Its been a busy and eventful week, I had just sold the last three hens when a new batch of 30 arrived the very next day. It was a quick turnaround as I was not expecting them until next week, so after a phone call at 3.45 to say they were being delivered, I had to go and clean the whole pen and hen-house, dust it down for mites and get it ready. It is like a new intake at the beginning of a new school term, you never know just what to expect from the little darlings, these have turned out to be a bit of a handful! I left them in on the first day, the theory being they will know where to go back to at nighttime, now the first night of putting them away unfortunately coincided with my youngest’s 21st birthday celebrations, so while we were parting at my other daughters, John went home to put them all to bed! Half an hour later I had a phone call to say that the new chickens had roosted in a nearby tree and what should he do? Get the ladder and get them down I told him! An hour later he returned to the party with scratches galore but very pleased he had done the job! The hope was that the next day they would go to bed in their des res……..wrong, there they were up the tree again! So out came the ladder and up the tree went John, I don’t think that ladder will hold, I said to him, it did yesterday came the reply, so I let him get on with it, two minutes later he fell 10 feet out of the tree! I TOLD YOU SO! I did my wifely duty and showed concerned for his well-being, obviously holding back a huge guffaw until I got the answer I’m fine! He has a few scratches and ached a bit the next day but no real damage thank goodness. Last night we decided on a new tactic, so before dark we rounded them up one by one and clipped their wings, one wing is clipped so that they can’t fly with any balance and therefore should not be able to get any height, tonight they should go to bed, I will keep you posted!!
Chickens seem to have taken up a lot of this week, we had to despatch 8 cockerels, they were from a batch of eggs we hatched and only 4 were hens, as I have mentioned before, the down side is that you have excess cockerels that nobody wants! We do eat these and now have a freezer full of chicken to keep us going through the summer. We also raised some table birds for the first time and did two of these in the week, the first weighed in at a stonking 11lb, this would make 3 good meals easily and a carcass for soup! Yesterday we had salad consisting of baby lettuce, spinach, cress, radish and sprouting, all picked from the garden and a home reared chicken, the best meals are the ones entirely grown by ourselves 🙂
The weeds are growing just as fast as the produce at the minute even with a lack of much-needed rain, the blossom is plentiful, the pear, apple and plums trees are loaded as are the blueberries and strawberries, unless the june drop is a heavy one we should have an excellent crop. The only problem with a bumper crop is the amount of time it takes to process all the fruit! A lot of it is frozen quickly and if time allows a few jam making sessions are in order. Towards the end of the season the chutney making kicks in, we always have plenty of chutney and pickles and still have plenty left from last year, some jars are given as present for Christmas but I think I will need to sell some this year. One of the chutney’s that was surprisingly good was the runner bean one, it is a little bit like piccalilli and excellent with a cheese sandwich!
As you can see from the pictures the lambs are growing fast and realy enjoying the outdoor life, it will be lovely when they are joined by the other six who are still indoors on milk. The newly hatched chicks are doing well and we are still waiting for the hen to hatch her brood, that should be next week sometime, the goose will be on her eggs a good deal longer as they will take nearly 40 days, I am just hoping that they are fertile or she will have wasted her time!