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Everything posted by majorbloodnock

  1. If you've that much familiarity with IT you'll know all about running applications in compatibility modes. Why not take a full backup of your machine, upgrade it, see if the flight SIM and addons will run properly and then, if not, just restore from backup again? Just a thought. As for the cheap smartphone without a SIM, yes I agree that's a good shout.
  2. I also have a Fitbit and it suits my needs well. I agree with CT that finding one that doesn't need to integrate with a Windows 10 or smartphone app is a pretty big ask nowadays given pretty much everyone wants everything to work together seamlessly so the market for stuff that doesn't is pretty niche. What I would say, though, irrespective of whether you choose to bite the bullet and get a smartphone or not is that I would strongly recommend you upgrading the operating systems on your tablet and desktop. Both Windows 7 and 8.1 are out of mainstream support and the former is out of extended support too. That means your tablet will only receive security updates if Microsoft discover a serious security flaw and your Windows 7 machine won't receive any more security updates full stop. The argument that a system is still doing what you need of it is based on your needs still being the same as when you bought the box, but the changing threat landscape changes your needs for you. You can, of course, ignore those threats but if you do then the risks you run by continuing to use the machine will increase steadily over time. On the flip side, if you do decide it's necessary to upgrade the operating system to stay safe, most of the current range of fitness trackers will suddenly become viable options again for you to consider.
  3. Whilst we may refer to clay soil, sandy soil, peaty soil and so on, the fact remains that any sod of earth will contain larger grains as well as smaller ones. Those larger grains - the sandy bits if you will - tend to be less susceptible to binding together, so tend to remain as loose particles that can therefore stick to any nearby adhesive surface. This phenomenon is well known through the work of Professor Murphy and, given both his name and his research into soil dynamics, is commonly referred to either as Sod's Law or Murphy's Law.
  4. Personally, I'll take any tomato glut I can get. Certainly there are only so many cherry toms one can eat in a salad (and only so much salad one can stomach) but I make all my tomato based pasta sauces from fresh toms rather than buy tins of them (I find the result a much more natural and much sweeter flavour) and a glut will just allow for cooking in bulk and freezing. What doesn't go on pasta will get further reduced and added onto my pizza bases as the base layer. Our tomato plants have started ripening now, so we're currently at the point of the plants keeping up with our demands but only just. Waiting for the point shortly when I can officially call it a glut and go into full sauce production mode. Courgettes on the other hand.....
  5. @Hayleybug, all that mass of climber (Clematis? Jasmine? Honeysuckle?) looks as if the WIR should be really dark. Interesting, then, to see in that last photo that the sun manages to bypass most of it leaving the hens with plenty of light. Clever siting and a great use of space.
  6. You've got several swings, MH; presumably that's because they're so popular one wouldn't be enough? I've thought about putting a swing in, but currently our girls only sporadically use the static perch we have.
  7. Thanks for that. Yes, I've had experience with corrugated roofing sheets before, but the roof to my WIR has enough cross members for it to be fine if I go down that route. I'd prefer not to felt it since it'll end up too dark inside IMHO, hence my preference for transparent sheets if possible.
  8. OK, well in that case we might as well use this thread since it's available. I've posted my setup in another thread already, but to summarise, it's 4.5m along the longest edges, and gives about 16 sqare metres - ample for the eight hens we have. The Cube is inside rather than being an external annex, but the doors are wide enough to take the Cube out periodically for a proper clean, avoiding the inevitable mudbath of cleaning in situ. The floor is as nature intended, and the tarpaulin roof keeps a large part of it dry, allowing the girls somewhere to retreat when it rains. It's in this covered area that the food is kept, and that's in a treadle feeder so we can avoid "rat bait" scattered all over the floor. I have, however, put three boxed spring traps at strategic points to deal with any rats should they decide to come in anyway. There is a mesh skirt stapled to the run, which extends horizontally about 3-4 feet under the turf in order to deter digging under the sides of the run. There is, as you can see, a run of polywire at a number of levels which has been electrified, and so far despite us living in an area regularly frequented by foxes we have seen no evidence of anything trying to get into the run. Apart from the majority of the mesh, the tarpaulin and the electric fence kit, the run has been made out of recycled materials. Once lockdown eases and building supplies prices come down a bit, I'll be removing the tarpaulin and replacing with some corrugated roofing sheets - at least some of which will be transparent.
  9. Sadly, I've seen the pyjama brigade in Aldi, Lidl, Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury's. Bad taste is not fussy. As the original comment suggests, I'll happily forgive the fashion and etiquette sins if the social distancing rules are respected.
  10. I'm not sure I was ever more than on the periphery of the forum, but I was certainly around whilst you were. I'm glad to hear things are going better for you.
