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Monday, 23 August 2010


I popped home at lunchtime and opened up the Eglu's egg port to discover.....4 eggs!! 2 were in the nest, one was balanced on the roosting bars and the other was smashed and at the bottom of the poo tray. How eggciting!


The chickens have arrived! We picked them up in the afternoon from the BHWT, where a nice lady had the task of catching the remaining chickens in the circular holding pens. She passed us these 3 ladies pictured above, and we packed them into a box where they quiety sat for the journey back. When we got them home we showered them with a bit of red mite powder (as we were told them may have a few from living in the battery sheds) and popped them through the Eglu run door. The sad chicken faces I'd seen as I peeped through the box turned to curious chicken faces as they scratched the ground, ate the grass and investigated the 'glug' and 'grub' (food and water holders). As you can see their feathers are in a state, one also has a bare neck which you can see on this photo:

Their names are Clara (bald necked but very brave far left on the top photo and above), Nessa (follows Clara's lead, is on the far right in the top photo) and Ruby (shy, has a larger comb and is in the middle above). Hoping they will all make it. Last night I nipped out at dusk and all 3 had gone into the Eglu to sleep, delighted I sneaked up and closed their door.
They spent yesterday in the dark but this morning have a bit of run uncovered so they can come and look out if they feel brave enough. Ruby was sitting on the nest when I left for work, peering nervously at the outside world. The other two came straight out for breakfast.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Nigella and small update

Pretty isn't it, and after it's done flowering and hiding my carrots from the carrot fly I can eat the seeds! It's days like this (a sunny Monday) when I wish I was standing ensconced in vegetable plants and flowers, sun on my face and damp earth under my feet. Alas I am not. Hohum.

Just a short one today, the garden needs a day spent on it, there are peas that are finished and need removing (leaving their roots intact to release nitrogen for the next crop of course) and in their place I shall maybe spread out the kale and pop in a few more kohlrabi (I just read the taste is cabbage turnip related but crisper...I might hate them). The kohlrabi are being savaged to death by slugs (who have now learned where I keep the lettuce), Nath's bought cheap beer to sink into the earth in plastic cups so they can have a party (that's what it's for isn't it?!).

I have room for another crop I think, no idea what I'd put in but there are still things you can plant in August. I was quite pleased when Lynn (Nath's step mum) asked if I'd grown any from seed, as it's pretty much all grown from seed barring the peppers from Nath's sis (now flowering!). I feel quite proud of myself!

The chickens arrive on Sunday, I'll take pictures once they've stopped panicking and settled down. So far barring the house they have not cost much, a bag of ex batts layers crumb, a bag of grit and a 2ltr bottle of apple cider vinegar cost me £11, not bad at all! We need to think of some good chickeny names for them, suggestions welcome.

Friday, 6 August 2010


So, time for an update! I shall start with the traditional British topic - the weather! It's is getting colder, someone forgot to tell the sun that it's only August. Some of us have crops to ripen...make with the warm!! At least this means Nath's contribution to gardening (watering and mowing the lawn) is a less frequent which he's probably grateful for. I may have to teach him advanced weeding next, those mini nettles are evil creatures!

The pumpkin plants are growing really well, a bit too well really, I regret planting the second one so close as they are such huge monsters already. This picture above is of the largest so far, I've wedged a stone underneath to lift it and stop it rotting. A couple of smaller ones have dropped off, we ate one of them roasted in the oven with a sample of our purple carrots (not ready yet, too small) and parsnips (ditto).

Peas...we've had millions of these! You can see the lettuce in the background too. I massively over planted the lettuce forgetting that more or less everything I plant grows (it's a curse I tell you!!). I have found a very nifty way of using it up though, lettuce soup!

Lettuce Soup

Serves: 4

1 Large Lettuce
1 Medium Onion, chopped
1 Medium Potato, diced
25 Gram Butter
450 ml Milk
300 ml chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 Tablespoon Double cream, optional

Shred the lettuce, reserving some for garnish. In a saucepan fry the lettuce, onion and potato gently in the butter for 5 minutes without browning. Add the milk and stock.
Bring to the boil, stirring continuously, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Liquidise and return to the pan.
Ladle into warm soup bowls, whirl on a tablespoon of cream if used and garnish with lettuce pieces.

This is the plait I made with my garlic, they are tiny, I think I should probably have left them until the foliage was more dead. I have left the other tub and will try again in a month, see how big they are then. These ones are plaited and drying.

The Maris Piper potatoes are listing helplessly about now flowering is over, blocking the pathways to the smaller veg. This is annoying, I might tie them up with string at the weekend. I seem to have grown 'true seed', small tomato-like pods on top of the flower stalks. I read that these can be planted next year and will grow potato plants all be it a bit unpredictably as you don't know what variant will grow from each one of the 200 seeds in each seed pod. There's some very interesting info on this here. I have pulled one row of tatties early so we could try some, while they are still smallish they taste lovely (and were a constituent of the lettuce soup!).

Things still to come are peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, florence fennel and butternut be honest this cooler weather and lack of sun is really not helping!!
I have not stopped planting yet, there is more lettuce on the way *groan* also kale, kohlrabi and some cabbage (if I can find room for the donated cabbage seed to germinate). I want to find room to grow some late onions.

Our other big news is the imminent addition of chickens! 3 from the British Hen Welfare Trust. A big garishly pink Eglu hen house will be arriving Saturday!