Monday: Mid August and summer appears to have left us lol, dry this morning but colder than I would like for the time of year, the rain was not far away either! Did the rounds all was well then turned on the water in the big tunnel and forgot to turn it off until later in the afternoon, that won’t need doing for the rest of the week 😜 Went out and got some oil for the generator so that I can get that going on Thursday when the electric goes off, need to keep the incubator going in case they haven’t all hatched and need to have a heat lamp on any that have hatched.
Pulled a muscle in my arm throwing the chickens some food would you believe, now it hurts every time I try and do something, stood and halved and stoned 1.5kg of Victoria plums that’s enough in one sitting, I am going to have to give a lot of them away I think as there are many kilos of them, only so much plum crumble you can eat and this evenings job will be looking for new recipes for plums! While I was out getting the oil I found a Medieval cook book in the charity shop, well it’s not actually Medieval otherwise it would have cost a lot more than £1 but the recipes are from those times so I will see if that has any plum recipes in it.
Tuesday: Foggy damp morning that blossomed into a beautiful sunny day ☀️ did the rounds and then did some bits in the garden. I have a fair few perennials that were planted in boxes a few years ago that have now outgrown the positions, the boxes can’t sustain them and they dry out too quickly so although it’s not quite the right time of year year I have been taking them out and dividing them up and potting them so that I can redo the beds and replant them next spring. I will also have plenty of plants for my new flower bed 😀
I decided to shut the dogs away and sit quietly and drink tea in the garden, I rarely do that mostly I drink on the go, sitting there all I could think was, the grass needs cutting, I better check on the few pears I have left in the orchard, I really should pick some plums, the geese need cleaning out and I hadn’t even finished my cup before Samantha arrived, all the best laid plans lol, so I was up and about it again before very long. I picked some, well quite a lot actually, of the hybrid blackberries, they have sweetened up a bit and Mia certainly enjoyed a few, then I picked a few weeds for the rabbits and guinea pigs I gave them a few of the squished blackberries to see if they like them. In no time at all it was egg collecting time. In the evening after dinner I cut the lawn as it had grown a fair bit in one week and was dry enough at the end of the day, and I watered the plants in pots because even though we had rain overnight the August sun is still strong enough to dry them out. John cleaned out the geese and my sister came over to have a little go in the caravan (yep the one we haven’t worked on for ages 😝) We were given a complete awning for it but we only wanted the top bit so set about cutting it up until we had what we needed.
Wednesday: This morning I had Josh for an hour while Mummy did some errands so we went outside, picked up some crab apples from the floor to give to the geese, went for a walk up to the back paddock where I taught him about Hawthorn and Sloes lol, then Sam and Mia arrived and then my Mum turned up to do a bit in the veg garden for me. I gave her the task of pulling up all the strawberry plants that I don’t need anymore, saving a few runners to be potted up, half the plants I gave to the rabbits as they love them and the rest went on the compost heap. When the youngsters had left I went to pick yet more plums, I discovered that a large bough had broken under the weight of the fruit, I pulled it off but need to cut it properly and hope that it doesn’t get a condition called silver leaf which can happen if it’s too late in the year.
John is going to be late home, he is busy rescuing someone with a split water tank, so I set about looking for plum recipes to make. A German plum cake was a must as one of my egg customers who happens to be German was telling me about it the other day, then onto plum ketchup, a mix of plums, onions, spices, vinegar and sugar. The recipe I have is a Delia Smith one and has chilli in the spice bag but I don’t have any dried chilli at the minute so I used Star Anise instead and hope that it tastes good. I also made a loaf of bread, good job I made it tonight as I nearly forgot the electric was going off tomorrow and on that subject I can hear chirping from within the incubator 😀
8.30pm checked on the incubator and we have our first hatchling 😀
Thursday: So today the electric was due to go off and it did but not at 10am as I thought, no, 8am 😜 off went all the gadgets. I was busy getting everything done so as to be in time for boiling the kettle and filling a flask when click everything went quiet. I rushed outside to get the generator going as we now had 3 hatchlings and more on the way, plug the incubator back in the the extension reel as well as a heat lamp for the newborns. I looked at my phone 1% battery OFFS and not much more battery on my vape stick either, I suddenly remembered I have a battery pack that will charge these up and it still had life in it phew, then messaged Sam as I knew she was coming over to bring a flask of boiling water or a coffee, great all back on track for the time being. Picked some tomatoes and groomed Kai for a good 30/45 mins he looks great now, no longer has lumps of moulting fur hanging off him. Sam turned up with the hot water and after a quick beverage we got on with the job we had set for the day which was collecting up debris from broken fencing and trying to repair what we could, the fences are a state, quite a lot have rotted away and the horses have trashed those and a few that haven’t rotted as well! It was a good days work well done, we have lugged and barrowed broken rails and hammered and sawn new bits of rail to put in, hardly made a dent on the repairs but at least we have started. For some reason all horses are chewing the rails at the minute, until we put some electric up that is and one of them got a lovely surprise ⚡️😜
Shelley came over in the afternoon with some lovely cold drinks and I was able to show Josh 7 new hatchlings, hopefully we will have a few more yet. The electric came back on around 3pm so not too long a day without.
