Thursday, April 4, 2013

A touch of spring.

 The bitterly cold east wind has dropped making garden work pleasant again. At last the potatoes have been planted, both the earlies and the main crop, the Jerusalem Artichokes are also in, now, dare I say this, all we need is a drop of rain! But please, only a drop. It has been well over a month since the last rain, everything is tinder dry, with many heath fires being fought, some of them are dangerously close to forestry. I though we had left the danger of fires behind in Spain.
Spring Daffs.

Although it's late in coming there is now real signs of spring, the Elder trees are the only trees showing their new leaves though, but all the daffodils and crocus are out, the tulips have their buds, and the hedgerows are now filling with primroses.   Even the leaves of the bluebells in the woods  are now showing , it wont be long before the woods are carpeted in blue.
Bonus Crop.
The chicks that hatched last week are all doing well, today they got moved into the big brooder which was a little bit of a shock to them but they soon settled down. We were due to set more eggs in the incubator this weekend but thanks to an accommodating hen who decided to go broody,  we are using her instead. We have set her on a dozen La Bresse eggs, we can now collect the next weeks supply of  table bird eggs for the incubator which might be the last that we need to incubate for this years supply of chicken if all goes well. At least with the incubator empty we can make some yoghurt.
Whilst clearing the last of the brassica's from the garden we had a bonus, some of the kale had set flower heads which looked and tasted just like Purple  Sprouting broccoli, this kale was not the curly kale type which I love, but a rather course flat leaved variety, not one that we would grow again, but great when it flowers.
One week old.
                      Reminder to self, must plant purple sprouting this year.


  1. Purple sprouting broccoli and cavole nero are our favourites

    How many meat birds to you raise for a year? do you raise and process them all at the same time? We are about to order some hubbard birds for meat and wondered wether to do several batches of 12 over the year

  2. We did the Hubbards years ago and found them quite good for an organic system, not too fast growing and no leg problems, if memory serves me correctly we slaughtered at around ninety days and did it over a few days. Unfortunately we did not end up with many for ourselves, as soon as people found out we were doing organic table birds we had a queue of people wanting them.
    Now we have a small breeding stock of La Bresse, the French premier breed. We only have the three hens which lay most days, but brooding space is always the problem as these birds take 140 days aprox., we are aiming at doing around twenty five table birds this year which should be sufficient for our own needs, we have the first six,plus a hen that is now sitting on a doz eggs so we would be hopeful of getting at least eight chicks from her and are now collecting for a batch in the incubator which takes twenty eggs so we should be able to stagger the slaughtering, the maximum we would slaughter in one day is six and we do hang them for a day or so. If we were buying in the chicks we would limit it to twelve at a time if they are being reared free range.

  3. I love raising chicks! A hen is the best way to go. I love seeing the chicks around their mama as she softly clucks to them. But since I don't have any hens an incubator works. I just become their mama. And yes, I cluck to them! :)

    Have an excellent weekend, and I pray it rains soon for you!