Our two children having fun dressing up tonight. Better get on with the packing, lots to do and so little time!
All posts for the month October, 2008
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on October 31, 2008
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on October 31, 2008
At the moment we are in the middle of packing, not to go on holiday (although somewhere nice and hot would be lovely right now) but to move house – a relocation move. This should explain the lack of substance in our most recent posts, we did not see the point of starting new projects or planning for early crops due to the impending move, so it left little to blog about. This has been rather frustrating at times as there are so many things that we want to do and be getting stuck into.
I did mention to Stiggy over at One Man And His Chickens blog a while ago that I would not blog about this particular ‘touchy’ subject, but the excitement has got the better of me. You see the past year has been awful, very stressful and full of disappointments. This time last year we were in a very similar situation, all set to move and get on with our new lives and plans but through no fault of our own the chain collapsed and we lost not only our buyers but the house we wanted too. Then very early this year we sold again only to have yet more problems within the chain which ended with us losing out once more.
Since late summer this year we have been keeping our fingers tightly crossed and silently hoping that the new chain goes through to completion this time. However, we are not completely out of the woods just yet. Due to an admin error (groan) on our mortgage offer, it has delayed exchange of contracts now for a week, hopefully this will be rectified very shortly. We did not want to be packing up before an exchange had happened, it kind of feels like we are tempting fate and that something will go wrong, lets face it everything that could go wrong previously did and this does knock your confidence eventually.
Even so, it is looking very likely that completion will follow very shortly after exchange of contracts, and I think we are wise to make a head start on the packing even if it does feel a bit scary. Hopefully we will have the news we have waited so long to hear soon, it cannot come quickly enough as we are getting just a little fed up of disappointment and crossing fingers. Surely it cannot go wrong again?
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on October 30, 2008
Another dusting of overnight frost sparkled at me this morning, the last two days have been particularly chilly here. The weatherman reported that it was going to be around -3 last night, so I spent a bit more time than usual yesterday afternoon making sure that the hens coop was well prepared with extra bedding to at least try and take the sting out of Jack Frost’s forthcoming nightshift.
After letting the hens out early this morning I was greeted with cheery bop-bop clucks from happy hens, totally oblivious to the cold it seemed. I watched them for a while, scratching around merrily in the warm barley straw that I scattered around the enclosure as I clutched my hot cup of tea, trying to keep my hands warm. I think the rest of this week is going to be pretty much the same, good job the hens can cope with the cold better than I do.
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on October 29, 2008
This welcome sight for hungry bees and other beneficial insects is the flower of Fatsia Japonica, an evergreen shrub that’s as tough as old boots. After the flowers are finished tiny purple/black seed heads are food for small birds. We planted this shrub around 5 years ago and now it must be well over 10 ft high by 9 ft wide, every autumn it’s teeming with hungry bees when the creamy white flowers emerge. They are very similar to the flower spikes of ivy Hedera helix but are more than double the size. Flowering commences from the bottom of the spike which elongates as it matures, so it’s quite a spectacular plant when there are several spikes in flower.
Fatsia Japonica likes full shade or part shade, in full sun its deep glossy leaves will end up burnt and sickly looking but it will probably still cope!
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on October 28, 2008
Today marked 6 months of freedom for our ex battery girls. Lily decided to lay an egg outside the coop today, obviously enjoying her freedom of choice quite literally.
This photo is one of our favourites, our daughter with her hen friend Emily.
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on October 20, 2008
Caterpillars sometimes choose the most unusual places to pupate, this little fella is preparing to overwinter as a pupa on one of our gates. It is the caterpillar of the Grey Dagger moth, a vibrant coloured caterpillar with the striking hump just before the head. Due to the angle of the gate, this is the best viewpoint of which to take a photo so the hump is not clearly seen im afraid. This is one of those moments that I wish I had a macro lens and a bendy back!
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on October 8, 2008
Our decision to keep the rotten old potting shed that we inherited 9 years ago when buying this property was a wise decision, it serves the local toad population with somewhere safe to cool off in the summer months, and best of all somewhere safe to hibernate over winter. We hardly keep anything in there now and Ivy has creeped its way in through a gap in one of the broken windows.
Toads are always a welcome sight in our garden, they keep the slug and snail population under control which is great for us because we do not use slug pellets. Its that time of year again when toads and other forms of wildlife will be looking for somewhere to hibernate, the old potting shed will serve them well.
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on October 7, 2008
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on October 6, 2008
Most of our time spent in the garden smallholding this weekend was finding ingenious ways of keeping the chickens dry and out of the high winds due to the lashing from the great British weather. The chicken’s enclosure is 6ft high and although it has a wire mesh roof, it does not have roofing sheets. This is one project that has had to take a back seat for the time being for one reason or another.
You would think the chickens would go inside the coop to escape the worst of the weather, but seeing as they choose not to the girls now have a makeshift shelter which is dry and draught free. It is basically a wood frame screwed together with tarpaulin over the top and 3 sides. They have soft straw down on the floor and their feed bowls are easy to get to. This works for now, but I really cannot wait to get a roof on the run!
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on October 5, 2008