Monthly Archives: June 2009

Allotment (& garden) 12/06/2009

Working on the allotment 12/06/09Today has mostly been a growing day. Me, mother, Rhys and middle-younger-sister spent a a good couple of hours at the allotment. The rabbits have eaten down the onion sets, beetroot and leek seedlings which is annoying. I think for the foreseeable  furture then everything is going to have to have some kind of cover on it. I was talking a friend the other day who has been mapping the rabbit population and only two miles up the hill there are no rabbits at all! If only the allotment site was there but it’s not the end of the world.

The brassica netting has been put up, it is net curtainreally but I have read that it works just as well and it is a lot cheaper. I have been hunting through all the charity shops looking for some but haven’t had any luck so in the end bought some from ebay. It looks good, it reminds me of a babies moses basket. The kale plants have had there bottles removed and they look like very nice plants underneath.

Bean bedWe also put the first beans in, all dwarf. It is starting to look very green up there now, under all the net and curtain. At home mother and me and planted out some sweetcorn, squash, courgettes and kale. I also dug up all the docks and weeded all the nettles and dead nettles from in between the spring onions, rocket and chives.

Indoors I have sown more dwarf french and runner beans and put my ‘coloured’ french beans to soak over night. I have also sown peas, it would be so nice to get a crop of these, kale, leek and ‘rabe 60 day’ which is a little bit like purple sprouting but white and is used in Italy as a quick growing crops. The whole of the plant is eaten. 

I know most people already have all their sowing done and are just finishing off planting out crops now so in some ways it feels like we are very behind with this years growing session but there is still a lot of time left so I’ve very hope for it. The allotments are filling up fast, inspite of the set backs that there have been with the rabbits and birds, so we will soon but eating well and there is still a lot more to go in too.

As deer to me as cup cakes

deer-247x300 Verona has given me this award, thank you! I often mistake deer for German Shepherds when I see them moving through the woods, there is a lot of deer near to here and there is even some white stags and a white doe now too.

White deer are seem by some as very good and magical and it made people very hopefully when the white stag, and then the white doe, were spotted. Sadly the white stag that lived near us was killed on the road the morning after I first saw him.

I would like to share this award with Jo from LittleFfarm as I have been thinking a lot about her and her yummy ice cream since the Tewksbury Food Festival and A Shade of Lavender as I really enjoy her blog and I know what a boost it is to be given an award.

All go

Such a lot happened this weekend, some very happy and some sad. I had already started to blog about Saturday and was just going to post after taking some photos but then Sunday arrived and I didn’t so much as get to look at the camera. I have posted up Saturdays post as it was written, and I enjoyed writing it so much and I haven’t really felt like I have the time to enjoy writing lately so there it is, below.

I bought one of the kids in over Saturday night, who is now named Ada, she was the first born and the smallest and just a little bit slower to get going than the other two. All three are having top-up bottles so as we can make sure that they are all getting feed. Ada spent all night wrapped in a towel in a box with a hot water bottle firstly on the floor by my feet whilst I wrote, and then at the end of the bed. The kids seem to be a little premature, they have very soft hooves and are, not sleepy exactly, but not as active as day old kids are.

I got very little sleep during the night as Ada spent all night talking to herself and demanded a bottle at 2am and then a few hours later. I went out and checked that the other two were doing ok as well, but by the morning it was worth it as she was fine and starting to stand better like her sisters.

When I feed the other goats Maude was being odd, more than normally I mean, she wasn’t off her food but was being very picky about which bits she was going to eat. She then went and stood in the sun and her stomach was contracting and she had a far off, crazed stare on her face. So into a goathouse she went for about the third time in a week. It must be really annoying to be kept in whilst everyone else is outside, especially when you see no reason at all for it and are then let out again later with nothing have had happened.

Me and mother went to collect some boots from a freecycle member and move some of the donkeys to a fresh field with middle-younger-sister. I was still very tired so lots of tea and something good on Iplay was in order in between checks on Maude who wasn’t doing much.  I made a promise to myself that I wasn’t going to beat myself up about not doing anything productive for the afternoon. I had thought that even if it was raining I would at least get some tyres up to allotment and work out where the tomato bed was going to go.

I found Maude with her two live, health looking kids at about 6pm. Yay! A very large light coloured male and a very pretty female, both good sizes, especially the male and starting to get up and look for their first feed.

Maude's boyPICT0175

When I started feeding the other goats for some reason I picked up one of Fucshia’s kids and tried to stand it up but it couldn’t stand with its front legs, there just wasn’t any strength in them. Up to the house she came for a hair dryer and a warm bottle, she didn’t drink much of the bottle but seemed to have a full tummy. I left her in the house and went to feed and milk, but when I came back in the kid had gotten very weak and just wouldn’t get warm. Mother gave her a stomach tube and a dose of antibiotics as instructed by the vet and she picked a little bit and was wrapped in a towel and put in a box with a hot water bottle at the bottom of the bed but sadly didn’t make it through the night.

Since then this week has been a repeating of feeding, work, feeding, dinner and then bed with very little time for anything else but it is so nice to stand and watch the babies. They have all started to become naughty little goat kids, learning to do things like climb in and out of each other’s houses and even out of the houses into the pen a few times.

And this evening there is another new baby in the house, my first Silver Dorking chick has hatched and is as I type cheeping away to itself in the incubator. Hopefully some more will hatch and then the goose eggs that are in the incubator too.

