Thursday, 24 April 2014

2nd generation hens

Last year I bought some cream legbar chicken eggs. They were the first eggs we hatched. 3 of the birds were swapped with Johnnie, who has one of the neighbouring allotments. These birds have been a big success. Two hens and a cockerel who is a beautiful bird. Unfortunately, the ones I kept were not so successful. The cockerel and two of the hens died, leaving me one hen. She at least is a healthy bird and lives as part of my flock of chickens (though she roosts in a tree at night rather than with the others in a henhouse).

Johnnie tonight gave me 8 eggs laid by his 2 cream legbar hens which we have now put into the incubator. Assuming they hatch, this will mean a 2nd generation for us! The incubator has barely had a rest since the start of January. This is the 2nd batch of hen eggs this year. We've also had 2 batches of quail and one of ducks.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Bees are getting busy

The warm and dry weather we have enjoyed over the past three weeks has brought a great deal of bee activity. There's lots out there for them to forage. The blossom is early and there's plenty of it about. Looking at the bees, I can see lots of pollen being brought into the hive. That probably means the amount of brood is increasing.

David has made up another two brood boxes. They will be added to the hives shortly so that the bees can move in and set up some some queen cells in them as well as worker brood. In early June we will remove them from the hives and set them up as new hives in their own right.

More ivy

Yesterday, when I was delivering some flyers in Sunniside for our community cafe, I found someone stripping a large amount of ivy from her garden fence. She was going to put it into her green bin which the council collects every fortnight to turn into compost. I provided her with a more local use for it. I took it down the road to our goats who merrily munched their way through it. Ivy is one of their favourite foods.

Tamworth pork, apple and sage burgers

We recently bought another Tamworth pig from Bill Quay Community Farm in Gateshead. It went straight to slaughter and amongst the joints and bacon we got back, were two large bags of sausagemeat. I converted it all to burgers using up, in the process, all our remaining apples from last year and about half of the dried sage we had. The burgers will be used by ourselves, traded with others for their produce, and sold in our monthly community cafe at Marley Hill Community Centre (the next cafe is tomorrow, Easter Monday).

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

5 Welsh Harlequin ducklings

Here they are - the 5 Welsh Harlequin ducklings we hatched this weekend. They have beautiful golden feathers though they will eventually outgrow them. I'm looking forward to watching them grow.

Broad beans sprouting

Beans are one of our most important crops especially for carbohydrates, protein and roughage. We planted some in potato bags in March and they have now started to sprout. We have put wire netting over the bags to keep out the hens. So far so good. We have a different variety still to plant. They will be potted up shortly.

Vegetable and bacon soup

Soup is a good way to use up our vegetable stocks from last year. This is vegetable soup with fried bacon (from a recent Tamworth pig). Vegetable included are red cabbage, pumpkin, marrow (okay officially the two latter are fruit), turnip and onion. We have made enough to last us three days. The marrow and pumpkin skins have been fed to the goats and poultry.