February :)

Well it’s February folks, thank goodness time is not standing still and we are moving towards better weather. The discussions on the farm revolve around the weather forecast and how much more rain we can take, the fields are waterlogged and it is soft under foot, the paddock that the horses are in looks like a ploughed field this morning. They always come back good in the Spring but I often wonder at what point they will just stay a churned up mess.

There is very little happening on the farm at the minute in the way of animals, the chickens are just paddling around in mud, still laying quite well though. I have started keeping an egg count everyday to see how the numbers fluctuate, they are fairly consistent with the ducks laying five or six a day and the hens laying around twenty six. I was cleaning the birds out every week but it has got to the point where my walking around the huts is making it a whole lot worse so I have just been topping up the bedding and will wait until the ground dries up a little. This time of year is when everything gets the better of you, you can’t get on to do things but the more you leave it, the worse it gets and there will be a great deal to do once I am able to. The same can be said for the veg garden, you can’t get on it to do much as it’s wet and sticky but the weeds are beginning to grow, at least this means the ground is warming up! I did manage to sow some carrots in the poly tunnel and some more broad beans and peas in the greenhouse but that’s it so far. After watching country file last night, I know we are a lot better off than most especially around Gloucester way, this prolonged bout of wet weather is probably going to ruin a lot of farmers, one lost £160,000 last year and is still under water, I don’t know what the answer is but something needs to be done otherwise farming as this country knows it will be gone.

I have spotted a range of wild birds this week, the usual little brown ones such as sparrow etc and also chaffinch, bullfinch, pied wagtails, wren, and the Little Owl which I have seen twice sitting on our fence out the back, the smaller birds have begun checking out suitable nesting sites, I hope they don’t start nesting too soon because if we then have a cold snap any offspring are likely to perish.

The Quail that began to hatch out last week are now fifteen in number, not a brilliant hatch but to be honest better than I thought it would be. We had to put a hot water underneath the brooder box for the first five days as they were so tiny and unable to generate much heat between them. They are now doing really well and running around the box keeping themselves warm. I can’t get a decent picture of them as the bulb in the brooder is red and it does not make for very clear pictures which is shame as they are very cute. These are American Button Quail and should be various different colours, at the moment there are grey, black and striped chicks, one of the black ones has two yellow wings so it will be interesting to see how that one feathers up.

As I have been unable to do much outside I did a bit of baking this week, welsh cakes on the Rayburn hot plate, a fruit cake and a lime and coconut cake, which have nearly all gone already! We also had our first roast pork joint from the pigs that went to slaughter a couple of weeks ago. It is so tasty, these were fed a great diet of windfall apples, acorns, nuts, and veg from the garden no wonder they taste so good 🙂 we have enough left over form the roast yesterday for bubble and squeak today, one of Hubby’s favourite mid week meals, it always smells good but I am not so keen on eating it myself. One of the other stories on country file last night was about the ‘pig idea’ this is about processing the huge piles of food waste and feeding it back to the pig industry. To be honest my first thought is that we should not have that kind of waste in the first place, I was quite shocked at the huge pile of chocolate not to mention the bread and cracker pile. We don’t have a lot of food waste here, I try to buy only what we will use up and if there is any left it goes to the animals. The dogs will eat left over dinner if there is any, the ducks eat bread crusts, the chickens eat any veg or salad or fruit that is going soft, the only thing that does not go to them would be left over pudding and that does not happen very often! Any veg peelings go onto the compost heap now that the pigs have gone, I also put the toilet roll middles in there and egg shells, I have been known to put socks and any old cotton clothing in there too.

I have cleaning and washing to do today after the family have been home all weekend, I am going to spend my day dreaming of drier, sunnier times and hope they are not too far away!

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