Friday, November 7, 2014

Tunnel clearance.

Last of the tomatoes.
Although we still had tomato plants  producing fruit in the tunnel we decided to call it a day and clear them out, we need to get other things planted in the vacated beds for early crops next year.
Two beds planted with garlic and onions.
Two beds for the garlic and onions had already been cleared and are now planted, the long centre bed has been cleared but is now taken over by scaffold boards for them to dry out so we can 'Fence Life' them before constructing the new raised beds in the main garden.
Lots of compost needed for this bed.
What I need now is lots of compost or manure to top up the centre bed and for the new beds. We get a reasonable amount each year from the poultry and the donkeys, but vey little from the rabbits. We compost everything we can, grass cuttings, weeds and what little veg trimmings we might have that don't get fed to the rabbits, plus mushroom compost and seaweed but we never have enough. We could get cattle manure but it is a very cold manure and unless you can get the heat up in it, it just brings in more weeds. Whatever seeding grass cattle eat comes out the other end already to germinate, this makes cattle very good for maintaining pastures, cattle can be used to stitch in clover just by feeding them the seed. I wish we had stables near by but we will have to depend on more mushroom compost and seaweed when we next get to the coast.
Tess looks on.
Tess, our Golden Lab has now appointed herself as supervisor for any work that we do,
she also likes to keep an eye on the ducklings making sure they do not venture out of their paddock into our/her part of the garden. Naturally, Felix one of our cats also had to inspect what was happening in the tunnel, the scaffold boards  make a very good place to sharpen his claws or so he thinks.
Handsome looking bird. 
All the young birds that we hatched this year are looking good, the first of the Copper Marans are now twenty two weeks old, hopefully we will have eggs from them before Christmas,
The one in the middle is a Copper Maran pullet.
unfortunately, out of the twelve that we have hatched six are cockerels, unless we can find someone wanting to breed this variety of bird the spare cocks will end up in the freezer, they are the most beautiful looking cockerels, the hens should lay a mahogany colour egg.
 We only did one small hatching of Buff Orpingtons, three pullets and one cockerel,
Mr. Buffy jnr.
 this boy will stay as we lost his father last week, or I should say he had to be culled. He developed a swelling on one side of his face and for the first time ever we used antibiotics but to no avail, when it was clear that he was getting worse we took the only course open to us. Poor Mr. Buffy, he was a beautiful gentle giant, but his son lives on. In the meantime we located a new rooster for the three pullets, he is also a very nice bird and today found his voice, it is still very much at the practise stage, but he is only eight months old, so time enough for a full blown crow.
Young Muscovy's.
The Muscovy ducklings have grown fast, they are almost ready for the freezer when we can find space. The next twelve months meat supply is secure.
The idea  of the front porch being finished this week was pie in the sky. When the double glazers said it was ready what they meant was that the frame work was finished but that they didn't have the glass, so a further delay. Tuesday they turned up and installed the frame work, then went off to get the glass. Three hours went by, no sign of the glazers, by which time it was almost dark. Then came the 'phone call, they would not install the glass until the builder had done the roof in case he damaged the new glass, this was all very well but the builder had put off another job on the say so of the double glazing firm, so he has had to rearrange his schedule. It beats us why these companies can't stick to what they say or say what they mean. The builder has been great, but then we would have expected no less, he's English. It seems that if you want a job done, and done well and on time you employ either Brits or Polish.
 Even the company that did our external insulation, although an Irish company, employed only Polish or English workers, that rather speaks for itself.
 Maybe next week this job will be completed, but once again we are not holding our breath.


  1. Those Copper Marans are stunning birds. I dont remember the last time i ate duck and you are going to have a freezer full.

    I work for a polish family and our prod manager is also polish. They are very hard workers and very loyal. I've been adopted despite my 4th generation Aussie heritage.

    I bet youve got your fingers crossed it will be done before the snow.

