Frost, a new gosling and willow weaving. 

Monday: The temperature has definitely taken a downward fall, hope it doesn’t last too long, I will be putting fleece over plants in the tunnels and greenhouse for the next couple of nights, I don’t want to risk losing any of the work I’ve already done! All is as per normal this morning, although I discovered that one of the geese is sitting on an empty nest! I’m guessing the other one has stolen her eggs 😔 

The ducklings are getting a bit big for their cage now and I am waiting for a metal run to arrive so that I can put them out during the day, they will still have to come in overnight but at least they will have a bit more space for a time. 

There is a bit of a lull in the veg garden now, the seedlings are all growing away and being potted on but not much is happening in the ground outside apart from the established permanent veg and fruit. There is plenty of blossom on the fruit trees and I’m hoping the frost is not too sharp this week or we could lose the lot, fruitlets are beginning to form on the pear, cherry and apricot trees, plum and apple are a couple of weeks behind, those are the ones most at risk from frost. We had no apples last year so I am hoping for a good crop this year, there are flowers on the citrus trees and the fig is putting on some good growth, the grape outside is looking healthy but the one I moved into the tunnel has died I think 😔damn it.

This afternoon Mia met the guinea pigs, she was a little more interested in them than Josh although she kept poking their eyes, probably because when she has a teddy or a doll we are always asking ‘where are the teddy eyes, or nose’ lol

Tuesday: Artic blast! They were not kidding when they said the temperature would plummet ❄️❄️ hopefully they will rise again by the end of the week 😀

I had a crap night last night, I only say ‘I’ because John snored his way through it all, the dog was barking at something from 2.42 until 4.05 I know this because I looked at the clock every bloody five minutes. I got up a few times to look out of the window or turn on the lights, I couldn’t see or hear anything though. You can’t be too careful this time of year as we have a local ‘fair’ coming up and activity is usually higher around this event. However all was revealed on my rounds this morning as in the orchard pen are a pile of blue/grey feathers, and a blue hen with not much covering on her back! This pen has a six foot fence all round, it is wired and has (did have) netting on from the bird flu episode, the netting has been ripped away but the wire is intact, now I can only assume that for some reason the hen was sat on the floor by the fence and the fox has ripped out her feathers through the wire?? Most of the hens in this pen roost in the trees at night but this hen and her fellow ‘blue’ are quite large heavy birds and probably can’t get up that high, I need to make sure that tonight they are well away from any nasty sharp jaws. If this fox starts trying to dig in we will have to set the trap. 

Made a couple of fruit cakes, one for the freezer, one for Johns lunchbox and got some rhubarb and ginger jam under way, had a customer come to buy two chickens luckily they have been before because I had Mia who was fast asleep so I had to send them up the back to get their own lol, first time for everything.

The sky is as black as ink this evening! John just got the chooks fed in time before it started hailing/raining/blowing a hoolie hurry back to us Spring 😝
Wednesday: A tad warmer today but the wind is still cold. We locked up the hens in the orchard last night, those that don’t roost in the tree anyway, fox was about but the dog only barked for a little while so I guess he went off to find an easier meal. We had a small amount of rain yesterday evening but nothing like the amounts we need to replenish the water tanks which are nearly empty, it seems it rains all around us in nearby towns and villages but not here. 
Thursday: Still a cold wind this morning, hurry up back sunshine we miss you. I had Mia overnight so she came and did the morning rounds as well this morning, I think the racket the birds make when they are let out amused her somewhat. Cleaned out the big ducks, got a couple of them limping, I think it’s the weight of the drake that is causing the problem, I can think what else it can be. Got the rabbits and guinea pigs to clean out and the little duckling that are not so little now. The run arrived so that I can put them outside during the day but the wind is too cold, I was hoping for a bit of warmth they are getting too big to be in the cage all day now. 

