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Teasses

SGS Fife Trail 2019 – Visit Teasses

By | Garden

Scotland’s Garden Scheme Fife  Spring Trail 2019 kicks of next week, running from 16th April to the 3rd of May. The Trail is the prefect opportunity to visit seven privately owned gardens in the county, each abundant in spring blooms. Don’t miss the chance to visit Teasses on each Friday of the the Trail, that is 19th & 26th April and 3rd May. Entry to individual gardens is £5 or buy a Trail ticket from SGS.

We look forward to seeing you at Teasses, make sure to have plenty of spool left in your camera!

Spring Blooms in the Woodland Gardens

By | Garden

Spring is blooming in the gardens at Teasses and no where is more colourful than the Millennium Woodlands. The gardens are filling with the sweet scents of Primula vulgaris and Narcissus ‘Jack Snipe’.

Spring is a great time to visit the gardens at Teasses and with Scotland’s Garden Scheme Fife Spring Trail kicking off in two weeks, there is plenty to enjoy Teasses.

First Spring Calves of the year at Teasses

By | Farm

At last winter seems to be coming to an end and although we’ve taken another dip into mini temperatures here at Teasses, you can’t disagree that spring is just around the corner. Nothing says that more loudly than the arrival of our new calves at the farm. First five down and another 135 expectant mothers to go.

Winter Tidy Up.

By | Farm
Teasses; Farm: Estate; Organic

On the farm it is an important job to get underway after the cattle have overwintered in the sheds. Clipping the cattle to prepare them for market tidies their coats and emphasises their condition to the auctioneer and potential buyers. These organic cows are the latest batch to be sent to market and command a good price on the day, despite the mucky work to get them there.

Also picture in the relative splendour of the Bull shed, are two of our larger specimens. Both have been bred in the Teasses herd and along with their four other male companions make up the paternal lineage of our high quality, closed breeding stock.

SGS Fife Trail 2019

By | Garden

Now that we are thoroughly embedded in the cold chill of winter, it is the ideal time to look ahead to the bright, vibrant days of spring. The Scotland’s Garden Scheme Fife Trail kicks off on the 16th April and gives you the opportunity to visit six unique gardens each with its own particular springtime highlight.

Find out more about SGS Fife Trail 2019 and where to buy tickets on the Scotland’s Garden Scheme website by clicking on the link below.

A review of the Teasses Shoot

By | Game

The Season at Teasses now comes to an end and all the hard work of the previous months can be reflected on. It has been a tough year for raising game birds on the estate. First we had tremendous amounts of snow and wind in the early months which took us into what turned out to be a very dry summer, counting three days of rain from May to August – a very rare thing for Scotland. The drought across the summer decimated the insect population on the estate which in turn meant that our game birds were under some pressure. However the population of pheasants, partridge, woodcock and duck have proven once again to be fit and healthy. Raised on the organic estate the difficulties facing our game birds were soon forgotten as the rain clouds finally broke in late August. As soon as the wildflowers and grasses started to grow again, the insect population was quickly restored. The organic approach on Teasses supports the entire ecosystem of the one-thousand acres, not only the farm livestock but the native and natural inhabitants too. With a restored invertebrate population our birds soon fattened-up in time for the Season to begin.

The Shoot at Teasses this Season was particularly successful with guests visiting from all over the planet. We’d like to thank everyone who attended shoots at Teasses and we do hope you’ll quickly book up days for a repeat performance in the forthcoming Season. We’d also like to thank the dedicated gamekeeping team; Kenny, Jordan, all of the beaters and dog handlers. The days certainly wouldn’t have been such a success without your contribution.

We are pleased to share with you some insights from a regular guest and friend of the estate, James Field, who has shot at Teasses annually for the last ten years. The excerpts are taken from an article James wrote about a days shoot at Teasses.

…Teasses Estate in Ceres, which is situated in the rolling hills above Cupar is owned by Sir Fraser and Lady Morrison…and their home is a typical Scottish stone-built grand house, complete with turrets. The adjoining gardens are well worth a visit in the Spring and Summer months but this cold, late Autumn day was perfect for the pheasants, red-legged partridge, ducks and woodcock which abound and which are testament to the Head Keeper’s expertise in effectively developing the 1,000 acres of the estate laid out for shooting in 1996. Each time we have visited, we have experienced some of the best-presented birds I have known. Kenny Horne is the long time Head Keeper who together with his devoted team are very well organised and work like a well-oiled machine, with notably less of the loud whistling, yelling and hooting from the beaters than is found on some estates, and which often seems to intrude a bit too much into the peace of a beautiful country environment as the Guns stand quietly awaiting the first birds. 

…We have been instructed to ‘show no mercy’ on this drive, called ‘Ruin Strip’, as it joins a neighbouring property, towards which the birds are driven, and sure enough, after a brief wait the birds start trickling towards us off the hill in such numbers that [the Guns] are often reloading. A lone woodcock crosses the line but all are reticent to address it. During a lull, a lone roe doe bounds across the line and gracefully leaps a fence. Some cracking high straight and crossing pheasants fall to my gun and everyone gets a good workout.

…Into the vehicles and on to the next drive ‘Lochan’; we drive our 4×4’s to the bottom of the estate and are advised to move into position quietly as we are to wait for some mallard to be driven off the lochan. Kenny firmly instructs the guns not to shoot any pheasants we might see until the first duck is addressed. Clever birds these ducks. We listen to them quacking and grumbling to themselves unseen, until with a dull roar they take off as one, climbing almost vertically and immediately gain height.

…We have an American guest with us; Joe, from the Southern US state of Georgia…he seems bemused but impressed by the structure behind Kenny’s presentation of the birds… He says he has never seen birds presented so skilfully in his own country. Joe is an avid shooter and a significant collector of firearms.

