Wrestling with a rat, guinea pigs and Rhubarb bread.

Bank holiday Monday: Did the usual morning stuff then some pottering in the garden before deciding to pop out and get some multipurpose compost and some potting trays. When we got there John starts chatting to a bloke, ‘hello mate how ya doing’ he replies with the usual, ‘yeah, good how are you doing’ turns out none of them knew each other at all they just both look like someone else each of them knew 😂😂😂😂 still we made a new friend who is going to come up and get some muck for his garden lol.When we got back, John went off to cut wood and do some tidying, I was in my element with new pots and compost so I did some more potting on and set up a raised bed for planting potatoes, using the compost, as they grow I will top up the soil instead of the old fashioned earthing up method as these are late going in I’m hoping this method will enable them to catch up. I also bought some rooting gel to get some cuttings going, I will try the clematis first and see how that goes. 

I made some liquid manure this week, basically rotted manure soaked in a bucket of water for a day or two, then strain off the liquid into a container, I will dilute it and use it as necessary, it’s high in nitrogen so an excellent boost for growing plants. 

The hens are becoming a pain, they are proper free ranging over everything now they are out, helping them selves to my cabbages, scratching up the pathways etc and laying anywhere they see fit to lay! 

I was busy hoovering while John went out to do the afternoon feed, he came in disappeared and came back through with his .22, I asked what he was doing and he said, if you think that last rat was big you should see the monster I’ve just seen in the back run! By the time he got back there it was of course long gone 😜 more rat poison down, I will get rid of this bloody family, one way or another! 

Tuesday: Sunny but still cold and dry, apparently the temps are set to go down to -7 on Wednesday night! Hopefully the weather front will have shifted by then or we are in danger of losing all the blossom on the trees and that in turn means the fruit will be lost too 😕 Just in case it does plummet that low I will be covering the seedlings in the greenhouse and poly tunnels with fleece, I can’t risk losing them now after all the growing they have done, roll on some more settled weather than we have had of late. 

Wednesday: What a beautiful morning, a day that you can’t help but sing while you are working even if the voice is still a bit croaky! Did the usual morning stuff, then cleaned out the ducklings, they are messy now and it gets smelly very quickly, I have tried to limit the wet bedding by putting the water holder in a plastic cat litter tray, we will see if it works or not. I took a video of them and then tried uploading it, I don’t know if the internet is playing up or what but it was a mission to get it on there 😝
A beautiful morning turned into a fabulous day weather wise 😀 Did a bit more potting on of veg seedlings, then Mum came over and did a bit of thinning and potted up some strawberry runners as the ones I potted up sold, had a visit from a friend for coffee. In the afternoon I made some bread and healthy rhubarb and banana loaf, if it turns out ok I will put the recipe up. It’s good and healthy. This one is from kimscravings.com

RHUBARB BANANA BREAD
Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 50 mins Serves: 12 slices.

INGREDIENTS

1½ cups whole wheat pastry flour (spelt flour would probably work great too)

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon all spice

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup mashed (ripe) banana, about 2 medium bananas

⅓ cup honey (I use raw local honey) (brown sugar or maple syrup would probably work well too)

1 cup finely chopped rhubarb, about 1 large stalk

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and prepare an 8×4″ loaf pan* with a natural cooking spray.
Whisk all dry ingredients, flour through all spice, in a medium bowl and set aside.

*Use a stand or hand-held mixer to beat eggs on medium speed for about 30 seconds.

Mix in vanilla, banana and honey until combined.

Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Gently fold in rhubarb. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until loaf is golden and a toothpick comes out 

Thursday: You won’t hear me say this often but hooray is raining ☔️ only a bit mind you but it’s better than nothing. I can’t tell you how dry the ground is at the moment and it needs a bit of a boost, the grass needs freshening and the garden needs a drink. 
Even a little bit of rain is far more beneficial than water with the hose, even if it’s rainwater in the tank because it’s overall coverage so everything gets a bit and it soaks in better. 

Two days this week John has gone to collect the eggs and seen the rat at the back, ‘I will get the bugger before the end of the week’ he said, well this morning I went in to feed them and thought I will just check and there in the nest box is what I thought was a dead rat, I went to get a glove and then pick it up but it moved urrrrggghhhh. It scuttled to the back of the pen and tried to get out. It’s clearly dying as it’s bleeding out so been eating the poison, it hasn’t got what it takes to climb up the four foot metal side and get out so I decided to get my Webley .177 a very old hand air gun I was given, that still works beautifully. The rat was back in the nest when I got back and so were my hens trying to lay, I loaded the pistol got the hens out had it at point blank range and fired, well not because I had forgotten to take the safety off by which time the rat has sussed something was up and made his escape to the back of the hut. He is now out of sight for the most part so I decide on plan b, I go off and get a hoe which will be long enough to oik him out and then sharp enough to decapitate him, I didn’t bank on the fight he put up! Well I suppose you would wouldn’t you, naturally. First time I’ve had a fight with a rat, damn thing was screaming and hanging on to the hoe and that was while I was just dragging him out, eventually I managed to get him into a position that I could apply some force and do the deed. Two down, god knows how many there are but we will keep ‘feeding’ them and hope we get them all eventually, we have never had a problem in the run before but I guess eventually they are going to find out that there are lovely yummy eggs to be had for breakfast 🍳 I have to say though the chickens seemed more than happy to share the nest box with a dying rat! 

The new arrivals turned up this afternoon, when I have some hands to help me I will take some photos of Herbie and Stuart Little the guinea pigs 😀

Friday: The house needs a clean and a declutter so that is what I have done today, makes you feel good but I would rather be outside to be honest. 

Started to write a list of jobs for John at the weekend, couple of gates need fixing the stable the ducks were in is still waiting to be cleaned out, I’m sure the list will be longer by the end of the day 😜

Brown rat number three has been found dead in one of the stables.

Saturday: Lovely sunny morning which progressed into a beautiful day, after doing the morning rounds John and I got started on clearing out the stable that the ducks were in, we left it this long so that it would dry out a bit and make it easier 😝 Once we had dug out all the wet straw we got the jet wash out and washed down all the cobwebs in that and one other stable, they are looking rather clean now. We have done lots of little bits of jobs today, tidying here and there and fixing things, then in the afternoon we sorted out the spare room, got the new double bed in and up along with some shelves, just waiting for a new mattress to arrive and I can use it to watch films while John is watching snooker or F1 😛

Shelley and Josh popped in and I introduced Josh to Herbie and Stuart Little though he was more interested in the geese and looking into the rabbit house, the hole is just little boy sized so we had to make sure he didn’t try and get inside the rabbit house lol. 


Sunday: Another lovely day, I watered the greenhouse and poly tunnels, did a bit of potting on and moved some plants outside to start hardening off. John bought a few loads of muck round to the garden on the tractor and we barrowed some onto the beds, I am going to grow the squash on the heap that is left because they are hungry plants and should do well on there providing they get enough water as well. Then we nipped off to the car boot sale to get some bits for the spare room, we also came away with a nice metal egg sign that John wants to put up on the egg shed. Had a lovely visit from Mum and her Sister too, nice to see Aunty Louie again 😀 

And another week over. 

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