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

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I think all 7 of my new little hens are laying now but only 6 of them on any given day. Now that we have a little spell of warmer weather for a few days, the older hens are laying better. Or maybe they are trying to keep up with the new little Joneses in the neighbouring run :) The older ones' laying seems to be more bound to the temperature and weather conditions than any of the other hens that we have ever had. Anyway, I took 4 boxes of 6 eggs into work on Friday and sold them all - so that will help towards the feed bill.

My husband went to the allotment to catch up a bit. I stayed home and did a few jobs, like mending and sewing buttons on. I get prickly heat quite badly so I tend to hide when there is full sun, discretion being the better part of valour.

I've got hay drying in the garden. My son cut an area of his garden with shears because it was too long for the mower (15 inches-ish ) and being kind, he dropped it off to me when he was passing. The sun has been so hot this week that it is just about dried and I can store it in paper feed sacks for the rabbits to have next winter. Not to be outdone, when I saw my daughter, she gave me their grass mowings. It is all nice, small stuff from young grass and it is spread out and almost dry too. That gets used for the bottom of the rabbits' hutches. I'd use a bit for the hens' runs as well but I've read differing opinions on that subject, so I don't. In the autumn, I collect sacks of dry leaves and keep them to put them down in the runs to keep the hens' feet off the mud when there is heavy rain. We have heavy clay soil so the ground gets waterlogged very easily. They love turning the leaves over in case there is a tasty tidbit lurking underneath and by the time the hens have finished with them, the leaves are all broken up and are put in the compost heap. If we get given more grass mowings than I can easily dry, they go in the compost too. I put a small layer of the mowings in all the seed trays that are not currently in use for seeds so that I can collect them easily up before the dew falls and stack them in the shed overnight. The long grass gets spread over the two garden benches (slatted so air flow on top and underneath) and also on top of the rabbit hutches - one of the only places in the garden to actually catch the sun. I can't actually produce or store enough hay to last the winter, but by doing bits like this, we can usually get away with just one bale bought in. That is not just the cost of a bale saved but 10 miles worth of petrol per bale too as we can only transport and store one at a time. The cost of a bale added to the cost of the petrol = expensive hay. Besides, I get a real kick out of giving the rabbits a handful of home produced hay :)

It is time to go and practise my music for church in the morning.


  • At 5:18 PM, Blogger Michelle H. said…

    Interesting post. I've never thought about producing hay from regular mowing.
    As for practicing music for church, do you sing or play an instrument or both? My husband plays guitar and I play piano for our church and we love to sing too!

  • At 1:51 PM, Blogger Jo said…

    We have a "worship band". I'm the main singer but there are others too. My husband plays the guitar. We have 2 keyboard players who take turns. There are also 2 flutes, a drummer and a percussionist who all come as they can. Occasionally it is just my husband on guitar and me singing and that is much harder work. I do love to sing, though.

  • At 9:29 AM, Blogger Michelle H. said…

    Oh your worship band sounds awesome! Wish we had one!

  • At 6:29 AM, Blogger Jo said…

    "Worship band" was in inverted commas because it is a bit of a grand title for what it is... :)

    It is fun, though. We range in age from 16 to 61 but we all get along just fine.


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