Butterflies, pitta bread & Countryfile Live πŸ˜€

Monday: I was a bit preoccupied last week what with visitors and John off and forgot to mention that I got some bantam eggs and they are now in the incubator, we also had no hot water as the immersion heater went on Friday so cold showers all round until its fixed, I have ordered the part and hope it arrives soon. Strangely enough we suddenly have some luke warm water this morning?? No idea what is going on with that (found out later John had fixed it) 

The sun is shining this morning and the two buddliea globosa, which have orange ball shaped flowers, are dancing with butterflies, mostly painted lady and red admiral, the odd peacock and also plenty of bees, all feeding on the nectar.

Well the day went a bit pear shaped when my neighbour shouted to me over the fence, she thought someone had dumped rubbish in her field but turns out that someone had been trying to nick Johns well hidden scrap from behind the hay barn, they had 30 bags of it lined up ready to go. Luckily John had heard the dog barking around 12.30 last night and got up, turned all the lights on and let the other dogs out, I guess they scarpered! He had to come home and retrieve it from the field, sure hope they don’t come back again it makes you feel very uneasy to know that people are prowling around. Activity has been high in the last couple of weeks as we have had some undesirables move in just a couple of miles down the road. 

Tuesday: All was well overnight thank goodness. A bright sunny start to the day, I did the feed round and then took Kai up to the back paddock for a grooming session, he is moulting like mad at the moment and the field looks like something has been massacred but it’s just fur. Mia arrived and sat out in the garden for a bit while I picked some tomatoes, which she kept pointing to and saying ‘egg’ lol, pulled up some weeds for the bunnies and guinea pigs, then she got bored of that so we went inside. 

Another couple of showers again later on in the day, I really think that might be it for summer now😝 the seasons seem to be all different the last few years, usually the ants start flying around early August but they have already gone a few weeks ago and this mornings mist was definitely autumnal.

Made bread once Mia had gone home, while I was at it I made a batch of ginger biscuits and something I wanted to have a go at for the first time, pitta bread. I don’t like the shop bought pittas, they are at the very least, disappointing 😏 and I have never had one that has been made by someone so I thought I would give it a go. They take 5 mins to mix up, an hour to prove the dough and then 1 and half minutes each to cook, brilliant, the results were mixed, some puffed up, some didn’t but apparently that doesn’t matter unless you want to fill it, but for humous non puffed is fine and they will freeze fine so don’t have to be eaten all at once lol. They are quite delicious and nothing like the cardboard things in the supermarket, they would easily lend themselves to dips, mopping up curry, chilli, stew yep a definite winner. 

Wednesday: Filthy day from start to finish! Didn’t really get much done outside apart from the routine stuff and a bit of picking early on, Mia arrived and Shelley and Josh came over to play and that was pretty much how the day went. Sure hope the rain eases of soon 😜 

John spent the evening outside moving the woodpile to fill the gap that the nighttime visitors were obviously trying to use.

Thursday: Not raining but windy and spitting and overcast, the jet stream is too high up for good weather it seems 😝 Nevertheless jobs need to be done so did the usual feeding routine, sold out of eggs by goodness knows what time this morning 8.30 I think, the earliest customer coming around 7.30! The chap a couple of miles down the road has given up his 150 hens due to ill health and I guess some are coming here however we don’t have enough hens to supply them all. 

After feeding I did picking, runner, dwarf beans, courgettes, tomato, swede and beetroot, the veg suddenly seems to be getting snapped up at a great rate too, maybe new customers? I pulled up some weeds and perpetual spinach plus some herbs for the rabbits and guinea pigs and a tub full of herbs for the chickens to peck over. I saw a programme where the local chicken farm was feeding a mix of chopped up leftover herbs from a herb farm so I thought I would try it on mine and see how they like it. Then onto the POL pen as it is getting very muddy with all the rain, I think it is still coming in through the roof and I will have to watch it to see what is happening as John appears not to have fixed it with his two bits of wood propping it up 😜Cleaned up the floor, chucked in some bits for them to scratch around for and changed the low water trough for two buckets as this may be part of the problem, when emptying it you can’t help but tip it all over the floor, better to have buckets that can be carried away for emptying. 

I had to look up two potential problems, one, blood in chicken poop but a chart analysis reassured me that it was just the shedding of lining and normal, thank goodness for that, the hens are all vaccinated but coccidiosis is always a worry, technically they shouldn’t get it but it’s possible one may have escaped the vaccination process and the second problem is the yellowing of the leaves on the tomato plants, it’s not blight and it doesn’t appear to be a nutrient deficiency, at this time of the season it is more likely to be the plants beginning to shut down. They have done their job, grown, produced flowers, then fruit (which is starting to ripen) and that’s a job done as far as they are concerned, I think it’s a little early but then so is everything else this year! 

In the afternoon I cleaned out the quail and then the ducks, both huts are mucky from the wet weather, at this time of year they shouldn’t need cleaning out so much! Then I went on to burn the paper feed sacks etc and remembered I needed to check out the greengage plums. Normally I don’t pick anything until it’s ripe but the greengage are the exception to the rule this year, I usually leave them until they are just about ready but find that the wasps get there first. Gages are the sweetest of plums, there is a scale measurement for fruit sweetness but I can’t find the reference now, gages come pretty high on the scale even though they look like they might be sour, trust me, they are not. I usually end up with a couple of handfuls but this year I have hit the jackpot with them, the damsons on the other hand are not so good and as I still have some in the freezer from last year I may leave them all for the wasps πŸ˜€ I also have Victoria’s but they seem, contrary to everything else, well behind schedule ?? Plums grown commercially are picked before they are ripe, then stored, then pumped with ethylene which is the same gas given off by bananas and some other fruit so all I need to do with the gages is leave them on the side next to the fruit bowl to ripen. I will probably put a few out for sale but mostly I will be eating them in their natural state πŸ˜€ I just realised that they are also free of coddling moth grubs this year so the traps I put up last year and the sticky bands have done the job, in fact all the top fruit is free of it so well done me 😝 

Friday seems to be lost somewhere 😝

Saturday: Whoop whoop we are off to Countryfile live today so up early to do the animals then off out for the day, Shelley is in charge at the farm πŸ˜€

We had a fab day out, it was one of the best shows of that type I have been to, something for everyone, everything to do with the countryside and a little bit more. I learnt a lot, ate a lot, walked a lot and talked to a lot of people. So many people are very passionate about their breed or their product or their skills it was the perfect place to showcase them all. The rare breeds, bees and using a scythe really caught my interest and we both thoroughly enjoyed watching the Stihl Timbersports British Championship. 

Sunday: Lol, John was up early this morning and when he was dressed realised it was Sunday and not Monday as he had thought 😝 The weather looked set to be fair and so we got on with feeding and then a bit of picking for me while John cut up some of the wood from the pile that seems to be multiplying while we are not looking. I swept the front driveway and cut the grass, it does look so much better when it’s done but I can’t help thinking it won’t be long until the Autumn leaves will be making a mess. There are little villages of mushrooms sprouting up all over the place, they look fabulous when they first bloom and add another dimension to the garden areas. 


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