Diary

September 2007RSS feed

Beans

Monday 3 September, 2007

by Rosemary at 8:51pm in Growing 2 comments Add your own

I can't believe that I haven't posted anything since 18th August - shocking! The weather's been better since the schools went back on the 20th August - typical. It's kind of autumnal now; some of the trees are changing colour and it's quite cool tonight. Hope it kills the midges. I've always told Dan that I won't live anywhere other than Scotland (Sean Connery take note!) - but the midges are soooo bad just now, I'd be tempted by a midge free zone. Poor Smokey is eaten alive.

Anyway, beans. We have NEVER had a crop of runner beans like we have had this year. The variety is Czar, which has a white flower - whether it is that or the season, but there are loads. It's the Horticultural Society show this weekend, so I'm planning to find six good beans and enter them. And a marrow - in the weight rather than quality class. And rhubarb, in quality class not weight. I don't really know what the criteria are, but we'll give it a go.

Wanda's parcel 2

Monday 3 September, 2007

by Rosemary at 9:01pm in Anything goes 2 comments Add your own

For those of you who might have been losing sleep over the fate of Wanda's parcel, with Marmite, IrnBru, the Alloa Advertiser and Wee County News, you will be able to rest tonight knowing that the parcel has arrived safely.

When Wanda has finished doing a "wall of death" around the room ( a common result of indulging in too much IrnBru (made in Scotland from girders and probably the source of some of the best advertising campaigns ever seen)), I'm sure she will give us some feedback on Marmite!!

Stressbusters

Thursday 6 September, 2007

by Rosemary at 9:14pm in Anything goes 2 comments Add your own

I would like to recommend two stressbusters to you all.

The first is chamomile tea. Now, I've been a bit sceptical about the claims made for herbal teas and so on, but I will have to revise my opinion. I'm trying to lose a bit of weight so I'm drinking herbal tea, which I can make in my office, instead of "real" tea that I have to go to the canteen for (I have no fridge so milk in the office is yogurt before you know it). If I go to the canteen, I succumb to scones and stuff - like a roll and black pudding with brown sauce... Yesterday, Dan rang me at work and enquired as to how I was. "I'm sooo tired" I said, "which is odd because I had a really good sleep last night." Somehow, the conversation got to the fact that I was drinking chamomile tea. "How much have you had?" asked Dan. "About three cups," I replied. Dan then told me to bring the chamomile home and take peppermint to work, and keep the chamomile for bedtime. I felt much better today! So, chamomile tea to get you so stress free that you are asleep with your head on the desk!

Chicken shuffle

Saturday 8 September, 2007

by Rosemary at 8:58pm in Poultry 3 comments Add your own

Dan and I did a chicken shuffle tonight. We moved the four cockerels that we hatched over the summer into one run - this will be their home until they are killed - and moved the three pullets in together. They will stay there until they all start to lay and can go into the layer flock.

This empties the small Forsham ark and the extension run, so that we can get it cleaned, repaired and painted. Then there will be another shuffle, so we can do the same with the other Forsham ark.

We've bought two new poultry houses this summer, from other manufacturers but it has only confirmed our opinion that the Forsham arks are the best. They are well-built, well designed and very practical. They aren't cheap but are good value for money.

Juno, Jura and Jinx

Saturday 8 September, 2007

by Rosemary at 9:05pm in Sheep 2 comments Add your own

There was great excitement today as the foundation stock for our pedigree Ryeland sheep flock arrived.

Juno, Jura and Jinx

Dan was out at the crack of dawn finishing setting up the new electric fence. To be honest, we've not had good reports about sheep and electric fencing, so we'll try it and see how it goes. At the moment, it's only used to keep them out of the orchard, so if they get through it, it's not a great disaster. The first to get zapped by the fence was a Black Rock hen - no eggs from her today!

Show Day 2007

Saturday 8 September, 2007

by Rosemary at 9:24pm in Growing 0 comments Add your own

Well, if Dan was up at dawn fixing the fence, I was up too, collecting entries for the local horticultural show. This is the first year I've shown vegetables, although I've entered preserves and home baking before.

I had planned to enter three jams - strawberry, raspberry and blackcurrant, marmalade, a chutney, a fruit loaf, a traybake, muffins and pancakes. In the end, I didn't enter pancakes (no time to make them this morning) or the traybake (the chocolate brownie stuck to the bottom of the tin, much to Dan's delight). In retrospect, I could probably have salvaged four pieces but it won't go to waste.

