Rain, Sun and naughty dogs.Β 

Monday: Back from a weekends rest although we did a lot of walking, but the change of scenery was very nice.The quail seem to be thriving now and having a quick glance at them I am hopeful there are a fair few females amount them although I won’t know for sure for another week or so and they could be famous last words!

After the morning rounds I went straight into the greenhouse with the fuchsias that arrived while I was away, I ordered some hardy fuchsia plugs, 20 in total, I just need a couple for the front boxes and I plan to bring them on and sell the rest at the farm gate. It was very satisfying potting them on and they will just need a little nurturing before going outside to grow on. I came in a researched each type and made notes that can be printed off for information if anyone buys any. Fuchsia flowers can be eaten as can the berries they produce, some of these will make stunning additions to the salad bowl or cake decorations as well as a beautiful display in the garden. 

I am pretty sure Mr Fox has had an escaped chicken overnight as there are feathers in the yard πŸ˜–

We have plenty of eggs at the minute, the hens have gone into mega lay lol, I may need to do a bit of cake baking to use some of them up, quiche would be ideal but neither John nor I particularly like them so will have to think of something else.

I decided to do a bit of using up, I had some bread to make into crumbs and then made a treacle pudding and put the other crumbs in the freezer for using later, then a use up of fridge stuff, bits of cheese, mushrooms, some salami I bought at Christmas and never used, half a bag of fresh coleslaw veg, a good handful of herbs, half a carrot two decidedly seen better days spring onions, plus 9 eggs and made a frittata which will hopefully taste good (it did πŸ˜€) and serve me well for a couple of lunches. I intended to make some Yorkshire pudding batters for the freezer but of course you never have the right ingredients in the cupboard when you need them 😝 I fancy a go at scotch eggs so the breadcrumbs will come in handy for those when I get round to it and of course I could make fresh pasta, but I need 00 flour so that will have to wait, I also need to borrow a pasta machine, I have hand made it in the past but if it’s thick it’s not so good. Oh my days did that ever chuck it down this afternoon, hurry up back springlike weather please. 

Tuesday: Did the morning routine, all seems well. Then came in to make some Yorkshire pudding batters up for the freezer to try and use up some of these eggs. Sam got me some flour yesterday so I made up 4 batches using 16 eggs in total. It makes sense really as there are times when we don’t have any eggs at all because the chickens have gone off lay or the customers have bought them all. Then I had a go at curing eggs, I’ve wanted to do this for a while, they are all the rage in fancy restaurants at the moment, basically you take the yolks and bed them in a mix of salt and sugar for 4 days in the fridge then dry them and use them grated on salads or pasta, we will see how they turn out. With the whites I made an angel food cake. 

Then I had a most unexpected, unwanted incident that made me fly out of the door shouting like a banshee, I could hear Kai making a racket but thought it was because Sam was out in the front paddock collecting eggs, until I looked up and saw the two dogs, Mia and Patch tearing an escaped chicken apart, furious does not even come close I can tell you. I flew out of the door, growling at them to get round the back, when I got them in they had a good few belts with my shoe on the backside and on the nose, all the while I am still growling ‘how dare you’ ‘you disgust me’ not that they understand that but they know I am furious with them. Then I put them both in the cage and shut the door, the ultimate in ‘you did a bad thing’ round here. I can’t quite believe it, Mia is nearly 5 and never done anything like that ever, nor Patch who is just over 2, in fact I have never had to raise my voice to them let alone a hand. The plan is that they will not be allowed out unless I am out there for a few days and we will see how it goes, not sure what I will do if they decided to do it again, the trouble I’m guessing is they have far too much freedom to run around as they please, I’m hoping they just got a bit over excited and that’s it. On the chicken front, I went back out once I had confined them, expecting to retrieve a dead body but while there were plenty of feathers everywhere there was no chicken! Despite having a look round for it I couldn’t find it at all, so it must have got up and run off in which case it possibly wasn’t too badly hurt, I will have another good look round once the cake is out of the oven. 

My morning went from bad to worse in every way, the cake cooked I went out to look for the chicken, I went into the front paddock and have a look in the chicken hut to see if it ran in there, I couldn’t see any distressed or injured chicken so came back out, the gander headed straight for me head down and neck outstretched so I shot back inside the hut and shut the door. I will sneak past I thought phahaha nope, he came for me again so for the second time I ran back to the chicken hut and shut the door, he was getting pretty close I was sure I was gonna feel him grab the back of my leg, I then picked up the floor scrapper I use which has a long handle and armed myself with it to get out of the paddock, laughing nervously all the way back. Then I turned out the cake, I hadn’t read the instructions properly and instead of folding in gently I had whisked in rapidly, result, flat cake 😝 I think I will start today over again 😭😭 

I have Mia this afternoon but she was tired and fell asleep pretty quickly enabling me to get some dinner made for later, chicken casserole for John and chicken and mushroom stroganoff for me πŸ˜€ I then got the dehydrator out and gave it a wash, I’m out of mushroom powder and need to make some more plus there are some herbs I want to start picking and drying and the garlic I grew last year which has been hanging up is starting to ‘green’ in the middle, I have about 4 bulbs left and once they go like this they can get bitter so I thought I should probably dry them and grind them to powder before they start to shoot. I really ought to try using the bottom of the Rayburn but I have had less than great results with it in the past and at least the dehydrator is temperature controlled, as long as I pack it full and get the best use out of it that’s ok isn’t it? 

Wednesday: The foul weather isn’t getting much better but apparently the weekend will be warmer so I will hold onto that fact πŸ˜„
I sneaked into the goose hut this morning to see how many eggs are in the nest, 10 so far, one of the geese is spending more time on the nest, not much but enough to indicate that she will sit soon. As we still have goose eggs for sale I will probably leave them in there now and see what happens. We have sold nearly 60 eggs so that’s not bad at all. So far this morning the dogs have been on their best behaviour in fact Patch is hardly leaving my side bless him, I am really hoping they just got a bit over excited and have learnt a lesson, still no sign of which hen it was so maybe it was more of a rough game than a kill mode. I bought a couple of large punnets of mushrooms yesterday which are now in the dehydrator.

I went out and spent an hour or so in the greenhouse, sowing more seeds and splitting the herbs I bought last week at the garden centre. I noticed one of my rhubarb crowns has been ravaged by something, sawfly I think, but I have not come across this before so have asked opinions on garden pages, it something I need to sort but I need some idea of what I am dealing with and google is not coming up with anything. 

