Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Box in the boot....

Sorry, sorry, sorry! Being hassled to update my blog! *wink* Just haven't had the time lately!

Ok, finished work last week at 11am, so headed home for a nap and then Jase and I went a-brambling. The blackberries were ready just down the lane, not far to go but we drove anyway. We picked nearly 3 kilos, thats 6.5 pounds in old money. *smiles*

I have used most of them as bramble jam cooked together with some of Mum and Dad's apples. Did a couple of portions of apple and blackberry filling for crumbles too - safely stashed away in the freezer for Winter.

Jase went back to work and I popped along to a chicken breeder, not a million miles away. I was planning to just have a look to see what she had. Now, I am not known for my self control, not that I wet myself, but with regard to purchases of a chicken nature.

Two little bundles of fluff were loaded into the cat box that I just so happened to have in the boot *wink*.

So.........introducing Agnes and Cornelia! My 11 week old chickens!!!!!! YAY!!!!!

Agnes is a Buff Sussex

and Cornelia is a Barnevelder

Sorry for the bad picture quality - camera playing up.

They are both still cheeping and are adorable.

The 'old' girls are really not sure what to make of them yet. They are being kept confined to the blue eglu and run for a few weeks until they are big enough to stand up for themselves.

Elsbeth is going to be trouble and has already made her feelings known by patrolling the perimeter of the run like a guard from Tenko. Laverne is not impressed either but Prudence and Winifred are fascinated by them and always strolling over to have a look. I hope that Winifred, as top hen, looks after them ok.

I was woken by Laverne doing her nut by BOK BOKING at 6am. She didn't stop all day. The new girls were running in and out of the eglu, not really sure what to make of it all. They keep going up to the side of the run, hoping to make friends with their (much) larger counterparts, but only Winnie s showing a real interest. I do hope she Mothers them.

Laverne soon got used to the new additions, but is still giving the eglu run a wide berth!

As they are 11 weeks old, it will be at least 7 weeks until I introduce them to each other properly.

We have agreed to stop at 6 chickens. We don't really have the room to house more, unless we make a large walk in run down the side of the house, which is currently home to some unruly wild hedging and god only knows what else. It is on a slope, so would need to be levelled. The plan is to put a green house and more raised beds or a fruit cage there, but it needs some serious time, money and effort.

I have a picture of the runner beans I bottled the other day. Glorious colour aren't they?

Shame when I rinsed them 3 times, then boiled them, that they had absolutely no taste! Will work on some way to keep the harvest for longer, rather than just freezing them.

Next door are on holiday and I have been asked to help myself to anything that is ready. I resisted the urge to pop over with a trug the minute they pulled out of the drive! Will go round tomorrow and pinch some tomatoes and beans.

We lit the open fire again the other night and sat with a Chinese takeaway. Lovely. There is a definite nip in the air and the trees are starting to show their autumn colours. I like autumn, something nice about nature slowing down for winter. Meals with gravy and dumplings, heavy puddings with custard. The smell of a fire, burning away in the lounge. Heavenly. The only down side is that I see less of the girls, as they are in bed so early when the days shorten.

I have one flight back home from Nice tomorrow, then I don't have to be in until 7pm on Friday! Home early on Saturday morning, ready for the TV crew to come and interview me. Yes, I am going to be mean and not talk about it yet. Let's just say that it has something to do with........CHICKENS!!!! *wink*

Thanks all for the lovely comments you leave. It means a lot to me.

C x x

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Easy on the legs

Well we are back from 9 days of glorious sunshine, several tons of prawns with garlic and a healthy glow a piece!

We did very little, mainly sun bathing, eating and swimming. Heaven. Didn't visit any sights at all, as we have been before, just soaked up the rays and chilled.

I dared to wear speedos around the pool, a first time for everything. I wouldn't be seen dead in them in public, but around the villa was fine. I managed to burn the backs of my legs on day 2 and couldn't sit down for 3 days, but otherwise it was fine! Fluorescent red is the new brown, you know.

The week in Portugal was wonderful, a much needed break and recharge. It is amazing how quickly you lose your tan when you come back though. I am sure the aircraft cabin air starts bleaching your colour the second you get on board!

Jase had to be at work at 6am the morning after we arrived back (well - up 3 hours after we got in)!! So I spent the day doing tons of washing and tidying up. Cleaned out the chicken run as it was full of pellets that the little minxes had scooped out of their feeders! After a couple of hours of them 'helping' me, the run looked great, nice and fresh. I also set up the other eglu and run, ready for the new arrivals.......more about that later *wink*

The veggie garden needs some serious attention. Blight has taken hold of the tomatoes as the weather has been so God awful.
I really need a few days to get out there and sort stuff out. Will probably have to wait until my part time week in October now. Am on a 5 days on, 2 days off pattern at the moment, its pants.

The rabbit is back - well a family member probably. Got back from holiday to a devastated flower border and several piles of rabbit currants! Really do not know what to do apart from fencing in the borders with green mesh. Don't really want to do that though. I guess when the plants grow you won't see it.

Got another loads of cooking apples from Mum yesterday. Have a tub trug full now, so need to get jammin'. I'm sure I can sell them on. It is very satisfying when you sell something you have made. I will never be rich with the jam making, but I do find it relaxing. I spend time making the fabric gingham covers and labeling them all nicely. They look good.

Need to think about starting the mincemeat in jars soon too. It contains no suet, just fruit and alcohol, so lasts for years.

Got a 'recipe' for runner beans in brine from Kate. I blanched them yesterday and sealed them in a kilner jar and they look really nice. Very fresh green, all cut up beautifully thanks to my new bean slicer. Will do lots more as and when I harvest them. The rabbit has done me a favour in that respect, as all the plants are producing at different rates.

I am tempted to add them to the stocking fillers pile, but unsure as to what people would think, getting a jar of beans for Christmas!!

Right, enough wittering on. Am in Hamburg tomorrow, so will pop out and get some more Christmas hamper bits and bobs.

Ta ta for now.

C x