In season this week #39

VEGETABLES

artichoke*, asparagus*, aubergine*, broad beans, broccoli*, carrots*, courgettes*, cucumber, fennel*, 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 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*, tarragon*, wild mushrooms

MEAT

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

June kidding

We have been waiting for the past month or so for kids to arrive any day, first off I worked out the due dates a month early, I’ve never been very good at pregnancy maths, and secondly one of the two goats that is due is a white ‘any-other-verity’ who we have been desperate to have healthy kids from. Maude came with Jessica, my first goat after the 2001 FMD outbreak, the couple who had them didn’t really know a lot about goats and even though they were well looked after they would both spend all day shouting if they didn’t sit out in the garden with them, which just isn’t a practical thing to do all day. We don’t really know how old Maude is, or even if she has had kids before she came to us but she loves babies but she has never carried her own kids to full term though, it has been getting later and later each time but so far her kids have all been born too early to survive. We don’t really know why.

Until this year, she is now only three days from her due date and we all have our fingers crossed. We’ve been able to see the kids (or I hope it’s kids, if there is only one she is going to have a lot of problems delivering) moving and kicking inside her for three or four weeks now, normally kicking babies is a sign that kidding is very close. So we have been holding our breath, looking for any little sign that kidding is going to happen or is happening. There have been many false alarms. In the past week or so she has taken to standing on her own in the pen talking to herself; another sure sign that kidding is very close, but still nothing. Her udder, which is misshapen, is almost touching the ground it is so big.

Fucshia is the other goat who is due to kid. I got Fucshia in 2007, I had gone with mother to get a new male Anglo Nubian from a local breeder, mother was also looking at a British Tog. When we had seen the two goats that we had gone to see we looked round the other goats, a black female was taking interest in who we were and what we were doing there. She was sweet and I said so, the reply came as something like “you can have her if you like, she’s a little too small for what I’m trying to breed” and that was that. A price was agreed and she was put in kid to Fungus (a very well known Anglo Nubian male) who the breeder happened to have there (!!) and delivered six weeks later with mothers Tog and my male.

Fucshia started kidding at the beginning of a bad patch of weather, we knew that she wasn’t right but weren’t completely sure she was kidding. She seemed very uncomfortable but she was MASSIVE. We called the vet just as they had put out a call to all the vets to return to the surgery as the snow was too dangerous to be out in. They advised us to give her lots of sweet tea, still a favourite of hers, to help things a long if she really was kidding, which we did. Nothing happened but she seemed to become more comfortable than she had been so we decided that one of the kids must have been laid in an awkward way. Two days later when the snow had cleared she started pushing but was having problems so after trying ourselves to sort the kids out we called the vet who came and after a lot of trouble delivered three very large male kids who were sadly all dead, it would seem that she had been kidding two days before but two of them had tried coming out at the same time, one on top of the other, and were they weren’t positioned right for kidding they were not pushing on the right bit for her cervix to open.     

Fucshia is showing signs that she is in kid but not so many signs that she is close to kidding yet, Knightshade was left in with her and Maude so it is not completely certain that she was mated on the day that he was putting with them and didn’t come back into seasons three weeks later without us noticing.

That was the conversation that me and mother had stood down at the goat pen watching the goats mill around a little after lunch time. Maude was stood talking to herself again but no other signs of kidding.

 A few hours later middle-sister came rushing asking if we wanted to see the kids. Maude! No, not Maude. Fucshia. By the time I got down to the goat pen she had had she second one and was being annoyed by the other goats who wanted to know what she was up to. We moved her into a house and shut the door, adding more fresh bedding and helping her clean off the babies. Middle-sister went to get her camera, we checked her stomach and there was another one. She lay down and before the camera could even be switched on delivered a third kid.

Triplets! And all girls and beautifully marked.

Just in time

Well, me and Rhys finished planting out the first lot of kale just as the rain started to water it in. I feels so odd for it to be raining after all the hot weather last week but the garden does need it. It hasn’t been a down pour but a slow pleasant dripping, it is still warm.

Prefect growing weather

Allotment 4/6/09

leek seedlingsIf you had asked me a week ago about the allotment I would have said that I had given up on sowing seeds and was just going to start things off at home and then transplant them, there is a bird problem and a rabbit problem at the site and so far they have had all but a few pea seedlings, nibbled at the beetroot and carrots and pulled up and nibbled at all the onion sets, and I had completely given up on the leeks that I had sown which there still was no sign of. So I started ording some plants to get things going, I ordered 30 kale plants and 50 sweetcorn plants which arrived last weekend. I went to the allotment to start planting them out and out of nowhere, me and mother had been up on the plot checking things two nights before and there was nothing, the leeks had come through. And the beets, which was very lucky has I was planning on digging the bed over again and planting the kale in their place as they had not come up. So I will be sowing some seeds up there after all.

Rhys watering the plotsI’ve put some old carpet over the beds that already have manure on them. It is amazing how quickly manure rots down at home, I suppose that there is not a ‘system’ in place with all the right bacteria, moisture and you can’t move anything with out finding large pink worms underneath. The allotment just doesn’t have this in place yet and the manure on the beds is just sat, I can completely believe that it would take a year or more to rot down there, where as the as stuff that got left at home is prefect for growing in now.

The kale has been put in with clear plastic bottles and then netting over the top of that to keep the wind, birds and rabbits off whilst they get going.

At home everything seems to be growing whilst you watch. There are runner beans and courgettes ready to go out, the courgetteswith be going out in the same bed as the sweetcorn this weekend if the weather holds. There are also tomatoes, kale, cabbages, purple sprouting and broccoli coming along nicely.

The strawberries are getting large and the first raspberries have set fruit.

In season this week #38

VEGETABLES

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

MEAT

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