Interesting facts about horse poo

Sunday 16 September, 2007

by Rosemary at 8:27pm in Equines 1 comment Add your own

As you know, Smokey shares a field with three (or sometimes four) other horses. You may also have read my rant about ragwort and other injurious weeds. Well, I decided I should learn a bit about managing grass for horses. I have, therefore, bought a book called "Managing Grass for Horses" by Elizabeth O'Beirne-Ranelagh. Over the course of the next few weeks, I intend to amaze you with interesting facts.

Today's interesting fact: horses create latrine areas in their field. They will go to these areas to wee and poo. However, horses won't graze near poo (can't blame them for that, can you?) so the latrine areas become full of long grass and weeds. You will have seen this in horse fields - areas of long, rank grass (the ungrazed latrines) interspersed with areas of very short grass, where the horses DO graze. Now, those of you who have horses will already know this, so what's interesting about this? Well, did you know that stallions reverse into the latrine areas to dung, since this marks territory. Mares and gelding face INTO the latrine areas, so make the latrines ever bigger?

First frost

Tuesday 18 September, 2007

by Rosemary at 9:23pm in Anything goes 2 comments Add your own

We experienced our first frost of the winter this morning. My goodness, it was cold. We've had a reasonably good spell of weather for the last three weeks or so, but it was cold yesterday and colder today. By 7.30am, the clear skies had clouder over and it was cold, windy and damp. Looks like summer is over for thsi year.

Mind you, I think this is my favourite time of year, if the weather isn't too awful. It's time to tidy the garden, admire the trees, light the fire and start planning next year's crop. And there's Christmas to look forward to, as well, with pies and cake and pudding to make and eat!

Seed catalogues

Saturday 22 September, 2007

by Rosemary at 9:15am in Growing 3 comments Add your own

Oh, what terrible time wasters these are! And they're starting to arrive already. I dreamed about tomatoes last night, because I was browsing the Thomson and Morgan catalogue in bed. And how they suck you in - during the summer, Dan and I agreed that we woudl be more selective in the species we grew and reduce the number of varieties. We agreed two varieties of potatoes - Red Duke of York and Desiree. Then the catalogues arrive and tempt you with the tastiest, highest yielding, disease resistant varieties, and it's awful hard to resist!

Warm work

Saturday 22 September, 2007

by Rosemary at 4:34pm in Equines 3 comments Add your own

It's a lovely day here so we've been working outside. At thsi time of year, it seems that tidying and cleaning are the order of the day - and that suits me fine. While Dan was painting the window frames, I spent a happy hour scrubbing the rubber mats out of Smokey's stable.

Since we moved him home in February, the mats have been stacked behind the wood store - for seven months, I've been going to clean them since February but today turned out to be the day. It was so warm, working in the sun - it never seems so much like work, though.

Poor Tess!

Sunday 30 September, 2007

by Rosemary at 8:40am in Dogs 3 comments Add your own

One of our collies,Tess, has ruptured the cruciate ligament in her off hind leg. She injured a back leg when she was pup (I think it was that one) and she has been stiff on and off for a while. I've been giving her a food supplement and she's been on a diet!

She was a bit lame last weekend, so she was on "lead rest", but on Tuesday night, she got out an shot up the road after some small furry thing. I heard her yelp and when she came back, she couldn't put her paw down. She saw the vet on Wednesday, went in for more tests on Thursday and the vet confirmed his initial diagnosis - that she had ruptured the cruciate ligament.

Apple harvest

Sunday 30 September, 2007

by Dan at 12:33pm in Growing 5 comments Add your own

We planted our modest orchard 5 years ago now, and this year we've really started to reap the benefits. We got our first ever pears (all three of them!) and the plums are beginning to crop well, but it's the apple trees that are most gratifying.

Our Peasgood Nonsuch and Claygate Pearmain are long gone (bark ravaged by bunnies) but the Sunset, Egremont Russett and Dumelows Seedling are all now well established, and yesterday we harvested their fruit and put them into storage.

The circle of poultry life

Sunday 30 September, 2007

by Dan at 6:46pm in Poultry 13 comments Comments closed

It's been a big weekend for our first ever batch of chicks (two hens and one cockerel) which were hatched back in April.

We were up at the crack of dawn, despatcher in hand, to kill the cockerel, who had the dubious honour of being our first table chicken. The actual despatch went very smoothly - Rosemary holding him upside-down and me dealing with the neck end. It was very calm, with no tears - afterwards Rosemary rightly said that his fate had been sealed the day he had hatched. As a Light Sussex/Rhode Island Red cross he had little enough prospects, but we had always planned to eat any males we hatched.

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