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Updated: Tuesday 30 December 2014
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So - out of seven ex battery hens five of them are moulting, and I am only getting two or three eggs a day.
Nutmeg is slowly losing all her feathers and when she has a shake a small cloud floats into the air around her.
The Mega Hen Pen looks like there has been a chicken plucking contest going on in there, loads of ginger feathers EVERYWHERE ( and lots of oven ready looking hens running around!)
Titch the baldest hen is still laying , but her egg shells are so very fragile - even with added limestone powder and Poultry Spice she lays soft shelled messes in the nest boxes nearly every day . I do wish she would stop - not because of the mess ( although I admit it is a pain to have to clean out the nestbox every day) but because it is such a burden on her system to be moulting feathers AND laying eggs. I worry about her being able to cope, poor hen.
Tiny Hen, who was such a concern earlier in the year, now has a full set of beautiful feathers and lays now and then, lovely dark brown eggs of an identical shape each time.
When I let the hens out at lunchtime they all leg it into the garden like extras from a "Benny Hill" show doing the chase scene at the end, feathery knickers flying, some to lurk in the barn ...
and some to go and hang around under the bird feeder, hoping to mug the wild birds for seeds.
Time away often results in moments for reflection and taking stock. At least I find that it is so. Just being away from home and all the inevitable chores, things that need fixing, cupboards that need clearing, helps clear the mind! and allows other thoughts to circulate. In this case my thoughts this week turned to gardens.
My summer this year seems to be a full of gardens. I have forgotten how much I love roses.....Can you smell this rose, the scent is intoxicating and every time I see this photo I can smell the heady notes. Its clever how the senses are all intertwined!
This rose scrambled up by the front door- close to my favourite seat
and this one was in a border closeby;
Whilst away I studied the gardens around in the vicinity. Our garden at home is on the edge of the South Downs which means it is mainly chalk with a very thin soil layer on top. This means it drains well but is not particularly nutrient rich. These gardens also are on thin soil above deep chalk. So I thought I would see what grew well here and perhaps try them at home.
This Acanthus was found growing in several gardens.
The hibiscus came in blue pinks and white.
Not forgetting the fuscias- they grew everywhere ! If you look closely there is a fuscia plant nestling under the hibiscus.
More roses- fabulous in a border!
The palm tree- in a neighbours garden. I think this might look out of place away from the coast but it did made me feel like I was on holiday.
and the Verbena bonariensis and the Agapanthus- lovely combination ! to die for!!! I will be trying this! I also noted cosmos, japanese anemones and even some calendula in lots of the gardens. I hope to include a lot of these in my garden for next year - so back to the planning!
Some of nature’s wonders require that you stop, pause and look closely. This isn’t one of them. There’s a reason the Buddleia is called a butterfly bush. It’s covered in swallowtail butterflies! This butterfly bush is the Buddleia davidii ‘White Splendour’ (I think). It is approximately 8′ in diameter and nearly 10′ tall. It was relocated a [...]
I'm feeling a little bit like I've had a spell cast upon me by the weather witch. Whenever I am doing something that I don't want to do but I need to do then the sun is shining, but when I am wanting to do something I want to do then the rain starts to drum down.
Every time I put on my Allotment gear ready for a trip, the heavens open. Oh well, we are getting up to pick bits and bobs and we've had marrows, runner beans and french beans in plentiful supply. The courgette glut is almost over, they are definately slowing down now and the picking isn't as heavy or frequent. However, there is still plenty to eat and we certainly aren't going hungry as you can see in the next picture which shows some recently prepared Mediteranean inspired potatoes and roasted vegetables....
I really need to get a move on with a few things though. The winter cabbage seeds really should have been sown last week, but will have to cope with a week less of growing time and I am sure they will. Linda also asked about a how to grow perfect cabbages guide, so that will be coming up when it's time to put the spring cabbage plants out.
