Monday 8th Jan: It’s cold but dry this morning, did the morning rounds, one of the hens from the front paddock seems to have a bad leg so I got her in and put her in a stable with some water and food. She wasn’t walking very far so wouldn’t be able to get to the feed and water buckets, not sure what is wrong but if I give her rest and food hopefully it will sort itself out.
Had to have two goes at lighting the Rayburn this morning as the first attempt failed, most unusual but second time around it went well.
I contemplated doing a bit outside this morning but it really it too chilly to wander round looking for jobs, it’s ok if you have something you can get stuck into and warm up a bit, I decided the seed catalogue might be a better and warmer option, I do need to order sooner rather than later or the favourites will be sold out.
I noticed over the weekend that the geese are getting into the water bucket, a sure sign that mating season is starting for them, although I couldn’t top it up this morning as the hose was frozen, I will do it later on when it’s hopefully thawed a bit.
A package arrived his morning with some goodies in as a thank you from our Christmas guests, that was a lovely surprise.
I forgot to put the grey bin out even though I had marked it on the calendar, the bin men stopped at the end of the drive and then came looking for the bin, what a fab crew 😀 very grateful for that and messaged the local authorities to let them know how thank full we were, I’m sure they are always getting grief for things that go wrong so a bit of positivity will even it up a little.
It seems to have warmed up a little this evening so I took the opportunity to fill up and clean the water buckets, the hen I put in the stable is no longer there but I found a dead one in the back hut, not sure if it’s her or if she has just wandered off, I will keep an eye out for a limping hen tomorrow!
Trying to organise a delivery of straw bales as we will run out soon and our normal farmer does not have any left 😜 For some reason I didn’t keep the telephone number of the chap we used before, I looked all through my messages/contacts but can’t find any reference so having to track him down by other means, must be more organised 😝
Tuesday: Definitely milder today, I couldn’t see any sign of limping hen this morning so I’m guessing it was her that died. I put fresh bedding in for the ducks while I was on my rounds, made a quick coffee and took it outside with me to do a few bits in the garden. I read an article yesterday that said don’t do any gardening while to mud sticks to your boots lol so I will heed that and just Potter when necessary. I still have carrots growing and wanted some for tea so pulled those and weeded the bed a little, they work well in a raised bed, it doesn’t get waterlogged so they haven’t rotted and it’s high enough for the carrot fly not to be able to reach them and lay eggs, I also dug up some celeriac although something has been eating the tops off of them, my escaped rabbit I expect, she is still loose. I gave the carrot tops to the rabbits and went back in to make apple and celeriac soup and a chicken casserole. To be honest the soup was a little bit too sweet for my liking and I would probably leave out the apples next time but as it was packed with goodness I still ate it for lunch along with some Parmesan croutons I made from the last bit of the loaf I made the other day, they were delish 😀 I made a new loaf and got some apple and blackberries out of the freezer for a crumble for John later. I have a lot of fruit to use up, I’m am going to have mine with a blob of creme fresh I think. I had Mia and while she was asleep I looked through the rest of the seed catalogue and put markers on the ones I want to purchase so just need to sit down and put the order through now.
Did the afternoon feed and collected the eggs, the numbers have now gone up as we relented and put a light in with the front lot, it made a difference within a couple of days so we will carry on doing it, the light is rechargeable and dies sometime during the night so they are not on 24hr egg laying duties 😝 I need to put oyster shell and grit on the feed shopping as a fair few of the eggs from the ladies at the back are breaking readily when they are washed, the oyster shell helps to harden up the egg shells and they are obviously not getting enough even though they free range.
Wednesday: Today felt like Groundhog Day, I asked Alexa if it was, she said ‘no’ which made me laugh and be grateful that I woke up even if it was to the same old routine or so I thought. I did the morning feeding and then went into the greenhouse to contemplate what needs doing, I went through the seeds to bring indoors so that I don’t over order something I already have, I also bought in the clear covers for the seed trays to give them a good wash along with two propagators, and a big load of seed markers, though where the rest are is a mystery, I had hundreds of them. I went to the postbox and on the way back wondered why there was only one dog waiting at the gate, I called the other one, nothing, 45 mins later after me searching everywhere including up and down the lane she finally turned up, it is not something she has ever done before and she is definitely in the dog house 😡 I ordered some shelving to make the most of the space in the greenhouse, there is plenty of higher up space that doesn’t get used to it’s full potential so I am rectifying that.
The sun was lovely this afternoon, I was almost fooled into thinking that spring was in the air, it would be nice to have a few more afternoons like that.
Thursday: I am off out for lunch with Shelley and Josh today so got the morning feeding done, lit the fire, got tonight’s dinner sorted and cleaned the two propagators for the greenhouse before I went.
After doing the afternoon egg collection and shutting the birds away John phoned to say he would be late so I took the opportunity to sit quietly and order my seeds, a bulk tonne bag of multipurpose compost and some miscellaneous bits for the greenhouse including capillary matting. I can’t wait to get started on the growing season, though I can’t believe the prices of some things these days, I thought the garden centre would be cheaper but nope it turns out ordering online is.
When I use the multipurpose compost for seedlings I will add vermiculite, sand or well composted bark, you could use leaf mould if you have it too, it doesn’t need any extra nutrients for seeds just good drainage. When I use it for potting on I will add either some well rotted manure that has dried out or something like blood fish and bone for slow release nutrients. I do have large quantities of compost I made last year and then grew the potatoes in but I will be needing that to fill up some new raised beds I have planned.
