Tuesday, 5 July 2016

More additions! Animals and veg!

I would like to introduce you to our very own smallholding chicks.  Now we've had chicks before and grown and eaten some however, these are different!  They were eggs from our own hens which were fertilised by our own cockerel.  The eggs we've had before we've bought in.  So we have been doing a merry dance in achieving (well we didn't actually do much!) our own home raised chicks.  These guys were incubated as we don't have a broody hen and we have 12 all together of 20 eggs.  Considering we weren't even sure Big Red was having any luck, this is a huge success! 
I had my first sungold tomato fresh off the vine and it was delicious.  We're harvesting strawberries every few days and the raspberries are showing their glowing red faces.  The currants are still trying to develop before the birds take them and I have a feeling this one will be a losing battle this year.  Fruit cages next year I think.
The local supermarket had iceberg lettuces on offer so I bought a load in for the hens and we tied them up to keep the hens entertained.  The rescue girls weren't interested at all but the old ones went through 2 in no time.  I have been told hens love natural yoghurt and it's good for them so I will be getting them a tub of that to try soon. 
As planned, this weekend we harvested some Elderflowers and I set about making cordial.  It was my first attempt and I must say I was very impressed.  It tastes very refreshing.  It will take some time to get used to it over supermarket drinks (squash) for the kids as they are so used to the sugar, sadly.  Although Elderflower cordial has sugar in it, I'm sure it's 100% better for you than every day squash.
When we went to the farmers auction on Saturday, we had a great time and learnt a lot.  We came away with 12 Jersey Giant fertile eggs which will be going in the incubator tonight or tomorrow (we have 1 eggs left in there which I don't think is going to hatch), a Buff Orpington cockerel (now called Henry VIII) which we've been looking for one for a while and 3 brown hens for laying.  They are young healthy birds and have fit right in with Big Red's flock.
At the farmers auction we enjoyed some home made pies, sausage rolls and some rather poor sausage buns.  The home made stuff was fab, the sausage bun was cheap and tasteless.  You live and learn.
Finally I managed to give the pantry a good sort out so we know where everything is and the shelves are nice and clean, ready for the strawberry jam I'm making tonight with out 1kg of strawberries harvested yesterday.  YUM.
Chicks a couple of days old.

Apologies for the blurry pic, this is the auction about to start (eggs in this room).

Another cheeky face enjoying a steak pie.  My everything <3
Our selection from the farmers auction.  Girls are in the washing basket and cockerel in the Port a Pet

 
Cheeky, how did she get in here.  Also my everything <3

Seconds old :)

One of the new brown hens.  Clipping wings before putting out with the other girls and Big Red.


Elderflower cordial being made

My first sungold tomato!  In fact, my first EVER tomato!

Rescue girls wondering what on earth the green ball is :D
Bored by the green ball
 
 

Strawberries are coming thick and fast.  There runners are too!


Spot the raspberry?

Our old faithful hens who we brought with us that laid the eggs which are now the chicks.  Big Red in the top next to the tree.

The new chicks at 1-2 days old

Meet Henry VIII the Buff Orpington cockerel (and my husband Steven :D)

11 comments:

  1. Congratulations, I have 5 still under heat need to start weaning them off the lamp now, 2 that were hatched by broodies and three that have hatched from the resuce eggs after a fox attack, no more will be hatched this year thats my lot, your toms are doing great, plenty of fruit here now need plenty of sunshine to help them ripen, everything at your place is coming along great well done to you all:-)

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    1. Thank you Dawn! I hope we get as many tomatoes as I thought we would, some don't seem to have developed fruit at all yet but have the flowers. Maybe they are the ones I planted later to try and get some successionally. I must label them all properly next year.

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  2. Congratulations on you're journey and hard work. I hope it is the dream your thought it would be.

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    1. Oh it is an more. It's fabulous. Some days it's hard with working full time but that is an evil necessity I'm afraid! I wouldn't change a thing. We're learning as we go!

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  3. My hens LOVE yoghurt but I've never bought any for them - only shared when a big tub is getting a bit old. Generous, me : )

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    1. I tend to use it when I make mint dip and there's always left overs so the hens will definitely be getting that!

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  4. I don't know where to start. Well done on the chick hatching. What breed are your hens from the auction, they look very much like ours. 1kg of strawbs, well done you, how do you stop them from going mushy, I use straw and try and keep them on top of it but we also don't have too many just now. Very envious! Fresh toms,too, mmm. Well done on all your efforts.

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    1. The brown laying hens were literally "Brown" something and the name escapes me! I will find out. They are laying soft eggs at the moment as they have just started laying. I'm going to worm them too.
      Re the strawberries the kids eat them all too often so they don't go mushy lol. However if there are any dodgy ones, the hens get them :)

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    2. Lohmann! Brown Lohmann! Knew he'd remember x

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  5. Ooh i read on facebook the other day about if you paint a few stones/pebbles red and put them out in the veg plot earlier in the year, they'll peck at them then lose interest by the time your strawberries come out and they'll leave them alone :) i' trying it next year :) xx

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    1. What a clever and cheap idea! Love it thank you

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