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Everything posted by Minnie&Moose

  1. Bit chilly here too - even the sheep were frosty this morning!
  2. Good to know she's settled in OK. Boys had a bit of a run round the field this morning while I was sorting everyone out - still cheaping rather than crowing!
  3. Very windy here too DM, and now clouding over, but it was lovely and sunny (but chilly) when I was out doing the birds this morning.
  4. I'll try and take some pictures tomorrow but our chickens live in a field beside the house so each group has its own electified netting pen and then housing and a small run inside the netting.
  5. I agree with Cat tails - I wouldn't put pekins with rescue birds. We've kept both for many years but while I've found pekins could hold their own against many large breeds and bigger bantam breeds, rescues tend to be very feisty once they've adjusted to living a proper henny life and I would worry they would damage the pekins. Ours current remaining rescue dominates the much bigger hybrids and the cockerel that she lives with; our pekins have their own separate pen.
  6. Courgettes and chard are now overwhelming us, and we had the first tomato yesterday! Salad leaves are also doing quite well and the cucumbers are producing fruits on a regular basis, even though the plants got mildewed (now treated so hopefully they'll be OK). I've just picked our first plums, all 14 of them! Morello cherries are finished (only 500g but it's the first year of production - same for the black and red currants - so that's all gone into a batch of 'garden fruit' jelly). The chillies are doing so well I'm now freezing them in batches every week, and plan to make harissa paste with the cayenne chillies once they go red. I may also have a go at drying some. Beans are flowering but they've been slow this year, and the winter squash plants are finally producing female flowers. Sweet corn's looking quite good but Monday's winds have snapped off one plant just above the first cob 😠. Tomatoes have fruit but they're green, and I've made several batches of basil pesto to freeze. And my one walking onion is 'walking'! Things that aren't doing so well are the potatoes - earlies but still not very productive; fennel, radish and rocket have all bolted (the thinnings were great), and the beetroot were/are useless. And with some of the beans it will be a race against the weather to see if we get anything much from them - but we'll see.
  7. They were shorn just before they arrived so I haven't got their fleeces sadly. But I'll have them next year - if they're good enough I might try and have them made into 'vegetarian' fleeces - where they're felted on the back to keep them together and then can be used as a rug without the animal having to lose its skin. I'm having this year's fleeces from our original sheep spun and woven into a rug - not cheap but at least it doesn't end up in the compost heap, which was the alternative.
  8. @soapdragon - some spotty sheep from when the sun was shining yesterday!
  9. Well - they now know what a bucket means! They seem quite chilled compared with what I was expecting - but we're a long way from chin and back scratches!
  10. Alternating between sheeting rain with howling wind and brief periods of sunshine - I'm feeling a bit sorry for our new sheep who were shorn only a few days ago and are huddled into the base of the hedge in their field, while our senior sheep are bellowing obsenities at them from the safety and shelter of their cosy fieldshelter🙄 - turns out chickens and sheep share certain traits such as the 'handbags at dawn' welcome for newcomers😂
  11. We eat our spare cockerels from hatches that are mainly for replacing our layers - so over the years we've eaten a variety of different breeds. So far the tastiest (and meatiest) have been marans and scots dumpies - both of which are breeds traditionally kept for dual purpose. I must admit I struggle to eat commercially produced chicken (I'm very fussy about what meat I will eat) - just doesn't taste of much and, as Beantree says, it's mushy. I'm tempted to hatch specifically for meat next year but I think I'll stick to traditional breeds - I'd like to try either Dorking or Ixworth if I can find them.
  12. Very sorry about Babs Catstails. Something similar happened to one of ours - found her in the dustbathing spot and from a distance she looked like she was dustbathing. I have no idea what happened but she'd been fine in the morning and a couple of hours later was stiff. It's probably better for the birds when it happens like that but it is certainly a shock to the owner.
  13. Might even be a 'stuck' onion at this rate SD. I started my cucumbers in a heated propagator and from there they lived in the spare room for a bit and then moved into the greenhouse where they are now. They were a bit leggy when they graduated from propagator to spare room but bulked up more once they were in big pots in the greenhouse. I'm definitely a beginner with cucumbers so I suspect it's luck rather than anything else. Working from home since mid March has definitely given me more time for the garden - I have the space but don't usually get this same amount of stuff happening - it's not having 2 hours of commuting each day I think, one of the few benefits of lockdown.
  14. I'm also impressed at first courgettes - our plants are still small though there are a few flower buds forming! So far we've had radishes, strawberries, coriander and the last of the chard that overwintered out of the garden and basil from the greenhouse. Peas have pods and are beginning to fatten, broad beans are covered in flowers and beginning to pod up, lettuce and rocket are still too small to use, and the fennel is coming along nicely. No sign of any flowers on the spuds yet, and the tomatoes and chillies are only just beginning to flower - but I do have little cucumbers forming which I'm very excited about - it's only the second time I've grown them and last year they took over my small greenhouse - looks like they're set on doing the same thing this year. And the one walking onion that germinated is doing something, but not very fast!
  15. That's impressive hail - we didn't have any of that yesterday evening. Hope your veggies survived ok DM.
  16. It's raining really heavily here now, after a day of showers, drizzle and the odd clap of thunder and a few lovely sunny spells - crazy weather!
  17. Very sorry to hear about your chickens - that's very upsetting. In our previous house we had badgers, foxes and deer regularly visiting our garden. Our chickens were all housed in eglu classics or a mark I cube, with attached runs, and then electrified poultry netting surrounding the lot. We did lose 2 chickens to a badger attack (we interrupted the badger in the middle of the event) but it was an occasion when the fence battery needing charging and the fence was shorting out because of long grass - which was my fault. However, the rest of the time (approx. 10 years) we had no problems even though we regularly saw badgers and foxes in the garden, and had camera trap footage of their nocturnal ramblings across the lawn (accompanied by our two cats). We also had a 7 year old child at the time who learned how to use the electric fence and how to avoid it - as did his friends. The cats also learned to cope with the fence (one of our current cats regularly jumps over the fence in and out of the chicken run- she appears to know not to touch it). So, providing the fence and battery are checked regularly we have found them to be effective against badgers - but you definitely need to peg the fence to the ground otherwise badgers will go under it. We also lock our birds in their eglus and cube at night, as well as shutting the run doors, for added security.
  18. It obviously rained a little overnight but the sheep were completely dry when they came to 'help' me let the chickens out - didn't even have that soggy jumper smell!
  19. To add to the list of things to do with eggs - made some grapefruit curd for a change at the weekend which was surprisingly good - not quite as tangy as the lemon version, but definitely worth another go. And once the gooseberries arrive then I'll be making gooseberry curd which is yum
  20. Used to sell the spares at work - now we're giving them away to friends and neighbours and exchanging them for things - so this week it's been bottles of homebrew (pretty good), rhubarb, a delicious fruit loaf from the local artisan breadmaker and a bottle of wine (our neighbours know us all too well it seems!). Aside from that, it's been frittata, pasta, ice cream, fried egg bagels, a cake and a quiche so far this week - some of that has gone in the freezer, we haven't eaten it all - though I'm a bit concerned that I shall be wobbling out of lockdown several stones heavier than I was at the beginning😱
  21. Must admit I quite fancy a trebuchet - definitely the mother of all catapults😂
  22. Not sure I trust some of mine - they're not the brightest chickens we've ever had - I reckon they'd really gum up the pump😱
  23. Shows how useless a first in PPE from Oxford is when it comes to the really important stuff in life😉

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