We have had quite a bit of fog over the past couple of days but it has burnt off to give beautiful Autumn days so we can complain. The temperatures have been well above average for the time of year and I hope it continues for a while longer!
Having said that the night time temps have begun to dip quite low and with this is mind we lit Rosie, however, with the sun shinning during the day it became a bit too hot indoors and so it was a case of lighting her about three in the afternoon and then letting her go out over night. That is one problem with solid fuel heating it is not very adjustable, but it’s lovely to smell the wood smoke wafting through the air again. As soon as she is lit I begin to use her to maximum effect, drying the washing on the lazy Sheila overhead, cooking the dinner and keeping the kettle on simmer, normally all this would be done using free wood but we are having to buy some in this year as we have not had time to chop up the piles of tree stumps we have lying around, it’s probably for the best as they could do with drying out for a bit longer anyway.
All of the chickens have now been moved to one area for Winter, any hens that we had for sale have gone into the laying flock and will remain there, there are approximately forty five in total so they should keep us going in eggs through the Winter. I need to give them some poultry spice to help with the cold days ahead and will put cider vinegar in their water to keep the gut healthy. They have a large area to roam around in but that does not stop a couple of them with wanderlust and I have been finding clutches of eggs in the hedge or long grass, a bit of detective work is needed, when I hear the unmistakable cackle of a hen that has just laid I take note of where it came from and stalk her until I find the eggs!
The ducks are still laying well but we have rats stealing the eggs at night, I now put a bait box right in front of the hole they are using each night and take it away in the morning hopefully they will not be a problem much longer, the cats have caught four young rats this week already and hopefully it’s just one family we have and not a plague 😦
We have made a couple of decisions for the rest of this year and the next already, firstly the sheep would normally get ready to go to the tup but we are not keeping them and we will not be having any more in the Spring either. This is mostly because of the problems we have had with them this year, whatever could affect sheep, they got it and it was quite stressful to be honest so we are giving ourselves time off from that particular area. This means that we will have a freezer of mutton though which we are looking forward to tasting.
We also decided not to do the Christmas trees again this year, we didn’t quite break even last year, we bought too many and ended up burning a fair few, if we carried on this year I have no doubt that we would have got the numbers right and at least got our money back but the amount of work involved at a very busy time of year means we are giving it a miss. When we looked at it last year not many places were doing trees but as soon as they arrived we discovered lots of sale sites and so will leave it to those places to provide the festive greenery.
The weekend has been a busy one as usual and the edges of the paddock that the chickens are in needed tidying up, the electric fence is about a foot or so in from the perimeter and so the grass grows long, this is where the hens have been laying, first hubby decided to use the strimmer and quickly found it was blunt and then decided to move onto the lawn mower, he got half way round and broke the pull cord when trying to restart it. He spent a good few minutes fixing it went to start it again and pulled the cord straight off, he is not having a good week with machinery, I have offered to fix it properly! I was trying to keep my nails and hands in good order for when we go away in a couple of weeks but I think that will go out of the window once I start taking the mower apart.
I have sold a few pumpkins this week which is great but I still have a few left if anyone wants one or two. The veg garden is dwindling with its produce now, we are down to the last few cucumbers, and a handful of beans can still be picked every couple of days as can a courgette or two but apart from the purple sprouting and the leeks it will be time to clear it all away before the cold and wet just make a soggy mess under the foliage. I have got a fair amount stored this year though so I am very pleased with our harvest, bags of onions and potatoes, frozen veg and fruit and jars of jam and pickles, we won’t starve that’s for sure 😉