This blog is mainly a rambling kind of diary of the transition from smallholderwannabe to smallholder.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Having looked up the weather forecast for the week - today is the best day. So I'm busy trying to get lots of washing done so it can dry outside on the line. The trouble with doing lots of washing, though, is that there is lots of ironing to do afterwards...

I've put the rabbit outside in his run for a bit. He has not been able to do that for a couple of days because it has been so wet. Now that he has discovered grass, he really likes to go out for a runaround. And he does work so hard at "mowing" the grass for me. I've been wondering about leaving a corner of the grass to grow long and maybe doing a little bit of haymaking, albeit on what could only be described as microscale. Small scale sounds too big for what I've got in mind. Just a little bit to help out. The rabbit and hens have got shredded paper at the moment.

The hens are laying well again. Last week the number of eggs went down a bit. One of the Warrens took to laying an egg downstairs in the run area for 3 days. I've no idea why but of course the others walked all over them so the eggs were very muddy indeed.

I've "rescued" some nice wood off a skip so my husband will be able to constuct a new run to go with the henhouse he has made and which is not yet in use. It is amazing what some people throw away. The old saying about one man's trash being another man's treasure is so true. A couple of years ago I was walking up our road when somebody was putting half a roll of chicken wire on a skip. Needless to say, I rescued that sharpish!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Another bank holiday weekend. Lovely! We were supposed to have gone away for the weekend to a family celebration but my husband has been poorly this week so we had to say that we couldn't come. We would have been camping and it is a 250 mile drive to get there so my husband isn't really up to it right now.

However, there are plenty of jobs to do. We found some woodworm in our bedroom so that needs dealt with asap. And there is the allotment and the vast quantity of weeds. And the grass in our garden.... And the hedge.... The rabbit is working hard on the grass for me but there is still lots to go. The hens deal with the weeds in the top half of the garden when I can let them out for a runaround.

I rescued several geraniums from my son's garden yesterday. He is going to grow a few veg and has to clear a patch for them. He is not growing much this year but it is a start. The rhubarb crown we got him is doing fine and we have collected up a small number of plants from friends such as a couple of surplus courgette plants and a couple of tomatoes and a wigwam-worth of beans. He'll have a few meals off those and hopefully be won over to a modicum of self sufficiency. I love geraniums. They look so good in the garden even without the flowers and the dense foliage cuts down the number of weeds that can grow. Multipurpose plants!

Well, my teabreak has come to an end and I need to get back to tidying the bedroom so that we can deal with the woodworm. Yuk. Horrible things! How did they used to cope with them and how come so much medieval/Elizabethan/slightly newer furniture still exists when they did not have all the chemicals that we have for dealing with infestations?

Friday, May 11, 2007

The weekend has come round quickly this week. Don't get me wrong here because I love my job - it is just that I love a holiday too (and a break from getting up so early). Sometimes I get so tired that I feel I have no energy left over after work so that life is a round of eat, work, sleep. So a holiday is very welcome!

My hens are laying really big eggs this week and each Warren has laid an egg a day each day this week except one day when we were one egg short. And we've had 10 eggs in total from the 4 bantams too, which is a really good total for them. Two extra people have called to ask to buy eggs this week and I've been able to say 'yes' because they have laid so well. So when I need to go and buy food for them again, the hens will have paid for it themselves again. Although the Warrens are subsidising the bantams rather.

We pulled up some huge leaf beet plants in the allotment in order to clear an area. The beet had overwintered and now gone to seed and some plants were four foot high. I've been giving the plants to the hens each day and they have been loving it. The Warrens have eaten everything except for a bit of root but the bantams will only eat the leaf and leave all the rest. I notice that the Warrens are much less fussy eaters than any other type of hen we've had.

I love these lighter evenings when I can let the hens out for a runaround after coming home from work. And the rabbit has now discovered grass and loves being put into his run for a bit. I don't think he had ever seen grass before he came to live with us. And he certainly didn't know what a dandelion leaf was- - but he does now!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Bank Holiday weekend! I've been looking forward to this long weekend. This week has been busy. Well, all term has been busy so far. And a little extra day off like this is a real treat.

The newly henproof fence seems to be doing the job and I've had no escapes since. I do have a broody bantam who has gone quite vicious. I used to make broody bantams stay for a day in the rabbit run if they were a nuisance - but that was before I had a new rabbit. My rabbit is doing a grand job of cutting the grass for me so he definitely gets priority for the run and I'm keeping a careful eye on the wellbeing of the other bantams. I have the second rabbit hutch for emergencies. I got this from Freecycle after my little 'poorly hen' coop fell to bits.

I came home from work one day this week and walked into the kitchen and nearly leapt out of my skin as a wood pigeon flapped away from me. One of the cats must have brought it in and although there was a fair scattering of feathers over the floor, the bird did not look particularly badly damaged. It wasn't flying, though, so we cornered it and took it up the garden and put it in the sleeping part of the disintegrated 'poorly hen' coop where it could rest safely until we discovered if it was going to survive. However, when I checked up on it some 3 hours later, it had vanished. I still can't work out how it got out but it did and has not been seen since. I can't work out, either, how the cat got itself AND a wood pigeon through our small size cat flap in the first place. Ah well, more unsolved mysteries to ponder over when I have time....