Well, today we awoke to a totally frozen world. A hard hoar frost had glittered everything white, like an over zealous child making Christmas cards ... even the game netting over the chicken pen was white. The ground was solid, and yet another slow, hypnotic plod over the tundra ensued as we turned the ponies out - every other day is their lot at the moment - and fingers froze and Archie slipped. Again.
Rain was forecast for the afternoon, and the children anticipated the great thaw with great hope of riding. It never came. The rain came, but it was disguised as ice. Hammering down in great swathes.
Unfortunately my hard working husband was out on the top of an exposed Wiltshire hillside, moving sheep. I've never seen him or his dog come in colder or wetter. Neil having been dispatched to the bath with a mug of steaming tea with cooking brandy in it, Boo had to rub Fly dry with a towel, she also got a cup of tea (no brandy) and her dinner to warm her. Poor girl is exhausted.
I was glad that amid the baking, I had decided on stew and dumplings for dinner.
We had sent lambs off last week, and our regular butcher was unable to take them so close to Christmas, so we fell back on our second string, which will not be happening again. The meat was well butchered enough, but he made the biggest pigs breakfast of packing it all and we are still trying to sort it out now. My mince and stewing meat was in great 8lb bags, which the girls and I had to patiently sort, weigh, rebag and freeze today. The sight of the prime cuts of hogget was what put a good stew into my mind, and it simmered happily in the Rayburn with a heap of veg and a generous slug of gluhwein.
Mint dumplings were added when the lid came off, and though I say it as shouldn't, it was a delight.
We also achieved the sausage rolls, mince pies, and the girls made a gingerbread house.
Oh and we did the Ice Station Zebra thing again fetching horses in.
So now I'm ready for knitting by the fire, and a dvd of 'All Creatures Great and Small' and everything else can wait!
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