Rain, Sun and naughty dogs. 

Monday: Back from a weekends rest although we did a lot of walking, but the change of scenery was very nice.The quail seem to be thriving now and having a quick glance at them I am hopeful there are a fair few females amount them although I won’t know for sure for another week or so and they could be famous last words!

After the morning rounds I went straight into the greenhouse with the fuchsias that arrived while I was away, I ordered some hardy fuchsia plugs, 20 in total, I just need a couple for the front boxes and I plan to bring them on and sell the rest at the farm gate. It was very satisfying potting them on and they will just need a little nurturing before going outside to grow on. I came in a researched each type and made notes that can be printed off for information if anyone buys any. Fuchsia flowers can be eaten as can the berries they produce, some of these will make stunning additions to the salad bowl or cake decorations as well as a beautiful display in the garden. 

I am pretty sure Mr Fox has had an escaped chicken overnight as there are feathers in the yard 😖

We have plenty of eggs at the minute, the hens have gone into mega lay lol, I may need to do a bit of cake baking to use some of them up, quiche would be ideal but neither John nor I particularly like them so will have to think of something else.

I decided to do a bit of using up, I had some bread to make into crumbs and then made a treacle pudding and put the other crumbs in the freezer for using later, then a use up of fridge stuff, bits of cheese, mushrooms, some salami I bought at Christmas and never used, half a bag of fresh coleslaw veg, a good handful of herbs, half a carrot two decidedly seen better days spring onions, plus 9 eggs and made a frittata which will hopefully taste good (it did 😀) and serve me well for a couple of lunches. I intended to make some Yorkshire pudding batters for the freezer but of course you never have the right ingredients in the cupboard when you need them 😝 I fancy a go at scotch eggs so the breadcrumbs will come in handy for those when I get round to it and of course I could make fresh pasta, but I need 00 flour so that will have to wait, I also need to borrow a pasta machine, I have hand made it in the past but if it’s thick it’s not so good. Oh my days did that ever chuck it down this afternoon, hurry up back springlike weather please. 

Tuesday: Did the morning routine, all seems well. Then came in to make some Yorkshire pudding batters up for the freezer to try and use up some of these eggs. Sam got me some flour yesterday so I made up 4 batches using 16 eggs in total. It makes sense really as there are times when we don’t have any eggs at all because the chickens have gone off lay or the customers have bought them all. Then I had a go at curing eggs, I’ve wanted to do this for a while, they are all the rage in fancy restaurants at the moment, basically you take the yolks and bed them in a mix of salt and sugar for 4 days in the fridge then dry them and use them grated on salads or pasta, we will see how they turn out. With the whites I made an angel food cake. 

Then I had a most unexpected, unwanted incident that made me fly out of the door shouting like a banshee, I could hear Kai making a racket but thought it was because Sam was out in the front paddock collecting eggs, until I looked up and saw the two dogs, Mia and Patch tearing an escaped chicken apart, furious does not even come close I can tell you. I flew out of the door, growling at them to get round the back, when I got them in they had a good few belts with my shoe on the backside and on the nose, all the while I am still growling ‘how dare you’ ‘you disgust me’ not that they understand that but they know I am furious with them. Then I put them both in the cage and shut the door, the ultimate in ‘you did a bad thing’ round here. I can’t quite believe it, Mia is nearly 5 and never done anything like that ever, nor Patch who is just over 2, in fact I have never had to raise my voice to them let alone a hand. The plan is that they will not be allowed out unless I am out there for a few days and we will see how it goes, not sure what I will do if they decided to do it again, the trouble I’m guessing is they have far too much freedom to run around as they please, I’m hoping they just got a bit over excited and that’s it. On the chicken front, I went back out once I had confined them, expecting to retrieve a dead body but while there were plenty of feathers everywhere there was no chicken! Despite having a look round for it I couldn’t find it at all, so it must have got up and run off in which case it possibly wasn’t too badly hurt, I will have another good look round once the cake is out of the oven. 

My morning went from bad to worse in every way, the cake cooked I went out to look for the chicken, I went into the front paddock and have a look in the chicken hut to see if it ran in there, I couldn’t see any distressed or injured chicken so came back out, the gander headed straight for me head down and neck outstretched so I shot back inside the hut and shut the door. I will sneak past I thought phahaha nope, he came for me again so for the second time I ran back to the chicken hut and shut the door, he was getting pretty close I was sure I was gonna feel him grab the back of my leg, I then picked up the floor scrapper I use which has a long handle and armed myself with it to get out of the paddock, laughing nervously all the way back. Then I turned out the cake, I hadn’t read the instructions properly and instead of folding in gently I had whisked in rapidly, result, flat cake 😝 I think I will start today over again 😭😭 

I have Mia this afternoon but she was tired and fell asleep pretty quickly enabling me to get some dinner made for later, chicken casserole for John and chicken and mushroom stroganoff for me 😀 I then got the dehydrator out and gave it a wash, I’m out of mushroom powder and need to make some more plus there are some herbs I want to start picking and drying and the garlic I grew last year which has been hanging up is starting to ‘green’ in the middle, I have about 4 bulbs left and once they go like this they can get bitter so I thought I should probably dry them and grind them to powder before they start to shoot. I really ought to try using the bottom of the Rayburn but I have had less than great results with it in the past and at least the dehydrator is temperature controlled, as long as I pack it full and get the best use out of it that’s ok isn’t it? 

