Monday, 12 June 2017

Structure and Form on the Homestead

As the wind continues to batter our home, I have managed to do a few tasks, but it's certainly slowing down the growth in the garden.

If you can't see the video below, you can see it on YouTube here



Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Orange Sponge Cake with Dark Chocolate Icing

 After I had posted a photograph of this cake on social media I was asked for the recipe, so here it is.


4 ozs lightly salted butter
4 ozs sugar (we use unrefined granulated sugar)
2 eggs (medium to large)
4 ozs gluten free self-raising flour (standard flour works just as well if you don't have a gluten intolerence)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 pinch sea salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons orange extract (if you don't have this, use the finely grated zest of one large orange)

For icing
1 oz lightly salted butter
icing sugar
cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 375F, 190C, Gas mark 5 and grease and flour two 7 inch cake tins

Cream the butter and sugar together
Add the eggs and stir well until combined
Add the vanilla extract, salt and orange extract
Add the self-raisng flour and fold in carefully.
Divide between two cake tins.

Bake in the centre of the oven until golden.
Turn out onto a cooling rack and leave until cool.

For the icing.
In a bowl combine the butter with some icing sugar and cocoa powder at a ratio of approximately 50:50, this should give you a dryish mixture. Add vanilla extract and a very little cold water. Mix to a smooth paste, adding drop by drop of water if your icing needs to be smoother or less dry.

Cover one layer of cake with icing, put the second layer on cake on top and carefully cover with icing.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Did MY channel on YouTube get HIJACKED?

Our new friends Jonah and Trish agreed to an idea I put forward (not my idea, I can't take the credit for it) and today we have taken over each other's YouTube channels, so today you can see the video that Willow Creek Homestead would have put on their channel and to see my June Homestead Tour, you will need to head over to their channel.

Don't worry, there are a couple of easy to click links on this video that will take you to my June Homestead Tour. If you enjoy their video, please subscribe to their channel, they have some super animals and a fabulously positive outlook on life and I have spent hours quietly watching their vlogs and immersing myself in the 'hard on the body, good for the soul' life that they lead.

If you can't see the video (sometimes it doesn't show on a mobile device), you can see today's video here.

I hope you enjoy getting to know Willow Creek Homestead.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Our 10 Reasons for Homesteading

There's a really lovely, thriving and supportive network of folks who are smallholders and homesteaders (the American name for smallholding) that I've bumped into via social media. While I've known this about Twitter and Facebook for a while, I didn't know until recently that a similar network existed via YouTube.

Anyway, one of this network had a fabulous idea for a collaborative challenge whereby vloggers are invited to make a video about a particular subject. This one is about our reasons for choosing to be smallholders.

As usual, if you can't play the video on screen, you can watch it on YouTube here.

Elderflower Cordial Recipe

I'm making elderflower cordial again because it's that time of year and our tree is heavy with blossom.

Last year I watched several 'how to' videos about making elderflower cordial and all of them baffled me in one way or another. Mostly because they all talked about keeping out of the mixture anything that may make it taste bitter and then they promptly included the very things they said to avoid! So this recipe is the one I've used taking elements of several other recipes that I've read and seen.

Elderflower Cordial

25 to 30 heads of elderflowers, collected on a warm or hot day when the flowers are fully open (beware - the pollen may get all over your clothes!)
1kg unrefined sugar (caster or granulated)
1ltr water just off the boil
1/2 ltr cold water
50g citric acid
One unwaxed lemon

Prepare the flowers by shaking them gently to remove any insects, check them over and remove any brown bits and unopened flower buds. Remove the flowers from the stems using a fork, pick out as many of the flower stalks as possible, leaving just the tiny, fragrant flowers. 

Put the sugar into a large glass or earthenware bowl and add the hot water, stir using a wooden spoon to help dissolve the sugar, then add the cold water to help cool the mixture. 

Add the citric acid and finely grated zest of one lemon and stir in gently.

Remove all the pith and cut the ends from the lemon and discard. Then slice the fruit and add it to the mixture. 

Add the elderflowers and stir gently again ensuring all the flowers are moistened. Cover and leave to 'steep' or 'mash' for 24 hours.

The next day, strain the mixture through a fine muslin cloth to remove all the flowers and lemon from the cordial and bottle and keep in the fridge or freeze.

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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

I have depression, so what! | Dealing with depression and hypothyroidism

If you can't see the video (which happens sometimes on a mobile phone) you can watch it on YouTube here.

Please share this vlog far and wide to help raise awareness of some of these issues and to give a small voice to those unable to speak up for themselves at the moment.