxes took advantage of the opportunity. Foxes can undo latches and shoot back bolts, so by morning only one of the bantams remained. A few feathers showed where the others had met their end. The bodies had been taken, so presumably they’d ended up as dinner for the fox cubs. It’s still that time of year.
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Planning a new adventure

We regularly go to the caravan show, but this time it was with a new project in mind. A few years ago we toured the American Midwest and the Great Lakes on motorcycles. Rather than hire the bikes, we bought them, and enjoyed three years of touring before selling them on. We had great holidays on bikes that suited us, and all for less money than we’d have spent on motorcycle hire alone.

Well, we’re thinking of repeating the exercise, but this time with a motorhome, and basing ourselves in California rather than Wisconsin. Provided we’re not too ambitious by going for anything too new or too luxurious, we can again do a series of hols for around half the cost of hiring, and probably with a more suitable vehicle into the bargain.

The Caravan Club was offering free “tasters” of motorhome manoeuvring. Jean went first …

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The Shooting Show

A bit specialist, I know, but I do enjoy the Shooting Show. We went on the first day, arriving very early in wintry weather at Stoneleigh in order to grab a warming coffee and bacon sarnie before the show opened.

I’ve got my beautiful Daystate Pulsar to play with, so I wasn’t shopping for new guns, but I did buy one treat: a really nicely engineered Smartrest “Nitro Force SR01” gunrest.

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Start of the new caravan season

The Unicorn is booked in for its second birthday service next week, which marks the start of the new season. Big one this year with a full heating fluid change and a refrigerator service too. Luckily we have Mark Caravan Medic on the case.

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The Rye Baker

I received this fantastic book for Christmas which has encouraged me further to explore the potential of rye flours.

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All-rye formulae are really quite hard to handle, so I’ve eased myself in a bit with a rye-wheat mixture. Both flours from the excellent Stoates. It’s the first time I’ve ordered rye flour by the 25kg sack!

It was a three-stage process, developing the sourdough over 84 hours. I made a batch of 14 large loaves. Here are the first few fresh out of the oven.

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They didn’t rise as much as I’d hoped, so I may need to fiddle with temperatures or hydration to get them to spring a little bit more. But not a bad first attempt at the process.

Gadget rehabilitation: the Magimix

I have to admit that when it comes to cooking, I’m in Gadget Heaven. But I’ve noticed that one old faithful has become rather neglected of late – the Magimix food processor.

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Another new toy – and it’s a good’un

When we went to the Game Fair back in the summer, I had a go with a Daystate air rifle – one with an electronic trigger. I marvelled at just how good the gun was, mainly because there’s no perceptible lag between pulling the trigger and the pellet leaving the barrel. So even those of us with less than steady aiming skills are flattered by the gun’s performance.

Here’s my new toy:

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