Tuesday 29 November 2022

Full English breakfast wartime style


With my historians hat on recently, I filmed another historical food video, this time on how to make a mock full English wartime breakfast with leftover potatoes, carrots, marrow, tomatoes, homemade baked beans and pigeon sausages. The above is the result. I will be editing the video shortly and will post it on here when done.

Sunday 27 November 2022

Hens in the greenhouse


I mentioned a day or so again that we have cleared out our greenhouse and added pullets to it. So here they are. There are three mother hens in there as well. I suspect in a few weeks that I will have to remove some of the birds as they are growing rapidly. Another chicken run will be needed.

Dust bathing


At this time of year we have lots of wood ash. Uses for it are limited. We have at times added it to the compost heap. We are planning to experiment with it to use it to make soap. But today I put a bucketful of ash into a tray in one of the henhouses so that the birds could do some dust bathing.

Leek and potato soup


Leek and potato soup for dinner tonight (and for the next couple days). We grew the potatoes (we still have about 2 tonnes waiting to be harvested) and the chilies. The leeks were from a friend. Great for warming us up on these cold, miserable autumn evenings.

Saturday 26 November 2022

Goat sitting


I am looking after the two goats Buster and Agnes belonging to my friend Steve. Sadly for Steve he has gone down with covid. The two goats are on the neighbouring allotment to mine so there is no great problem adding them to my twice daily feeding rota. They will however be moving soon to my farm.

Clearing out the greenhouse


I cleared out the greenhouse through the week. It was full of tomato plants there were too late in the year to produce any fruit. The tomato plants (see picture below) will head off to one of our compost bins. The compost they are in will be added to the top of raised beds. In the meantime, we have transferred all the pullets that hatched in the late summer from one of the chicken runs so that there is more space for each bird. By the time the avian flu restrictions end, the birds are likely to be fully grown!

Saturday 19 November 2022

Pigeon meatballs


We had lots of pigeon sausagemeat left over so we made them into meatballs which we casseroled. Very pleasant!

Pigeon toad in the hole


We still have lots of pigeon meat to use up so recently I minced the pigeon breasts and made them into sausages (I filmed a separate video on how to make them which will be edited soon.) The sausages were used to make toad in the hole. It went well with roasted potatoes and vegetables.

Saturday 12 November 2022

Making sure the hens are happy


We have about 50 sacks of leaves which we collected last winter. We were hoping they had rotted down but many of them are only partly rotted. So we are gradually putting them into the chicken runs so the birds can scrat through the leaves looking for bugs to eat and thereby imitating natural behaviour. It keeps the hens occupied and happy.

Wednesday 9 November 2022

Being self-sufficient means turning waste into a resource


If you want to be self-sufficient, you need to turn waste into a resource. Take for example this compost bin. It is a reused paving stone box lined with empty animal feed sacks. The contents are the garden waste from the flowerbeds on Church Green in Whickham. I am one of the volunteers who helps look after the beds. In October all the old plants were stripped out and were taken to my farm. We filled 3 boxes like this. They will rot down over the winter and will be used as raised beds next year. No waste!

Tuesday 8 November 2022

Flockdown begins


We had been expecting it so it was no surprise when the government announced it: all poultry to be caged to tackle the spread of avian flu from wild (and particularly migratory) birds to domesticated chickens and ducks. This is now the 4th flockdown we have experienced and it means all our birds must remain until further notice in runs which are netted over. We had left most of the infrastructure of last year's flockdown in place, guessing correctly that the restrictions would be reintroduced. Nevertheless, we have more birds so another run was required. This was built up against the goat house on our Nearside plot. The goats were moved in the summer to our farm so the spare building was brought back into use.

We have no idea when the flockdown will end. The last one only ended in May and we are now heading towards a situation in which the birds will spend more time confined to runs than they will be free range.