The weather couldn’t have been more different after my last blog, cold, windy and raining, still we did manage to get a few jobs done in the sunshine, that’s why the ‘make hay while the sun shines’ quote is one we always follow here on the farm.
We have managed to ‘goose proof’ the veg patch putting up stock fencing and a new gate, hopefully it will keep them out, we lost a bed of spring cabbage to the geese at the latter end of the year and don’t want to make that mistake again!
I have fixed the greenhouse glass, as it slips in the wind over the winter and the next job is to clean them out ready for the planting of seeds, which is something that most gardeners cant wait to get started on. We have doubled the size of the veg garden this year and so will have lots of seedlings to look after in the run up to planting them. I have decided to grow broad beans this year too, I don’t like them myself but I can always sell them on or feed them to the chickens who will welcome some greenery after the hard winter.
We had an exciting addition to the livestock this week, baby rabbits, 8 of them in total! I have a Giant English and my daughter has an Old English so we decided to put them together and see what we got, I was just in the process of moving her to the outside run for Spring when I spotted the nest and it was moving, I immediately phoned my husband and said ‘guess what we have got’ ‘something good by the sounds of it’ he replied, I think he was hoping for a good tax rebate or a midweek lottery win, ‘yes, 8 baby rabbits’ I replied, ‘great’ came the disappointed reply! He loves it really but he would have prefered the money in order to repair some of the dilapidated fencing! If anyone out there is after a new rabbit, they should be ready for news homes in a couple of months time.
The subject of lambs is important this month, we need to decide, what, and how many we are going to get. We usually buy in day old orphan lambs, these are not necessarily orphans, some will have lost their mother, others will have been one of triplets and a sheep can only feed two, so unless they have an adoptive mother they can use, they are sold on. They need to be bottle fed every 4 hours, so it is like have a newborn, it is a very tiring 6/8 weeks of up late and up early! To start with there are volunteers, but they soon fade away, the question this year is, do we buy already weaned lambs? Not so much fun to look after but less manpower needed and more sleep gained! At the moment we don’t keep a flock that we could lamb ourselves, this is partly because having horses on site we don’t have enough grazing for a permanent flock and they would also need to come in for the winter which would use up valuable stable space. It is something I would like to do eventually but for now we will buy them in.
The chickens are laying very well and we sold 8 dozen last week! The hope is that the customers who come for eggs will also buy some veg or herbs when they are ready, its lovely to sell your own produce to people who then come back and tell you how delicious it was, last year we sold some courgettes to Tony who is the chef at the Messina Cafe in Witney, he said that he hadn’t tasted courgettes like that since his grandparents grew them in Italy, praise indeed, and it makes all the back-breaking work worthwhile 🙂