September 2005RSS feed

First eggs

Saturday 3 September, 2005

by Rosemary at 7:56pm in Poultry 1 comment Comments closed

Well, here we go!

Our friend, Carol, has bravely given us four Maran eggs to incubate for her. She has two Maran hens (in addition to lots of other Black Rocks) and a Maran cockeral called Malcolm. Carol has very kindly offered to let us try out the incubator with her eggs - I hope we're successful. Day 1 was 2nd September, so we'll be all a-quiver towards the end of the month as hatching approaches. We did get a candling lamp with our incubator kit, so I'll try that to check progress.

Poo picking

Saturday 3 September, 2005

by Rosemary at 8:08pm in Gardening 1 comment Comments closed

We got the first results of the poo picking home today. Those of you with horses will know what poo picking is. For the rest of you, poo picking is the manual (in gloves) removal of piles of poo from your horse's field. This strange equestrian pastime is done to keep the grazing clean and to prevent the spread of intestinal worms.

Smokey and his buddies, Willock, Barney and Wallace, occupy quite a small area of grass. This is because they are all native ponies and can live on fresh air. Too much grass and they get fat. Fast. Now each horse poos about 10 times a day. So the grazing gets dirty pretty quick. Horses avoid grazing areas where poo is lying, so the grass (and weeds) grows long there and gets overgrazed elsewhere. The field is then said to be "horse sick". It's bad management to let your field get like this.

Maintaining soil fertility

Sunday 4 September, 2005

by Dan at 1:05pm in Growing Comments closed

A central tenet of organic growing is the principle of feeding the soil, not the plant. In practise this means keeping your soil in the best possible condition, and not relying on the application of chemical fertilisers to provide the nutrition and trace elements vital to the production of a successful crop. A lot of fruit and vegetables make great demands on your soil, sp it's important that you try to replace as much as possible.

I do three things to try to keep our soil ticking over:

It's showtime again!

Sunday 4 September, 2005

by Rosemary at 9:06pm in Anything goes Comments closed

Well, it's almost time for the local Horticultural Society Show. Next Saturday, actually. I don't think Dan's entering anything - how could he better his "Best Novice" trophy from last year?

However, I'm planning to have a go with some jams and home baking. I've made blackcurrant, strawberry and raspberry. The strawberry tastes fine but is a wee bit scummy. It's my third batch - the first was perfect but we ate that and I've never been able to repeat the initial success. Blackcurrant is easy.

Tasty roadsides

Sunday 4 September, 2005

by Rosemary at 9:21pm in Equines 1 comment Comments closed

I see Smokey five days out of seven. Two days a week my friends, Karen and Linda, feed him for me. Generally I ride three times a week and on the other two days, I feed him and check him over.

Almost every day, I let him have 15 to 20 minutes grazing the roadside. I love watching him - his whiskers, nose and top lip are constantly on the search for the tastiest bites. And on the roadside, these are many.

I suppose to us, grass is grass but the roadside is full of weeds. And for Smokey, these are just great. His favourites are what we call "sticky willie" (Goosegrass or Cleavers) - he eats that like long strands of spaghetti; what I think is Knapweed - he picks the flowers off the plant; and Cow Parsley. He likes the flowers and the leaves of Cow Parsley but not the stems. He doesn't like brambles, which is good, because I eat them while he's grazing.

Moving house

Sunday 4 September, 2005

by Rosemary at 9:33pm in Poultry 1 comment Comments closed

We moved the laying hens into the small ark yesterday. Since there are now only six, the small ark is quite big enough. In fact, coming into winter (although you wouldn't have thought so today - it's been a scorcher here), they are better in a small house to get more benefit from shared body heat. It's also daft to be bedding the big ark, when the small one will do. The only thing I'm a bit worried about is going from two nest boxes to one. However, there's always the carrots and the comfrey to lay in if the nestbox is occupied!!

Eggs - Day 10

Sunday 11 September, 2005

by Rosemary at 5:03pm in Poultry 2 comments Comments closed

We candled the four eggs last night. Three of the four are growing something. One was clearly empty and has been removed.

I'm having a problem keeping the humidity high enough, even though the water tray is full.

Rare Breed Sale 17th September

Sunday 11 September, 2005

by Rosemary at 5:11pm in Anything goes Comments closed

The 13th Annual Carlisle Show and Sale of Rare, Minority and Traditional Breeds takes place at Borderway Mart, Carlisle on 16th and 17th September. The auctioneers are Harrison and Hetherington. The catalogue is available from H&H for £3 but is probably available on-line.

Carol, Graeme and I are planning to go down on the 17th, with our pocket money. Dan has threatened to immediately kill and eat anything I bring back! Bit harsh, I thought. We're taking my Ford Focus, so not much chance of bringing much back.

Carlisle Rare Breeds Sale

Saturday 17 September, 2005

by Rosemary at 5:41pm in Agriculture 3 comments Comments closed

Well, I'm just back from the rare breeds sale at Carlisle. Carol, Graeme and I left at 6.30 this morning and got there about 8.30am.

We had a look round the poultry and waterfowl, which were just arriving, then had a look at the pigs and some of the sheep. The auctions started at 10.30, so two hours seemed like ages, but there was loads to see and lots of the breeders were happy to discuss their entries with us.

I watched the pigs being sold. There wasn't a huge entry but it was the first time for many years that pigs had been sold there. There were a few Tamworths - maiden gilts(£90), sows (£150) and weaners (£32-£70); one Berkshire gilt (£100); one Saddleback gilt (£100); one Saddleback gilt with a litter of nine three week old pigs (sold for £450, which I thought wasn't bad value); four Saddleback weaners (£45)(these were not suitable for registration as they didn't conform to the breed standard as their "saddles" weren't complete); < acronym title="Gloucester Old Spot">GOS weaners £70) and a Welsh boar (£170). There was also a pen of Tamworth x GOS weaners, which were ginger with black spots. These went for £35-40 each, which seemed a good buy to me.

Home baking

Sunday 18 September, 2005

by Rosemary at 8:25pm in Recipes Comments closed

I baked some really nice scones today - cheese, onion and olive. The recipe is in Delia's Christmas book.

Take a medium onion and chop fine; heat a tablespoon of olive oil and cook the onion for 5-6 minutes until it is brown. Keep it moving to stop it sticking.

Into a large bowl, sift 6oz of SR flour. Add half a teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of mustard powder, half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper and a really good grinding of black pepper.

Grate 1.5oz of strong cheddar and 1.5oz of parmesan.

Winners and losers

Sunday 18 September, 2005

by Rosemary at 8:34pm in Anything goes 1 comment Comments closed

You will recall my previous entry about the Clackmannanshire Horticultural Society Show, held on 10th September, and my preparations for it. I have hesitated to log the outcome, but since I have just posted a scone recipe, I feel I must back this up with my credentials!

My scones (Rich Buttermilk Fruit Scones) were first prize winners at the show (Thanks, Delia). The fudge brownie tray bake also took the red ticket (Thanks, Mike, for the recipe) and the strawberry jam took third in its class. On the down side, the blackcurrant and raspberry jams and the chutney were unplaced. I was a bit disappointed with the blackcurrant and not at all surprised about the raspberry. It tastes fine but I over boiled it and it has set almost rock solid. You have to hack it our of the jar.

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