It is a filthy day today, it reminded me of childhoods days like these when the only entertainment was racing raindrops down the window pane πŸ˜›I lit the fire early, it will make it cosy indoors and I won’t mind the rain so much. Then I think I will scour Pinterest for slow cooker recipes, I bought one yesterday after chatting with facebookers about the merits of owning one, the general consensus was that it was worth having, my reasoning was that it uses up a lot less electric than turning the oven on in the summer months when the Rayburn is not lit and now I’m going to compile a page of recipes for it, what better day to do that than a wet soggy one. β˜”οΈ First into the pot is breast of lamb, when you buy a whole lamb this is included, sadly in our house it’s nearly always left in the bottom of the freezer, until the slow cooker that is because slow cookers make the very best of the cheaper cuts of meat, at least that’s what I keep reading so we will see. I plan to stuff it with sage and onion stuffing, chuck in chunky veg and some garlic and herbs including rosemary of course and see what happens, I’m just a little bit excited about using one for the first time lol. 

Thursday: Well the slow cooker was a success, the lamb just fell apart and tasted fabulous, I need to get a little bit more informed about using it, there were no instructions other than turning it on and how to use an electrical item, so I had to search and find out if you use liquid in it or not lol, I’m such a novice but hopefully will learn fast. 

I candled some of the duck eggs tonight, out of ten at least eight were fertile and growing, 2 looked clear, I will candle them all again next week and remove any clear ones. 

Saw 2 red legged partridge in the paddock today, it’s funny as I only see them at certain times of the year but they must be around all year long. 

Friday: Did a bit of clean bedding this morning on the rounds, one of the geese is beginning to sit every day on her eggs now there are about 10 in there I think. The pump in the incubator has packed up, this means water is not longer being pumped in and the humidity had dropped to 37%, it should be 44%, I will have to manually add water to keep the humidity up for the next 15 days. I can’t turn the pump off and have a look to fix it as it is fed by the same flex as the thermometer so we will see how things progress, it shouldn’t be too bad as I have had incubators without automatic functions before where you manually top up the water to keep humidity up, just a pain only 10 days in 😝

I wish the wind would die down, I’m getting a headache being buffeted in the time I’m out there πŸ’¨ 

Looking at the quail this morning I think there are 7 females, they all have spotted chest feathers, of the other three one is definitely male, plain chest feathers, the other two are a colour I was not expecting (almost lavender) and so I have no idea what sex they are until they are old enough to vent sex them when a male will produce white foam. 

I picked the first two lots of rhubarb this morning and put them out for sale thinking if they don’t go I will make rhubarb and ginger jam with them, needn’t have worried, they were snapped up within an hour! 

The cured eggs are ready to be cleaned off and transferred to the oven to dry and will then be ready to use, will be interesting to see what they taste like! 

I will have an extra pair of hands helping out on Fridays in a couple of weeks time, Elena used to help out before in exchange for veg and will be returning on Fridays, many hands make light work and all that πŸ˜€

Saturday: Busy day as the weather was fabulous, first of all I thought I’d better get the house cleaned otherwise I wouldn’t want to do it later. I worked mostly in the garden, watering, sowing, weeding, tidying, grass cutting and mending the fence yet again after the wind destroyed it, its only reed fencing so it doesn’t take much but I have bolstered it up now with some fence panels we had. I cut the front drive grass for the first time this year as well, I was fair tuckered after that lol. Popped down the pub for a couple of G & T’s before coming back to feed the birds. 

Sunday: Mother’s Day, I hope all you Mums were thoroughly looked after, the girls came home to cook up a big breakfast for us which was lovely. Another beautiful day and John cleaned out the chicken run that the selling birds live in, we moved the others to the front hut last night when it got dark, we have got 25 point of lay coming in although I’m told they are already laying as things have been slow for the supplier during the lock down, goodness knows what we are going to do with yet more eggs!The egg sales are going well but so is the laying, we are getting around 80/90 eggs a day from the hens alone, that’s a fair amount to shift. The goose on the nest has not left for three days now so that’s it for goose eggs, I am not going in there to try and retrieve any lol. The quail are growing well they are about 20 days old now, a few more weeks until they begin to lay yet. 

In the afternoon I cleaned out the chickens in the orchard and the rabbits, plus the hut in the front which didn’t get done this morning, then I went on the hunt for weeds, grass tufts and dandelions for the rabbits plus some chick weed for the hens in the orchard, then onto a bit of hoeing, loving the lighter evenings as it means I can be out there longer although I can feel that I have been bitten by midges 😝

We have a problem this year with either ash or sycamore saplings, I’m not sure which as we have both trees here, but the conditions must have been just perfect for them because there are thousands of little saplings all over the place, in the paddocks, in the garden, on the driveway, everywhere! We have never had it before like this and I’m not sure how we are going to tackle getting rid of them, they probably need to be mown in the paddock but they are not quite tall enough yet and my worry is if we leave them too long (more than two leaves, the cotyledon) the root, will have got strong enough to sprout even if we do mow them. 


Have a fabulous week people πŸ˜€ 


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Sun, sea and sand (not all at once though)

Monday: Another quail died overnight so we are down to 12 now. The weather forecast is set to be fair all week with high temperatures for the time of year πŸ˜€ This morning as I walk round feeding, the sun is shinning and it feels great to be where I am, the day is my oyster 😜 There are plenty of little birds flitting around, wrens, sparrows and long tailed tits plus the ever present robin of course. Rabbits running around at the bottom of the paddock and we have seen an increase in pheasants over the last few days as well. During a cold snap one of the arms on my washing line snapped so I had to go and buy a new one which I will put up today as it promises to be a good drying day I think, and as we are lighting the Rayburn later and later in the day I need to start drying outside instead of inside overnight. Remember when I told you about all the different coats well I have been swapping the winter coat for my gilet in the middle of the day whoop whoop I much prefer to work unencumbered. Spent the first part of the morning cleaning out the rabbit run and sorting them out, I let the chickens back into the penned area in the orchard, I feel much happier about where they are all living now, I also moved the rabbit that lives on her own into the big rabbit run but she is living in a hutch, I figured it was better than not being able to see the others. 

Then onto some gardening, well you have to on a day like this don’t you? I concentrated on the fruit cage, tying in all the raspberry canes and cutting back any that I didn’t want, then weeded it and dug out the couch grass, weeded round the blueberries, one had a branch that had rooted so I cut that off to pot up, I don’t have any ericaceous compost so I mixed in some conifer clippings for the time being to lower the acidity. After that I went into the greenhouse, the temperature was up to a crazy 25 in there, I showed some celeriac and outdoor tomato seeds, it was a bit warm to spend too long in there. I really wanted to stay outside but time was getting on and I still had bread to make so I went indoors and got that started, made some jelly with strawberries I got out of the freezer last night ( they smell amazing) and made some chocolate chip and marshmallow muffins πŸ˜€ what a fabulous day I have had. 

