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A Week on the Estate: Four-Drill Bouts, Chalara Returns & Grafted Apples

We’re halfway through autumn, and while our trees are taking on warm and radiant colours as they prepare to shed their leaves, the single-digit temperatures of our nights – and some of our days – remind us that winter is on its way.

Thanks to A.W. Smith & Son and G. Clark & Son (our contractors and neighbours) for their hard work drilling our winter cereals this week. At one point, they were drilling 20.8-metre bouts with all four drills. Closer to home, a very neat job has been made of replacing a damaged stone column at the Hall’s front door. A few years of Lincolnshire weather will blend it in nicely.

The replacement of damaged stone column at the Estate's front door

Kevin Russell of KWR Contracting has helped us deal with a sad necessity. One of our ash plantations was again stricken by Chalara or ash dieback. Kevin felled the worst-affected trees and spent a long and busy day moving the timber to trackside ready for processing. We’ll use the felled timber as best we can around the estate, mainly as fuel for the Hall’s biomass boiler.

Last weekend, the Saturday Club weeded at the Old Rectory then tackled the glamorous job of clearing a summer’s worth of nettles from this cattle-grid. We’re sure the Lincoln Reds will be grateful. David from Lindsey Plumbing very kindly gave the team an enrichment talk with practical demonstrations. They also got some useful homework; they had to make sure they could find the stopcocks in their homes, just in case.

Massingberd-Mundy Gin at a local Lincolnshire Pub

Have distilling skills, will travel! Tristan Jørgensen has put many miles under his wheels as he spreads the word about his exquisite Burrell’s Dry and Marie-Jeanne artisan gins. The landlords and landladies of fine hostelries including the Royal Oak Splash at Little Cawthorpe, the Panacea and the Greyhound at Louth, The Inn at Woodhall Spa, the Coach & Horses at Hemingby, the Blue Bell at Belchford, the Beck at Mablethorpe, the Dandy Lion at Lincoln and the Adam & Eve at Wragby have all been impressed enough at first sip to stock Tristan’s gins.

The harvest may be over, but our apple trees are giving us a crop that won’t stop. On his travels, Paul Barnes photographed a grafted apple tree, which is yielding two distinct types of apple. In the Hall’s kitchen, Jacqui Rhodes is busy devising recipes to make the best use of this seasonal bounty. This week, she made apple & celery soup, apple & beetroot chutney and apple hash-browns.

By popular demand, here’s Jacqui Rhodes’ recipe for scrumptious apple or pear muffins. You will need: 200g plain flour / 100g caster sugar / 35g brown sugar / 2.5tsp baking powder / 90ml almond or regular milk / 80mg vegetable oil / 5 drops vanilla essence OR ½ tsp cinnamon / 1 large egg / 2 large apples OR pears, finely chopped.

Measure all the dry ingredients together into a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Mix wet and dry ingredients together with the finely chopped apples OR pears and stir until combined. Don’t over-stir. Spoon the mixture into prepared muffin cases. Bake at 180C for 20-mins or until golden-brown and springy to touch, then sprinkle with icing sugar. Enjoy!