Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

merry-christmas

Merry Christmas xx

Quick Tree Update

A while ago I blogged about a neglected apple tree that turned out not to be an apple tree but still a neglected tree regardless. Still with me? Ok, well after examining said tree and pruning hard it came to our attention that the tree was past saving. Basically it was rotten to the core, badly decomposing and not in a good way at all. My dad cut it down for me today, what was left of it will be used for firewood. I feel a bit sad but we will be replacing the tree with many others soon so I suppose this should counteract the negativity. I HATE seeing a tree felled but sometimes I guess it has to be done. Bah!

The Good Life

Mrs N

This photo was taken on a warm summers day in August. This is Mrs N, an ex battery chicken who not long ago could only dream of a day spent cooling herself in the dirt, eating grass and insects whilst the sun warmed her feathers. I love this photo, particularly because Mrs N was in such a state when we met her. She has since grown into a confident and happy little hen, just as the other girls have.

I wonder what she was thinking……I wonder if she remembers anything about her battery cage life……hope not.

Chicken Knickers

There is something very cute about fluffy chicken knickers. In fact I find myself  photographing chicken knickers a lot when the girls are sporting a nice pair. Over the past 8 months I have built up quite a collection. Ok, this makes me sound very odd indeed now so I shall end this post here and leave you with some of my favourite fluffy knickers images! Hope you like :)

dollys-knicks

lizzies-knickers

lizzie-lilys-bloomers

Dont you just love em!

Fruit Trees For A Micro Orchard

apples

After a few days of researching endless varieties of apples and other tree fruit we have at last made a choice of two apple trees, for the time being anyway! We have so far chosen Cox’s Orange Pippin and Discovery. The Cox is self fertile so it does not require another tree to produce a crop, but it could produce a better crop with a pollinator nearby. Discovery on the other hand does need a pollinator, the Cox should fit the bill nicely as they are both in the same pollination group.

We are aware that Cox’s Orange Pippin is known to be temperamental, but because the flavour is so highly praised its got to be worth a try……besides Rich would sulk like a girl if a Cox did not make the final wish list. A variety of plum called Marjorie’s Seedling has also made it onto our wish list, a culinary and dessert plum of rich purple. We did think about a Victoria but decided we would prefer a purple plum instead – a personal preference of ours. We are still undecided about a pear tree but Conference looks like the most likely choice so far. It is a partially self fertile tree so we should really plant a suitable pollinator, but our neighbours garden (which exceeds half an acre) is planted with numerous plums and apples so we should get away with just the one tree. Well thats the plan anyway.

A large section of our garden which is particially overgrown at present (due to be cleared in spring) is where our micro orchard and large vegetable garden will finally reside. Cant wait!

The Longest Moult Ever?

rose

This is our lovely Rose, well she is lovely to us anyway. When we got her in April this year her neck feathers were partially missing, whether or not this was the start of her moult or effects of caged life (neck rubbing against the battery cage whilst feeding etc) I just don’t know. Time has gone on and she has moulted out all of her neck feathers, only to regrow the feathers immediately behind her earlobes. The rest of her neck is bare.

Recently she also decided to get shot of her knickers, so each morning I am greeted by her pink bottom. Charming! No sign of her knick knocks making a come back either im afraid, this moult seems to be never ending. I wonder which part of herself she will decide to moult out next? Lily was feather pinching for a bit but seems to have stopped now after a taste of gentian violet spray, courtesy of Rose’s bare bottom. Yum.

I know some moults can take forever, how to help them through it and the reasons behind it etc etc but  I really wish she would grow her clothes back soon, its so cold now I worry for her. Frostbite worries me too (can you tell im a born worrier?) so the vaseline pot came out again today, which of course the girls all love. Not. I have not resorted to smearing it on Rose’s bum just yet but I may have to at this rate, it was -5 here the other night.

Ewwww, the joys of chicken keeping!

Red Faced and Appleless

Calling all tree spotters – We need a tree identified please!

Let me explain. It seems that the neglected apple tree that we thought we had at the end of the garden is not an apple tree after all, according to a neighbour. But, that leaves us rather stumped (no pun intended) as we do not know what the tree is. Serves me right I suppose, getting all ahead of myself and assuming that it was an apple tree because next door has one that looks similar to ours but tons healthier and with apples on (oh the shame)  bah, im so gutted!

