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

Saturday, January 28, 2012

We went for an outing yesterday - to Sainsburys. Thrilling, eh!  It is the first time for several weeks that I've been out of the door apart from visits to the doctor and the first time for a couple of weeks for my husband.  We were both very shaky when we got back and worried because we are supposed to be back at school on Monday. Hmmm.

I've decided to monitor our spending a bit more this year.  So I've got a notebook and kept a record of everything that we have spent in January.  It has been easy this month because we have not been out anywhere.  The test will be when we are back to our normal busy lives. At least we have kept to the plan of eating out of the freezer this month and our food shopping bill has come in at just over £30 for the whole of January with toiletries and other household things taking the total to just over £35.  However, the heating bill will have jumped rather because of being home.  I'm going to make a real effort to keep the noptebook up to date for 3 months and see how we do.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Still off school but my voice is starting to come back - finally.  It has been gone for 9 weeks now.  And I'm now starting to feel a little bit of energy trickling back.  Doesn't last long but at least it is there for a while.  I've finished my most recent dose of antibiotics and they do seem to have worked this time.  My husband is off work now too with his own chest infection that triggered all sorts of asthma problems. And he has been really deaf with it and that does not pair up neatly with me having no voice : )

The young hens have laid 7 eggs three times now but to make up for it, they have only laid 3 on really wet days.  How do free range egg farmers ever make a living when they have orders to fill and hens that lay according to the weather and how they are feeling?  I've also got a case of feather pecking to contend with.  I've got a spray that tastes and smells absolutely disgusting.  Because it is a spray, I always seem to get some on me or my coat.  I use a nose mask and rubber gloves but somehow I can still taste the vile stuff a couple of hours later.  Bleugghhh.  I'm due to use it again today so I think I can taste it in anticipation.  It does seem to help though.

My fridge, freezer and pantry were well stocked which has been a real blessing as we were not capable of getting out anywhere for a while there.  And having family living locally who could bring in milk etc has been a blessing also.  One of my main resolutions for the new year was to eat out the freezer for a while and we are certainly doing that.  We have nearly eaten enough from the freezer to be able to sort it out without being unable to close the lid at the end of the sorting.  That does mean that we are eating the newest stuff from the top of the large and very deep chest freezer but it is progress and I am pleased with it.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Woohoo!!!!  7 eggs from the young ones for the very first time.  They are now 37 weeks old and were certainly 30 weeks before we could rely on half of them laying each day.  I have no idea why they were so slow in getting going.  We bought them as a replacement for the middleaged and older ones to ensure continuity of supply but that just has not worked out.  It is a bit of a puzzle.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The doctor has signed me off for another week with yet more antibiotics.  I've had so much time off work in the last 12 months.  It is quite scary being at home today.  The weather is very stormy and when the wind gusts, I can feel the house sway if I am upstairs.  Feeling a nice, solid, brick house swaying does not make one feel very safe!

With the warm winter we have had, the hens seem to be starting their spring laying early.  One of the old girls is laying again.  After the spring flush of eggs, I don't suppose they will lay more than the occasional egg again.  Both the chicks hatched at school last summer are now laying although I don't expect either will be very prolific.  One is a bantam and I have never found them to lay a lot of eggs.  The other is a buff Orpington and at their best they will lay 3 a week - but she is beautiful.  The middleaged set of hens are laying 3-4 eggs a day now from four of them, which is more than I expected.  The young ones that I got in the summer are laying usually 5 eggs a day with the occasional 3 or 4 and there are 7 of them so I expected better.  There have only been 4 days in total when they have laid 6 eggs and I haven't had a day with 7 yet.  Hopefully this means that they will keep laying a medium quantity of eggs for longer but only time will tell.

I must put my heavy coat on and go and give the hens some corn while the rain has stopped.