I tried writing the blog yesterday, but it just wasnt flowing so I thought I would leave it until today when I might have better focus!
Not much out of the ordinary has been happening this week although we have been very busy cutting back hedges, and generally smarting the front up, we have had a bit of help from my parents and got quite a lot of weeding and clearing done so thank you to them. Hubby’s hedge cutting skills have a bit of a way to go, it was supposed to be straight and when Sam came home she asked if he was making the hedge into a caterpillar shape!! After the cutting back comes the bonfire to burn it all, the smell of a bonfire on a weekend morning is something I love, luckily there are no neighbours near enough to complain about their washing 🙂
Lucy the British Giant rabbit has had her second litter of the year, she gave birth to 10 babies, but sadly the two smallest have died, the other 8 look as though they are growing at a great rate so I think they will be fine. The tortoises have had a bath this week, they get a scrubbing with a small brush and then we oil their shells, you can use baby oil, but we use Emu oil, once they are done they look very shiny, as the weather has warmed up they have started to eat quite a lot, I introduced them to Avocado and they tucked into it with gusto, I try to feed them as natural a diet as possible but they get a treat occasionally. The other animals are much the same as usual, the lambs have had fun following hubby round on the mower when he topped the paddock, I think they thought it was a new sheep! The new chicken batch has settled in well and hopefully they will start to lay any day, the egg situation is critical at the moment as none of the others seem to want to lay, not good news for my customers, I have to keep saying that we should have more laying by next week. Chickens can’t lay an egg a day all year I know, but why do they all go off lay at the same time, they could at least lay in relays couldn’t they?
The Strawberries have now gone over but luckily next come Raspberries, Summer Raspberries taste delicious and they are more of a delight to pick than Strawberries as you don’t have to bend right down, they are very good at hiding though and you have to be thorough, I swear they also ripen while your back is turned! You think you have got them all then turn around to leave and you spot some more. The cucumbers are growing steadily as are the courgettes, as yet we have not had enough Sun to get the tomatoes really going, and the Peppers are slow to flower too. The root crops however are a different matter all together, they must be loving the weather, the Turnip, Swede and Beetroot are growing fast as are the Carrots, at the this rate I will have to sow a second crop because they wont store over winter as it’s too far away yet (hopefully). The nut trees are absolutely laden and now is the time of year to start clearing up the ground underneath them ready for when they fall in September, they are easier to see and pick up if you do that first otherwise you are scrabbling among the weeds and stingers and give up fairly quickly! The Bramley Apple tree had a poor year last year but totally making up for it this year, most Apple and Plum trees have one good year and then the following year not so good. Typically, the Cider Apple tree has hardly any fruit on it this year, it must have known I had bought an Apple press! We do have an Apple tree in the front paddock that grows ‘store’ apples though and that has a good crop so I will have a go at making Apple juice from those.
I have grown Dahlias this year which are a total delight, hubby asks why have I grown them since you can’t eat them, two reasons really, one, because they will bring in Bees, Butterfly’s and pollinating insects, which will in turn pollinate the veg, and two, because they are pretty and you need to have something that is just for pleasure. I have found it very difficult to separate business from pleasure on the farm, especially when my pleasures include gardening and breeding chickens, the temptation is to only grow things to eat or sell and likewise with the chickens, only buying in what you are going to sell back out. So I made a decision this week to keep a few hobby chickens just for my pleasure, the postman has literally just arrived with 18 hatching eggs that will be going into the incubator tomorrow, I want a collection of different Orpingtons, and hope to have Buff, Black, Blue Splash, Gold Laced and White, then I want to cross-breed some of them and see what colours I can hatch out, I just hope they have made it through the great British postal system intact!!