Monthly Archives: January 2009

Bees

In the last couple of days I’m been sent two interesting websites about bees and ideas to increase the numbers:

Plan Bee is being run by the Co-op (of which I’m a member) the most useful bit for me is a list of ‘Bee Flowers’:

“Alyssum
Annual coreopsis
Annual scabious
Bee sage
Borage
Candytuft
Catmint
Chives
Clover
Comfrey*
Common poppy*
Corn chamomile*
Corn marigold*
Corncockle*
Cornflower*
Dahlias
Deadnettle*
Devil’s bit scabious*
Field Woundwort*
Foxglove*
French marigold

Goldenrod*
Greater knapweed*
Larkspur
Lesser snapdragon*
Lungwort
Meadow clary*
Mexican hat
Nasturtium
Round-leaved fluellin*
Sage
Sea holly
Sedum
Spiked speedwell*
Sunflower
Sweet William
Teasel*
Thistle*
Tobacco plant
Viper’s bugloss*
Whorled clary*
Wild clary

*denotes native to UK

And the other is part of National Science and Engineering Week 2009, I’ve signed up for this and hopefully with do something with the kids (or young people) at work. Maybe paper pot making and seed planting

Beachcombing

I’m a little bit last with everything this week, I went on a residental at the weekend which was great fun. It was in Wales by a beach, I haven’t been to the beach for ages and I also liked the beach at this time of year.

 pict0087

We spent loads of time on the beach and I collected one and a half carrier bags of cuttlefish for the quail. It made me really happy, and the quail love cuttlefish. They were all very sandy and some had bits of ‘meat’ on:

 pict0118

On Monday I was given some new quail as well. Someone contacted me about them a few weeks ago from a new quail forum I’ve joined. Any way, they are all lovely and I can’t wait for them to start laying.

 

And my quail eggs started to hatch yesterday. 

When I got home on Sunday night there was some babies in the kitchen:

pict01171 

They were born on Saturday night, their mum has been looking like she’s been going to kid any day for a couple of weeks now. I even spent last Thursday night getting up to check on her as she was looking ‘odd’. there really isn’t an easy way to explain how a goat, or anything else, looks before they give birth. There are all the signs you get once they have started but once you’ve lived along side animals for a while you just seem to know. It’s nice, it’s a part of living with animals that I really enjoy being able to communitcate without any sort of noise. And they do it back too, I often use to spend time in the goat pen/houses when I was younger just sitting or reading and they would know if I was up-set about something and always come and sit close and nussle my face. 

Any way, the kids mum wasn’t very good with them and kept knocking them across the house if the stood up so they are in the kitchen. Their mum is very up-set about it and crys everytime you walk past her house or go out to milk her (she’s also started drinking milk from herself) it’s very sad but if she’s going to treat her babies like that than nothing else can be done.

In season this week #21

VEGETABLES

beetroot | brussels sprouts | cauliflower | celeriac | chicory | jerusalem artichoke | kale | leeks | parsnips | potatoes (maincrop) | rhubarb | swede

FRUIT & NUTS

blood oranges | clementines | kiwi fruit | lemons | oranges | passion fruit | pears | pineapple | pomegranate | satsumas | walnuts

MEAT

guinea fowl | hare | venison

Weekend working

This weekend was really good and productive for me, inspite of the weather forecast predicting rain and high winds it really wasn’t that bad during the day.

On Friday I got up late even though I’d plan to get up and start the day, over Christmas I got into the habit of not going to bed until late (or late for me) and sleeping in in the mornings. I have to sort it out though, even though I enjoy a lay in, I also enjoy getting up and spending the day doing things, even just little things, and it never really feels like I get much done if I have a lay in. Me and Rhys cleaned out a goat house, and the goat yard and then in the afternoon Little Miss Green from MyZeroWaste came to visit. She wants to be a farmer when she’s older but is too young to join the young farmers group; I remember I use to get so annoyed with being too young for things when I was her age. I would make up my mind that I wanted to do something, or learning something, find a way that I could and then be told I was too young when as far as I was concerned I was just as able, if not more so, then the ten year olds who didn’t really want to be there. Any way, we spent a nice afternoon with all the animals, went and milked the Primrose, bedded down all the chickens and cuddled the rabbits. 

On Saturday I got up late again and spent most of the afternoon in the veg garden clearing up. Someone from freecycle came and collected a couple of dozen bags of manure, which is good as where I’m planning on planting the sweetcorn is looking, er… big, tall, over flowing, all three really. (photo coming soon…)

I’m still waiting for my Mimi seed potato to arrive, they are a dwarf potato and I’d plan that if I grow them in the poly tunnel we could be eating home grown spuds for Easter, but it’s starting to get late for that so I planted some ‘Charlotte’ and another kind of red potato that I’d saved when our local Lild had a British special potatoes in. I stored then in a draw in layers of news paper and got them out the other day. Even though they’ve been in the dark they have started to chit nicely and aren’t looking light starved. The ones that I haven’t planted are in their draw on top of a book case now. The wind was starting to get up as it was getting dark, and then not long after it had got dark it poured it down.

It was fine by the next morning though; I got up earlier and spent some time in the garden again. There seems to be a lot of garlic coming through where I grow it last year, which isn’t too big an issue but I was going to grow it somewhere else as it had a little but of rust there last year. But it’s too much of a shame to move them now and they seem to be growing well enough.

At about lunch time it started to cloud over so I came in and made some Hob-Nob biscuits. It was the first time I’ve tried baking in the new Rayburn, to begin with it was far to cool and then I put to much wood on and I cooked the last tray with the door to the oven a jar and they still went a little black. Still tasted good.

