Autumn 2017 – Five little ducks

26th November 2017
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Our beautiful friends at West Coast Organics - Skye gave us five beautiful ducks, two Aylesbury and three Khaki Campbells. They are very friendly and seem to be enjoying their new home. We weren't expecting eggs right away... but we've had eggs every morning since they arrived!! And they are gobbling up slugs too. They're slowly becoming more adventurous and exploring further each day. Although most of the time they're swimming in their pond or dozing on the lawn. One of the unexpected benefits of having the ducks is that they alert us to the presence of raptors - and we've enjoyed spectacular views of a Golden Eagle right over our heads. We think this individual (in heavy moult) is a third year bird.
We've been doing a lot of baking since the ducks arrived - making use of the beautiful eggs they're giving us every morning. We used brambles foraged from the croft to make these delicious muffins this autumn but you could use any berries and enjoy them year round.

Very easy to make!

Makes 6

Dry ingredients:

160g SR flour 1/2 tbsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or mixed spice

Wet ingredients:

1 egg 100ml sour cream 2 tsp milk 120g caster sugar 56g warm melted unsalted butter 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Fruit

75g Blackberries

1. Heat oven to 200 degrees C, line a muffin tin with cases

2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl

3. Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl

4. Add wet ingredients to dry - mix with a few light strokes - the batter should be lumpy

5. Divide evenly into cases

6. Bake for 20 minutes

7. Let cool for 2-3 minutes before removing from the tin

8. Cool on a rack

A good friend gave me a copy of The Moth Snowstorm by Michael McCarthy as a birthday gift this year. In this book the author beautifully describes how he first became interested in butterflies, and then birds, as a teenager in the 50's and how these interests helped him to overcome the traumatic experiences of his childhood. The title of the book refers to the once commonplace phenomenon drivers experienced in the countryside at night of seeing so many moths in the headlight beams it was as though being in a snowstorm. McCarthy also uses well researched global examples of how we are destroying the wildlife on our planet (the chapter on Saemangeum is particularly depressing). He then goes on to present a new argument for protecting nature. A perfect gift for anyone with an interest in the natural world.
Have a look at the brilliant website Everything looks Rosie created by Rosie, a recent guest at Stonechat Bothy - full of the most delicious recipes, beautiful photographs and happy adventures. You can follow Rosie on Instagram too.

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