Shall I, shan’t I

I keep thinking I will give up writing my blog but to be honest it has become part of my routine and I find it quite therapeutic so for the time being I will carry on.

Unless there is a specific job that has to be done inside a time frame, my days are generally my own to decide what and when or even if I do it, a privileged position to be in I know. I usually get asked in the morning by one family member or another, what are you doing today, I haven’t decided yet is the general answer, most decisions are made around the weather which is pretty unstable at the minute. When the weather is dry we always make the most of it and get on with as much outside as we can, I can tell you that this time last year it was lovely and sunny and we were sorting out the paddocks but this year we have only part done them as the corners are still very wet and we are unable to get into them with the roller without getting stuck. It does not look like it is going to dry up any time soon either, although the air temp is quite mild, the ground is still taking a beating from the rain, so that rules out cleaning out the chickens this week, I don’t want to mess the grass up any more than necessary.

The arrival of 60 point of lay hens next week means I need to get cracking and sort the pens out ready for them. I have managed to creosote a couple of huts so we are not far off, I also take delivery of 12 day old ducklings which will need a bit more organising. They will need to be under a heat lamp for a few weeks until they feather up, at the minute I have the Norfolk Grey hatchlings still under a lamp at night although it is turned off in the daytime. With the imminent hatching of more chicks we are running a conveyer belt system, incubator, brooder box, then onto the bigger cage with lamp, then outside during warmer parts of the day until finally out all day and night, with each new lot following the last. The next batch of eggs in will be Quail as I have customers waiting to buy them, it all takes a bit of organisation and a lot of cleaning!

I was a little concerned about one of the cats in the week, we had not seen Felix for a couple of days, but he finally turned up one morning strolling across the yard as if he had never been gone. The two cats are proper farm cats, not ferrel, but they live all year outside and I supplement their feed if necessary. At this time of year there is an abundance of food around for them to catch, usually baby rabbits, they eat everything but the fluffy tail which they kindly leave as a present for us, sometimes they catch things you rather wish they wouldn’t such as garden birds, and they are pretty good at waiting outside a nest site for fledgling chicks which is horrible and if I catch them I generally shoo them away but as far as they are concerned they are just doing their job and they keep the rodent population down so I can’t tell them off too much.

We managed to get in a whole day of gardening last week mostly weeding and potting on, I still have not planted the root veg seeds or the potatoes but there is still plenty of time. This year to save time and effort I have ordered tomato, melon, cucumber and aubergines plants which should arrive any time now, they are grafted plants and will be nice and strong when they get here. We have got the poly tunnel ready with old feed bags full of compost and hope they will do well in there. I did get hubby to connect up the watering system a couple of weeks ago bit it happened to be the day before the coldest night we have had this winter and the pipes froze which forced them to come apart and leak all over the garden when it thawed so we disconnected them again for the time being. As soon as those plants are in situ however we will need to try connecting it up again, every little helps and when we first started I would spend most of the day watering which was very time consuming. When I look back I can see how much progress we have made and the mistakes we have learnt from although there are probably still plenty more to make I am sure.

By some miracle the nails I had put on for the wedding are still going strong! I was not sure about having them in the first place and to begin with things were a bit of a task but it is surprising what you can get used to and now I will miss them when the first one breaks or comes off, that does not mean I will be replacing them though, it’s just nice while it has lasted. Looking at the list I have made for the week ahead I wonder how much more they can take, but up to now I have creosoted, weeded, hitched up the heavy roller, mucked out and washed up in them, brilliant!

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