Saturday, March 30, 2013

Controlled by the weather.

The sun is hot, the ground is dry and yet it's still freezing. Temperatures struggle to make it to 6c during the day, - 2c at night, this time last year we were enjoying temperatures of 20c. There is still an easterly wind which is stopping the sun from warming things up. We have now covered the strawberry plants in the tunnel as the flowers were getting frost bite.
 The daffodils have come to a grinding halt , they remain half open, still it will mean that we have a prolonged blooming of them. Fortunately none of the fruit trees had come into bloom, just the start of the flower buds forming, like us they are waiting for warmer weather.
The potatoes however can wait no longer, the bed has now been dug,  the trenches are formed and filled with donkey manure and are now covered with black plastic, hopefully by mid day tomorrow the trenches will have warmed enough by the sun to plant the potatoes.
Flowers which I would have been planting in the soil have now been planted into containers and put into the tunnel, just to keep them warm, I will be able to move these containers to various places in the garden when things warm up. Keeping the container watered makes for more work and it can only be done in the morning as the plants would end up with cold wet feet over night, no plant likes this.

The rhubarb however has not suffered but we have kept it covered with straw when this cold spell arrived, we have picked the first sticks, I made some Panna  Cotta which goes beautifully with rhubarb. We should have a good crop this year, with plenty to freeze.

The first batch of quail are now in the freezer with the second lot due to join them next week, weighing in at 6oz average, with one at 8oz.
 The first of the la Bresse eggs have now hatched, out of  nine eggs we ended up with six chicks, three eggs were infertile, the next lot will go into the incubator sometime next week as long as they don't go off lay. The duck eggs though have so far failed to hatch, we will give them a few more day before we discard  them.
Tess continues to grow, she likes to please and will sit when told although not for long, her attention span is not too good. Unless she is asleep she always has to have something in her mouth, maybe this is a trait of  Labradors. She has a favourite cat, Emily,  although an elderly cat she loves to play with the pup, games of chase, take place several times a day, that is the cat chasing the pup, not the other way around, sometimes it's bedlam around here.

When we first moved to this cottage we were surprised how few wild birds there were on our land, each time a new bird arrived we got quite excited, it was only by following another blog that we decided to have a count up of what we now have here, in total thirty different species to date, plus the summer visitors, yet another benefit of being Organic. 


  1. I am 'patiently' waiting for the snow to melt. All I can do is dream about planting my garden, which for me is not until mid to late May. I think Tess is a beautiful pup!!

    Have a wonderful Easter!


  2. Its so frustrating the weather isn't it I too have some potatoes that will not wait I think I am going to plant some in the polytunnel using the stacking tyre method that way I wont lose too much space.

    My rhubarb has survived the move its just crowning, I am keeeping it covered with straw too. The quail look great I have (and plan to again) kept quail but we never ate them are they really fiddly to prep?

    Great to see you have more birds than you thought, I keep adding to my list as I remember more

    Hope the sun comes soon


  3. Hi, we had planted the very early potatoes in the tunnel, some in bags and some in a raised bed, the ones in the bags are not showing the ones in the bed are but not doing much at all, the tunnel needs watering but as it's so cold we are very reluctant to do so.
    Twenty odd years ago we used to do quail commercially, I got quick at doing them, this time the first one took me 40minutes! (Old age creeping in here I think) the other took me about eight minutes to pluck, unlike most birds they are easier to do cold, to clean them out you can use a tea spoon, scooping all around the inside of the carcase, but as I have small hands I just use my index finger, it only takes a couple of minutes to clean them out.
    Our rhubarb crowns are all Timperley early, we like the flavour and have always found it a heavy cropper as long as it is well manure in the winter, we keep the crowns corralled during the winter, this year we used old sheets of tin bent round, leaving the top open, then covered them with straw before the first frosts arrived. Last year we were still picking until Oct.

  4. I will give it a go if we ever get a coop/shed ready

    I have timperley early and victoria rhubarb , the timperley is a so much nicer colour and much more flavourful