I made John a chicken casserole with some stock I made from yesterday’s duck carcass and I will have chicken with baked potato and some salad bits from the poly tunnel, John will have jelly and ice cream while I will have macerated strawberries and ice cream, we both eat totally differently but it’s ok as long as I am organised enough to sort it out. We both love chocolate muffins πŸ˜€

Tuesday: The old lady duck died overnight and also another quail chick, one other is looking weak despite me keep making it drink and eat. I turned on the turner for the duck eggs yesterday so it’s a waiting game now. Sat outside drinking my morning coffee and today’s garden birds are blue tit, great tit and chaffinch, obviously we always have fat pigeons, collared doves, crows and little brown jobs as my lecturer always called them. I got some jobs done this morning before Mia arrived, put the seed potatoes in, sowed some Swede and parsnip and some perpetual spinach and coriander outside. I have two ton bags of compost from the heap so I planted the seed potatoes straight into them rather than decanting them onto the beds and putting the potatoes there, I couldn’t see the point and as potatoes seem to grow well in the heap they should do ok in the sacks πŸ˜€While Mia had her lunchtime nap I managed to get a shepherds pie made along with a chilli, several portions for the freezer too for the days I am working long hours in the garden. 

Wednesday: The weather is looking ok again today, a misty start and hopefully the sun will burn it off. John and I discussed dragging the big paddock at the end of the week if it stays dry, I will have a walk over it today and see how it’s doing, it could probably do with a top seed as well. I’m am unsure about dragging the chicken paddock, it has a fair amount of moss in some areas so I guess it does need doing really, it’s just that it looks so good undisturbed. 

All is well on the rounds this morning, a quail chick died yesterday I think we are left with ten but overnight, no more fatalities. As I was coming back in from the front I saw the sparrow sat on top of his nesting box with a big fluffy feather in his beak ready to line the nest, he looked very pleased with himself and I’m sure the missus will appreciate such comfort πŸ˜€

Had a good morning in the garden, got the washing line post secured, I was going to cement it in but instead I used the spike from the old one as the cement we had was set hard in the bag! Then onto fixing up the fencing that storm Doris blew down, this included a post that I had to use the post rammer to get back in, heavy piece of equipment that is 😜 then I set up a climbing net in the poly tunnel and planted some sugar snap peas for a (hopefully) early crop, I also planted some yin yang beans and some asparagus peas which I have not grown before. Did a bit of hoeing and also took some cuttings from a clematis I have growing over the shed, hopefully they will strike, though I do love growing food to eat, I do miss a bit of ‘proper ‘ gardening. πŸ˜€ I have Mia this afternoon and we are off to ‘soft play’ obviously Nana is going for the coffee and cake πŸŽ‚ 

Thursday: Cracking weather yesterday hoping for more today! Did the rounds this morning everyone seems happy enough, I gave the rabbits some of the willow whips I cut the other day and they have been chewing on them, I must make little bundles for them all through the year, it’s one way to use the whips. I have in the past tried to grow a willow wigwam which didn’t take and used them for edging which did take though I didn’t want it to lol you can’t win. 

Sam came over late morning and we got the tractor and chains out and dragged the paddocks, this does a couple of things, pulls out dead thatch and hay, breaks up and clumps of mud, spreads any poo lying on the ground and tells the grass to WAKE UP and start growing lol. We got the tractor stuck in a particularly wet part but brute force and a puff of black smoke got us out and we avoided that bit from then on. An hours catch up with The Walking Dead and a cuppa then onto the afternoon feeding rounds. 

I took my phone out with me this morning to get some photos then got side tracked with the hay delivery so I will really try to get some photos of anything otherwise just words are a bit boring πŸ’€

Lamb chops for dinner tonight, I think that is the last of them, I will have to start using up breast of lamb otherwise they get left for ages, only because I never really know what to do with them, will have to Pinterest it, unless anyone has any good recipes they can offer me πŸ˜€ I have just ordered a book for 99p from Amazon called ‘it’s raining plums’ which has been recommended by another smallholder blog, seasonal recipes and at 99p it’s a steal. 

There are so many Cade lambs being advertised at the minute I’m almost tempted lol, then I remember about bottle feeding and the routine and wind my neck back in 😜 maybe next year when the grandchildren are older. 

Friday: This will be the last entry from the farm this week as John and I are off to the coast again for the weekend, Shelley will be looking after the farm. This morning after the rounds I gathered up any paper/cardboard rubbish to burn then weed killed the front driveway, it’s surprising what is already growing, from a distance it just a green haze but up close its weeds and tufts of grass. Cleaned the chicken run at the back, put in fresh bedding for the ducks and cleaned the front chicken hut. Then I felt hungry so I decided on eggs and coffee, I scrambled a goose egg, sooo creamy. It’s only 10.30 so I may while away some time in the greenhouse πŸ˜€

Saturday : Shelley and Josh came over to look after the place and we set off for Lymington for an over night stay, we took a detour through the New Forest and saw all the ponies and a few donkeys before arriving at our destination. It was quite nice weather, well not raining at least and the temperatures were warm enough, we wandered down to the old cobbled quay area and to the marina, stopped for a drink and a pasty before checking in to our room at The Angel and Blue Pig, had another wander round the town and then went back to watch the Rugby and eat steaks and drink plenty of bottles of beer. 

Sunday: Up and breakfasted then decided to drive along no the coast to Bournemouth, we stopped at Milford on Sea for a coffee, it was mightily windy lol but nice to watch the waves come crashing in. Then we drove onto Bournemouth, we haven’t been there for over 30 years, I don’t think it’s changed an awful lot, still very windy but pleasant enough. After that we headed on home but via the A roads rather than the motorways, I like to see a bit of the countryside, the change of the colour of bricks and stone that the houses are built from, the difference between, the forest, the plains and the downs, none of which is obvious from the motorway which is a faster but sterile route 😝 and back home ready to start again tomorrow πŸ˜€

The big paddock


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Hatchlings, seedlings and ducksΒ 

Monday: Today I shall be mostly checking the incubator every hour or so for signs of hatching! The sun is out so I need to get outside and do a bit in the garden area while I can. Washed down and swept out the greenhouse and gave it a good tidy up inside and around the outside. I transplanted the broad beans, which are doing very well, into the poly tunnel and put some more seeds in to germinate hopefully giving a succession of beans. I also sowed, some sweet corn, sugar snap peas, comfrey and sorrel seeds as well as a free pack of sunflower seeds I had. The sun was fabulous today and really made me feel that it was worth doing, I hope it was. Then I spent another hour and a half on the veg beds, weeding, clearing, tidying, half knowing that the next chance I get to go out there the weeds will be back again 😝One job I am really forward to is that first cut of the lawn when it’s dry enough, then I know Spring is sprung. I don’t mind telling you I was fair tuckered when I came in, 10 minutes rest before I start on the afternoon routine, at least my fav magazine arrived today Home Farmer so I will enjoy a sit down to read it tonight, if I can stay awake that is!

