Monthly Archives: February 2011

Hatching eggs

The eggs in my incubator are due to hatch on Friday, there are 12 Silver Dorking eggs from ebay, and 6 Maran eggs from a friend.

Hatching eggs - 28th February 2011

Hatching eggs - 28th February 2011

It is still early in the year so I am not expecting anywhere near a 100% hatch rate and I also haven’t candled them but love checking them each day and feeling the weight change as (I hope) the chick developes in its shell.

The Silver Dorking chicks are for my mother who got two young hens just before Richard Dorking died, always the way… It had been my plan to keep Silver Dorkings and breed my own chicks from Richard and Mrs. Dorking, who came from a freecycle member who was no longer able to keep their rare breed chickens, and I did hatch a few chicks but they were always weak possibly because Mrs. Dorking was so old and since she died during the bad snow the winter before last I have sort of given up of breeding pure breeds since then.

I would still like my ‘own’ breed though, I just don’t know what I want it to be! I got the Maran eggs as they are the very dark chocolately ones but I don’t really feel drawn to Marans as a breed as I love the old farmyard looking hens but who knows they might shin through when I have my own little flock of them

School holidays

Lemon balm shooting back through - 18th February 2011

Lemon balm shooting back through - 18th February 2011

This week is half term and so a flat out week at work, not really much time for anything simple life-y but I am having a good week. We’ve been doing lots of outdoor cooking; on Monday we made bacon butties and fruit salad, Tuesday and today we have made naan bread pizzas and jacket potatoes and tomorrow we are going to try fruit salad trifles.

At the weekend I finally got chance to try out walking to the allotment and it wasn’t too bad, it took about 10 minutes one way and about 20 minutes another way. I also planted out some of the strawberry runners I potted up at the end of last year, they are in the front garden.

My hens have started laying again it is so nice to have home produced eggs to eat

Signs of spring #2

I got my first egg of the year today!!

Other people’s hens seem to have been laying again for a while now and I have spent lots of time looking at different hens, comparing comb colour and worrying about egg eaters or wild birds getting in to the house and taking them before I get there.

There would have been a photo but it has already been cooked and eaten.

Allotment plan 2011

The trailer being off the road has held up work on the allotment, I had hoped to have almost finished covering the beds that are being manured by now but as it stands there is still four still to do. I will get there though and in the mean time I have finalised a growing plan.

Plot one (starting from the bottom of the plot nearest the car park);

Bed 1: Garlic. Bed 2: Parsnips. Bed 3: Leeks and beetroot. Bed 4: Courgettes and sweetcorn. Bed 5: Peas. Bed 6: Cabbages

Plot two;

Bed 1: Broccoli. Bed 2: Winter squash and sweetcorn. Bed 3: Cauliflower. Bed 4: Winter squash and sweetcorn. Bed 5: Potatoes. Bed 6: Potatoes

Middle-younger-sister is going to grow all the beans and carrots and more beetroot and at home I am going to grow sprouts, tomatos, kale, strawberries, raspberries and salad.

Left to buy are seed potato, International Kidney (or Jersey Royals if grown in Jersey although I think they have their own variation which has been bred on the island) and Kestrel, beetroot, sweetcorn and parsnip seeds.

Minus 12 days until sowing starts!

This week has been one of those weeks. It started off flying; I was starting to get in to the swing of things keeping on top(-ish) of house work, the day job and animals.

Then on Wednesday night my car broke, well and truly broke too not just broke and needs fixing up a little but needs a whole new engine broke. It makes everything so much more difficult without a car especially now that I’ve moved out. I’ve already missed two training course because of it and I’ve not even started on a full week of work yet.

My grandmother has also come to stay, which I have been looking forward to and am glad that she has, but she’s a fusser and a dither to boot and after loosing my temper yesterday over cars or the lack of one (not with her) I’ve found myself slipping back into being a sulky child over truly stupid things. “Yes, that is where I want to keep the eggs… No, I don’t want to take the Lavender outside, it’s fine where it is… Yes I’m drinking that, I happen to like it…” I don’t mean to behaviour like this but I am.

It hasn’t helped that it’s been raining all day today, I had plans when I went to bed last night that I would get up and explore the footpaths leading to the allotments a little. I knew it was forecast to rain but the last few times it has been just showers but this morning when I woke up and looked out the window it was tipping down and hasn’t really stopped all day.

