Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Chickens and Sheep

" Look I think Mum's got some food."

"Oooh is the grass nice ....

... I think I'll try some."

" Come over here everyone .... this is lovely."

This post is brought to you by sheep and chickens ..... and ooops did you notice in the first photo that I've left my bucket on the far gate post ... I'll just go and retrieve it, have a nice day  :-)

Sue xx

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Eggs .... and a Right Royal Hoo Ha

When we went away the other weekend the eggs that the chickens laid were obviously left in the egg boxes all day, meaning they were walked on by the hens over and over, moved around and generally kept at varying temperatures as we had three broodies at the time.  So we don't sell any of these eggs.  Usually when I am here I go over to the henhouse at least three times during each day, to collect eggs and check on the chickens.

When the eggs have been left for a day or more like this, we bring them into the house and we give them a wash to clean them up a bit  (something you shouldn't do unless absolutely necessary with eggs that you sell) this also enables us to have a good look at them all for cracks or chips.  Then I put them in a bowl for us to use over the next couple of weeks.  Well we've just used the last one, I thought it would be interesting to see how we used them so I kept a bit of paper and made perfunctory notes each time we took some out of the bowl.

It turned out over the last three weeks we have had:  2 hard boiled, 12 fried, 4 scrambled, 3 soft boiled and 3 were fed back to the chickens scrambled, as one of them had a slimy bit in it ... and this is the reason we wouldn't want to sell them.  Better for us to find that than someone who has paid for the eggs.

And what's the right royal hoo ha I hear you asking ... well yesterday someone from the Linda McCartney Facebook page put this picture on with the innocent words:

 ' Scrambled, poached or fried - we just can’t decide! What are you having for breakfast this#MeatFreeMonday#InspiredByLinda '

It caused a real storm with readers saying that if Linda had been alive she would be a vegan by now, how dare they support the egg industry and include eggs in their products etc etc.  Now this would have been no problem but as the day progressed things just got nastier and nastier.  I bet whoever it was in the Linda McCartney offices that put this up is keeping a very low profile today!!

And yes, I was there in the thread answering queries, putting some folk right on their ridiculous claims and generally trying to tell it like it is.  I don't eat eggs bought from shops anymore, and few bought in items that contain eggs (with of course the exception of my mayonnaise habit), but I would not dream of attacking anyone who does either verbally or in print.  I know that most vegans are very good, caring and compassionate people but the few who start spouting outright lies to get a point across get the rest a very bad name.

Sue xx

Monday, 25 July 2016

The Sheep Along the Fence

I always know when it's going to be a cooler or wet day as the sheep stay in their favourite spot and overnight sleeping area at the top of the hill much, much later than usual.  If it starts to rain heavily they also make for this cover as the bare earth along the fence line shows.

They sit with one front leg tucked up and one splayed out,  mother and son ....

... mother and daughter ....

... and oops, it looks as though this mother and daughter are not on speaking terms today  ;-)

They've gotten very friendly just lately and let me rub them on the nose when they are in a sociable mood.  It's a shame that we've only just become friends because the little boy, who's really not so little anymore, will be going to market soon along with one of the girl lambs.  The other one is being kept as seemingly she is a very good potential breeder from a good mum.  The little ram lamb has faulty back legs and was lucky to survive birth, his twin did not.  He's also very unlucky as he pulled out one of his little baby horns the other day on the fence.

Lovely Hubby is pleased that they are still here as the lambs are keeping the brambles in check, poking their heads through the fence to get at the tasty new shoots .... hence the horn loss when he got his head stuck.

It's now 7pm and they have all gone to bed early and are in almost exactly the same places as on these photos taken this morning.

Sue xx

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Sowing in the Rain

We have literally just come in after a morning of raking out stones, levelling the ground, then fertilising it and then sowing grass seed.  We really wanted to get it done this weekend as a week of rain is forecast and what better start to new grass than warmth and rain.

Unfortunately the rain arrived a little earlier than we expected, and we spent a good couple of hours getting very wet indeed,  so much so that while I was stood under the conservatory overhang opening the fourth box of grass seed I thought it was still raining on me, but no it was just me raining on me, my hair was that wet it was dripping down on the rest of me.  But the job is now done, and we are in showered and dry at last, this new levelled area matches up with the newly laid grass at the side of the house and will be that much easier to mow on a regular basis.

Now we just have to go out and try and find a reasonably priced petrol mower, as ours had a bit of a mishap yesterday when Lovely Hubby hit something very hard and a huge chunk of metal flew off it.  It will be repaired in the future when LH has his welding gear in the workshop but for now we need something a bit lighter weight that I can use more often and that will fill the gap until our old one is fixed. 

Sue xx

Friday, 22 July 2016

I Miss the Food .....

I miss the food posts on this blog, they all seem to be over on the 'Year Without ...' blog at the moment, but I thought I would put up a photo of my just strung onions on here, as they are homegrown food and that's what our life is all about.  

I even clicked on the Approved Food link on the righthand sidebar to see what they were selling these days, it seems ages since I did a blog post about them, but then I've not ordered anything at all this year.  It was interesting to have a trawl around the website though ... and I was almost tempted to place an order.

Yes, the onion crop has been poor this year the ones you see strung here are pretty much all we have at the moment.  The overwintered leeks all went to seed before I could harvest them and before they had time to put on any real growth to make them worth harvesting (and yes I have saved some of the seeds for next year) and the best onions I have in the polytunnel at the moment are the Spring Onions.  They are doing well, this reminds me I need to get another batch of seeds in asap to replace the ones we are eating.  The tomatoes are turning slowly ... ever so slowly ... red and the cucumber plants have started giving us enough cucumbers to keep us going.  Shortly, hopefully, there will be some extra and I can gift a couple to my neighbour to say thank you for all the gooseberries and red and blackcurrants that she allowed me to pick a couple of weeks ago.

I don't know what has happened to my courgette plants, they seem to be on a go slow, at last there are a few flowers but no fruits to speak of at all, I'm sure I'm further behind than I was at this time last year.  It seems nothing has enjoyed the strange unpredictable and changeable weather we have had over the last two months, well except the bugs, slugs and weeds of course.

One really good thing is that the Blueberries are now ripening and this morning I picked this trayful, currently open freezing ready to be tipped into a box in the freezer for free flowing easy use.  I only stopped picking because the little tub I had taken over was full, so I will be back first thing in the morning to gather in all the rest that have turned that delicious shade of blue that means they are ready to eat.   I'll bring you some next week Mum when I come to visit ... we always share they were Mum's bushes before they were mine :-)

Today's main job has been pruning the tomato plants of the excess leaves and extra little side shoots that have sprung out seemingly everywhere, but it was so hot in the polytunnel this morning that I had to end that and leave some for later on when the temperature goes down to a more tolerable level.

It's that time of year when it almost feels like a full time job growing the food we eat ... but a good one at that!

Sue xx