Sunday, 27 February 2011

Half Term Babies

The baby chicks have arrived this week. 3 out of the 7 yellow, one black and one stripey. They are not crowing....... yet, but are very noisy. At the moment they are living in a cardboard box with a brooder in the utility room. Eggs must get fertilised a good while before they are laid as the Buff Orpington cockerel (presumably father of the yellow one) was murdered by the Bull Mastiff about a week before these were laid. When I can find the lead that attaches my phone to my laptop I will upload some cute pics. Even eldest dd who is usually very disparaging about the whole "farm" thing has been in there cooing over them.

Not much else to report - chicken shed roof replaced and refelted after high winds and tree planting finished (12 in total) along with 11 Ramanas Roses and 2 Worcester Berries for the lower layer of the windbreak. The hot manure is being turned every 3 days at the moment in readiness for the hot bed and lambing should start tomorrow (officially)

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Forest Gardening and Romance

Well last weekend was the weekend before Valentine's Day so we put the whole weekend by to be romantic. Yes we cleared out the garage!! Such a good catharsis - which is why "dump" is a much better name than "tip" for the place you take all the rubbish (though my BFF will disagree on that one)

We did also manage to start planting the edible forest garden I have been planning/designing along permaculture lines. DH did the digging while I did the planting - always felt I should be the Queen really. First priority is to grow a windbreak so we have gone for mostly hardy trees that should manage in the North East of England - Crab apples, medlar, rowans, hawthorn, some hardier plums, a mulberry and a couple of Siberian pea trees.

I am also planning a Lindsey lavender bed in memory of a very dear and special friend who died a fortnight ago. She had sent me a card last year with lavender seeds and these I am going to grow indoors first, to then transplant to a sunny spot in the forest garden - she was a sun lover too :) This way every time it is sunny and I can smell the lavender, I will smile and a little bit of her will live on.

Chicken update - the eggs in the incubator have less than a week to go, I have been candling them and am hopeful that three of them have viable chicks. We are down to one remaining cockerel now - the small but stroppy Lavender Aracauna was waking the neighbours at 4am. Hopefully the remaining one will learn the lesson of his fellow cockerels and stay a bit quieter.

Must take the time to put some pics on here at some point.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Hard-boiled eggs

Sadly the thermostat went on the borrowed incubator I was using for the 12 eggs I had gathered from our hens. This meant the light stayed on permanently and it got a little over heated not to mention smelly, in there. Needless to say no survivors. On closer inspection half of them were in fact fertile so the roosters clearly weren't quite as inadequate as I thought. Oh well. I plan to set another 6 or 7 to start tomorrow.

Added to this loss when I opened up the shed this morning the only hen (lavender araucana) from the 6 that hatched in July had died :( No idea how but I've had enough of post mortems this week so she went straight in the wheelie bin. Our bin men must love me!

Lamb update: No more new arrivals. Lottie (the one with mastitis) is surviving thanks to im penicillin, although had to rugby tackle her to catch her on Saturday. She sees us coming with the syringe now. Maybe sheep are not as thick as we think. This still leaves my neighbour with the dilemma. Proper farming advice is to cull her as she will never be able to feed lambs again. The jury is still out on that one. One of her lambs is a bit poorly with joint ill (google it!) so is also on penicillin and fingers crossed.