Wednesday, 28 November 2012

moving on with our lives

not published anything since June and the slugs but we've gone on adding ducks and sheep to our livestock and moved from the caravan into the house (though the floors, doors and windows are temporary).  However the Esse woodburning range isn't temporary and has made life warm and cosy.  The sheep are hopefully in lamb and so we'll learn from them about the delights of lambing in the spring.  The garden produced only garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, potatoes and a bit of spinach despite lots of replanting but I'm hopeful that next year might be better especially as we've gone on making as much compost as possible.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

slugs and other pests

seem to have the slug problem a bit more under control at last.  The secret is threefold - relentless slugging for a week at dusk (often in the rain) netting about 1000 of the little buggers, wood ash round the newly planted out seedlings and then organic slug pellets.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

back to the old day-job

I'm filling in for the vicar who's on holiday - 4 churches as a half time job! I've done 2 servuices last Sunday and 2 this Sunday and another priest and a reader are doing their bit.  All services require a little Welsh to be included as I'm able and that's fine, though I'm a bit crap at it but I try, but there's a strange lack of numinous to the whole affair, not just because I'm taking the services but that's been my experience 'from the pew' too.  I've yet to discover what 'the gospel' is for the deep Welsh countryside and I'm looking to local people to help me learn what it might be.  There's no criticism there at all from me, but I find it all banal so far. 

Maybe I've simply 'lost it'?  The world around me is simply so extraordinary in its variety of nature that I'm overwhelmed by it and find church simply underwhelming perhaps.  On the way to the second church today (Evensong straight after lunch for 4 people) I saw a small black and white woodpecker, a buzzard immediately outside the church door as we finished the service and clouds of goldfinches both on the way there and on the way home.  The immensity of the natural world and its variety is present all the time - the roadside banks overflow with foxgloves and all sorts of flowering plants some of which I can name and eat and others I've still to learn about.  But the services are harder to 'read'.  Small numbers don't worry me - the 4 plus me today in the afternoon was fine; the 16 this morning, including 6 from a home for adults with severe learning difficulties, were delightful too and I found the human interaction wonderful.  I suppose I'm wondering if 'there's anyone out there' anymore?

Friday, 8 June 2012

small triumph big challenge

small triumph:
the heavy rain is showing how good the ditch is that I dug some weeks back - the water is racing along it instead of making the field above the hens into a swimming pool.  Did more deepening of it today in the rain - just like a kid on the beach :))
big challenge:
I've never seen so many slugs in one small area.  Picked about 300 a couple of nights ago in only 10 minutes!  Losing seedlings fast - all spinach, courgettes, runner beans, welsh onions, parsnips :( despite organic anti-slug stuff and now relentless night-time slugging.  There must be zillions more to collect and put in brine, so I just hope collecting some will leave me a few veggies.  Replanted seeds in the tiny greenhouse to bring on and plant out later so we've something to eat.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

new additions to the flock

just brought home 2 new additions - a fabulous-looking Millefleur bantam cockerel (infertile) who was free and a silkie-cross bantam who will be a superb broody in time.  I'm hoping the presence of the cockerel will enable the warrens to emerge from their self-imposed shed life into the grass and loveliness of outside a little more.  I'm not looking to breed from the warrens but simply to enjoy the eggs and their tatty company so the cockerel's condition doesn't matter at all.  When the silkie is broody I'm going to put eggs under her from @slatehousefarm and have a whole extra flock of something else.  Struggling to post photos - blast!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

new girls

we got 8 hens yesterday from a free range egg farm who were moving their flock of 3000 on to the chicken pie factory before getting new ones, so they offered any number for sale at £1.50 each!  The hens are warrens - brown feathers with white fluff underneath - those that have feathers.  All of them are pretty thin and baldish but no doubt will pick up quickly.
This morning when I opened the coop they didn't want to come out - in a flock of 3000 I guess some of them never made it to 'outside' so it was veruy new.  By the end of the day I think 7 out of 8 had been outside at least for a while.  They're very friendly - when I sat on the grass in their run they came over to inspect and taste.
planted peas and beetroot today and nasturtiums for eating too.  Foraged for lunch salad in the hedge.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

mixed weather - mixed jobs

with so much rain I've needed an indoor job to do as well as sulking because I can't get on the garden to dig and plant, so I've put the first coat of whitewash on the parlour (but can't upload any pictures at the moment :(
in the sun I've planted lots of seeds - rocket, runner and broad beans, 2 kinds of spinach, parsnips and have plans for lots of others in the next month or so.  Yesterday I helped neighbours put up Jack Lan's polytunnel - a huge laugh, hard work and followed by a beer in the sun.  Now that's what life should be like.
Rob's nearly finished moving the stuff out of the Rectory and then we can start properly getting hens and ducks then doing the fencing for pigs and sheep  - can't wait!