About paulrainger

Smallholder trying to be selfsufficientish. Previously an environmental campaigner, and Founder of Bristol's BIG Green Week Festival. Me, I'm just a lawnmower, you can tell me from the way I walk.

Tap’y New Year

If you were with us this time last year, you will know that Emma and I decide to dump the traditional first 24 wedding anniversaries – the rubbish ones like ‘paper’ and ‘glue’ which come before the serious bling – in favour of our own list of things we actually like.

So we wrote down 12 each and randomly assigned them into the 24 draws of a repurposed advent calendar, to be opened at the start of each year. Continue reading

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Cider – The Motion Picture!

The inevitable consequence of Apple Day in October is of course a new batch of cider making.

And this year our friend Derek was on hand to record it all on film, leaving me in presenting terms somewhere between Jack Hargreaves and Kevin McCloud I fear.

Anyway, grab your popcorn for the first (and quite possible last) Secret Acre movie…

An Apple a Day

October of course sees the official arrival of Apple Day in the UK, and an opportunity for harvest weary smallholders to invite friends round to help out under the guise of having a party!

Although in truth our apple crop had been arriving progressively in the kitchen since the start of August.

And The Secret Acre is certainly no stranger to hosting our own Apple Day events, in our long standing quest to make cider, which fortunately seems to be getting better with time at least. Continue reading

Show Off

August’s harvest rapidly flowed into the Sept/Oct apple crop (more on this in the next blog) and before you know it here we are in November!

But while this hectic period was on, we still found time to enter September’s traditional local Village Show.

Now, veterans of this blog will know we have form when it comes to Shows.

Well, I say we, but although we have both entered before, only Emma had actually triumphed. Continue reading

August’s Bounty – Pass the Preserving Pan!

No sooner had we made our ‘Beauty Bath Spiced Apple Chutney’, than August’s harvest arrived en masse.

Suddenly every spare minute was taken up in the kitchen with the preserving pan. The Blaisdon Plums were our biggest crop, with Emma heroically creating over 100 jars of various plum based jams and chutneys for the storeroom. Continue reading

August’s Bounty – Hail the Apple?

We’ve been quiet online last month, an indication of frenetic activity in the garden and kitchen, as harvest season started to kick in.

It all started with apples. Which may seem odd. Our main apple orchard harvest occurs in mid-September and October after all. But up by the house we have a Beauty of Bath apple tree, a variety cultivated to crop very early in August, which resulted in it being awarded a Royal Horticultural Society First Class Certificate in 1887 no less. Continue reading