Monday 4 May, 2009
I decided to let the young Black Rocks out on Saturday. They seem very small compared to the mature birds, but there was no bullying. I've been giving them corn together since the new ones arrived and Hector is very good at sorting out any nonsense. He immediately intervenes if there are any squabbles. He doesn't bother Hugo now either - first thing in the morning, Hector half heartedly chases Hugo, who runs away, then that's it sorted.
All the young Black Rocks return to the ark at night, rather than the layers' shed, which is fine. Last night, we moved the Legbars into the layers' shed and the big ark so that we can repair the little ark. Where the wood is in constant contact with the ground, it's got a bit hard up. We decided to put Hugo and two Legbars in with the young Black Rocks at the moment - Hector and Hugo in a shed together might be too much. When they all move in later in the year, hopefully Hector won't notice Hugo in the melee.
Monday 4 May, 2009
We dispatched the three remaining Hubbards yesterday. Once it was done, I started looking forward to a roast chicken dinner, but I get keyed up before we kill them - just because I want to be sure it's a swift and stress free as possible. Anyway, it was fine.
I made a right mess of plucking one; I managed to badly rip the skin. Dan's much better at plucking than me, but I need to keep practicing. He's very methodical; I think I try to be too quick, and it really is case of more haste, less speed. In teh end, we took the skin off and raosted it like that but it didn't work very well. The meat was really tasty but you really need the skin for roasting, and the outside was a bit dry. Anyway, curry tonight and I'm making stock for soup; Chicken and Tarragon, I think.
Monday 4 May, 2009
I've just enrolled with our local beekeepers association. I've missed this years training course but I'm going to go on the visits and pick up the theory from January, with a view to getting bees this time next year.
Because of our limited land area, bees seem like a good way of producing more food and increasing the fertility of the land - and they don't eat any grass!
First visit is on 24th May, so I'm looking forward to that.
Wednesday 6 May, 2009
We ate the last of our Christmas puddings yesterday. Kind of appropriate since it's cold, wet and miserable enough to be December.
Sunday 10 May, 2009
It's been a quiet week here, mostly due to the inclement weather. On the positive side, the grass is now growing better and the area that we reseeded after the fencing and the new shed were put in is faintly green if you look at it from the correct angle.
Herbert, our second lamb, has been renamed Dickie after a well-known TV personality. Can you guess who? With the warmer weather, we'll be treating the sheep this week to prevent fly strike. Jura had it last year but we noticed it very quickly and were able to treat it promptly. She seems none the worse for it but I'd rather avoid a repeat.
Sunday 17 May, 2009
Well, the changeable weather has persisted this week but in the garden, things are growing â€“ especially the weeds. Dan's dad has put new nets over the brassica bed so we'll be able to get our cabbages out this week. I've gone mad with about 4 varieties plus calabrese and three varieties of purple sprouting broccoli. The broad beans look well but I've sown some poached egg plant to help deter black fly. In the greenhouse, the sweetcorn is almost ready to go out as are the runner beans â€œWhite Ladyâ€?. The runner beans Czar have failed completely so I've resown them, as a second batch.
Tuesday 19 May, 2009
I thought I had put this up - wrote it ages ago, well, mid May given the content!
Jura lambed last night - a ewe lamb that has been named Lyra. Both mother and daughter seem to be doing fine. I'll tail her in the morning, then she can get out in the afternoon if it's fine. I hope Li'l' Bud and Dickie don't bully her, as she's very small in comparison to those two thugs.
It looks like Li'l' Bud has a future as a breeding ram; Lyra will be retained in our flock; Dickie, however, has a less long-term future i.e. the freezer. I was concerned about him being the only one going to the abattoir so I've arranged with my chum, who also has Ryelands, that when we wean them, Dickie will go and run with her ram lambs until they all go for slaughter. It's not a happy thought, as I'm quite attached to them, but it's most humane solution I can come up with in the circumstances.
Sunday 24 May, 2009
Deep joy! I've been collecting poo samples from the sheep so that we can have worm egg counts done. I'm just a glorified toilet attendant and there's some debate about the "glorified" bit.
We don't have a lot of land and four ewes will be about our maximum. It also means we have to manage what grazing we have. It was stressing me a bit but I now have a grazing plan that, if it works in practice, should allow each parcel of land to rest and recover for 6 months of the year.
I had to buy sheep tags for the first time this week. Not looking forward to the application - I remember what it was like getting my ears pierced.
Sunday 31 May, 2009
Well, summer seems to be here at last â€“ even if only for a few days. Actually, I hate to say it, but we could really do with some rain.
In the vegetable garden, we've been mostly weeding. The broad beans are doing well and the peas are coming away. The runner beans that were started in the greenhouse are already shimmying up the canes but the direct sown ones have yet to make an appearance. Our gooseberries and redcurrant have fallen victim to sawfly and had a spray of derris. The redcurrant has almost no leaves left â€“ and that happened almost overnight. Still, it has set plenty fruit, as have the gooseberries.