Tuesday: Feeling a bit rubbish this morning, the cough came back last night and now my ear is blocked again 😫 I started taking some multi vits last week, I wouldn’t bother normally but this has lingered for nearly three months on and off so going to try and kick it into touch. I was starting to think that the quail were not going to hatch for whatever reason, maybe they were not fertile eggs, usually eggs would be candles at 10 days incubation but because of the colour and pattern on quail it’s very difficult to tell so I let them run. Anyway this morning I can hear cheeping so as long as they can do the job and get themselves out of the shell we should have quail sometime today, at least one anyhow! The eggs sales are up so much it’s hard to keep up, I checked around 3.30 yesterday, there were around 4 dozen in there, by 5.30 they were gone and I had refilled the shed in the morning, it’s great but hard to keep up, luckily we have the eggs it’s just the man power that’s slow 😜

A glorious day out there today, few and far between at the moment but I am hopeful there will be more in the weeks ahead. I had Mia so no work outside and she was poorly bless her so plenty of tlc and cuddles. 1 chick has at last hatched I will leave it in the incubator and hope some more hatch overnight.

Wednesday: Rain πŸ˜– we have 4 hatchlings this morning, I’m hoping we get more than that eventually. I will prepare the bigger cage with the brooder lamp and transfer them over sometime this morning where they will be able to access food and water. 

Surprisingly, even though it’s raining it quite pleasant out there, the temperature is mild and I didn’t get too wet, the ducks are laying like crazy, 20 eggs today! The chickens are are laying well, and we have nearly collected 40 eggs from the geese since they started laying πŸ˜€

So I transferred the 4, I can hear cheeping from the unhatched eggs so hopeful there will be more. The first thing that happened in the big cage was a bid for freedom from the oldest and noisiest chick, can you believe it, only a day old and it had identified the highest area, which is where the water bottle is as I made steps up to it, and it tried to get out through the bars! I have had to put pieces of cardboard along the edge to stop it lol, even when I put it back in the middle with the others it made straight for the getaway area, I guess survival instincts are very strong, it doesn’t know it’s better off in there 😜

Thursday: We now have 11 hatchlings with more still trying to get out, I’ve never had a hatch over so many days before but at least they are hatching. 

I’ve have read two things over the past couple of days that set me thinking about the beginning of our journey into smallholding and the influences that sent me in that direction. First and foremost my parents both have ‘green fingers’ and I guess if you grow up with parents who garden it becomes part of who you become, we lived in villages and grew up with village/country ways. Second came Hugh and River Cottage and the chance to move to a house with a huge garden with an established fruit and veg bed, then came Ernie, the most inspirational man I have ever met when it comes to horticulture and wildlife, listening to him on the days I went to college were some of the best days I ever had and I could listen and question him for hours. Throw into that mix a friend who asked if we could look after any triplet lambs that were born one year, I leapt at the chance and we hand reared a lamb for 8 weeks keeping him in the garage and garden. We already had chickens and at that point I knew this is what I want to do on a bigger scale so here we are today. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how or even why you started on a particular road, but if you look back and realise that it still makes you feel that way (mostly) then you took the right path. When I talk to people who are just starting out I usually don’t stop talking and realise the enthusiasm I had all those years ago is still there, it’s just buried under day to day stuff. 

It promises to be a super sunny day today, let’s hope we are not disappointed and I can spend long hours outside πŸ˜€

Before I went outside, I increased the humidity in the incubator by another 10% as I can hear chicks tapping at the shell but not breaking them so we will see later if that helps. It’s hard not to help them out but if you do you risk them haemorrhaging and if you don’t they die inside the shell πŸ˜” so it’s best left to nature and a little intervention fromthe incubator. 

So far in the garden today I have pruned the other gooseberries, repaired path edges that have come away, built a new compost bin, done a bit of hoeing and put down some weed membrane on the bed John built last year. While I am not a great lover of swathes of black plastic, neither to I want to spend most of my time in the garden weeding so on goes the membrane until the bed is needed. 

Having written that, I then spent two hours weeding πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ all but the fruit cage and two beds are now weed free, one of them was too wet to do and I got too tired to do the others. The cabbages I planted last autumn have had 50/50 results, one lot are fine the other lot have either rotted away because it was too wet for them or are struggling to put on any growth, still it means the bed is empty enough for planting into rather than waiting so that’s what I will do. 

Came in for an hours sit down, then thought it’s way too nice out there not to go back out so I set about dividing and potting up some chives (which smelt amazing) oregano and mint then walked over the lawn and it was dry enough to give it a cut on the highest setting, planted the garlic and weeded the flower troughs, phew, now time to feed, water and collect the eggs 😜 That was definitely a dirty fingernails day πŸ˜€ love it. 

I think the final number of quail is 11 the other eggs are fertile but they are not hatching, weak chicks, one I helped out but it has not absorbed its yolk properly and probably won’t make it though I will leave it in there and give it a chance. Eventually I will turn off the incubator and they will go cold and die, sounds harsh but they won’t make it either way at this stage πŸ˜”. 

Friday: well you could knock me down with a feather this morning as the quail that had not absorbed properly is alive and fairly well this morning, good job I didn’t turn the Incy off as there is also another one hatching lol, I’ve never known anything like it in all the hatches I have done, I guess the survival instinct is strong, so we are looking at 13 and I will leave it running just in case. 

Burnt all the paper rubbish and feed sacks this morning, it’s quite pleasant and mild out despite no sunshine. 

Number 14 and 15 hatched although in the long run they didn’t make it πŸ˜” and I have now turned off the incubator ready to clean, disinfect and think about ducklings πŸ₯ 

In the morning I went down to the front of the driveway to cut back the willow whips, I also have a contorted hazel which throws up reverted stems so they needed cutting out as well, while I was there, the dustbin men came, a walker with a dog, an egg customer and the postman, the only cheery one was the postie, who is always cheery no matter what, they were all polite enough lol just not very chirpy. 

    

 

I spent a couple of hours with Sam looking at plants and flowers for her back garden, she is in the enviable position of basically starting from scratch with what to plant and where, she likes cottage garden so we went for clematis, roses, perennials and bulbs and got a good deal online, it will look fabulous when established. 

Did a quick hoover round and a polish and then out to do the afternoon rounds, all as it should be although I have a duck that is looking a bit sorry for herself, she is one I hatched out a few years back and I can’t quite remember how old she is possibly 5 or 6 so getting on a bit. 

