Hanging up my wellies (just for a week)

I almost forgot to do my blog this week! I am so excited as Hubby has booked a holiday for us in a couple of weeks time, we have not had a proper holiday since we took over this place so I am looking forward to a week without wellies!

The weather is beginning to look promising, the daffodils are ready to burst open and the animals are all ‘twitterpating’. I have been busy sowing seeds in the greenhouse, Tomato, Pepper, Sweetcorn, a squash called Sweet Dumpling, I have also sown some Spring Onion, Raddish, Lettuce and Spinach in the greenhouse that the Tomato’s will eventually move into, as they wont be planted untill May, it made sense to use the space for a quick crop of salad. Hubby has been very busy weeding and rotovating the large outside beds ready for the potato’s, at the end of the month the Carrots & Parsnip can be sown straight into the ground as will the Peas and Runner Beans, these can be started off indoors but I find that when planted outside they are stronger and catch up very quickly. No sign of the broad beans breaking through the surface yet but I have checked beneath and they are shooting so they wont be long.

The chickens are speeding up with the egg laying, so much so that I thought of pickling some of them now, ready for Christmas, I also tried my hand at making pasta with the duck eggs, it was unbelievably easy, the only thing was that I was unable to roll it thin enough and so might need to invest in a pasta machine. A friend once told me that once you have tasted home-made pasta you wont go back to eating the ready-made stuff, I think she is right!  While I was making pasta, I also made a lemon drizzle cake, excellent for spring I think, the sharp lemon is a lovely contrast to the cake and an ideal accompaniment to a well-earned cuppa on a spring day.

We sold 6 of the baby rabbits over the last week! They have gone onto solids in a big way, carrots, apples, cauliflower and I even gave them a fennel bulb which they devoured with gusto! Only 2 left to home now, great considering I thought we might not be able to sell them all, this would mean having to eat them, each of us looking at the other wondering who is going to be brave enough to dispatch these cute little things! We also sold 2 more point of lay hens, these are Lohmann Browns and great egg layers, up to 300 a year, they are friendly little birds and if anyone would like some for the back garden just get in touch.

The lambs are coming along nicely, they are sturdy little things with great personalities, they have just begun to do that characteristic little hop, skip and a jump when they see you, I am told that this is how lambs display happiness! I am not sure if is true but I would like to think so 🙂 The horses are also displaying spring like behaviour, they no longer stand in the field looking depressed, they are ‘frolicking’, tearing up and down the paddocks and having a good roll or basking in the sunshine, my daughter rode out with a friend yesterday and gave one of the horses a good canter to blow the cobwebs off, they enjoy the sunshine as much as we do. I keep looking into the goose pen for signs of an egg or two but as yet nothing, geese have a short laying period from March to June, not like hens who will lay all year. We have a problem with the geese, we have 6 altogether but they have decided to split ranks, up until yesterday they were living in two sets of three, now one set has decided that they no longer want the third goose with them! They will pick on it until it is driven away, we had to pick it up last night and put it in a pen overnight until we can decide what to do with it, I will give it a few weeks to see if it lays and if not it will either have to be rehomed or dispatched to the freezer.

I moved the Tortoises outside at the weekend, they have been overwintering in the greenhouse, but woke up quite early back in January so I decided now was as good a time as any to put them back out, they live in the herb garden, which is fully fenced so they don’t escape. Tortoises spend their whole time trying to wander off, we lost our female Sarah when we first came here, I put her out on the grass for a while and when I went back I couldn’t find her and she has not been seen since! They can get up to quite a speed once they have warmed up, coincidently we discovered that there was a tortoise rescue place about 2 miles down the road from us, they had a tortoise handed in the week she went missing but it was not her, females tend to go walkabout in July looking for a mate, although she had 2 to choose from here, they obviously were not good enough! She only ever laid eggs once and that was in the summer of 2006 when it was incredibly hot, unfortunately I was in Australia at the time where it was raining! and by the time I got home the eggs were not viable and so we were unable to hatch them.

As the sun is shining today, I need to stop sorting clothes for the holiday and go outside and prepare the beds for seedlings, a fine tilth is needed, otherwise the small seeds will struggle to reach the surface. We are quite exposed here and always 2 degrees lower than the neighbouring town so I have to wait a couple of weeks longer for the ground to warm up, it should be just about ready when I come back from my holiday!

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