We arrive at the third of the twenty-two possible drives on this modestly sized estate…This too is one of my three favourites; known as ‘Pooch’, it is right in the middle of the estate and requires a walk, or more accurately, a stumble across a muddy field full of bog grass to the end of one of the more recently planted conifer woods from which the birds will be driven towards the Guns. There is a distinct air of anticipation. Again, some duck are expected but it is principally a pheasant drive, where they curl around and over the narrow wood from which they are driven. Before there is any evidence of the approaching beaters, the first birds suddenly appear and catch unwary Guns napping. I take a right and left as soon as the shooting starts and birds then arrive at a steady rate from a number of directions to test our reflexes. The horn blows. The morning’s shooting is over all too soon.

… Roll on next time!

Recipe: Plum Wine

By | Teasses Recipes

The formulation of this recipe was more trial and error than a regimented step-by-step instruction but it appears to have worked incredibly well. We have half a dozen establish plum trees here in the Walled garden and therefore a bountiful supply of plums. This recipe makes around twelve litres of plum wine and produces a beautiful Rosé coloured drink and a satisfying pop once bottled.

You will need;

  • 15L Fermenting Bucket with an Airlock with Rubber Stopper
  • 5kg fresh plums (I’m using a variety called Edwards)
  • 2kg of golden caster sugar
  • 10L of Boiling Water
  • 1 lemon
  • 5g Cider yeast

Step One: Wash the plums; discard any which are too soft, rotten or mouldy. Avoid using wind-fallen fruits. The process of fermentation relies on clean and sterile fruits and equipment.

Step Two: In the clean fermenting bucket, crush the plums as best you can to break the skin and release some of the juices. I did this using a metal potato-masher, but use any utensil you have at hand (so long as it is clean – dip in boiling water for a minute or two to sterilise it).

Step Three: Pour into the fermenting bucket 10L of boiling water. Give it all a good mix and pop the lid on the bucket. Store the bucket in a dark, warm space for three/four days. This allows the plums to imbibe in the water, releasing their sweet juices. Swirl the bucket everyday to ensure mixing.

Step Four: Add 2kg of sugar, the juice of a lemon and mix. Then sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the liquid. It will float on the top. Allow it to sit undisturbed for ten minutes before mixing everything together.

Step Five: Return the lid ensuring the Airlock is securely fitted. Leave the bucket in a warm, dark room for 3 – 4 weeks, swirling the bucket daily to ensure mixing. You’ll start to hear and see air bubbles coming through the Airlock when fermentation begins.

Step Six: If you are looking for a dry, sparkling Plum wine bottle the liquid into secure bottles with a swing-top cap. The wine will continue to develop it is still a very active and young wine, the carbon dioxide produced through the slower rate of fermentation will provide a very welcome fizz in the wine and pop when opening the bottle. If however you’d prefer a still wine syphon into Demi-Johns with Airlocks. Rack the Demi-Johns for a further few months, keep tasting until you find the wine to suit your taste.

Autumn is beating at the door

By | Garden

Leaves on trees are slowly turning from the vibrant fresh greens of summer to indulgent amber, scarlet and gold. Berries on bushes in the hedgerows are bountiful and glistening in the early morning dew. Industrious red squirrels are darting around the garden gathering seeds and nuts and any form of insulation they can find to keep the winter weather out of their dreys. Without a doubt the season is turning from summer; autumn is beating at the door. The first named storm of the season is upon us and has left its mark on the garden. Several trees have been blown over or snapped in half, large limbs have fallen from old oaks and beach trees. We’ve spent two days clearing up.

Teasses, Millennium Wood, Storm Ali

As our gardening predecessors once would have done; we have taken to preserving as much of the garden produce that we grow in the walled garden in our newly constructed root store. The idea of the root store is to prolong access to fresh (and in our case) organic fruits and vegetables and would have originally supplied fresh fruits and root vegetables to the Mansion house throughout the year. Much of the old techniques of storing fresh fruit and vegetables have been forgotten by modern gardeners so we have to rely on the historic accounts of victorian gardeners who were adept at keeping produce for many months.

So far we’ve managed to get our potatoes lifted and stored in crates, some of the better quality apples are polished, wrapped in newspaper and are now stacked in crates. Apples which are scabby or damaged will go into our apple juice (some of which will be fermented into cider). Also stored in the Root Store are pumpkins and squashes, which after being cured in the sun will store until the spring. Carrots, Beetroot, Celeriac and Jerusalem artichokes will be stored in the Root Store in years to come.

Fleshy produce such as plums need to be eaten, frozen or used to create Plum Wine. We’ve done all three (recipe for Plum wine to follow).

We have used the old Victorian Boiler room as our Root Store so have ingeniously divided the room with a floor above the old boiler (which is still in place, but very degraded). This gives us two very useful rooms. The upper story room is the Root Store and the lower story room will be used to grow mushrooms and force rhubarb.

The harvesting of produce is something every estate gardener looks forward to, its the culmination of months of hard work. The bottling and storing is only a tiny part of the overall task; starting with digging over beds and mulching in the winter, to hand fertilising early greenhouse crops. Ultimately the thinning, feeding and nurturing of crops in the garden all works towards these few weeks in the year when you have to be focussed on gathering produce at the right time and processing it so that it is available long into the cold dark days of winter. Its really a very primal hunter-gatherer instinct you’ll find in most people and I’m yet to meet someone who doesn’t take great pleasure and joy from it.

The Shoot 2018 Charity Auction

By | Sporting

Congratulations to the winning bidder who will enjoy a day’s walk up shoot on Teasses Estate in November.

All together the auction raised a substantial amount of money for The Shoot Charitable Trust with donations going to JDRF, Maggie’s Cancer Centres, Horse Back UK, The Polar Academy and Seamab.