Saturday: Finally got round to processing the other 9 drakes, I started at 8 and finished at 1, with a coffee break with Mum and Shelley in between, we now have a freezer full of duck! John did all the routine jobs so I could get straight on with it. When I had finished I went for a much needed break to the garden centre with the girls to help Charlie find plants for her hanging baskets and have a cup of tea πŸ˜€ I picked up a couple of herb plants while I was there, parsley and bergamot, also some seeds to sow, basil and coriander.

Another of the quail chicks died this morning so I now have 13 left hopefully that will be all the deaths and the others continue to get stronger. Next batch, ducklings, I have eggs that were collected before the drakes were done so they should all be fertile, I have 3 drakes left with around 15 ducks I think but I need to count them to be sure. 

Sunday: We got a good amount done this weekend, cleaning out chickens etc, I cleaned out the incubator then turned it on to wait for it to settle back to the correct temperature and humidity then put in 16 duck eggs, they will be about 25 days before they hatch. I will candle them around 10 days to make sure they are fertile and growing. Roast duck for dinner tonight 😜

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Rain, rain and more rain β˜”οΈΒ 

Monday: A new week πŸ˜€ the weather forecast for this week looks awful but will shall wait and see what happens, so far this morning it’s mild with a threat of rain but so far so good. I began worming the chickens this morning, I have to do it over a seven day period and try not to forget otherwise I waste my time. The ducks I decided not to do because I need to ‘do’ the drakes and I don’t want that in the system, it’s perfectly fine to eat the eggs from wormed birds but not sure about the meat and so I will leave them a while, they live separately so it’s not a problem. A week today the quail should start hatching I need to remember to get some chick crumb for them before then so will put it on the list. Everything is laying like billyo and we have plenty of eggs of every kind, hopefully with pancake day tomorrow they will sell well today. On my way round this morning I noticed that some of the panes of glass are very loose on my greenhouse, I need to get back out there straight away to secure them, the winds are still gusting every now and then and I don’t want to lose them. I need to make bread today and I plan to make some rolls to got with leek and potato soup I’m going to make, well that’s the plan anyway. The plan was well executed πŸ˜€ we also had apple and strawberry crumble for pudding, I thought I had got raspberries out, but I was quite excited when I realised they were strawberries, a different but hopefully yummy combination. 

Tuesday: Horrid day, cold and wet yuk, John is off work today with a bang to the eye he suffered yesterday he can’t open either of them and I have Mia later on. Got the animals done, Jack, the horse is staying in today as the farrier is coming to give him his routine pedicure later 😝 Shelleys birthday today and she is doing a stack of pancakes later yum, meanwhile she has come to collect a tray of eggs with Josh and managed to sell two trays to acquaintances which is great because they are stacking up! Charlie has a week off and she arrived with a birthday cake for shelley which we had with a cuppa, very nice, and Sam arrived with Mia, very rare we are all here together on a weekday πŸ˜€

Wednesday: After trying to persuade John to get his eye looked at yesterday he finally relented and went to the hospital this morning as it wasn’t getting any better. I stayed and did the animals while Shelley took him, then went round to visit my Mum who has this horrid virus. John finally got back from hospital around 2pm with iodine running down his cheek and ointment to put in it, turns out he has scratched the eyeball so will be off for a couple of days (getting under my feet).

Thursday: It would have been a lovely day to spend in the garden if it wasn’t for the cold wind today, I am longing for a warm, dry day so I can get started out there. In the meantime it’s the usual routine of feeding, watering, cleaning and egg collecting with not much else going on at all really. I didn’t even make bread today, I cheated and bought some when I went shopping 😝 I still have the remnants of this virus, my ear feels blocked and has been like that for three days, I’ve tried a number of things, Shelley found a list of ‘treatments’ on Google including, gargling with salt water, I managed to swallow a small amount and ended up retching, steaming the ear canal with tea tree oil, causing suction and of course good ole olive oil, all to no avail, it’s still there. The consequence of a blocked ear is that I can’t tell where sound is coming from it appears to come from a different direction, which is how I came to shout at the tack room door ‘are you locked in’ when I heard one of the liveries talking, only to realise she was stood to the side of me 😜

Friday: β˜”οΈοΈβ˜”οΈοΈβ˜”οΈοΈ what a miserable day it is today! I scuttled round as fast as I could to get the animals done then came in and lit the fire. John went off to work this morning, probably shouldn’t have but the phone rings and people want their work done and so it is. My ear was clear this morning for a couple of hours thank goodness, it’s surprising how much it knocks you off your spot, I could think with a clear head and set about getting the spare room sorted out, it had become a dumping ground and was doing my head in, now it’s all ship shape and clean which is sadly pleasing. I found myself thinking that I had got stuck in a bit of a winter rut, waiting for the weather to change before I tackle anything outside in the garden, silly really as it could be like this for a few weeks yet and so I need to give myself a kick up the arse and just get on with what I can. The first job will be cleaning the greenhouse and getting it ready for using and then maybe cleaning the poly tunnels which have become green over the winter. Once I have washed them they should stay algae free and there is a lot of work I can be doing in the big one so crack on Dawn, crack on 😜 (although I did decide this is what I ought to do, my sub conscience decided otherwise and I stayed inside today πŸ˜›) 

One of the geese is starting to remain inside on the nest rather than coming out in the mornings, she does come out later but this is the beginning of her getting broody. Last year we lost a goose after she sat for the whole time, she lost a lot of weight and went downhill after the one egg hatched. I need to avoid anything like that happening this year but am not quite sure how to go about it, 4 geese and the gander share the shepherds hut and the gander is quite aggressive now, she will become more aggressive when she starts to sit permanently but I still need to get feed and water to her, I may need some armour, I may get John to make me a shield that might work. 

Saturday: A productive day, that’s what we like πŸ˜€ John went off to get feed while I did the feeding and watering, then John cleared up various items from the front paddock, electric fencing broken branches from the wind etc while I made two separate areas for the geese to nest in and put up a feeding trough inside so that they will eat while sitting. Then I went into the poly tunnel for a couple of hours weeding (happy chickens with buckets of chickweed) and sowing, beetroot, spring onions, radish and lettuce ( I have started using seed tapes for lettuce and spring onions and they are very successful ) while John cleaned out the duck house and the pond and cleaned all the bowls and boat that they splash in. After that John went off to get a bit of shopping while I lit the fire, then feeding again and time to feed ourselves, which was a fish pie made by Morrisons today as I ran out of time to cook anything. There was a gloriously vivid double rainbow 🌈 accompanied by some very dark moody skies, quickly followed by a downpour when we went out, then 10 minutes later the sun was shinning again β˜€οΈ Really wanted to get more done in the tunnel today but there is only so much time you can spend on your knees at my age 😝

Had Mia for her first sleep over, took her to see Gan Gan and Grampy Ken now gone to bed nicely let’s hope she doesn’t wake in the night lol. 

