Sunday, 2 August 2015


 Wow! Time flies when you're having fun........

A long silence due to being too busy to spend time at my desk.

For end of May and June we had family visiting.  Did the usual sightseeing and touristy things, as well as lots of relaxing in the garden.  The flowers in my borders were magnificent this year.  A real pleasure to just sit and admire them all and watch the bees and hummingbird moths feast themselves.  I won a prize at garden club in May for this lovely rose.

Spent a lot of time cuddling the chicks too..... to the point where one of them is super tame and just wants to be picked up and cuddled all the time.  A little rooster with a HUGE personality.  We have named him Garlic (he loves raw chopped up garlic above any other treat) and will hang on to him for a year or so to fertilise his clutch mates.  Luckily he is from our nieghbours hens, so unrelated to mine.

Another little rooster from that clutch will go back to our neighbour.  His nasty rooster was killed by a dog in early july, so his girls have been wandering around a little lost and almost stoppped laying.

I have two lovely hens - a legbar, and a legbar/araucana cross from the same clutch.  They will stay with me and be Garlic's girls.

The day they turned 12 weeks, Apricot chicken hatched a second clutch.  Six in this one - but she was sitting on 15 eggs!!!  I had given her 7 eggs to sit, but the naughty girl was stealing the eggs from the other hens and rolling them in to her nest to sit on.  By the time I realised what was happening it was too late.  No one else had a broody that I could put the eggs under, so they had to be thrown.  At least they fertilised my nectarine and peach trees and didn't go in the bin.

So now I have 6 little puffballs running around.  Looks like 2 legbars, 1 dwarf/legbar, 1 araucana/legbar and 2 marans.  The legbars are hens (thank goodness for autosexing!!!), but not sure on the rest.  Am hoping the dwarf is a hen as they make excellent broodies.  Any roosters from this clutch will go to the freezer at 12 weeks or so.

We have had horrendous heatwaves here for all of July and most of June.  Really difficult to keep water up to the veg, and the crops are suffering everywhere.  The river is almost dry, and even the wells are drying up, and that never happens here!  We did get a few millimetres of rain last week, but that was only because Wayne had fitted new guttering to the arrier cuisine and  It actually rained before he could get the pieces glued together which is typical contrary weather.  I am hoping it will rain on us again in next few days as he is fitting downpipes to the back of the atelier and garage..... would be nice to get some water in the water butts.

My veg are suffering, but hanging in there.  Have been picking heaps of tomatoes, but nothing like my neighbour who has irrigation up to his.  Photos from his tomato patch used here as much better looking than mine.  The deer have been into my potager stealing all the fruit and veg for the moisture.  Then they rub their antlers against the tomato plants and the plants wind up broken. Grrrr.  Have no strawberries as they have stripped the plants of leaves and fruit.  No matter what I use as detterant, they are so desperate for liquid that they are willing to risk anything.

Aside from visitors, chickens and gardening, I have been completely inundated with preserving the fruits and veg from the potager and verger.  Everyday is spent cooking or prepping in one form or another.  Not the most enjoyable task in teh extreme heat, but it must be done, and we will enjoy the benefits all through winter when eating our own produce.

I have developed a new jam for this year.  Rhubarb and vanilla.  I love rhubarb and could eat it every day, but it doesn't preserve very well as compote and freezer space is precious.  So I now have a few litres of this jam sitting on the shelves.  Some of the rhubarb did go into the freezer to make compote and fruit tarts over winter, but I did not have room for the (nearly) 10kilos that I picked. 

McKinnell has settled in well, and has a new nickname "The Apprentice".  He follows Sophie around and helps guard the property.  So funny to watch.  Still a really sooky boy who just wants cuddles and attention all the time.  Only real problem is that he dribbles when happy.... so you have to be prepared to get a little damp when having cuddles.

Well, enough time sitting at computer.... back to the potager and kitchen for me.

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