Welcome back to life at Bramble Cottage!
Firstly, the big news, I have new hens!! I sadly lost Myrtle a few weeks ago, with Cornelia and Agnes not really laying anymore (spinsters at 9 years old), I thought it time to add to the menagerie.
Introducing Mabel, Gwen, Doris and Bette. 2 Bluebelles, a Speckledy and a light Sussex! They are settling in well, with Agnes and Cornelia giving them evils glares through mesh. I left it a few days, then opened up the (safety) panel.... They completely ignored each other!
It is a bit 'ghetto' at the moment -
..with the two groups staying clear of each other. By 9 pm I had forgotten about them and realised that it was dark. (No problems re foxes, as the run is secure). All 6 hens cuddled up together in one Eglu. Agnes and Cornelia are still boss, but there isn't really any squabbling with is great news. The new girls are 18 weeks old now and should lay all through winter.
With it being September, nature is preparing itself for winter, as am I. The hedgerows are full to bursting and I have picked my own body weight in blackberries - no mean feat I'm telling you. Bramble cottage maybe small, but there are plenty of places to stash jars of jam. I've made 150+ jars so far. Nearly all with be sold, when I open up my Facebook Christmas shoppe (it sounds cuter if I call it a shoppe) ;0)
I've had several inquiries already plus preorders (get me) of Christmas puddings.
I usually do small batches of 10-15 jars at a time.
The allotment hasn't been a disaster this year, but the slugs feasted on nearly everything. A mild winter and wet summer didn't help, with all of my seedlings eaten and everything had to be replanted at least 2/3 times. It's strange, I go there every day/other day and rarely see anyone there. Work is being done, although a few plots have been abandoned which is a shame. My raspberry canes have turned into a thorny thug and need some serious work this year. I'm picking around 2lbs of raspberries a day. If I leave it for a couple of days they turn to mush and I hate wasting them. 24 lbs of raspberries picked so far. Mostly made into jams, but I have a few bags in the freezer for my smoothies. Milo the wonder dog is also partial to them and feels it's acceptable to rummage through the undergrowth in search of his prize. Spending hours staring at a mouse hole is also a fun game. Although once or twice he has tried to dig it out.
I have 4 water butts at the lottie and they are all nearly empty now. The water situation is on going and we were promised water in March. I haven't taken any down this year and just left plants to it, only watering when I planted and if it was exceptionally dry. Seems to have worked well, with healthier plants. I did decide to move the water butts, as one was pushing against the shed.
Top tip - don't try and move a water butt when there is water in it. Especially is you have a bad back and 'bony girl wrists'. (The nurse's comment, not mine). You will hear a crack, followed by immense pain. Nurofen won't help. Cocodamol will send you into a blissful sleep, but you will wake up at 3am with a pain so bad that you need to go to the hospital. One fractured wrist later and you'll be off work, unable to drive (or wear a watch - hell for me) and peed off with yourself for being so stupid. No plaster, as it was a tiny fracture (gutted, as I'm 42 and never had a plaster) just a wrist split with a metal bar that drove me mad. The real downside was not being able to go to Pilates for a couple of weeks, I really missed it and my back suffered as a result.
It's 6 weeks on now and my wrist is better, but I still feel the odd twinge when I'm not careful.
I did mange to get a couple of quilts sewn though. Seeing as I couldn't drive, I walked to the quilt shop (2 minutes away, which some would say is wonderful, I don't feel that way as its too tempting) and picked up some fabric. I know. Unlike me.
Poor quality pictures, but just delighted that I can post pictures from my iPad, which is suddenly allowing me to type a blog post (well, I haven't hit the 'publish' button yet, but here's hoping)!
I also made some curtains for the spare room, with fabric I bough in Glasgow months ago.
Very country cottage and I'm pleased with them.
Time to head off now, as I have visitors arriving today and need to reclaim the kitchen table from the jars of jam. I won't comment on the printer and Laptop that are plotting against me and not allowing me to print jam labels. J is coming later to help, as I can't seem to get it to work.
I will leave you with pictures of Furface.....