    I love the idea of a poly tunnel. I dont have space. At the moment i need a shade house. I could only manage 1 hr of gardening this morning at 10am before it got too hot and i was the colour of beetroot. Its only early Nov for goodness sake. I hate to think what it will be like in January - and im down south. Poor Queensland and Northern Territory.

    No stables? Perhaps on one of your drives you could call past a raceway or call ahead to a riding school. I love mushroom compost the best. Im the only one in this house that thinks it smells divine.

    1. I also love the smell of mushroom compost plus the free mushrooms that keep growing for weeks if not months, for some reason they always taste better when they have grown outside rather than in the farms tunnels.
      If you don't have room for a shade tunnel could you use cloches over you beds with shade netting on them?

  2. I agree with you about cow manure being a cold manure. Surely there must be a riding school somewhere? I often see manure for sale on Done Deal and screened top soil. We also buy pelleted poultry manure to give crops a boost. Seaweed is good too. So are leaves.

    1. No stables around here Dave that we know of, a near neighbour has dozens of Shetland ponies but of course they don't need stabling or shelter. We do collect leaves from a local wood but get very strange looks from passer-by's, so few people garden around here so I imagine they have no idea what they can be used for.

  3. My friend Jessie from rabidlittlehippy blog organises a rack of the local park which is full of trees. They get trailer loads and share it out. Its become an event with morning tea.

    1. Sorry, that would be "rake". Im using a tablet. I never hear you talk much about your community. Are you isolated?

    2. Yes Lynda, we are very isolated, nearest full time occupied house half a mile away, she is out at work all day, we were very friendly with her mother who died last year, well in her eighties. Nearest town, well more a village is four miles away. We have friends dotted around, nearest ones would be twelve miles away. Nearest group that we have involvement with is twenty five miles away. Unfortunately our local village has very little in the way of groups that we could join, crafts, gardening, art, pottery groups are miles away.

  4. Sounds like you need to start something. How about a "rake the village" group that comes with benefits. You've often said that many in your area dont grow their own vegetables. Perhaps you could print some flyers and offer your expertise to form a group in said village. I would certainly be inspired to visit and see how simply you can grow things. Its just the air ticket thats the bother. LOL. I work full time and i care for two Aspies and i have a garden. It is certainly not able to keep us in veggies each day and some often say its just a hobby garden (which is true) but i can put together salads all summer without going to the shops and im no longer seeing a therapist for depression (now that is a saving).

  5. There is a nation wide group, There are eight areas that hold monthly meetings, our most local one some 28k away was not well supported, the people who did attend were only interested in growing flowers and not veg, and arranging coach trips to see ornamental gardens throughout Ireland which is nice but not what GIY was set up for. They have a good web site but even that is seldom used, I think there was just three postings on the forum last month. It seems that here only people who live in towns and city's who have little or no gardens are the ones most interested in growing. Our most local group no longer runs, the nearest one now 50 miles away, much too far to travel in the dark nights.
    We used to have a very active organic producers group which had run for years, sadly a new person joined, quickly took over for his own agenda and the group folded. By then we had left for warmer climes, when we returned eight years later nice groups such as the one that we had been members of were long gone.
    We have both done our bit for promoting organic growing, I used to teach poultry keeping at an Organic centre, and we both feel we are now too old to start setting anything up again.
    If people want advice they know where we are and how to contact us, but it is very much an exchange between us old timers and there are a few of us, rather than any new blood.

  6. Hi Anne,
    Thank you for your comment on our blog about feeding chickens via compost. It's really interesting and I'd like to know more. I see that there is no facility to contact you through your profile (the same with my blog to avoid nuisance messages) but, if you click on our holiday cottage ad at the top right of the blog, you'll be able to email me that way, then I'll have your address. I look forward to hearing from you.
    Best wishes,

  7. Thanks Stuart, have made contact via your blog.

  8. Poor Mr Buffy! A fine handsome chap and top fertile rooster. We will be proud to keep his DNA running in our lot.

  9. Well we have his son and three daughters, so his genes live on.