Pendragon Apple – Red Fleshed Fruit

Pendragon Apple

Pendragon Apple

Our Pendragon tree has borne its first Pendragon apple – in fact, four dark red fruit with amazing coloured flesh. The taste is okay – it’s fair to say these are grown for their ornamental looks first and foremost, but they’re not a bad eating apple. Maybe one day we can squeeze some pink apple juice!

I learned to graft with this tree, the scion taken from Nigel Deacon’s tree at Sutton Elms. Nigel was the chap who kindly taught me to graft, and I keep meaning to ask him if he’ll teach me other methods – he’s an absolute whizz with the genetics of trees, and specialises in collecting red flesh varieties and varieties native to Leicestershire.

Hopefully we’ll be using this next year!

Red Onion Soup

2015 red onion soup 1As you could see from the post about our bumper onion harvest, we have an awfully large pile of onions to plough our way through. Here’s a simple onion soup recipe that’s perfect to ward off any chill after working outside on a typical English autumnal day in September. Add some crusty Red Leicester bread and it’s pure heaven, in a soup bowl.


Butter or olive oil
1 kg red onions – thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves – chopped
2 tbsp flour
200 ml red wine
1 litre vegetable stock (boiling)
Handful of fresh garden herbs.
grated cheese – a handful for each bowl

Enough for 4 people.


2015 red onion soup 2Melt the butter in a pan, or heat the olive oil.
Add the onions and fry – keep stirring until caramelised.
Add the garlic, cook for a couple of minutes.
Sprinkle on the flour, stir.
Increased the heat – add the wine, hot stock, fresh herbs.
Cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes.

Into bowls, add a handful of cheese on the top.

Red Mite cause Chicken Holiday

Whilst visiting friends, they asked for some advice on their flock. Their coop had contracted red mite in a very bad way – and the housing was covered, but despite all attempts, the little blighters kept coming back.

We had a quick look and promptly offered to give the chooks a holiday at Merrybower, on clean ground and in clean houses. Seeing nothing else to give us great alarm, we knew it was highly unlikely the red mites would be on the birds during daylight hours whilst outside, so we wouldn’t be transferring any to our gaff.

2015 holiday chooks 2

Seven Warrens (one is laying inside)

On arrival, we put six, including Colin the cock, in a spare Eglu Cube, and seven in a spare Green Frog Designs Livestock Ark, which we used for chicks last year. We started them on a seven day course of Flubenvet, which was given ready-mixed in Marriage’s Farmyard Layers Pellets with integrated Flubenvet. Whilst they were caged in their runs, this would ensure they got a good worming dose. Noticing a bird with runnyish poos, we also gave them a three day course of Tylan Soluble antibiotic – 0.5g for every litre of water, mixed fresh every 24 hours. Noticing some also had scaly leg mite, we also dropped a spot of Ivermectin on the back of the neck of all of them, and will repeat that in three weeks’ time.

We think the big difference was the food. It’s possible that they’d been put off eating the food in their old coop because of the mite association, but for whatever reason, they tucked into the Marriage’s pellets like there was no tomorrow! They’re also going through the moult, which is a tough time for any bird. To help them along with that they had our special mix of mashed potato, live yoghurt, cod liver oil and poultry spice. It stinks, but boy do they love it! And the difference a few days later is amazing – they’re more relaxed and look much perkier, despite still looking rather bedraggled with their old feathers still intact.

2015 holiday chooks 1

Colin, three Warrens and, we think, a Light Sussex hen and a Buff Orpington hen.

For any regulars reading this, Colin the cock is actually one of our boys bred last year, so he’s returned home! We haven’t mentioned this, but Red, his brother that we kept, was killed by a fox this spring. It was an upsetting thing for us all, made worse in that he was the last in the bloodline of our flock. But with Colin here we might be able to ‘borrow’ him for another brood next year, if all goes well. We still don’t know Colin as well as we knew Red, who was very gentle, but none of us have been pecked by Colin, even when handling him and his ladies for scaly leg mite, so it looks promising so far.