Thursday 29 October 2015

Yesterday Friends of the Carrs was invited to a special RHS in Bloom ceremony in Southport. Committee members, Ian Baillie, John Booth and Colin Shepherd went along and after a morning schmoozing with coffees and a free lunch (I thought there was no such thing)  the awards ceremony took place.

The awards were at 5 different levels.  The top  award (5) being "Outstanding" We were awarded a level 4 cetificate which was categorised as "Thriving".  Not bad at all!

The main In Bloom awards take place tomorrow so fingers crossed for Wilmslow in Bloom.  Lets hope they can carry on last year's phenomenal effort with another gold!!  Fingers crossed.......

Monday 19 October 2015

Fowl deeds afoot on The Carrs

Last Sunday I received a 'phone call about a lone chicken on the skate park.  On further investigation I discovered a young ginger chicken,standing and rather nonchalantly I might add, watching the skateboarding lads......

The boys didn't know where she had come from but thought perhaps she had just been dumped by somebody.  How strange!

As it was getting rather late in the day I took her home with me (she was very tame and friendly) and put her with the rest of my chooks.  She stayed with us all week - mixed well with the other chickens and produced a beautiful dark brown egg every day.

Tweets and a Facebook search were proving fruitless until on Friday my dad's carer put an entry on the Handforth resident's Facebook page.  Almost immediately she was contacted by lovely man called Ian who had lost his ginger chicken, Tracey, on Sunday afternoon. (Yes - he has three chickens, Sharon, Tracey and Dorian - get it? ).  He lives right up off Dean Row Road so what on earth had happened there I don't know.  Anyway,  contact was made,  Ian came round to my house and a heart-warming re-union took place.   Apparently Ian's daughter who is autistic had been distraught at the loss of her pet and Ian had been out and bought 2 more chickens in the meantime (so they now have 5!).  

If every we needed proof of the power of social media this is it......

Whilst I am on the subject I have had a beautiful. male pheasant hanging around in my garden (right next to The Carrs) for the last 10 days or so.   I think he's worked out that there is chicken food around and has got into the rather endearing habit of  arriving for breakfast and lunch. 

Here he is wating for his dinner (the food is in the dustbin)


 I have no  idea where he has come from.  Does anybody have any ideas?

Tuesday 22 September 2015

It's that time of year again...... too late to bash the Balsam now and once again despite our best efforts there is more than we can cope with in The Carrs.

The Friends are looking at alternative ways of dealing with this pesky invasive weed including the possibility of more frequent " anti balsam action" during the late spring and summer next year but in the meantime  did you know that this plant is actually edible?

The leaves can be used in salads and the stems can be steamed (like asparagus - perhaps served with a little butter and black pepper....)

but why not try this ..... delicious, nutritious and ecologically sound!

Balsam Seed Curry

First of all - a note of caution, when harvesting the seeds at this time of year you may find that they pop and explode in quite a dramatic way scattering the seed far and wide (not very desirable) so its a good idea to take paper bag - place it gently over the seed pod and shake....

Serves 2
Olive Oil/butter a good glug
1 large onion - chopped
2 cloves of garlic - chopped
fresh chillies (to taste) - chopped (1 or 2 depending on how hot they are)
2cm piece of ginger grated
a pinch of salt
1tsp cumin seed
1/2 tsb turmeric powder
Himalayan balsam seed (probably about 2 tablespoons)
A selection of  vegetables - carrot/pepper/celery/potato - whatever you fancy -  chopped into smallish chunks.
tomatoes - 1 small can or 2 fresh (skinned and chopped)
curry paste/garam masala
1/2 can of coconut milk
fresh coriander (chopped)

Fry the chopped onion and garlic slowly in the olive oil/butter until soft and lightly brown  add the chilli, salt  and garlic along with the cumin seed and turmeric.

Add the tomatoes and the balsam seeds and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the vegetables and curry paste/masala and cook for a few more minutes.  Pour in the cocount milk bring to the boil then reduce the heat and cook until the vegetables are cooked through.
Stir in the fresh coriander  - check the seasoning and serve....