Signs of spring

The winds of the last few morning seem to have change to a gentle but ice breeze this morning, leaving frosty leafs behind.

In spite of all the harsh frosts there are more and more signs of spring appearing. This is my herb box which I planted last autumn with ‘reduce bin’ herb plants I had collected through the summer;

Herb box showing the first signs of life - 8th February 2011

Herb box showing the first signs of life - 8th February 2011

Hen tea party - 9th January 2011

Hen tea party - 9th January 2011

Everything feels a little crazy right now. I am still not into a routine after moving and I seem to be starting one of those busy times at work were at least one of my weekend days is taken up with something extra.

One of the tyres on our trailer has gone; which has called a halt to our mass clean out. Not a big problem shouldn’t be that hard to sort out and get going again… If only it were that simple. After trying one garage without the tyre and not getting very far I took the whole wheel into another tyre place to get a replacement. It turns out that our trailer has been made out of a base of an original original Mini and a replacement tyre will cost at least £50, each.

When I say the ‘original original’ Mini what I mean is when Mini’s first came out they had one size of tyre, then a little later they changed the size to a more standard one so it isn’t even like all the original Mini’s take the same size and there are very few that take the original original size now as they were the very first Minis.

The halt on the mass clean out has resulted in a halt to covering allotment beds ready for growing later this year. I’d hoped that if I managed to get at least most of it done last month then there would be about three months for it to rot down before anything was ready to plant out. I know that doesn’t sound long enough by ‘book’ standard but we have such a good eco-system (I think that is what I mean) thing rot down mega fast.

Allotment at sun set - 30th August 2010

Allotment at sun set - 30th August 2010

I have managed to go through my seed collection and work out what I haven’t got, only parsnips, sweetcorn, beetroot and seed potatoes, and now I just have to work out how I am going to fit in all the things I want to grow into the space I have.

I can’t wait to start sowing but I decided at the start of the year not to start growing anything until the 1st of March. Which will give me time to sort out everything out and also mean I don’t lose so many seedlings to leggy-ness or frost. It is a good plan… 22 days and counting.

Last week I was given some Maran hatching eggs so I have the incubator on. It is the first time I’ve used my new one. Yesterday the Beanie Babies went to their new home, after so many false starts. But they have gone to a lovely family where they will join their other goats to provide milk for making goats cheese once they have kidded.

Pay It Forward: The Gift

I spend too much time on Facebook and despair of myself for doing so but every so often something catches my eye, someone posts a link or makes a comment that leads me off somewhere.

Pay It Forward Gift Card- 1st February 2011

Pay It Forward Gift Card- 1st February 2011

One such comment was from Tracey Smith, who is the author of  The Book of Rubbish Ideas, when she started (or possibly carried on) a ‘Pay It Forward’ handmade gift exchange. The idea is that she will send out three handmade items to the first three people who respond, who in turn repost the comment and send out three handmade items to the next three and so on.

I was number three to reply and before going away received this lovely ‘slow down’ tea card, Thank you Tracey! Now I have my ‘Pay It Forwards’ to make and send on to Anthea, Sue, Ren and Jane. I just have to set up my craft things and decided what to make.

A Day in the Month – February 2011


Outside… It is just getting light, by the time I’ve finished writing this it should be light enough to see

I am thinking or plotting… If I should go to tonight’s LETS meeting or should I stay at home with my seed box making lists?

From the kitchen… The kettle is on for a second cup of tea for the morning. Last night I’d planned on making cauliflower cheese for dinner but all the cauliflowers seem to be from France, did all ours get spoilt in the snow?

I am wearing… Animal clothes; worn out jeans over leggings, a fleecey jumper and scarf but am about to change into work clothes and leave for the day

I am thankfully for… The lighter mornings and evenings

I am creating… Still knitting the same mitten as this time last month

I am going… To let my chickens out and then work for the day

I am reading… Nothing at the moment, I haven’t really had the time lately but I am planning a visit to the library soon as I have some books I want to order. I haven’t finished the book I was reading last month, it is just sat on the floor where I was reading it last

I am hoping… Nothing really

I am hearing… Cars passing outside and if I listen very carefully the cats downs stairs, and the very start of the dawn chorus. It is odd not having so many noises around

Here is a picture I want to sharing and why… I took this photo when I went on my basket weaving course and it reminds me of early mornings for some reason

Spider's web - October 2009