Friday: I had a busy day planned so got the rounds done as quickly as possible then onto sorting out the greenhouse, I wanted to move it around, clean it inside and out and tidy up any rubbish, all was going well, I had planned to come in at around 10.30 to light the Rayburn as it’s not too cold today and Mum was coming for a coffee. Then at about 10.20 life went a little haywire for a moment or two! Apart from the fact that my cordless screwdriver decided not to work, an egg customer came and left empty handed, I had forgotten to put the eggs out 😝 cue a mad dash to get them out there, a fox shot across the back, the dogs were in because Mia slunk off again, and at this point I’m guessing she has been doing her job and chasing off foxes, the skip lorry arrived and as I looked for fox footage on the cctv I found it hadn’t been working! A little bit later and a riderless horse went galloping down the road but thank goodness it wasn’t one of ours. Everything settled back down for the rest of the day, the greenhouse is now looking tidy, clean and I have maximised the useable space for growing, with the hazels down there is much more light getting in so I should have a good seed germination, that’s the hope anyway. John is looking at a job tonight so it’s down to me to do the feeding and then the shutting away when it gets dark.
There are so many jobs that need doing I need octopus arms lol, the veg garden needs a good tidy up but then I’m inclined to think I will wait in case we get any more windy weather which just blows everything all over the place again, the poly tunnels need the algae cleaning off to let maximum light in, of course the fruit cage is still in a heap and that needs looking at before stuff starts to grow, there is still a lot of stuff to cut back, weed membrane to put down to suppress weeds and warm the soil, rigging up fencing to keep the ducks and the escaped rabbit off the garden, clean the rabbit runs out, clean the ducks out, fresh bedding for the geese, look at the cctv, tidy the hay barn, do some paperwork, cleaning, cooking, washing, light the fire and keep it going, I’m exhausted just thinking about it all 😂 where is my list?
As John wasn’t back yet I thought it would be a good opportunity to sort out some paperwork and get the desk cleared, made some bread as well.
Before and after photos of the tidy up and reshuffle. The things under the green covers are my orange and lemon trees, I have two lovely lemons growing which should be ready to harvest later this year.
Saturday: Normally John is here at the weekends but today he is working to finish a job, first though he went to collect feed. I did the morning feeding and put some fresh bedding in for the ducks on the way round, then as John arrived back the postman also arrived with some of the bits I had ordered for the greenhouse, happy me 😀 It was the greenhouse shelving and some yellow fly strips so I got on with putting together the shelving and hanging up sticky paper to catch anything lurking in there. The shelving is going to give me some much needed extra space for seedlings, an extra layer up high, they come as a four shelf unit but I have used it in half and it can easily be put back together as I need space for growing on outside so a win win buy I think. I also potted up the Autumn Gold raspberry canes I bought at the end of last year, I am intending to pot most of the raspberries I grow to stop the runners taking over the whole patch. The fruit cage is the next job on Johns list so he tells me whoo hoo I need to get that up and running again before things start to grow, this time the posts will be concreted in, the last ones were just rammed into the earth but they have rotted away although they did last about 5 years so that’s not too bad. The new one though should be altogether more stable and not move and rock in the windy weather which is a bonus as the door will also stay firm, the old door moved a lot and sometimes I couldn’t even shut it properly. I put some net up for the peas in the small poly tunnel to climb up, I have grown them in there because if I did it outside they would have been eaten by now, I will hopefully get a good crop of early peas 😀 Daffodil bulbs have pushed through as have the garlic and onions, I feel positive for the year ahead, for now at least 😝
I sat down with a cuppa and through various trails of reading I ended up reading a report of trials to control red mite in the poultry industry (a little light reading 🤣🤣) it was very interesting though and here is the link http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/4506/1/S0043933909000403a.pdf for any other poultry keepers in case you want to have a look. Apart from chemical controls there are other methods used such as high heat 45c, fungus (entomopathogenic fungi) which if I could find any for sale would be very useful, good old diatomaceous earth (silica, which basically cuts the exoskeleton on the mites) and also simple things like cardboard traps which I am definitely going to try out when we next clean the boxes.
Try and learn something new as often as you can is something I have always done, not necessarily have a go at it just reading and digesting the information is good enough to keep the grey cells from slipping into a coma.
Sunday: A busy morning doing the usual stuff, then putting a windbreak up around the veg garden mostly to stop the ducks coming in now that we are gearing up to grow stuff and it will also help to create a micro climate for the veg so a double bonus although I needed to order more as there is not quite enough. It doesn’t look pretty but needs must, no point putting stuff out for the ducks to walk all over it or worse, eat it! I cleaned out the three rabbit pens, and the bantams house, we spent a mad 15 minutes trying, in vain, to catch the rabbit that is still loose, she is now eating any available crops in the garden including the celeriac and carrot tops. A delivery of 50 straw bales turned up so those had to be stacked, the cat presented its arse with a worm hanging out so that had to be sorted luckily I had stocked up on wormer so they have both been done 😝 John cleaned out the hens at the front and cut up cardboard to try this new technique of trapping red mite, it’s not full season yet but might as well start as we mean to go on. Bird flu is in the country albeit a different strain from last year so we need to be mindful of that and keep up to date with any bulletins, they do send a text by landline but Facebook is much quicker at letting us know.
And then out for lunch 😀
Well that turned into a long lunch and we were late back, the fire had gone out and the chickens were waiting for their tea, the eggs had sold out so it was action stations for a mad half hour and then relax 😀
That’s it, the end of another week, have a good one, make each day count, learn something you never knew TTFN 😀