Yesterday was the most awful weather here in the Shire, non stop rain and high winds, each time I went out to do the feeding I got drenched! On a day like that there is nothing more to do than light the woodburning stove, put the dinner in to slow roast and watch as many movies as possible, which is exactly what we did 🙂
We have had new arrivals in the form of chicks this weekend, remember the ones that were in the incubator when the power went, well so far 9 have hatched, not a great hatch rate out of 24 but better than nothing! Five Blue Splash and four Gold Laced Orpingtons, one of them was so stuck in its shell I had to get a warm cloth and clean it off before it could uncurl itself, that is usually caused by a humidity problem during hatching and we don’t normally help them out, if they don’t manage to hatch by themselves it is because they are weak and they are best left which seems cruel but it is kinder in the long run as they nearly always have problems and have to be dispatched eventually.
Hubby has been very busy cutting wood ready for the winter, we have been lucky enough to be given piles of wood from various people and have now got a wood pile that will last a few winters! The ancient woodburning stove we have is being replaced this year with a shiny new one 🙂 We have decided to invest in one that will run the heating, hot water and do the cooking, as well as dry the washing above it, a big investment money wise but one that will save us in the long run, we are totally reliant on electric here and you know the price of that at the minute. If we can cook, heat and wash for free that will drastically reduce our electric bill and I am all for that, we would love to go off grid completely someday but that will take time and more investment.
Although the weather is not what we are used to at the moment, the veg is beginning to take off, this week I have picked large quantities of Mangetout, I have also harvested, Broad beans, Gooseberries, Blackcurrants, Rhubarb, and Strawberries. I am picking about 1kg of Strawberries a day now, and after the first few days of eating them as they are, I have also made the first few jars of jam. There is nothing to rival the smell of Strawberry Jam as it is cooking and you can’t help going to the pan and just inhaling deeply! I have had to issue the warning to Hubby about this being a luxury item and not to use heaps of it on his toast in the morning so that a jar only lasts a week! Otherwise I would have to make 52 jars of the stuff and even my strawberry patch wont run to that!
I have spoken to lots of gardeners and everyone is saying the same thing, the flowers and the veg seem to be fruiting early this year, the plants are barely getting going and they are already flowering, even nature is confused by our weather patterns it seems, either that or it knows something we don’t! The dilemma is whether you let them carry on flowering and they then peak too early or if you delay it by taking off any early flowers, the risk being that if the weather stays cold it is possible they wont throw anymore flowers. I am going with nature on the assumption that it knows what it is doing, and so I will be leaving mine on and picking early this will probably mean smaller than usual veg but at least I will have a winter store.
While the heavens continued to open yesterday, I painted my new ‘Hens For Sale’ sign, I was so pleased with it that I have taken a photo to share it with you :). At the end of the month I am expecting the arrival of 25 Blue Ranger hens, at this precise moment I have no idea where I am going to put them, so one of today’s jobs will be to assess what is surplus to requirements and can go to auction or into the freezer!