Monthly Archives: June 2009

Living the dream

Tomorrow marks a very sad ending in our household, as both Primrose and Sunshine have come back as ‘re-actor’ on their annul  TB test.

We have known that TB was a risk ever since we first got cows, Gloucestershire is a ‘hot spot’ for TB, but have always, naively it would seem now, thought that it wouldn’t happen to us. They may very well not even have TB, the test that is used is only 68% reliable, but we cannot have a retest. The ‘rules are the rules’.

We could fight it, but then it is likely that the cows would just get taken in the night, or certainly without warning. So we would be living on the edge all the time, knowing that it was going to happen but not when. It could be in a months time or maybe not for a year or more but it would happen and waiting for it would just be too much.

The lady from DEFRA has been very nice and understanding. She is coming out herself tomorrow to put the ‘death tags’ in, it has not been done before as it would just upset them. They are going in a lorry on their own, not with other cows from all over the area, and to the local slaughterhouse about four miles away, not all the way in the Midlands somewhere.

PICT0062 

It is a big knock, and something that a lot of people wouldn’t understand, Primrose’s calf was sold for meat after all, why is it so different for Primrose and Sunshine. We still cared for the calf, and enjoyed watching him grow and lean about all the new things in the world… It’s not something that I can explain right now through.

In the brooder

Ok, I didn’t manage to keep up with my intention to keep a recorded of what eggs went into the incubator but things have been moving pretty fast. I didn’t even really manage to keep track of the dates that different eggs were put in there either so every so often there has been a nice surprise of finding a chick of some sort or a pipping egg when checking on the incubators, in spite of that though we had done pretty well on the hatching front.

There is a Muscovy duckling/chick (?) who is the oldest, as it is the first one we have hatched out I’m guessing it is a boy. There is two Silver Dorking chicks, Silver Dorkings are ‘sex linked’ chicks so they have different markings when they hatch, from the pictures that I’ve seem on the internet they are both cockerels. There is a little white chick that was hatched under an Indian Game hen, they seem to sit ok but aren’t very good with there chicks afterwards we took the chick away as she was pecking at it.

And lastly there are the goslings, who are all doing well.

Left in the incubator there is the last of the goose eggs, that I don’t think are going to do anything but I wanted to given them a chance, some other eggs that were under the Indian Game, which I also don’t think are going to do anything but again want to give them a chance. Two Call Duck eggs that are due to hatch in a week or so, and some more Silver Dorking eggs that went in yesterday.

In season this week #41

VEGETABLES

artichoke*, asparagus*, aubergine*, beetroot, broad beans*, broccoli*, carrots*, courgettes*, cucumber, fennel*, french beans, garlic, jersey royal new potatoes, kohlrabi, lettuces & salad leaves*, mangetout*, new potatoes*, onions, peas*, potatoes (maincrop), radishes*, rhubarb, rocket*, runner beans*, samphire, spinach, spring onions*, turnips*, watercress*, wild mushrooms, wild nettles

FRUIT

apricots*[i], blueberries*, cherries*, chillies, elderflowers*, gooseberries*, greengages, kiwi fruit*[i], lemons[i], loganberries, melons*[i],oranges[i], peaches[i], raspberries*, redcurrants, strawberries*, tomatoes*

HERBS, FLOWERS, FUNGHI, NUTS

basil*, chervil, chives*, coriander, dill*, elderflowers*, mint*, mushrooms (cultivated), oregano, parsley (curly)*, parsley (flat-leaf)*, rosemary*, sage, sorrel*, tarragon*, thyme*, wild mushrooms

MEAT

beef, chicken, lamb*, pork, rabbit, venison, wood pigeon*

Allotment 21/06/09

Well, yesterday and today I have been feeling a little bit down about the allotment as we still aren’t eating anything from it yet, the rabbits have had a good feed from it though! But then I thought about it with a more reasonable head on and we’ve only had them for just over two months, so really we’re not doing badly at all, and it’s not like I have been planting ‘quick crops’ on it either.