On an interesting note, we're dabbling our hand at... showing vegetables. Apparently there is a local vegetable show on September 1st, Amy picked up a leaflet in one of the local shops. It's all a bit spontaneous but we are entering 4 categories. We know our veg isn't perfect, simply because it was never intended that it would be, if it was good to eat that was good for us. But we will be challenging for the honour of the largest marrow along with contending in the classes for courgettes, runner beans and french beans. Keep your fingers crossed for us.
I have also started my new job this week at a college in South Birmingham. It is a beautiful college with fantastic gardens and if I get permission I will be regularly taking photos and posting them here. They have their own veg patch and the food is used in the kitchens and so far so good. I am working in a marketing position and one of the things I am looking forward to is the first ever 'Open Gardens' at the college, where hopefully we'll be inviting the general public in to the grounds for the first time to view the beautiful collection of plants and trees that we have there. There is also a large ornamental pond and orchard. It's just great and I am really enjoying it.
However, due to the increase in my working hours there is obvioulsy less time for blogging, so I'm working on several social media streams including Facebook to bring you short, snappy updates as opposed to large posts. However as Friday is my day off I hope that Friday's will be my regular allotment and blogging day. So hopefully it will be something for me to look forward to at the end of my week and also give you a good read for the weekend.
Amy also works on Thursday evenings so until the night's do really pull in, I'll be visiting the allotment then too, but how many weeks of light evening's we have left is surely limited. You might be lucky to see some photos tomorrow. But only if you are lucky.
Have a great day!
The Hungry Bin has been quietly eating our kitchen waste for a number of weeks, now.
So I decided it was time to risk taking off the bottom tray to look at the vermicompost.
I undid the catches on each side, and carefully lowered the bottom tray - half expecting the entire contents to fall out of the bottom - but no! it all worked exactly as the Hungry Bin web site said it would!
The compost you can see on the ground fell out of the bottom tray when I removed it - none has fallen out from the Hungry Bin itself.
Most of the compost in the bottom tray is from the original material I added when I set up the Hungry Bin more than four weeks ago, but there are some worm casts in there as well.The bottom tray fits neatly into the liquid collection tray, normally seen on the ground under the Hungry Bin
I could only find one worm, who was returned to the Hungry Bin to join the rest of the many thousands in there, busily munching away at our waste.
I added the compost to some pots of veg in the polytunnel, as well as giving the plants a feed of diluted worm tea from the Hungry Bin collection tray. I then put the collection tray back underneath the Hungry Bin - two catches which did up really easily.
My Hungry Bin is now absorbing my daily kitchen waste -about a kilo of it every day, plus whatever else I find to throw in to the worms.
I am SO impressed with this wormery!
omlet: @wheeliesmom That code is only valid in the UK I'm afraid. If you send me your details (email@example.com) I will be happy to help you!
I seem to be good at hatching and growing cockerels!Theres 2 Silver Birchen pekins, 2 Cotswold Olives (Araucana crosses), 2 Araucanas and 3 Frizzle Silkies; 2 of which I think are boys.This cute little Quigley baby (Frizzle Silkie) is going to live with one of my customers and 10 hybrid girls... Will need a couple months growing before moving in with his wives though!
Day 7 of our holiday, 19th July Our last full day in Yorkshire and we wanted to keep it simple, so headed off to Scarborough, the North Bay as him indoors does not like the commercial South Bay! Once again, the weather was slightly overcast, maybe a bit drizzly, but...
Welcome back to Hen Corner! We’ve just returned from a family holiday in France where we enjoyed it’s wonderful bread, wine, cheese and charcuterie. Whilst watching cows in the fields and enjoying the odd Creme Brulee, I wondered why most of their milk is UHT… By subscribing (box right) you’ll never miss a thing! Sticky [...]
This week has been all about work and waiting for exam results and the odd cup of tea! And next week we will be waiting again. It's a very stressful time for the youngsters in our house at the moment. So whilst we wait and take stock on what's happened so far I think we will have some days out some family time ,so forgive me if my posts are a little sporadic in the next week. Enjoy the sunshine..........