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

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Egg problems and bargains

My new hens -  I've had them since the end of September but number 4 of the five just started laying this week and there is one still not laying. They were supposed to have been about 15 weeks old when we got them and should start laying between 18 and 22 weeks old. The first started laying after 9 weeks and then another started 3 weeks after that and the third about 3 weeks after that. Had them 16 weeks and the fourth has just started laying and one still to start. If they were 15 weeks when we got them as they should have been, then that makes them over 31 weeks old. These are just commercial little brown layers and I've never had one go beyond 20 weeks before it started laying in 20 years of keeping hens so something is wrong somewhere...

There just don't seem to be many bargains around any more. When I see a yellow sticker, my beady little eyes light up and then I see they have only knocked 10% off the price and I go away without it. A few yellow stickers not only gladden my heart but they surely make the pennies stretch a lot further. Sometimes the yellow stickers can also mean that we eat something (I'm thinking steak here) that we love as a treat but is normally way out of my price range. However pickings have been slim around here for over a year now. Still, I did find a big bargain this week. I was down at church and popped across the road to Asda afterwards, about 8pm. There were not many reduced things there but in the reduced section someone had put a whole tray of pint pots of double cream dated for that day. But there was no yellow sticker. I spotted a chap restocking the shelves nearby and went and asked him if he knew the price. He looked at the date and said that if I waited a bit, he would go and reduce them. He reduced them to 20p! The low price must have been because of the quantity of pots of cream and the lateness of the hour. I can make almost 10ozs of butter from a pint pot of double cream and this will cost me 20p instead of £1.40. Yum! I brought home eight of the pots of cream : )             I divide the butter up into small portions of about 4ozs and freeze them. I find my homemade butter does not keep as well as bought stuff but small portions work just fine. I make the butter in the food processor and keep the initial whey and the water/whey mixture from the first washing and use that for making bread and scones. Lovely! My husband loves it when he gets homemade scones spread with homemade butter and homemade jam.

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