I don’t have any photo’s for this post but since last time I have planted out a whole bed of courgettes and some tomato plants that we were given (thank you Mrs Green at MyZeroWaste) and a few cabbages. It is very almost full up there now, at home I have lots of dwarf french beans, some more runner beans plus some more to be sown, sweetcorn and squashes still to be planted out up there. I also have a whole try of broccoli and another of purple sprouting that are getting desperate for potting on, there is also a small tray of brussle sprouts to be potted on and kale as well so I guess a fair few evenings this week are going to be spent doing just that.

In print

I am in the months Country Smallholdingmagazine! I wrote a piece for their ‘Real Lives’ section a while ago and can’t believe it has been used so quickly, I thought magazines like that worked six months a head for things like that.

It is only 300 words long, which isn’t much to tell people about yourself, but it is there and I am very pleased with it.

Cracking time

GoslingsWe had thunder in the area last week, we didn’t have a storm here but we did have a huge crack of lighting over the house that cracked some of the eggs my dad had under a broody. One egg has hatched and the others have been put into the incubator just in case as she started sitting on half a dozen and has ended up with ten under her.

Some of the goose eggs hatched, three. They are our first ever goslings and very sweet. The brooder is starting to look nicely filled, as well as the three goslings there is the Silver Dorking chick and a Muscovy chick. From the markings when it first hatched I think it is a cockeral, but now that it’s feathers are coming through I’m not so sure. It would be nice if it was a hen but then I would need to get another cockeral if I kept it. Oh well, we’ll will just have to wait and see.

Elderflower Cordial

I’ve done it! I’ve actually made some elderflower cordial that tastes the way it should, and it is very nice.

Last year I didn’t manage to get my act together to have more than one attempt at making some, and it didn’t work, but this year I tried a recipe from Colour It Green and it has work wonderfully.

Needless to say that more will be being made this weekend if the sun comes out.

In season this week #40

VEGETABLES

artichoke*, asparagus*, aubergine*, broad beans*, broccoli*, carrots*, courgettes*, cucumber, fennel*, kohlrabi, lettuces & salad leaves*, mangetout*, new potatoes*, onions*, peas*, potatoes (maincrop), radishes*, rhubarb, rocket*, runner beans*, samphire, spinach*, spring onions*, turnips*, watercress*, wild nettles

FRUIT

apricots[i], blueberries, cherries*, elderflowers*, gooseberries*, kiwi fruit*[i], lemons[i], oranges[i], passion fruit[i], raspberries, strawberries*, tomatoes

HERBS, FLOWERS, FUNGHI, NUTS

basil*, chervil, chives*, coriander, dill*, elderflowers*, mint*, nasturtium*, oregano, parsley (curly)*, parsley (flat-leaf)*, rosemary*, sage, sorrel*, wild mushrooms

MEAT

beef, chicken, lamb*, pork, rabbit, wood pigeon*

Fucshia’s kids

Having their first feed at less than an hour old

Having their first feed at less than an hour old

 

Amy, meaning beloved, and Ada, meaning noble, at about a week old in the afternoon sun. They are so small up to Maude's kids!

Amy, meaning beloved, and Ada, meaning noble, at about a week old in the afternoon sun. They are so small up to Maude's kids!

HDRA’s 10 easiest veg to grow

HDRA‘s last newsletter had a list of the ten easiest vegetables to grow along with it’s monthly to do list, I was pleased to see that most of them we are already growing but there are a few I need to work on.

French Beans: Some planted yesterday and more sown. This year as well as the ‘normal’ green french beans I also have a yellow and purple vertiy and Borlotto verity.

Beetroot: hopefully we will get a crop of these, if the rabbits stop nibbling them, there is still time to sow more though. Beetroot is the ‘nations best selling seed’.

Courgette: Some planted out yesterday and lots more to go out onto the allotment, I got a bit carried away with them and we have round ones, and long ones. Dark green and light green and yellow verities. Last year we froze a lot of them were eating them well into the winter.

Summer lettuce: I have lots of seeds but still need to get some going.

Spring and autumn onion sets: spring bulb’s planted and growing, a little to early for autumn sown ones.

Peas: Fingers crossed! More sown yesterday.

Pumpkin or winter squash: Some planted out yesterday and more coming along.

Rocket: There isn’t as much as could be growing but there is some in the garden and some growing on in pots.

Outdoor tomatoes: Potted on and hardening off.