Weeding / Ace / Bird flu / Xmas / SolsticeRSS feed

Posted: Monday 19 December, 2016

by Rosemary at 6:08pm in Smallholding Comments closed

Monday 12th December

Still mild and dry so got on with more weeding.

Veg garden weedsVeg garden before weeding.

There are only one and a half beds left to do (apart from the bed with the brassicas in).

Weeding in progressWeeding in progress.

The main pressure, apart from the fact that the veg garden looks like it’s been abandoned, is the necessity to get one of the muck heaps moved.

Our neighbour has been taking some every day for his garden, but we really need to get ours mulched and covered with black plastic, thus freeing up space for new muck. Thankfully, the ponies are free ranging, so we’re not lifting pony poop – we’ll just harrow in the spring.

As a result of the weeding crisis, Dan and I had a fairly robust discussion about the future of the veg garden, during which I suggested that we just keep it covered with black plastic indefinitely. However, the strop duly passed and I’m determined to do a good job in it next year. I’ve bought the seeds after all.

Ace is settling in fine – he’s bawling a bit, as you’d expect, but he’s eating and drinking, and seems quite calm.

Tuesday 13th December

Mair weeding; one bed to do now.

With the current outbreak of bird flu and the resultant hysteria, we’ve been talking about the future of our egg enterprise. We buy a batch of pullets each April and keep them for two and half years (way longer than a proper commercial set-up), culling them in their third winter. It’s likely that bird flu is going to be a problem every year at this time – so we need to either get properly prepared or reduce our numbers.

Today, I was prepared to drop the hens altogether and just keep three or four for ourselves, then a chap came to buy eggs and said how great they were and how he couldn’t go back to supermarket eggs. So what do you do?

Wednesday 14th December

It’s our fifteenth wedding anniversary today, so I’ve been out to lunch with my chum, Aileen.

Dan’s in London for a funeral. Went to Pig Halle in Perth – wonderful as ever.

Thursday 15th December:

Bit more weeding today.

The mild weather has allowed the grazing rye that we sowed in the pigpen to come away well. By May, when the new pigs come, it should be giving a good cover.

Friday 16th December

In the festive social whirl, we went to see “Rogue One” today, then for a Chinese meal with friends.

I did find time to do some baking and to decorate the mini Christmas cakes.

Mini xmas cakesMini Christmas cakes.

Saturday 17th December

We’re having friends over tomorrow to celebrate the Solstice (well, it’s close) so today has been mainly party prep.

Solstice bonfireSolstice bonfire under construction.

I did put a halter on Ace though – he’s remarkably good.

Ace halteredAce haltered.

Hope it lasts.

Sunday 18th December

The hens housed in the byre have settled in well. Egg yield is steady; this group is our 2016 hens, six 2015 White Leghorns and the seven Sassos we didn’t get round to killing.

Chickens roosting in the byreChickens roosting in the byre.

While building the bonfire for the party, I noted the effect of the “hen harrow”.

Hen harrow - breaking up dungHen harrow - breakinmg up dung, cleansing and scarifying grass.

Hope they’ll be back to work soon.

We had our solstice party, including bonfire.

Solstice bonfireSolstice bonfire lit.

Everyone seemd to have a good time, it's nice to know the days are getting longer now.

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