Sunday, April 02, 2006

Sunday 2nd April Chicken and hobbies news

Norfolk Lasses Eggs Total to Date: 346 Day:151

KoKKo 115 Personal best egg weight 86grms 29.11.2005
Adelaide 116 Personal best egg weight 80grms 26.02.2006
Ginger 114 Personal best egg weight 80grms 27.03.2006

London Ladies Bantam Eggs Total to date: 25 Day:20

Dilly 9 Personal best egg weight 36grm 27.03.2006
Freckles 9 Personal best egg weight 37grms 28.03.2006
Pumpkin 7 Personal best egg weight 35 grms 01.04.06

The night time and early morning rain has finally stopped and the sun has come out. It think that it will be far too wet to do even muck spreading up the allotment today and my old bones are making a fuss, but it might be that it is morning and they need shaking and jiggling up a bit so I well see how I feel after breakfast.

But I still have so much to do at home if that is the case. Seeds to sow - hundreds literally, bread to make, a pheasant to cook, and of course this afternoon you'll be wanting to see how the soap turned out won't you. Well so will I. I am going to wait exactly for the 24th hour - normally I ma impatient but today I will be good.

I put it out in my garden studio out of temptations way. It would be nice to have a little kitchen in there, but I would need planning permission for that as a change of use - plus the expense of plumbing etc.

The chickens were quite quiet when I went to let them out, no early morning eggs today, but I don't need them yet.

Off for breakfast in the conservatory where hopefully the sun will shine on me. Bliss

Update at 5.30pm

Well I did go up the allotment after all - so that is on a seperate page, as now that spring is here, it is best that I divide the pages into allotment and the chickens and everything else on another.

I know that some of the men that read this did so because it was an allotment site, but over the winter it turned into a foodie, hobbies and chicken blog - but they were warned in advance, as you can't write much about an allotment in the winter when nothing is happening up there!

You haven't seem much of KoKKo, Adelaide and Ginger lately, so I thought it was about time that I amended that.

Having fun and games on the logs I got the other day.

I keep mithering about the little banties as the big girls do chase them now and again, and although they don't pluck out any feathers or do any damage, I do feel for the little ones.

But they don't seem to mind, they just crouch, get a tap on the neck, then get up and go on their way, or stay and pinch bits off the big ones and risk the same treatment.

I am sure that they are fine though, as they are laying eggs quite happily. Three again today from Freckles, Dilly and Pumpkin, weighing 35gms, 33grms and 31grms which are good weights for them. Two eggs so far the Ginger and Adelaide. Yesterday there was a late one, but it is tipping it down with rain so it does not bode well for a late one from KoKKo this time of the evening.

I have just got drenched going out there to give them their mixed corn. The banties wer having fun scratching about in the long extended run of the Eglu, so I threw their portion in there and shut them in to eat it, as it is getting late.

The big girls were happy to scratch around in the rain for theirs, but I put some undercover in the Green Eglu run, and dashed into the garage to get a choc ice out of the freezer for Pat and me as we have earnt it today. They last two in the packet. A trip into town might be called for. I could do with some grass seed methinks.

After the trip up the allotment and late lunch, I finally got to have a peek at my soap that I made yesterday. I put had put it in my studio on the garden. It was a tad be difficult to get it out of the moulds even though I had greased them thoroughly. Perhaps I should have left them another 24 hours. The book said 24 hours though, but some another book I was reading said 24-48 hours. It was still quite soft so maybe that was the problem, so I have left the big block until tomorrow to turn that out and will show you a photo then.

So here we have St Clements Soap. It smells divine of oranges and Lemons and is a bright yellow colour from the yellow palm oil. The recipe called for adding some tumeric, but although I know this colour will fade over the next 4-8 weeks that you have to leave it, it can't imagine it will fade that much.

