At this time of year people on the campsite often remark to us that we are “living the dream”.
Now don’t get me wrong, we are certainly “living our dream”
But let’s get real here; the dream at this time of year basically consists in working every single day for 12-14 hours; eating your dinner at 9pm in a hurry before putting all the animals to bed and collapsing in exhaustion in your own bed; having no social life; and if you are me, trying desperately to finish writing a chapter on the representation of martyrs in Iranian, Lebanese and Palestinian posters while juggling milking Iggy Pop and running egg collection – oh and trying to train my dogs.
Luckily, I am assisted in my animal chores and egg collection by my pack of human sheepdogs. Yes you heard (or rather read) this right. Shottisham Campsite now has its own pack of human sheepdogs – currently there are 7 fully trained sheepdogs, but more are joining everyday.
Here they are practising with the sheep.
And here one of them, possibly Floss (I can’t remember) is demonstrating to some newbie sheepdogs the command ‘look back’.
And this is Kainaat, utterly bemused as why children appear to be trying to round up the sheep, which is obviously his job.
He isn’t as bemused as Zephi is with the hedgehog living in our front garden though. Every evening Zephi goes out for a pee, sees the hedgehog, barks his alarm and tries to pick it up in his mouth – a perfect end to a perfect day ……
So while I am utterly exhausted physically and mentally, I can’t say I am bored – and this I think is certainly living the dream.
At this time of year we are subsisting on what I rather unoriginally call tomato-y vegetable stew, using what is in abundance in the poly tunnel of dreams.
Yesterday I used tomatoes, beans, onion, courgette and carrot, but you can equally add in sweetcorn, potatoes, broccoli, peppers, spinach, leeks, or whatever you have – it has to have tomatoes in though otherwise it is a completely different type of vegetable stew …. for the record.
Gently fry the onion, carrots and courgette in a deep-ish frying pan with some garlic. Par-boil the beans (and/or broccoli, potatoes etc if using). Add some fresh chopped tomatoes and gently cook down. Add in any parboiled veggies and season to taste – keep cooking. Finish with lots of torn up basil or pesto. We have it with cheese on the side (Cardo for those interested in our cheese eating habits) and bread.
N.B. I am furiously roasting tomatoes, liquidising them and freezing them in blocks as a rough type of passata for the winter.