Stuart Peter picked a peck of pickled peppers

It seems that I’ve expressed a rather lethargic attitude toward blogging and have neglected to follow up on the initial excitement of becoming a chilli farmer. Nevertheless, my venture has been a delightful, if slightly disappointing experience!

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I planted, I watered, I left out in the sun when I could, and tended to my plants every need. I even made sure to spin the pots round 180 degrees each day so that their stems could grow straight and true. I thoroughly enjoyed observing the different stages of my plants life cycle, watching the seedlings grow into adult plants, sprouting flowers and finally bearing fruit that changed from green to yellow to orange to red! I also enjoyed noticing the many theological illustrations that arose as I saw how my chillies grew best when they had a better view of the sun, and how, with my (of my) patience, they eventually did bear fruit.

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The disappointment was a decidedly low yield. From 3 plants I gained only 7 Ring of Fire chillies and from 5 Hot wax plants, not quite enough peppers to completely fill one pickling jar.

I think some reading up may be required before next years season, so that I might produce a more fruitful harvest.

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It has been a fun activity, however, and my love for chilli has only grown stronger. I am drying out my Ring of Fire peppers and I have pickled what I could of the Hot Wax peppers.

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Pickling is a lot of fun. There are many methods and ways of preserving fresh fruit and veg and I pickling is a satisfying way to prepare my crop. Quick to do and looking beautiful and colourful, I’m waiting until next week when my pickles will have enjoyed enough time soaking in brine, absorbing flavours of garlic, black pepper corns and home grown thyme.

Let me know if you want to try one raw!

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On the farm

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This weekend was much more chilled out than the last, and on Saturday we went for a saunter to Middle Farm. We drove through gorgeous countryside to get there, the sun came out (a bit) and we had a singalong to the White Stripes.

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At Middle Farm we had some lunch and browsed the gift shop and, most excitingly, went cider tasting! Naturally, I had to finish off all of Stuart’s samples once he’d had a sip, seeing as he was driving! Eventually we bought some cider called Wobbly Munk (yes, spelled like that, which did bother me, but not enough to stop me enjoying the cider entirely). We also bought some ale and wholegrain mustard-infused cheese -but more on that later.

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After this, once the cider was safely in the fridge, we went out to Sheffield Park Gardens, and went the other side, for a walk among the fields of sheep. There are beautiful walks to be had there, and there is even a little woodland trail to explore, with all kinds of funky wood carvings and, of course, Stuart pretended that he was on the toilet.

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Stuart asked me to mention the fact that for Sunday lunch he cooked steak and sweet potato chips, and that he made a sauce out of the fancy cheese that we’d bought on Saturday. I have to say, honestly, it was amazingly delicious. He gets many, many husband points for it!

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Epic

It’s been too long since we last posted, for which I apologise. But here is a blog post so jam-packed full of goodness that you’ll be satisfied with Stuart-and-Katie-ness for days on end. Here is the post about perhaps our busiest weekend ever. Maybe even busier than the weekend of our wedding, after all, all we had to do on that weekend was get married.

Sometimes you show up to work on Monday morning more tired than when you left on Friday, and sometimes that’s because lots of fun has been had.

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On Saturday Hannah, Stuart’s sister, came to stay with us, at the same time that my grandparents came over for lunch. It was very lovely to see them all, and I made a massive macaroni cheese and a slightly dodgy treacle sponge. Next followed tea and cake with some more friends, a failed BBQ with my dear friend Thomas, two church services, lunch out, nail painting, incessant chatter and more, all with Hannah in tow!

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We’re pretty sure we must have exhausted her entirely, but she seemed to be enjoying herself, and sleeping on our sofa (maybe)! On Saturday afternoon we left Hannah chatting with some friends and went off ‘for a quick walk round the reservoir’ with Charlie, Nathan and more friends. Of course, the ‘quick walk’ turned into a rather epic adventure as we ended up in another village and had to get Graham to come and pick us up to drive us back to our cars!

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My dad always says that no adventure is complete unless you get chased by a herd of cows, and although the closest I came to a cow this weekend was stepping in a cow pat, I think that even he would class this weekend as an adventure!