Sunday: what a awful morning weather wise, absolutely tipping down, luckily we have a little ray of sunshine indoors with Mia which means John is on outdoor duty 😜 I checked the incubator today and took out the division bars that hold the eggs all in place, we have a least one chick that has pipped, fingers crossed for more later on. I went to the local garden centre with the intention of buying two hardy fuchsias for the boxes in the front of the gateway but couldn’t find any, the only thing we purchased was tea and cake 😝 Back home I looked on the internet and found a great deal for 20 so decided to buy those and will bring them on and then sell the other 18 at the farm gate hopefully. When I was at college doing gardening many years ago a lecturer once told us that you will end up begrudging paying garden centre prices when you can grow things from seed or cuttings and he was absolutely right! I look at flowers and think, I could grow three times as many for a third of the price hence only purchasing tea and cake, although we could have had that at home for a fraction of the cost too but you got to have some fun 😜The rain showers were intermittent today, some of them quite hefty, the sun was quite strong though so there is light at the end of the winter tunnel. Egg sales have been manic today, we have restocked the shed 3 times this morning, goodness knows why but whoop whoop. 

If you look you can just see Mr Sparrow sat on top of the bird box guarding it’s precious contents 🐦 

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A stinking cold, Doris and Tete a Tete daffodils.Β 

Monday: So today I started on some outstanding paperwork, paying some bills etc then I decided to give my website a long overdue update, 4 hrs later I was still trying to get to grips with ‘widgets’ that was after an hour or so on the support line trying to log in first. Anyway http://www.frieslandfarm.co.uk is up and running still needs a bit of work but I have even managed to link the blog through it πŸ˜€
Tuesday: Man this cold is an absolute stinker I think I have sinusitis as well, felt so ill in the night that I contemplated needing a hospital bed! Still I have to get up and get on this morning, that’s the thing when animals are relying on you there is no time to wallow in self pity, oh ok, I am wallowing now but they are all fed and watered so it’s allowed. Dead rat discovered this morning out the back by the wood pile, however it’s not the one I saw in the back area as this one is much smaller, probably a relative though 😜 We are due a dump truck full of rain β˜”οΈ sometime soon, joy, it was just drying out nicely, still at least the temps are getting a bit warmer even if it’s only short lived. The little Tete a Tete daffodils have their buds, swollen pods of colourful promise, I will have a huge smile when they start to unfold, they are one of my favourite spring flowers, small but mighty 🌼 I still have more paperwork to do this week, the VAT quarter, I won’t be sorry to see the end of that particular chore when John goes on his own, VAT, CITB, RTI, CIS, PAYE goodbye, hello more time for gardening πŸ˜€ 

Wednesday: The winds overnight have knocked the egg shed over, luckily there was only one box in there, still a bit of a mess though. First job after doing the animals is to move the shed around so that the prevailing winds can’t knock it over again. Of course IF John had done what I asked in the first place it wouldn’t have gone over. I asked him to secure the shed to the fence as it was leaning forwards, instead he shoved two bits of wood under the front to make it upright again, yes it stopped the shed leaning but I had visions of someone pulling the door open and it flattening them which is why I asked for it to be secured. Then when I say ‘I told you so’ it’s classed as nagging, I would have thought that nearly 34 years together he worked have worked out that I’m always right πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Other jobs today include cleaning the bathroom and making bread, I still have this awful head cold but am trying to ignore it.

The gander bit me this afternoon, my fault I forgot to turn on the eyes in the back of my head, to be fair they are quite aggressive at this time of year due to mating and egg laying, I should be more careful.

SOAP BOX ALERT: to be honest I no longer have the energy or inclination these days to bother with topics that wind me up or debates, I seek a quieter life. Don’t be fooled I have in the past had my say and stood my ground but I like think I was always fair and would consider the opposing arguments and maybe even concede some points when seen from a different point of view. What has got me all up in arms…..The Food Standard Agency, I have read two reports this week of the proposals to license and therefore charge ALL food providers, if you think that doesn’t cover you think again, the proposals will include all those fundraising cake stalls and village fete jam makers etc. A nominal charge maybe, nope, Β£300 twice a year to inspect the kitchens the produce is prepared in, if it’s not right and they make a return visit they will charge you for having to come back, if this isn’t a Sheriff of Nottingham type of activity I don’t know what is, soon you will have to have a licence to have guests round for dinner or for kiddies birthday parties. What really winds me up is that there is hardly any representation for the small guy, most of the panel in this instance is made up of representatives from the big names, as usual they bully their way into getting what they want in place, corporates my pet hate, throw their weight and their money around will little regard to individuality and think that’s ok. At this point I have to break off otherwise this would turn into a piece of writing of dissertation proportions, covering greed, stupidity and the grating of life so that everyone fits the same spec. And breathe………

Thursday: Storm Doris! Sure is windy out there, to be honest I couldn’t give a monkeys, this bloody virus thing has seen fit to give me extras this morning, conjunctivitis and blocked ears as well as blocked nostrils and sinuses, the ibrufen or paracetamol are hardly touching the symptoms and due to regular meds I can’t take cold and flu stuff. I can mostly just hear ringing in my ears due to the tinnitus and all other sounds being blocked out by bunged up ears, feeling very sorry for myself today, very sorry indeed. 

On the up side the Tete a Tete are flowering, I will try to get a photo later if I remember


Spent most of the day doing end of month paperwork and VAT, the straw delivery arrived and then just as I thought the winds were easing off they began to pick up. As I write this I can hear the wind moaning constantly, apparently a tree has gone over down the road and there are things rolling round the yard. I have been out and picked up the garden furniture and noticed that the brassica cage is down and the side of the fruit cage is going over πŸ˜– I don’t mind telling you I’m a little bit scared as I sit here writing this, hope it settles down soon. Don’t suppose there is much point putting the dustbins out!  

Friday: Up early to get the bins out now the storm has subsided, I noticed a pair of sparrows have decided my bird box on the front of the house will make a good nest πŸ˜€usually it has blue tits but ‘you snooze you lose’ 😝 Sent John off to get more rat poison, honestly they are relentless, you just get rid of one lot and another lot move in, might have to think about getting a terrier at this rate be cheaper in the long run and more environmentally friendly 😜

John and I took a walk round the far back paddocks to inspect the boundary fences/walls we hadn’t realised how bad they had got over the last year, the stone wall has collapsed in a couple of places and there are rotten tree branches causing problems as well, all this is pushing the post and rail fencing over, this will be a big job taking a good few weeks to sort out! Meanwhile there are a fair few rails need replacing and posts that need bracing, that’s this weekends work sorted then 😝 hope the weather is good. 

