Sunday 14 June, 2009
We've had the most fabulous growing week - warm and sunny, with some decent showers of rain. Dan's been busy in the garden, potting on and planting out. Weeding should be a daily task at the moment as they seem to grow faster than the plants. Tomatoes, peppers and cumcumber have been potted on and more herbs and salad sown. The purple sprouting broccoli is coming slowly; we don't need many - we haven't got room for many, to be honest. They weren't on "the plan" you see.
We have a climbing hydrangea on the north side of the house. It's been in for a few years now but it's never flowered as well as this year. This morning, it was moving with bees, which was really nice to see. The warm weather has also brought on the honeysuckle by the back door; the scent from it stopped me in my tracks yesterday evening. Sometimes, we're so busy that we don't appreciate these things.
The Hubbard chicks are starting to get their feathers, so the heat lamp is now turned off during the day and on at night. By next week, if the weather is good, I hope to have them off heat and outside. They have a and "enriched" environment with a straw bedded run, with ad lib chick crumbs and fresh water. Now that they are a bit bigger, they have their soil tray and this week, hanging greens. So far, they have had comfrey leaves and some spare cabbage plants - hung up at beak height (not on the floor where they will simply trample them into a green mush), the chicks spend ages pecking away at them. Good food, exercise AND entertainment all in one!
I've seen Foxy again - looks like a vixen or youngster to me - but we've had no losses this week. Last week's sick hen has now fully recovered; she's not laying yet, but she's otherwise back to normal. We have a broody Black Rock; I'm not convinced either of our cockerels are "working" so I've got some pure Light Sussex and some Light Sussex x ex battery hens eggs from a friend to put under her. She's VERY happy in her broody coop.
I make her go out for a few minutes three times a day to eat, drink and poop, but she's always desperate to get back to her eggs again.
The sheep have not only been wormed, but sheared as well. They do look much happier, although I find it hard to tell them apart. Their fleeces are different colours but their skins are all black, so they much more alike now. Even their lambs didn't recognize them! Things went from bad to worse with Lyra; by Tuesday, she couldn't bend her back legs and was very stiff. The vet thought she had some kind of joint-ill and gave her a cocktail of antibiotics.
By Friday, she was much better and got another shot then. She's much better but not 100% so we'll keep our fingers crossed for no relapse. The pigs are spending a fair bit of time wallowing - all three are covered in mud and from the contented grunting, I think they are really enjoying it. Bananas and boiled potatoes are the trat of choice - our choice not theirs!
Unlike last week, Stirling Show had a lovely day yesterday. I didn't manage along as the Smallholders Association had a grassland management course running through Oatridge College. It was very interesting and gave those who attended lots of food for thought. Grass is such an undervalued crop - sometimes it seems to be more bother than it's worth - but it's a very valuable crop for Scotland.
The lecturer was able to give me some helpful pointers for our small area of grass - if you are very lucky, I will pass them on to you over the next few weeks and let you know if our grass is growing better.