Sam is cooking dinner for us at hers tonight, looking forward to that and she has a few stray buddlieas that I am going to collect.
Friday: Promises to be a nice day, I got going with the feeding then straight onto picking, the rain/sunshine weather is making everything grow like billio, got a couple of unintended marrows on the go now, I did sell the last one so somebody somewhere still eats them lol. A basketful of courgettes, a tray full of runner beans, punnets of plums and tomatoes have all been put out for sale this morning. I processed another 1.5kg of plums and 500g of apples for the freezer.
We had eight hatchlings in total, 5 of the 6 Orpington bantams have hatched however only 3 of the silkie eggs were fertile out of 12! Those 3 did hatch successfully though, now we just have to wait and see how many cockerels we end up with 😜 as they are pure bred they shouldn’t be too hard to rehome though.
I had a tub of double cream that was past it’s best date, I had previously frozen it then got it out to make something and didn’t so I was about to throw it out when I thought, ah ha I shall make butter with it. You can do it in a jam jar with the lid on but I bought a little gadget a couple of years ago with every intention of using it but never did, a fair bit of violent shaking later and I have butter and buttermilk whoop whoop, I froze the buttermilk in an ice cube tray for later use maybe in pancakes 😀
Saturday: Up and at it, different day, same routine lol, after the feeding it was time to get started on finishing the fencing round the orchard pen, this will securely house the bantams, the fox was getting over the flimsy fence before but now we have new posts concreted in and tomorrow the wire will go on then it’s finished finally. While we were at it we tided the area behind the greenhouse and it’s all looking good, we spent most of the day doing that plus a bit of housework. Shelley and Josh came over in the afternoon and bought doughnuts to go with a cup of tea ☕️ lovely jubbly 😀
I went down to the postbox in the afternoon and found the letter I was waiting for had arrived 😝 I can’t remember if I mentioned it in a previous blog but I had been summoned for Jury Service 😏 Five years ago I would have jumped at the chance, maybe even a couple of years ago but here and now it was going to be a logistic and financial nightmare to say the least so I returned my form asking for an excusal on many fronts, one being that I don’t drive and there is no daily bus service, two I am solely responsible on a day to day basis for the livestock and three I provide free childcare for my granddaughter during the week. I don’t pay myself a wage so I wouldn’t be able to claim for anyone to cover my absence and Sam would have to potentially pay for childcare that also couldn’t be claimed for. I asked for an excusal hoping that at least they would defer, on opening the letter I found they had excused me, phew, that is a weight off my shoulders I can tell you.
Sunday: Love Sunday mornings, they have a special feel to them, quiet and relaxed and even better when the Sun is out 😀 We had a cracking day working and getting the orchard pen completely finished, the whole area is looking clean and tidy and it’s good to go as soon as the bantams are big enough 😜 We took an hour out of the job to finish picking the Victoria plums, the tree was heaving with them and we have picked many kilos, I will process them tomorrow, some will go out for jam making, probably some more in the freezer and some just for the pure pleasure of eating. Shelley, Martin and Josh popped in and Josh spotted the basket full of plums straight away we had to limit him to two though I did take him off to pick a few raspberries and blackberries which he scoffed in an instant. We carried on tidying until quite late into early evening, cutting back a few branches from the trees that had grown a bit low, then shredding them up and raking the area tidy, a great weekends work and we finished just before the rain came down 😜
For some reason I seem unable to upload the photos of the area we worked on into this blog, having tried multiple times I will see if I can get them onto a separate posting, damn technology!