Struggling!

Trying to get jobs done when the sun is soo glorious is a bit of a problem, especially for me, for the past few days I have been chasing the shade, getting up early to get the feeding done then working in the shade as much as possible until I have to give up and go in. Last night we had a fox attack inside the electric fence, a chicken obviously hid at bedtime and so it was taken. This morning I have been trying to mow the grass around the edge of the fence to try and move it a little bit, but getting the stakes in the ground at this time of year is hard work if not impossible. The grass is growing so quickly that it is causing the electric to ark out and thus render the fence useless, the problem is, with rain due this week it is only going to get longer. Our mower packed up on Saturday and so we bought a new one yesterday morning but had to go out in the afternoon so couldn’t get it done then, I have tried to get a bit done this morning but the sun is getting stronger all the time and is only half of the job is completed, I am hoping for a bit of cloud cover later or I will be doing it in the dark!

I got up as soon as the dog began barking last night and went out to see a pile of feathers on the ground, I also saw the fox in the front paddock, I followed it round with the torch to the side paddocks, at this point I let the dog out to chase it off, then the dog buggered off! While I was searching for him, I spotted more eyes in the dark looking over the wall, and I could hear at least three more foxes calling in next doors field, my god we are surrounded by them, eventually the dog came back and all settled down for the rest of the night, but hence my urgency to get the fence wacking out full power for tonight.

We have had a delivery of new point of lay hens who are in the back runs and although they have three small houses, it’s not quite enough so hubby has been building a new bigger one this weekend but it’s not finished and secure so that’s an added worry as the chickens insist on roosting in there before completion. The ducklings are now about 4 weeks old and have gone into an outside run, they are enjoying having a water pool to splash in and trees to sleep under in the afternoon. I timed the purchase of these just right as we have now had two deaths in the ducks pen over the last few weeks, this is just because they are getting old. I have twelve ducklings and hope at least half of them turn out to be female although I won’t know for a while yet. Any hatchlings that can be moved have been put outside, the quail are now out in their run, the bantams are doing well outside as are the Norfolk Greys , all that is left inside under lamps are the goslings in the stable and the Hubbard meat birds which are in the back covered area. So after my initial panic about where to put them all, it’s working out ok!

The veg garden is in full swing and I feel a little bit behind with the planting as some of the seeds failed, I think this is because they got wet in the greenhouse if you remember back in late winter. I have bought some new courgette, runner bean and cucumber seeds and a couple of already established plants just to get a head start. I did intend just to buy all the plants but it’s hard to part with the cash when you know how easy it is to grow them from seed and how much more you get for your money. We had a tutor once that said exactly the same to us, once you have grown from seed it’s difficult to justify buying the plant and he is right, well in my case anyway.

Our son in law has also been here putting new timbers on the roof of the old coop, it’s not quite finished yet but as soon as it is I will post the before and after pictures, it’s looking great and will hopefully give us a good few more years use out of it.

We are also struggling with the egg demand, the chickens can’t lay them quick enough for the customers, the point of lay have not quite kicked in with their laying yet, only two of them at the minute, as soon as they do however we will probably have more than we know what to do with, typical feast or famine that often happens in this kind of lifestyle.

The wildlife is a pleasure to watch at this time of year (apart from the foxes, oh and the crows) the Swallows have returned to nest in the stables again, I love watching them dart in and out, this year they have picked a good place for the nest, well out of the way of the cats or the wind so a successful hatch should be on the cards for them. The Blue Tits eggs have hatched in the bird box out the front, I can hear the little chicks cheeping waiting for mum and dad to bring back tasty morsels, I have seen them coming back with lots of caterpillars 🙂 The crows, as mentioned are a pain at the minute, we have managed to stop most of them eating the chicken food but the still sit around the fences calling, and they can make a proper racket I can tell you, they usually carry on until lunchtime then go back to wherever they came from and peace resumes until the evening then they start again. They don’t go on all year though so I can only assume that they have bought youngsters out to show them the ropes, it does remind me of ‘The Birds’ sometimes though lol.

I am keeping an eye on the elderflower trees to make sure I get the blossom at the optimum time for making the champagne, I am quite excited about getting it started I just hope it goes well. The cider I made has now been sat for at least a year so I need to pour some of it and see if it’s still any good, if it has gone over at least I can use is as vinegar in the chicken water, waste not want not.

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