Saturday: We did exactly what we planned to do, the fences in the middle, back paddock, so they are safe again now and the weather held although the wind was a tad cold. Then onto clearing up some rubbish and burning odds and sods, I did a bit of raking up leaves in my garden area and took branches that the SEB cut down round to be burnt, pretty good day all in all. 

Sunday: More fixing to be done, the corner posts in the jump paddock and a couple of rails, then onto the mΓ©nage gates that blew open in storm Doris and bent the hinges plus took out the hook up post. After that it John went to fix the back door so that it locks again while I cleaned out (and got a soaking from the hose which became detached from the nozzle, just what you want on a winters day) and disinfected the quail cage to get it ready for the hatchlings. I dug out the heat lamp to make sure it works and the chick feeder, plus made some steps up to the water bottle as they will be very tiny when they first hatch, don’t be fooled though they soon now how to get in the feeder and flick it all around the cage 😝I’m just hoping it will be warm enough for them, it is draught free though so should be fine. Then John fixed the light in the back toilet which has been on the floor for a good couple of months after he tried to fix it before! It turns out the light fitting was faulty but we tried the bulb, then the switch first no joy, then he stripped out the wires thinking they had been chewed, they hadn’t and so the lot sat on the floor until today, but all fixed now, oh yes while he was doing that I unblocked the utility room sink which became blocked, I took the trap off and gave it a clean out, draining beautifully now. 

We decided that after the quail have hatched we will set some ducks eggs for incubation as they are laying nearly a dozen a day now, ah ducklings (smelly but cute). 

The chickens will not be going out any time soon, it appears we are in a high risk zone, it’s all bloody poppycock really as we are only just inside the zone, a mile up the road the zone finishes so anyone outside that area can let theirs out, what’s to stop a wild bird flying a mile up the road and infecting a flock for goodness sake, nothing that’s what, the usual clap trap from an organisation that couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery, honestly the people in these jobs want certifying I swear, complete madness. 

We had chicken all weekend, I bought one Friday, roasted it and we have been feasting on it since then, sandwiches etc so tonight we are having a nice piece of sirloin, it would be nice to raise our own meat chickens again but in the current climate we don’t have room so it will have to wait a while, in the meantime I still have ducks to cull and prep, I have a feeling we will be sick of duck by the end of the year lol. By the way if anyone ever wants a lesson in preparing a bird for the oven from start to finish give me a shout, I’m happy to help. 

And into the next week 😜

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Snowdrops, sunset and quail eggs

Monday: Settled back into routine now and out to do the animals first thing, nothing untoward today they all seemed to be getting used to being inside. Came in a lit the fire, Mum popped in for a coffee and I gave her some of the Camembert cheese to take and share with my brother, she is off to Southampton to stay with him for a couple of days as he has had a shoulder op. We tried the cheese last night after dinner, it was lovely, probably could have been left a bit longer to soften in the middle, I’m not sure if it gets softer or not but still it tastes good πŸ˜€After a coffee or two I went outside as it’s such a lovely sunny day and did a bit of tidying up of plant foliage on the garden by the back door ready for the new green shoots to come through, there are a lot of squishy rotting apples on there but I will leave them to carry on rotting and feeding the soil with any nutrients they have left. 

If you pick the right spot today it is beautiful outside, I picked the greenhouse next, I’m glad to see the Lemon and Orange tree seem to have done well over wintering, then I spotted some lavender seeds that needed sowing so I did that and watered the broad beans as the soil was very dry, shame there wasn’t more to do in there it could have been a pleasant way to spend the afternoon.


I did a bit more tidying outside as it was so nice, cut back the Japanese honeysuckle and then tidied up a couple of the gooseberry bushes. Then Sam arrived with Mia to do the horse, Mia wasn’t keen to sit in the stable block or watch me so I took her indoors where she fell asleep on me πŸ˜€ Sam then did the afternoon feed and egg collecting. After they left I decided to tidy the utility room up a bit and chatted to the lonely quail, I thought, it’s not moving much so went to stroke it and it was sat there stone cold dead, it was fine this morning! That’s the lot gone now and so I need to decide on either trying to find point of lay hens or hatching eggs. 

Tuesday: lovely morning, fresh but the sun was shinning so that’s always a bonus, I changed my schedule around a bit and did the indoor stuff first, made bread, hoovered, set the fire to light later then went out to do the animals while the bread was proving. All is well outside, I put the sitting dead quail in the cage out the back to see what would happen as the ‘thing’ has not been near the traps, lol and behold it has been into the cage to nibble on the body, I’m hoping I can lure it into a false sense of security and it will go for the trap eventually! We have decided to buy in some hatching eggs and rear baby quail, that way we know how old they are and won’t get ripped off buying old birds. I will get the incubator out later and make sure it’s working correctly before I order 48 eggs, they take 16 days to hatch then 6 weeks before they begin to lay enough time to put the outdoor cage up on legs to prevent anything getting in (fingers crossed) meanwhile the quail egg customers will have to wait πŸ˜” 

Ordered some new work trousers as these are going the same way as the last pair, I tried not to bend down to harshly as I can hear them going πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

I saw the critter in the back bit, it’s a rat, it ran under the cupboard as I went out there then obviously couldn’t get away and ran back out, I called the dogs in but by the time they got there it had disappeared. I got a torch and had a look under but it was gone, however, so was the poison I had put under there the other week so I put some more under, I guess we will have a stink again but at least it won’t be able to kill any new babies I hatch out. 

Wednesday: I have Mia all day today so apart from the basics not much else will get done, I did managed to set up the incubator and order 48 quail hatching eggs, both will need settling time so they probably won’t get put in until Sunday or Monday depending on if they arrive by Friday. Most don’t post out over the weekend because of no deliveries on a Sunday, the incubator is safe in the utility room and is a closed, fully automated unit so they will be safe in there, then once hatched they remain in the utility room in a bigger cage with a heat lamp until they are at least 3/4 weeks old by which time the weather may be warm enough to put them into the outside run, that’s the plan anyhow. On average there will be a 50/50 split of males and females so potentially 24 males some of which will be sold along with some of the females as we don’t need that many, the others we ought to rear for the freezer I guess but they are so small and fiddly, in the past I have taken them down to the bottom corner paddock and let them go, but they came back to the run! I’ve just had a quick look online about killing and dressing them, seems easy enough so maybe I will give it a go.