  11. Although mine is a mk1 Cube, I can confirm the capacity for sleeping birds. The ex bats will probably be warrens which are classed as a medium sized bird. i have three warrens alongside three similar sized Columbian blacktails and two slightly smaller leghorns, and all eight are very happy in the cube. They probably have about 15sqM between them and have plenty enough space to avoid the bad behaviour of overcrowding. Do bear in mind, though, that some of your ex bats may lead happy lives for only a relatively short time, after which you may well think of additions. Your run should still be big enough to subdivide temporarily at that point whilst introducing a couple of new girls to your then incumbent flock.
  12. I think, as a generalisation, that popular recipes have been lazily adapted until their original strengths have been forgotten. Take, for example, the perennial favourite bolognese ragu. Pretty much everyone has their own recipe, but almost all I've tasted rely heavily on both the meat and the addition of further meat stock. Trouble is that meat is the expensive bit and the end result is very salty and heavy. Precious little subtlety. Although there's no definitive recipe, the common themes involve an onion and about four carrots and a similar quantity of celery to less than a pound of mince, a glass of white wine and about a cup of milk, and cooking for at least 4 hours. No stock, no herbs, no other flavourings. The result is a surprisingly sweet sauce, but still plenty of flavour despite being about half the cost per person of what most people normally cook now on account of being bulked out by so much veg. Ditto shepherds' pie. It's not mince with mash on top, it's at least half vegetable, in order to bulk out the meat, and the veg adds a sweet/savoury complexity that is sorely missed when not there. Now that meat production has been identified as such a big contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, there is a real incentive for meat-lovers to return to traditional frugal cooking and make a little meaty flavour go a long way. That, in turn, will reduce reliance on meat in our diets and so give us the freedom to choose not to eat a meat-based meal when only bad quality cheap meat is offered.
  13. Adding to the list.... Most of us think of the enjoyment of keeping chickens when we start out on this path; chickens can be very endearing creatures. However, they can also be downright cruel to each other and display in spades unadulterated selfishness and regular doses of bullying. Both of these can be managed and/or mitigated, but accept that chicken keeping is not all good times and remember it when the responsibility you took on is wearing a bit heavy. We all like the idea of free eggs on tap. We all of us deem "free" to be exclusive of the cost of the henhouse, the feeder, the drinker, the food, the run, the medications, the bedding and the myriad other things associated with chicken keeping. Except when going into egg production on a commercial scale, we'll never most of us break even. But we'll think we have.
  14. I'm certainly no expert, so if anyone contradicts me then take their advice in preference. I've never bred any chickens for the table myself, but have helped out friends with farms and smallholdings in my time. My limited experience has led me to the conclusion that the different breeds and crosses influence the size of the eventual bird and how quickly it might be ready. However, I am also convinced that what really influences the flavour is not the breed but the environment. Happy unstressed birds consistently taste better. Birds on a good diet tend to have a fuller flavour than those having to scrape their existence. Birds that exercise plenty and use their muscles tend to have a slightly richer - perhaps even gamier - flavour. And, of course, birds that have come to the end of their egg-laying days are already well past the point of being roasted (one reason why my girls don't end up in a pot, but are allowed to "retire" in recognition of having looked after us in their earlier days). Does that help at all? Given you already breed birds, I'm guessing I'm saying things you already have an opinion on.
  15. It is indeed, and I've never known you to do otherwise. Strange how I'm happy for many things to be taken for granted until someone actually does. Thanks for not doing so.
  16. At the risk of stating the obvious, they’re in the public domain already. Help yourself.
  17. Anyone who can buy a Cube accidentally is obviously going to fit in well on this forum. Being realistic, though, if you get on well with the three chickens, more are likely to follow. With a Cube, you're already set. It's not overkill; it's forward planning.
  18. I thought it might be both a useful and fun exercise to list some of the hints and wrinkles we've all picked up about chicken keeping. It's not intended as a definitive educational list, but more a dip into the Eureka moments of experience. For me: Mistrust any advertising literature using pictures showing expanses of green grass. Wherever you put your chickens, it'll stay like that for a week at most. Forget trying to make the hens' home perfect; they'll ignore most of your efforts. If they've got plenty of food and water, somewhere to sleep and lay eggs, a reasonable amount of room to grub around and are safe from predators, everything else is just about satisfying you, not your chickens. Take a look at your girls. They are the best barometer of whether or not you're doing things right, and it's easy to spot a happy chicken. You wouldn't beat yourself up for being a bad parent just because your child caught a cold, so no need to be hard on yourself if you find out one of your hens needs worming; if they're happy, you're doing fine and any problems are just incidental stuff to deal with. Before you buy anything for your girls, mentally picture added rain and/or snow. If your hen house is open to the elements, sooner or later you'll need to clean it out whilst it's raining. If you need to kneel down to reach inside a run, sooner or later you'll need to do that in the wet grass or mud. If your food container doesn't have a lid, it will sooner or later fill up with water. If your enclosure doesn't have any kind of roof, sooner or later your hens will retreat into the hen house rather than get wet. Having made that mental picture, readjust your plans to make life easier for yourself and your hens; a bit of strategically placed tarpaulin or corrugated roof can make all the difference. Forget trying to keep vermin out of your hens' enclosure. Instead, be as inventive as you like in avoiding spillage or access to the hens' food. When it comes to pests, prevention is far better than cure. Foxes. No anti-fox protection is overkill. All the stories about how cunning a fox can be are true. Any of your neighbours who've had any experience with chickens will immediately become experts. Any of your neighbours thinking about getting chickens will immediately assume you're an expert. No matter how busy your day, you will find you waste some of it just standing watching your hens. If you didn't like omelettes before, you soon will. Anyone else for any little nuggets?