Wednesday: The foul weather isn’t getting much better but apparently the weekend will be warmer so I will hold onto that fact 😄
I sneaked into the goose hut this morning to see how many eggs are in the nest, 10 so far, one of the geese is spending more time on the nest, not much but enough to indicate that she will sit soon. As we still have goose eggs for sale I will probably leave them in there now and see what happens. We have sold nearly 60 eggs so that’s not bad at all. So far this morning the dogs have been on their best behaviour in fact Patch is hardly leaving my side bless him, I am really hoping they just got a bit over excited and have learnt a lesson, still no sign of which hen it was so maybe it was more of a rough game than a kill mode. I bought a couple of large punnets of mushrooms yesterday which are now in the dehydrator.

I went out and spent an hour or so in the greenhouse, sowing more seeds and splitting the herbs I bought last week at the garden centre. I noticed one of my rhubarb crowns has been ravaged by something, sawfly I think, but I have not come across this before so have asked opinions on garden pages, it something I need to sort but I need some idea of what I am dealing with and google is not coming up with anything. 

It is a filthy day today, it reminded me of childhoods days like these when the only entertainment was racing raindrops down the window pane 😛I lit the fire early, it will make it cosy indoors and I won’t mind the rain so much. Then I think I will scour Pinterest for slow cooker recipes, I bought one yesterday after chatting with facebookers about the merits of owning one, the general consensus was that it was worth having, my reasoning was that it uses up a lot less electric than turning the oven on in the summer months when the Rayburn is not lit and now I’m going to compile a page of recipes for it, what better day to do that than a wet soggy one. ☔️ First into the pot is breast of lamb, when you buy a whole lamb this is included, sadly in our house it’s nearly always left in the bottom of the freezer, until the slow cooker that is because slow cookers make the very best of the cheaper cuts of meat, at least that’s what I keep reading so we will see. I plan to stuff it with sage and onion stuffing, chuck in chunky veg and some garlic and herbs including rosemary of course and see what happens, I’m just a little bit excited about using one for the first time lol. 

Thursday: Well the slow cooker was a success, the lamb just fell apart and tasted fabulous, I need to get a little bit more informed about using it, there were no instructions other than turning it on and how to use an electrical item, so I had to search and find out if you use liquid in it or not lol, I’m such a novice but hopefully will learn fast. 

I candled some of the duck eggs tonight, out of ten at least eight were fertile and growing, 2 looked clear, I will candle them all again next week and remove any clear ones. 

Saw 2 red legged partridge in the paddock today, it’s funny as I only see them at certain times of the year but they must be around all year long. 

Friday: Did a bit of clean bedding this morning on the rounds, one of the geese is beginning to sit every day on her eggs now there are about 10 in there I think. The pump in the incubator has packed up, this means water is not longer being pumped in and the humidity had dropped to 37%, it should be 44%, I will have to manually add water to keep the humidity up for the next 15 days. I can’t turn the pump off and have a look to fix it as it is fed by the same flex as the thermometer so we will see how things progress, it shouldn’t be too bad as I have had incubators without automatic functions before where you manually top up the water to keep humidity up, just a pain only 10 days in 😝

I wish the wind would die down, I’m getting a headache being buffeted in the time I’m out there 💨 

Looking at the quail this morning I think there are 7 females, they all have spotted chest feathers, of the other three one is definitely male, plain chest feathers, the other two are a colour I was not expecting (almost lavender) and so I have no idea what sex they are until they are old enough to vent sex them when a male will produce white foam. 

I picked the first two lots of rhubarb this morning and put them out for sale thinking if they don’t go I will make rhubarb and ginger jam with them, needn’t have worried, they were snapped up within an hour! 

The cured eggs are ready to be cleaned off and transferred to the oven to dry and will then be ready to use, will be interesting to see what they taste like! 

I will have an extra pair of hands helping out on Fridays in a couple of weeks time, Elena used to help out before in exchange for veg and will be returning on Fridays, many hands make light work and all that 😀

Saturday: Busy day as the weather was fabulous, first of all I thought I’d better get the house cleaned otherwise I wouldn’t want to do it later. I worked mostly in the garden, watering, sowing, weeding, tidying, grass cutting and mending the fence yet again after the wind destroyed it, its only reed fencing so it doesn’t take much but I have bolstered it up now with some fence panels we had. I cut the front drive grass for the first time this year as well, I was fair tuckered after that lol. Popped down the pub for a couple of G & T’s before coming back to feed the birds. 

Sunday: Mother’s Day, I hope all you Mums were thoroughly looked after, the girls came home to cook up a big breakfast for us which was lovely. Another beautiful day and John cleaned out the chicken run that the selling birds live in, we moved the others to the front hut last night when it got dark, we have got 25 point of lay coming in although I’m told they are already laying as things have been slow for the supplier during the lock down, goodness knows what we are going to do with yet more eggs!The egg sales are going well but so is the laying, we are getting around 80/90 eggs a day from the hens alone, that’s a fair amount to shift. The goose on the nest has not left for three days now so that’s it for goose eggs, I am not going in there to try and retrieve any lol. The quail are growing well they are about 20 days old now, a few more weeks until they begin to lay yet. 

In the afternoon I cleaned out the chickens in the orchard and the rabbits, plus the hut in the front which didn’t get done this morning, then I went on the hunt for weeds, grass tufts and dandelions for the rabbits plus some chick weed for the hens in the orchard, then onto a bit of hoeing, loving the lighter evenings as it means I can be out there longer although I can feel that I have been bitten by midges 😝

We have a problem this year with either ash or sycamore saplings, I’m not sure which as we have both trees here, but the conditions must have been just perfect for them because there are thousands of little saplings all over the place, in the paddocks, in the garden, on the driveway, everywhere! We have never had it before like this and I’m not sure how we are going to tackle getting rid of them, they probably need to be mown in the paddock but they are not quite tall enough yet and my worry is if we leave them too long (more than two leaves, the cotyledon) the root, will have got strong enough to sprout even if we do mow them. 

Have a fabulous week people 😀 


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