Monday 15 December 2008
Sunday 14 December 2008
Saturday 15 November 2008
With the help of some good old fashion bartering, we have barted the odd thing before with friends, but this is a real biggie, we have access to an unlimited supply of wood suitable for kindling, so we got some of those big netted onion bags, (thank heavens for e-bay) bagged up kindling and took it along to our local farm shop Fowleys and Wally he has offered to sell it in his shop and instead of us having cash we are having meat, all very simple.
Since hubby went away I set myself a task well more of a challenge not to draw or spend any money from the bank, so that the money in the bank just pays household running expenses, but anything else must be generated at home cash and that is what we have to live on for food, petrol chicken feed, entertainment clothes etc
Not an easy task but is is surprising how you do it, that s how the bartering came into being with the butcher, veggies we grow and I have just had the arrival of a new batch of veggie seeds for next year from Victoriana Nursery Gardens they have some great varieties and some real good old fashioned varieties, this year I grew there climbing peas and we had a great crop, I grew them over some arches in the garden, the climbed to about 7ft and the peas were gorgeous, I did intend to get a second crop in but the weather has been disastrous this year, but there was plenty to freeze so we are still using them.
so back to my plan, so far so good it all seems to be working well and I haven't touched any money in the bank, it has meant I have to be really carefully with using the car and think twice about it, if I can I walk or cycle, but we still need cash so I have been doing lots of little things to generate cash coming in, selling all the junk I have accumulated over the years on e-bay, its great to have a good clear out, I have also been selling some cards and hand made soaps its all bringing in little bits but the plan is working. It is surprising how little cash you can manage on and it makes you think twice before buying. The aim of course is to save and save so we can carry out our dream and buy a small holding, I did some calculations and I think I can save about £10,000 a year doing this, we will just have to see what happens.
Today we are building a new chicken house, now hubby has returned from his jaunt to Nepal we need to get new accommodation built for our growing family of feathered friends, The Hamburghs have now started laying really cute white bantam eggs, and my teenage chooks who are now 17 weeks have been moved down the garden next to the adults, the Silkies are growing fast and it looks like they both might be cockerels which is a real shame after all the problems I had with them.
Sunday 26 October 2008
Friday 24 October 2008
time since I last posted and it may take several postings to bring up to date what has gone on.
Firstly hubby has gone off to Nepal, he is climbing Mount Pumori so I left to hold things together by myself for 6 weeks, the longest time we have been apart, so now I have to get out of bed in the morning at some ungodly hour and let all the chooks out, a job he did as he was always up early to go to work, a few days after he left our Silkie eggs in the incubator were due to hatch, the first egg started pipping and 24 hrs later there wasn't much progress at all, so following Katie Thears advice I peel back some of the shell from the top end, several hours later still no more progress and it was noticeable that the chick was get weaker, so I took the plunge and helped it out of its shell, it was very weak and a lot of the membranes had dried on to it, what a sorry state to be in, I left it in the incubator over night expecting to find it dead in the morning as it was very weak barley moving, next morning it was still alive to my surprise !! it was a bit fluffed up but not making any attempt to stand, when I picked it up its little legs just dangled there! oh dear knowing it wouldn't be fair to keep a weak chick if useless legs, the kindest thing of course is to dispatch them, but I popped it in to the brooder to decide its fate, and also coming to terms myself at what I was going to have to do, the reality of keeping your own livestock is making life and death descions and having to carry out unpleasant tasks. As much as it pains you to do so,.
I noticed another egg had started to pip, so I consoled myself with the fact this next one might be ok, I went through to the brooder to check on little Gizmo, so called because he looks like one of the gremlins, and there he was trying to stand up, I am so glad I didn't make any rash descions earlier, he seemed to be getting stronger cheeping away and trying to stand and walk, by the end of the day he had almost mastered his skills although very shaky and weak but he was getting stronger, unfortunately the 2nd egg stopped making progress and the next day very much the same so once again I helped but this little chick didn't survive, the other eggs were left until the end of the week, three were only part formed and the fourth the chick was dead, it was big I don't think it could turn itself into the hatching position, that egg was chock a block with chick.
so now I had a predicament one little black silkie chick who was now capable of running around, that was feeding fine but on its lonesome, not a good position to be in, so I popped up to Thrift farm its council owned and run for people with learning disability's to see if they had any young chicks that could keep Gizmo company, Bingo they had a white silkie a week older than Gizmo runt of the flock so it seemed as it was the smallest, so after parting with £2.50 I took Bingo home in a tiny box to be a new friend for Gizmo, popped them in together and Gizmo objected so loud you would think some-one was trying to murder him, of course he had never seen another chick, Bingo just sat quietly in the corner, so I left them too it, a few hours later they were the best of friends and are now inseparable, the pic shows Bingo Gizmo the day after they were introduced, that was three weeks ago, they are growing up so fast and getting there adult feathers, I am just hoping they don't both turn out to be cockerels.
On the subject of cockerels I will update you tomorrow on the Cockerel incident.
Thursday 25 September 2008
Friday 19 September 2008
Wednesday 10 September 2008
Sunday 31 August 2008
Well it looks like August is going out the same way it arrived, wet and grey, I can only remember a couple of days of sunshine this summer, in fact I am so cheesed off with the weather i have had a massive de-clutter of the wardrobe and out went all the summer dresses to the charity shop, thats two years running the weather has been awful during summer.
On a better note we have continued to harvest and many things are coming to the end now, I took out the peas last night as they have finished and the sweetcorn needs harvesting as well I had hoped to do that today but rain started again, I will have to get out there later and harvest it though otherwise they will be past there best and only fit for the chickens.
Toms have done well this year in the greenhouse, we have now got to the stage were we are pulverising them freezing in containers in portion size ready to add to casseroles etc, courgettes that we are usually unindated with have been in managable numbers soups fritters and stir frys baked grilled and the occasional courgette cake has ment we have worked our way through them, we have given away a few although not as many as we usualy have. Mini cucumbers have been great after the initial flush when I was picking tons of them they slowed down to a nice steady pace, and between the tortoise the in-laws and ourselfs we have kept on top of them again.
A big dissapointment this year was the yard long beans, they are only just starting to put on loads of growth so I dont think we are getting anything from them unless we have an indian summer, I will try them again next year.
Squashes have been very slow at getting going this year so once again I think it is a loss on the squash front, cranberries have done altright though and we have three lovely melons coming on great in the greenhouse .
after such a wet start to the day I have consoled myself with a baking session indoors, a couple of loafs of bread to see us through the week, some choclate chip cookies and I have done a Simmer Fruit Cake, from the home farming mag, so I will try that later with a cuppa.