A ring on the doorbell and a customer tells me one of my chickens is out on the road, I go and look and it’s halfway to next door, I walk up the lane and by the time I get there she has gone through into the paddock, I walk back down to the farm cos she is heading home and by the time I get back round to look in the paddock she has disappeared probably back out onto the road 😝😝 I’m not playing that game all day she will have to take her chances with the traffic or come home like a sensible chicken ought to 😛

Did a bit in the garden moving plants out to harden off etc, gutted to see that the frost has got my Kiwi again 😠 that’s three years in a row and even though I covered it as best I could with environmesh. Going to have to think about moving it indoors but it has got rather large now, I may see of I can get a cutting perhaps and leave that one out whilst growing another inside. The potatoes got frosted too but they will recover, everything else seems ok. I’m thinking I need a poly tunnel extension at this rate 😀

My peas need to go in the ground outside but the chickens are going to decimate them so I have rigged up a bit of a fence to try and stop them getting to them, I think the time has come to re fence them much as I hate to they are becoming a pain in the veg garden and there is no point trying to grow all this stuff just for them to snack on! I have a helper tomorrow so I will get her to finish putting up pea netting and plant them up. 

Took the bull by the horns and got the electric netting up around the chickens, and set up a strip of electric fence along the orchard fence with a zapper attached to try and deter the fox, while i was doing that I found out we have a gosling 😀 so that was extra work sorting out chick feed and water for it. A good reason to net the chickens because they will pinch all the chick crumb otherwise, I also needed to put up a ramp for it otherwise we spend half the night, every night, trying to get it out from under the hut, I did think it was odd that the gander was staying inside today then suddenly they were all out with the new baby, there are still seven eggs to hatch and one of them went back to sit on them so fingers crossed we get more than one this year, I may turn the incubator on tonight just in case she abandons them in the morning. 

Feel plum tuckered tonight, back aches but had a good productive day. 
Friday: Looking forward to doing the rounds this morning and letting the little gosling out, the chooks are all captive behind the netting so it shouldn’t get hassled. I stood a watched them for a while then got some video footage, it’s hilarious when you watch for a while, either the gosling is off on a charge somewhere and the parents waddle to keep up with it and surround it to protect it or they wander off and it runs to catch up. Gotta love a day like today 😀 Just wish the ducklings had the same kind of freedom but sadly they have to be confined for the time being, the breeze is still coming from the North and so too cold for them to go outside yet. 

Had a busy day all in all, I decided to put the ducklings out after all, I kept a close eye on them to make sure they weren’t shivering, they weren’t, they loved it, even the rain 😀Lots of visitors for various different reasons today, one was my ‘man Friday’ come to help with the gardening, we got the peas planted, some potting on done, a bit of hoeing etc. Trying to round the ducklings up to get them back in was a mission I need to devise a better plan, the pen has 4 small doors but each time you herd them to one then go round they shoot off out of reach😝 it took two of us which is ok if there is someone else around but on my own I wouldn’t be able to do it. 

Saturday: Did the morning rounds while John went off to get the feed, then I was off out for the day on a willow weaving workshop. Fabulous day, with a great tutor and some lovely people at the Lechlade Craft Barn. We made plant supports and then had a little go at being creative and getting the feel of how the willow bends and can be worked. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and now have all sorts of idea for the willow whips I cut down each year 😀 Back home in time to have dinner then off to a country wedding reception in a field, life is good 😀

Sunday: Life is a bit too good and I have a slight headache this morning from the frivolity of last evening 😛 However, jobs still need doing and animals still need feeding no matter what. John did the bulk of the feeding while I sorted out the ducklings, I should have thought this through, they are now much too big for the brooder cage and they can’t be left outside all day and all night in the big cage, options are to put them in a stable but the possibility of a rat getting them is high, as is the possibility of Molly the yard cat finding her way into them and having a snack or two. In the end we bought the outside run inside, they have enough room in there and we will be able to plug the heat lamp in over night, when I say indoors of course I don’t mean in the house just in the back under cover bit. 


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