* A New Home Page We think it's a lot cleaner, and quicker to load. Tell us what you think.
* Farm Forum - This is where you can ask and answer questions of a farming nature. We already have one submission from a farmer in the UK asking for information from others who have had experience in diversification. Please read his posting and see if you can help him any way you can.
* Craft & Recipe Forum - We have had several recipes of late and look forward to receiving more. So if you have a favourite recipe you would like to share, please send it in.
* Country Recipes - A very new section, and a little slow at building as there are not enough hours in the day. However, by the time you receive your next issue, this should be well developed.
* Country Living Bookstore - Our new bookstore has books, magazines and DVDs to purchase for organic farming, country crafts like soap making, candle making and cheese making, and much more.
* Scrapbooking for Beginners - For those of you who have photographs lying all around the house, winter nights are coming and it is time to try your hand at scrapbooking. This page gives you tips on how to start. For books on scrapbooking and scrapbooking kits, these can be purchased through the Country Living Bookstore.
* Scrapbooking Forum - If you are a novice or a pro, use this forum to swap ideas, ask questions and give advice.
* Information on setting up a Farmers' Market - If you are thinking about starting a Farmers' or Country Market, there are some tips here that will tell you what you should be looking out for to make it a successful venture.
* Show us your Farms - This is one of several new sections in the Farm Forum where you can make submissions. This section allows you to show off your farm and do a little bragging. We would love to see who you are, and what you do.
* Frugal Living. - People around the globe are wondering how it is possible to tighten their belts more than they already have. Frugal living tells you how.
Well, it's the month of October and it wouldn't be right if we ignored Halloween altogether. It was never part of my childhood growing up, but my kids used to enjoy dressing up and going "trick or treating" when they were small, and we still light the candle in the ceramic pumpkin every year and place him on the garden wall.
If you are celebrating Halloween and haven't carved a pumpkin before, now is the time to learn. It is fairly straight forward, and if you want to get a little fancy one can now buy stencils for some beautiful pumpkin carving.
Christmas is round the corner too, and we will give you some ideas on how to create a Country Living Christmas in next month's e-zine.
In case you missed your last copy of the Country Living e-zine and you were wondering if you were a winner of our last competition for a free advert, here are the names again:
So, our lucky winners for an enhanced listing were:
Vertical Farming: What is it? This is the method of agriculture that has been proposed by Professor Dickson Despommier from Columbia University. He feels that there is a great need for inner city blocks to have their own immediate source of food where plants will be grown without soil, by means of aeroponics and hydroponics within buildings already known as "farmscrapers".
With the over-population of the world ever increasing, and water and land being a finite source, alternative options are being sought for feeding the masses, yet minimizing land use. How are we going to continue to feed and house everyone? If we need more land for housing, then farmlands and forests will shrink. And yet, one needs that farmland to feed the masses, and the forests to produce oxygen and to sustain other life forms that are all part of the ecology. So it seemed like a catch-22 situation until someone came up with the brilliant idea, or so it seems on the surface, of having city blocks of concrete and glass where you will be able to farm fish, poultry, pigs, fruit and vegetables all in a controlled environment. So what are the benefits of all of this? Read the full article.
Feature of the Month: A Country Halloween
It's nearly Halloween and time to dig out the witches' outfits and the pumpkins. Let's take a moment to see how we can celebrate Halloween if we live in the country.
Get into the mood by starting with your farm. Do you have scarecrows? Breathe new life into them by changing their farming dungarees with clothes that have a Halloween theme. Turn your scarecrows into witches and ghouls with brooms, black clothing and cloaks, pointed hats, ghoulish masks and bloodied bandages.
For those of you who have farm shops, now is the time to display your pumpkins and promote them for Halloween and increase your sales by getting those kids in! Think of a spectacular Halloween display corner for your farm shop that will get the community talking. Remember, the gorier the better and the kids will love it!
Pumpkin Carving is your next step closer to creating your perfect Country Halloween. Pumpkins come in all shapes and sizes and the one that you choose for your carving will depend on the shape and size of your design. So know what you are going to carve, and then buy your pumpkin accordingly. Get your pumpkin home and clean it with a damp cloth.
For those of you who want to leave the top of the pumpkin in tact along with the stem, then you will have to make an opening at the back of the pumpkin instead where you will scoop out the flesh. However, if you want to take the top off, slice off just a small amount with the stem and scoop out the seeds and fibrous material going in from the top, using a serrated spoon or an ice cream scoop. Take enough flesh away so that you have about a one inch depth of the flesh to work with. Once it is clean and free of seeds, make sure that you have a flattened area at the bottom of the pumpkin inside where you can place your candle.
Now take a marker and start sketching your design. If you prefer, you can sketch the design on paper, and then tape the sketch to the pumpkin. Now take a metal skewer and trace your pattern by making holes with the skewer along the drawn outlines. Once you have the dotted outline in place you can then start carving it out with a sharp knife.
For those of you who have done this year after year and feel that it is 'old hat', try something more sophisticated; the shading technique. Shading is when you don't just cut holes in the pumpkin but you also strip some of the skin away revealing the flesh, and other parts of the pumpkin you leave natural. By employing this technique you can make some spectacular pumpkins. The tools you will need for shading are your common old kitchen knives and also some small chisels and pottery tools for peeling the skin away. However, if you don't have these at hand, use a screwdriver, this works just as well. When you peel you want to get the effect of this with the correct lighting, so whatever you peel should be to a depth of a half inch. Those parts that are cut away completely will give you your candlelight shining through, the peeled areas will give you an opaque effect and the natural skin left behind will be your dark shadows.
Have a look at the pictures below. Hopefully they will give you some inspiration. If you want to submit any photos of pumpkins that your carved, please do so through the farm forum in the section where you can brag about your farm. I will then move them to another page. Happy Halloween!
Here are some examples of pumpkin carving, from the easy to the more adventurous.
Recipe of the Month : Vinegar Cake
Last month, if you remember, we looked at ways in which we can garden with vinegar. In the Frugal Living section, I expanded on the uses of vinegar. And today I am going to give you a recipe for vinegar cake! This is a great cake for those who do not eat eggs.
12 oz self-raising flour
4 oz butter
8 oz mixed fruit
2 oz candied peel, cut fine
8 oz demerara sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3 teaspoons vinegar
½ pint of milk
Method: Set oven to 350° F. Rub fat into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the rest of the dry ingredients except the bicarbonate of soda. When well blended add the bicarbonate of soda mixed with the milk and the vinegar. Put onto a greased and lined 8½ inch cake tin and bake for approximately 1¾ - 2 hours.
Well, we hope that you have enjoyed reading the third issue of our e-zine, as much as we had fun writing it. We also hope that you will stay with us for a long time, visit our web site for updates, and feel free to contribute to the many forums we have created especially for you.
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