Power cut this afternoon, I tell you, you couldn’t write it, I always joke that the power goes off when I have the incubator on and lol and behold off it goes, I checked it wasn’t our main fuse obviously and prepared to shut the Rayburn right down but it was only off for a couple of minutes luckily. 

Thursday: Time to catch up a bit after having Mia for the day yesterday, trying to clean out chickens with them all under your feet is not an easy task at all, I end up treading on their feet mostly, as yet I have not tripped over and fallen which is a surprise as they stoop down and still the minute I go near them. I keep wondering the what the point of the lockdown is really, it’s not like you can control the wild birds and if they get it we are all doomed so keeping the chickens in seems a pointless exercise, if they put a stop to all movement that would make more sense but of course they won’t do that because of the big commercial chicken providers. I cleaned out the geese in the front, that was heavy work, 3 barrowfuls of wet hay/straw, my hands hurt, they have been hurting for a couple of days now, I hope it’s not the Lupus and just that they are overworked! The sun is shinning beautifully today lifting the spirits and making you want to be outside for a change. 

Came in to make bread and light the fire, check on the incubator, it has got up to temperature but the humidity is still low, the pump seems to be taking ages to pump water from the jar into the unit, I may have to force the water through to get it going properly (hubby popped in for a cuppa mid day, being a plumber, I got him on the case and success we have water pumping in to the unit to raise the humidity πŸ˜€)  

I have a massage booked for tonight, looking forward to that I will get her to work on my hands as well I think. I first went to Anette with a problem area caused by raking, sweeping and hoeing, and burning patch on the back of my shoulder, after two sessions it never returned and so every now and again I have massage to make sure it stays away, it’s a luxury but one I feel I deserve 😜 

My neighbour is having her fencing replaced in the paddocks today, I’m amazed at how quickly the old came down and the new went up with a contractor doing it, poor John spends days on ours he may be inclined to get someone in when he sees how quick it was lol, the bonus is we get the old stuff to cut and burn on the Rayburn, more wood for the pile. 

Random thought for the week, I have a ceramic egg holder that takes 9 eggs???? Why 9 when mostly eggs are bought in 6 or 12? Weird. Had the realisation that I haven’t actually left the farm since last Friday! Need to remedy that I think 😝

Gorgeous sunset this evening made me smile when I saw it through the window

Friday: I had decided this mornings job was to clean out the hens in the stable block and remove clumps of hard dirt that has built up on some of their toes. Not all of them have it and it seems to be on the right foot more than the left for some reason, I took a bucket of hot soapy water in to soak their feet then used some round ended scissors to cut bits off. Luckily none of the hens lost toes or nails which was good, in chicks it is much harder to get it off without taking a nail or two. The only injury was mine, one blister on my scissor finger and a dead thumb from pressing quite hard. Then I went to Bourton on the Water for lunch and a much needed escape πŸ˜€

Saturday: Big job on this morning, the pen at the back has become disgusting and smelly due to layers of hay on top of the mud area in the middle, this needed to be dug out and then the pen cleaned. It was very heavy very smelly work good job John was on hand to do most of the digging out 😝 Then over to clean out the front lot and put some new sawdust in their beds while John went to get some bags of sand for the birds to dust bath in.

The quail eggs arrived in the post all bar 1 was intact so 47 eggs to put in the incubator, I will leave them to settle for 24hrs before putting them in.

Sunday: I don’t feel so good yesterday afternoon so I had the rest of the day off under a blanket while John looked after everything, consequently I have much to catch up on today, up early to make bread and put washing on etc. We have Sunday lunch out later to celebrate my Sisters birthday and I have made a fresh loaf as a present for her together with some goose eggs and maybe a slice of home made cheese, hope she likes it. 

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Scotland, dead quail and roast dinner.Β 

Good morning πŸ˜€ normally I write notes each day as I go along for typing up into the blog but as we have been away this week I am winging it and hope I don’t forget anything.

Firstly, Scotland, what an amazing place that was, Eagle Brae is the most fantastic place I have stayed, the log cabins were huge, made from hand sawn Cedar from British Columbia, the whole place is sustainable and the ethos is very much on local, organic, eco friendly, in an amazing location to boot πŸ˜€ I can’t recommend it highly enough if you fancy a stay there, you won’t be disappointed.


As you know Mum looked after the place while we were away and I am hugely grateful to her for that 😘😘 She said she enjoyed it, I hope she did and wasn’t too cold trying to get the Rayburn lit! On the morning we were leaving I found a dead quail in the cage with its neck stripped, I figured one of two things happened, either something had got at it through the bars or it had got its head stuck and de sleeved itself trying to get out. When Mum told me that three more were in the same state I knew it was the first option. The evening we came home Mum had covered them with a blanket and put a heavy lock on the door but in the morning I found two more dead, the remaining lonely quail is now in a small cage in the utility room and I am going to have to find some more. I set two traps, one live trap and one snap trap but to date nothing has been caught, we know it’s there though as we actually heard it squeak while we were stood in there, the cheek of it, laughing at us I reckon 😝 

John spent the weekend cutting down more branches from the huge trees and cutting /shredding them, I helped in between feeding the animals, washing, cooking etc, this task seems to be taking forever but it’s cheaper doing it this way than paying someone to do it I guess. 

We have had an update on the bird flu situation and there are now zones in place for the end of March when the birds should go out, we are on the very border of a high risk zone and so are expected to keep them in until further notice although the situation changes every day. 

I got a piece of beef out for Sunday roast, it’s huge, I think I should have cut it before I froze it but often we don’t have time to do that as the cow is usually killed in the summer and when the beef arrives it’s usually in the evening so we try to get it in the freezer as quickly as possible without re cutting it. 


Not to worry I’m sure the kids will make short work of it when they arrive later for dinner πŸ˜€

Apart from the fate of the quail everything else was all in order, the ducks have started laying more eggs, the geese are laying well now too, I spotted the rhubarb shoots pushing up through the ground, we are marching towards Spring thank goodness 🌱🌱🌱

While I was waiting for dinner to cook, I looked through my seeds to remind myself what I had bought, then I decided to make a list of everything I grow to see if there was anything obvious I was missing.

Apples x 3 varieties plus a cooker, Pears x 2 varieties Cherries x 2 varieties, Plum x 3 varieties Grapes Apricots Raspberries Blueberries Strawberries Black currant Gooseberries Rhubarb Blackberry Kiwi

Potato carrot peas beans (broad and runner) asparagus artichoke onion garlic tomatoes pepper cucumber beetroot spinach radish lettuce courgette parsnip pumpkin cauliflower cabbage leeks spring onion sweet corn 

Also trialing asparagus pea, butter beans, chick peas, celeriac and banana squash this year and the edamame again. 

Shout if I’ve missed anything I should be growing πŸ˜€

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