It’s been a quiet week really, that’s not to say we have not been busy just that nothing urgent or important to be done by a deadline.
Most of the days start with the usual routine, firstly feed the cats as they get under your feet if you don’t, then feed the horses before they start kicking at the doors, feed the chickens and let them out from their nights roosting, feed the ducks and collect their eggs as they will have laid overnight. Make sure everything has water for the day, feed the dogs and tidy up after them, check the egg shed to make sure there are some in there, collect the money and any empty boxes, then back over to the stable block to rug up and turn out the horses and muck them out so that they return to clean beds this evening. Then comes my favourite part of the day, Coffee, I don’t know why but that coffee always tastes better than any other I have during the day.
While drinking my coffee I tend to make a list of jobs I want to achieve during the day, I find that if I do a list they are more likely to get done, if I don’t, I wander round thinking, what is it I need to do today. I have been trying to concentrate on getting the greenhouse ready, after smoking it, I have cleared everything out and brushed down all the cobwebs etc, then I used a staple gun to put bubble wrap all around the bottom and sides to try and insulate it a bit more. I have decided to run a paraffin heater in there for a few weeks to get an early start so, I monitored the temps and got up to a good 20 degrees, the overnight temps only have to be frost free and the paraffin ran out before I could get an evening reading, so I will have to wait for some more to arrive. I cleared out all the pots and seeds trays and went through them in the garden, one pile of broken ones to bin and one pile that will need washing and disinfecting, the mini hurricane we had on Saturday afternoon, more about that in a minute, blew the whole lot all over the place where they still remain waiting for me to go and pick them all up.
In the afternoons the feeding routine begins again, usually an hour before Sunset as the chickens need an hour to digest their food before settling down for the night, if they still have food in their crop and the temperatures plummet it will not digest and they will get ill. On Saturday afternoon we had made the decision to go out and get the feeding done, we put on our boots and coats and went out, the wind had blown a pane of glass out of the roof of the coop so Hubby picked up a piece of board and his drill to make a temporary repair, we got half way over the paddock when it began to rain, no big deal this often happens, but all of a sudden from nowhere came, what I can only describe as a mini hurricane, we were suddenly pelleted by very cold hailstones and very strong winds. The wind was so strong you could hardly stand up and the cold wind literally took your breath away, it was over within about five minutes but by that time we were completely soaked through to the skin and freezing cold. I have never seen anything like it or perhaps just never been caught in anything like it, I did stand a laugh, a bit like a madman at one point, it was all very surreal, that’s when everything that was not tied down went flying all around the farm, the plastic pots included. The girls were all here and on seeing us struggling out in the weather rushed outside to help with any other jobs that needed finishing, getting logs in, collecting the eggs etc. when we came in we had to get out of our wet clothes, and have a cuppa before going back out to finish the day off.
The Quail eggs that I put in the incubator on the 10th of January, began to hatch out bang on cue yesterday, I set up the brooder box and moved a couple of hatchlings over in the evening but it soon became apparent that it was too cold for them, so we moved the box into the kitchen and put a hot water bottle underneath the box as well. This morning we have had eight more hatch and have a total of eleven as I write this. The hot water bottle was redone this morning and and I found a higher wattage bulb to put in, they are now moving around quite well and will hopefully continue to gather strength. These are American Button Quail, I have not had these before and they come in lots of different colours so it will be interesting to see what we end up with.
I have had a couple of plants delivered this week, a cranberry and a fig, they can be potted up and left until I decide where they are going to be planted in Spring, the seed potatoes have also arrived, I usually put them into egg trays and leave them somewhere frost free and dry to chit ready for planting into the ground once the soil warms up, if I put them in too early they would probably rot away so no point being too keen. We are now on the homeward run towards Spring and warmer ground temperatures and like me, most gardeners I speak to are chomping at the bit to get the new growing season underway, I have noticed the snowdrops in flower and the daffodils leaves are pushing up nicely through the cold ground so it won’t be long now.
On today’s list is, retrieve all the stuff that has been blown around the place, bag up the rubbish ready for going in the skip, so that’s what I am off to do now before we get any rain!