White Texas A & M Quail

I started some more eggs off in the incubator the Friday-before-last, I bought 24 White Texas A&M eggs to try and have 11 of my own eggs in there as well. The time has gone really quickly, they’re due to start hatching a week tomorrow.

I’ve only put in eggs from one of my quail houses as I didn’t have a very good hatch rate last time. Out of 22 eggs, 5 hatched (but only 3 lived), 2 dead in shell and the rest of the eggs were empty. When I started to think about it I realized that the male in the house with the most girls is about 2 – 2 ½ years old, which is very old by quail standards. I will see how this hatch goes and possibly do some moving around, I’m just not sure what to do with the old male if it turns out he’s no longer fertile. I don’t want to having him living on his own, but I don’t want to keep him with hens that I could be using for breeding. I’ll just have to see.   

I’ve started keeping a log this time as well, it’s part of my ‘be more organized in 2009’ plan.

Home made clothes

I was meant to be starting a soft furnishings and clothes making course tonight, but it’s been cancelled due the college not being able to find a replacement tutor for it.

I’m really disappointed, I would really like to be able to make my own clothes and learn to use a/my sawing machine to do so. But I guess it’s just not meant to be, hopefully I will remember to use the time to carry on knitting, but I’m not sure how well that will go. I’ve already decided to spend this weeks ‘time’ filling in some forms and getting them sent off. Very important but I’m not going to be able to wear it when I’ve finished.

I haven’t done any knitting for a couple of weeks now and last time I did any I made a mistake on my practice sock and undid it all. I didn’t really pick the best wool for it though, it was just some green ‘stuff’ that I already had and liked the look of but I don’t think it was really designed for socks and it was taking a very long time to build up into anything, and when I dropped a stitch and it disappeared down into the row before and, partly because of the type of wool, I wasn’t able to pick it back out again to carry on. Hoo hum. I think I will have a go at starting a ‘real’ sock next, with my proper sock wool and the right sized needles and the free pattern that came with the wool. It will be the first time I try to follow a pattern. Fingers crossed it’s not as scary as it looks!

In season this week #20

VEGETABLES

beetroot | brussels sprouts | cauliflower | celeriac | celery | chicory | jerusalem artichoke | kale | leeks | parsnips | potatoes (maincrop) | rhubarb | swede

FRUIT & NUTS

blood oranges | clementines | kiwi fruit | lemons | oranges | passion fruit | pears | pineapple | pomegranate | satsumas | tangerines | walnuts

MEAT

duck | guinea fowl | hare | venison

Boxes by the goats

I had a bit of a rubbish day yesterday, for a few reasons my ‘main’ job is not the funnest place to be at the moment, then on the way home (from my second job) I ‘broke-down’, or let the van run out of petrol. Luckly it didn’t happen until I got to the bottom of the hill, but I did have to push the van all by myself back up a little bit of a hill before I could push it of the single-track road then walk up the hill home.

I was pleased with myself though, yes the van was empty but I did push it and get it moving up (a small) hill, and then walk almost a mile home up a very steep hill in complete darkness and all in about 25 – 30 minutes. And I wasn’t too out of breath when I got home or to cross, walking by myself makes me cross, it always has done. I’m fitter than I thought I was!

When I got home mother made me a cup of tea and gave me a box, that had been left by the goat house. My heritage and heirloom seed potatos, yay! There is 180 of them, all different colours, all seasons for all uses. I won’t be growing all of 180, there just isn’t enough space however much I’d like to, I’ve arrange a ‘potato share’ through LETS and the local Frercycle Cafe but I will at least get a few of each kind to try out.

I’ve still waiting for one more varity, a untra-earily call Mimi. They look like little cherry-potatos and are breed for growing in containers or small sizes. I’m planning to grow them in buckets i the polytennel and, if they would just arrive, we could be having home grown spuds for Easter.

Now all that is left to get, is sweetcorn seed, a problem I think ‘ve solved. For months now I’ve been looking for non-F1 sweetcorn seeds, they are THE LAST seeds left to order for this year now. Unless I find something interesting, which of course I won’t be able to live without, but that really isn’t how I should be thinking, I have far to many seeds to be able to grow them all this year and I hate the thought that even a single one of the little seeds I have won’t be given the chance to sprout and grow.

T&M use to sell a varity called ‘Idian Summer’ but they seem to have stopped for some reason, I’ve tried ebay and the other seeds companies I use but haven’t come up with anything, until I remembered The Real Seed Company, I’m been on their website a few time, they have some very useful information on there about things like seed saving but I’ve never bought anything from them.

They have just want I’m after, two different types of non-F1 sweetcorns that will grow well in the UK. perfect! I even have a plan in my head, I just need to sit down and work through it all to add the final touches.

Seed arrival

My seed order from SeedsUK has arrived.

I ordered it a while ago but because they are a new company they have only just got the seeds in, they look great:

 seeduk-order

There are still two more packets to come, including Tansy which we’re going to grow for worming the goats & possibly the sheep.

I need to put some time a side for some serouis planning for this year now…

SeedsUK are offering readers of my blog money off postage, just quote ‘alifelesssimple’ in the offer box when completing check-out.

In season this week #19

VEGETABLES

beetroot | brussels sprouts | cauliflower | celeriac | celery | chicory | jerusalem artichoke | kale | leeks | parsnips | potatoes (maincrop) | rhubarb | swede | turnips

FRUIT & NUTS

apples | clementines | kiwi fruit | lemons | oranges | passion fruit | pears | pineapple | pomegranate | satsumas | tangerines | walnuts

MEAT

duck | guinea fowl | hare | partridge | venison