So, all we know is we have a crusty looking tree that failed to leaf this year (when we viewed the house at the end of summer I remember the tree being bare) and it seems for many years according to the neighbour. So what is it?  

tree-trunk

frosty-tree

Frosty Pheasants

pheasant

Another visit from the pheasants, two males this time normally there are three. They peck at fallen seed from the bird feeders. I think they are just magnificent birds and I feel so lucky to watch them feeding in our garden. The photos were taken through a closed bedroom window, if I had attempted to open it I would have scared them away, and they make such a noise when they are alarmed.

frosty-pheasants

Green Meme #1

A Little Slice Of Life has tagged us, thankyou! I finally managed to grab 5 mins to myself so here goes……

The Guidelines:

1. Link to Green Meme Bloggers

2. Link to whoever tagged you

3. Include meme number

4. Include these guidelines in your post

5. Answer questions (erm – that bit’s quite important)

6. Tag 3 other green bloggers.

1. Name two motivations for being green: 

1. My children. I worry about what state this planet will be in when the time comes for them to have children of their own.

2. Nature, animals and wildlife. I have loved the outdoors since a child and feel most happiest when surrounded by the fruits of nature.

2. Name 2 eco-unfriendly items you refuse to give up

1. My hair dryer, I have very long hair and really need a hair dryer!

2. My car, BUT I am walking more and more and now use it only when necessary.

3. Are you at peace with, or do you feel guilty about no.2?

I feel terribly guilty about what my exhaust fumes are doing to the planet, hence why I would rather walk than drive.

 4. What are you willing to change but feel unable to/stuck with/unsure how to go about it?

Probably my car. At the moment I cannot be car free, so im a little stuck with this one.

5. Do you know your carbon footprint for your home? If so, is it larger/smaller than your national average?

We have just moved into our current house, and according to the HIP report it is actually not too bad. We are looking into the possibilty of using solar energy some time in the future, this will be something we would consider changing.

6. What’s eco-frustrating and/or eco-fantastic about where you live?

Eco frustrating: 

Even though we live in a small rural village, cars are still a boil on the landscape. I would love to travel everywhere by horse, oh what a wonderful world that would be.

Bottle Banks. We dont have any in our village, and the recycling scheme will not take them, so a trip by car is necessary to deposit them in the next village bottle banks. Argghhh!

Eco fantastic:

The local schools are teaching the children to live a more greener lifestyle, they even have a flock of hens and some ducks for the children to look after. The recycling scheme is easy to use.

7. Do you eat local/organic/vegetarian/forage/grow you own?

We have started growing our own. We keep chickens too.  If I buy in produce I prefer organic wherever possible and have been checking out the local produce which is very good so far.

8. What do you personally find the most challenging in being green?

My car ! I really wish I did not need it.

9. Do you have a green confession?

Still having to rely on the supermarket frequently, I hate them!

10. Do you have the support of family and/or friends?

My other half is supportive of my choice to keep hens. He spent all of last weekend in the freezing cold rain putting the roof on the chicken run even though he moans and groans about the hens some of the time, especially when he treads in a chicken poop! One thing I will say though, he is very supportive of my views on intensive farming, particularly battery hens.

My parents grow their own fruit and veg, and enjoy free fresh eggs from our hens.

Ok, I now have to choose 3 other blogs to take part but im struggling to find ones that have not already been tagged! Ok for now I chose Stiggy over at One Man And His Chickens. Hope thats ok?!

Jobs For Winter and Wildlife

Brrr sure is chilly outside and the weather report predicts heavy snow fall which is going to make it tougher for wild birds and other wildlife to find food. One of the first tasks we took on in our garden since move in day was provide the wild birds with feeders of seeds and nuts, fat balls and drinking water. The previous owners of our house fed the birds, we made sure the supply did not end, the birds rely on it now especially as the ground has been frozen solid for the past week or so. For our efforts we have been rewarded by a display of hungry beauties feeding regularly.  A territorial robin defends ‘his’ patch with such passion, the little soldier. A squirrel pinched all the nuts by breaking the netting, I watched him or her carrying the nuts over to the wooded area to bury for the winter months ahead. I dont mind,  plenty of food for the birds and the squirrel needs to eat too!

From all the wild birds that have visited so far, I think the award for the most beautiful to the eye goes to the trio of male pheasants that drop by everyday. I realise that they are interested in our hens, but they also feed on the dropped seeds which saves me a job next year weeding! Another job/project that has now been completed is fitting a roof on the chicken run, joy oh joy the girls stay dry during the wet weather, and I also stay dry whilst attending to the everyday chickeny tasks that need doing yay!

At the very end of the garden (where the vegetables will eventually be grown) is an old and neglected apple tree which to be honest is in a bit of a sorry state. It is in need of a good pruning, hopefully this will give the tree the pick-me-up it so badly needs. I just hope we are not too late to save it. Speaking of vegetables, I would have liked to have at least made a start on digging out some new beds but the ground has just been so frozen solid that I have given up for now. Some ground needs to be cleared of overgrown brambles, but these are going to be left till late spring just in case hedgehogs or other hibernating creatures are tucked safetly inside. Not all of it will go, we plan on leaving a wild patch, also some blackberries!

Apologies for the lack of photos, I have only just got my camera equipment back from my parents who were looking after it for me during the move, there was no way I was allowing it to go on the removal lorry.

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