  19. Firstly, I'd say that if they're not interested in bedding in the nesting box then let them have their own way. However..... Straw is probably not the best bedding to use. It can get damp underneath and retain that moisture, leading in extreme cases to mould and parasites. If you want to put bedding in the nesting box then either things like chopped hemp (aubiose, hemcore etc.) or simple shredded paper (a great way of disposing of your old shredded bills/bank statements) will be better.
  20. There are certainly advantages to local butchers but that doesn't mean you can assume local is good. For me, the two big advantages are that you can ask the food's provenance (which, being a small business, they can actually answer) and that I'm not dealing with the big supermarkets (whose buying tactics amount to bullying, and who I can't trust to give honest answers if it gets in the way of a profit). Nonetheless, if my local butcher told me they were selling meat from livestock crated over from Europe, I'd stop buying from there immediately. In fact, my butcher gets their meat very locally, clubbing together with one or two other butchers to guarantee the local farmer a market. That keeps the costs down, hence allowing them to compete favourably with the big chains whilst maintaining quality standards. I understand that "people have to eat", but feel the argument that goes with it is flawed. A vegetarian or vegan diet can be cheaper than one with meat, but any diet with processed foods and ready meals will be more expensive than a similar one cooking from basic ingredients. If one chooses to eat meat, the best flavour often comes from the cheapest cuts, so not only do you get a cost saving on the meat, you don't need so much to get the flavour to go around. Of course, all this comes at the expense of time to prepare, but it just demonstrates the answer to feeding people economically is not to use bad quality cheap meat but to switch to using good quality intrinsically cheap ingredients for bulk and small quantiities of good quality ingredients when possible for the flavour.
  21. I'd love to say that's shocking, but I can't. I won't try to pretend that first photo is even close to acceptable, but what I find really telling is that those two poor hens are still pictured living in immeasurably better conditions than all the battery hens we were having to rehome up until only pretty recently. Entirely legally. Thank God the law has changed now - at least in the UK. How anyone could think keeping an animal that restricted might be humane or even morally defensible is beyond me.
  22. For sure. Let's also not forget, though, that lack of knowledge is not a crime in and of itself. Thinking a hen will take herself off to "have babies" is certainly pretty bizarre, but at least it's unlikely to affect the hen's health. The new keeper will almost certainly have a few eye-opening revelations and will probably look back in a few years with embarrassment about how naive he or she was at the start, but I suspect we all have an element of that to varying degrees. As DM points out, there are plenty of newcomers who're 'good' chicken keepers and, despite their innocence have found their feet meaning their chooks are happy and healthy hens. It is a big pity about the less scrupulous opportunists, though, and I'm sadly sure DM's prediction will be pretty accurate.
  23. I must admit I'm certainly no expert, so take my instincts with a pinch of dry-cure. However, one book that gives me a degree of confidence (not least because it's into its third edition) is https://www.weschenfelder.co.uk/sausage-making-ingredients/books/the-sausage-book.html
  24. Poppy seeds seem to need sunlight for stimulating germination, so shallow depth suits them best, apparently. As a result, newly disturbed soil will tend to kick start any poppy seeds that find themselves brought to the surface. It's less likely that Oriental poppy seeds will already be dormant in soil around and about since they're a less common cultivar than your average field poppy, but their requirements are, as I understand it, about the same. As a result, chuck the seeds around and leave them to their own devices. Next year, see what grows, wait until the heads have dried and opened, then collect the seeds and repeat in all the gaps you missed first time round. I can't say I'm an expert, but that approach seems to work for us here. Alternatively, harvest the seeds and sprinkle on a loaf before baking. Nom.
  25. Poppies are famous for thriving on newly disturbed ground - after all, that's why they proliferated in Flanders - so your recent garden work will only work in the poppies' favour. And the good thing is that any that come up will themselves provide seeds for filling in the gaps next season. Good luck

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