Who gets fed first

Following on from Lily’s idea of the Team Peach hierarchy, here’s this evening’s feeding order.

1. Chickens (on way back from dog walk)
2. Plants in greenhouse (ditto)
3. Lily
4. Boron (Carla wasn’t around)
5. Ginger beer plant
6. Rye sourdough starter
7. Wheat flour sourdough starter
8. Us

Food metres, great taste, dog identification

1. We’re supposed to have leftover risotto for lunch but what should have been a side dish for that becomes our main dish instead: John’s Grandma’s marrow flower fritters, made with flowers, courgettes and eggs from our garden. The risotto can wait for another day.

2. The holy basil cuts through the spice. It’s ages since I’ve had any Thai food and this is just wonderful.

3. The pub is full of dogs when we arrive and we sit near the terrier and the other one we can’t identify – she looks like a labrador in the distance – perfect shape and proportion but tiny. She looks so soft, smooth and uniformly black that we’re transfixed by her. Later on, we discover what it is: her owners don’t realise when she escapes and wanders around the pub introducing herself to everyone. After she’s nearly completed her round and heads over to the dog-loving shift manager for a hug, her owner spots her and says “oh look, there’s another Patterdale like Jessie.” Then he realises and laughs, and with a smile, warns us off the dark Erdinger.

Stroke, good dogs, crunch-crunch-crunch, stroke

1. They’re slowly getting used to us. At first, they quietly protest about being held but I’m barely holding the last one, just a supporting hand on her chest then nothing at all, and she stays there on my knee. She peers at us both without blinking for a few moments then slowly hops off my lap and returns to her pecking.

2. We meet two cute little dogs on the walk – Murphy at the start, Scraps at the end. Both are tempted to stop and play with Lily but like good dogs, they respond to their owners’ calls instead.

3. The baked egg shells crumble easily under the mortar and the sound straddles the fine line between wonderful and grating.

4. Boron joins us on the sofa and the position he’s in means I can stroke him with my full forearm, not just my hand. His fur feels warm and luxurious on my inner wrist.

Not a working lunch, play time, farm life

1. The table is full of food and we all graze and chat in the sun.

2. One of Lily’s best friends (a white Staffy called Tia) breaks loose from her owner and comes running up our garden to play. Lily hears her approach and gives a plaintive groan – she’s not allowed down to that bit of the garden without our supervision. I follow her out and they run around together before Tia’s owner calls her back.

3. The size of the towns & villages decreases the further we move out from the city but soon we’re there. The fuzzy black dog wanders around lazily in the sun, unperturbed by the loud turkey and when he opens the barn door, she sits down inside amongst the chickens. He bundles four of the ginger birds into our box and we take them home.

3BT – soft & even, play time, the new recipe

1. Her freshly clipped coat feels like velvet.

2. We worry – as we always do – that the play is bordering on fighting but the woman assures us that it is definitely play. The dogs bounce around together amongst the oak trees as we talk about them behind their backs.

3. The slow-rise bread – 22 hours in the making – comes out of the oven too late to eat with dinner so we have it as dessert instead. Its golden dome is perfectly cracked, its centre spongy & bubbled.

3BT – sunseeking, the boundary, mental melodies

1. The mint shoots tilt south.

2. Lily and the dog stare at each other across the beck, like forbidden lovers kept apart. Then suddenly the spell is broken: they run to each other and bounce around in the water.

3. The songs whirling in my head, I dance along the tarmac line while waiting for my lift home.