Thursday, 26 May 2016

Our first market of the year

Whickham Fayre stall May 16 1

On Saturday we went to our first market of the year, the May Fayre at Whickham Chase Park. We took our quail chicks which got a great deal of attention. We were cleared out of our chutney, lemon curd, duck and hen eggs and honey (not that we had much honey, only 4 tubs from the poor harvest we had last year). Our next market is Ryton Hirings this Saturday.

Whickham Fayre stall May 16 2

Lots of blossom

blossom May 16 2

This spring the blossom has been out in force, far more than usual. Trees have been smothered in it. I'm not complaining. My bees love it. Hopefully the blossom has been providing a good supply of nectar. I checked the hives a couple of weeks ago and it looks like we will get at least a modest crop of honey this year.

blossom May 16 1

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Moving Georgina in with Pinkie

goats May 16 (7)

The loss of Geraldine on Monday has allowed us to let Pinkie and Geraldine mix together. Geraldine had been a bit of a bully towards Pinkie and as she and her daughter Georgina are armed with horns, Pinkie was always likely to come off the worst. Georgina however was never bothered by Pinkie. So the two are now free to roam the allotment. They seem to have settled down together.

Georgina is due to give birth on 7-11 June. Pinkie is the week after. We are keeping a very close eye on both and we will be watching them 24/7 from 6th onwards. We want no repeats of Monday.

goats May 16 (9)

goats May 16 (11)

Monday, 23 May 2016

Oranges and lemons

lemon curd May 16

We obviously don't grow oranges and lemons but we do sometimes buy them and make them into marmalade and curd when we have markets coming up. So last week we made 16 jars of orange marmalade, 12 of lemon marmalade and 12 of lemon curd. We've got more markets coming up so I'm back to more preserve making this week.

lemon marmalade May 16

orange marmalade May 16

We have lost Geraldine

Geraldine the goat May 16 (1)

Sad news. Geraldine, our black goat, went into labour this morning. She died before she was able to give birth. I was obviously very upset and as a result we are a bit worried about the other two goats, both of which are pregnant and due in 2-3 weeks' time. Last year we had big problems with Pinkie and she ended up having a caesarian though the 2 kids were dead. For Georgina and Pinkie this time we are taking no chances. Whether or not there appear to be problems, we will have the vet there when they go into labour.

The photo above was taken this morning. The labour seemed to be going to plan and the photo was taken a couple of hours before she died. The photo below was taken yesterday when she was feeding on hawthorn branches.

Geraldine the goat May 16 (3)

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Drying nettles

drying nettles May 16

We have lots of nettles on the allotment at the moment and I am gradually pulling them up. They don't go onto the compost heap. Instead, I'm laying them out on the roof of one of the goat houses to dry out in the current minor heatwave. They will then be used for feed for the goats.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Repairing the henhouses

henhouse repairs May 16 (2)

Our henhouses have been well used over the past 4 years and recently they needed significant refurbishment and repair. So we spent a day replacing floors and repairing walls. Job now done except for a couple of doors that need replacing.

henhouse repairs May 16 (1)