I finely grated orange and lemon zest into the mix and you can see lovely little spots of it. I have added the dried orange slices to some of them, which, when the soap is cured, I will glaze with melted beeswax to give it a shine. It is purely for decoration and will be able to be lifted off, once the soap is used.

In other recipes they have actually encompassed dried fruits and flowers within the soap - large pieces not just tiny grated bits.

I have recently used one that had rose petals or pot pouri stuck in the surface, and it just gets all over the sink and your hands and is a bit of a nuisance,and has gone slimy and doesn't dry out, so did not fancy that - but that is purely my taste. It did look wonderful though and had a great texture.

So here it is...........................

It was still quite soft, and as I said a real bother trying to get them out of the moulds so I had to smooth them out and mould them with my hands (wearing thick protective gloves as it is not cured).

If you could smell it and see it in reality, it is very pretty with a wonderful aroma. As I said, the colour fades with the curing, so it will be lighter and the tiny flecks of the zest will show up better.

It is laid on an old hand towel and in a drawer; in case you are wondering why that is, it has to be wrapped in a towel and put in a cool place for 4-6 weeks to cure. It is cool in my studio and out of sight is out of mind otherwise curiosity will get the better of me!

I think the big lump that I will unwrap tomorrow and cut up into big chunks will be good.

Still, the whole point of the exercise is to make things, and they will look homemade and not perfect. It is what goes into them that counts.

Anyway, after this first go, I am eager to make some more - all sorts - and I am also so thrilled with the cream I made a few weeks ago, and the tremendous effect it has had on my skin that I shall be experimenting with making some more.

But firstly the allotment takes preference - so that we can eat this year and next winter!


  1. gardenspirit7:00 pm

    Hi there, well done on producing some fantastic fruity soap! You mentioned that your lottie blog was on another page to keep it separate from the chickens and everything else- but where is it ? cant see another link or how to get to it- or an I having an "elderly moment" and its right in front of me on the page ! or you simply havent written it yet !
    sorry for the question but I've been pricking out hundreds of mesembryanthemum seedlings and my brain's gone into shutdown!!

  2. I was probably typing it at the time. Not enough hours in the day

    It takes ages for me to do. And the photos take me hours editing them and resizing them, and adding them.

    Still it is worth it to get such lovely comments and lots of followers

  3. gardenspirit9:21 pm

    re- the comment "cant find lottie page" you must have been hard at down the lottie, barrowing all that loverly manure !! I was impatient, very sorry ! keep up the Blog, its fascinating hearing about your crafts and chooks and hard graft in the allotment- you are doing what I am only dreaming about-as my husband wont let me keep chickens or have an allotment- but i am working on it !!

  4. When my husband saw the 330ft x 33ft allotment over grown with weeds taller than us, and lots of rubbish, carpets, junk on it, he said , 'No way - you must mad' with a few rude words thrown in.

    As an adult, I reminded him that I was just that and that I could and would make my own decisions. If I tried and failed then fine, at least I would have had the satisfaction of trying. Now he is very proud of me, and helps out now and again with the really heavy things. And he loves the food!

    The same with the chickens. It is my home too, and I do the garden, and if I am responsible for the chickens, and they do not affect or disrupt his life then why not. I now have six and am going to get at least three more bantams at some point when the latest three are totally settled in.

    The worse case scenario is that I have to give up the allotment when my health prevents me from doing it - or have to subdivide it. And the same with the chooks. Worse case scenario is that I have to get them adopted. But they are such wonderful pets, so easy and cheap to keep, little upkeep, so I can't see that happening. And he loves the eggs and finds the chickens entertaining - but does not have to feed or clean them or have any hands on things to do with them - nor should he - as it was my decision to have them.

    So compomise rather than dictatorship on both sides is a good thing. LOL

  5. gardenspirit12:08 am

    Many thanks for your inspiring words- I'll let you know when I get my allotment!

  6. I', pooped!
    But had a great day!
    Did some more clearing out, cleaning etc, amazing what you find when you are busy.

    Sister came over, we went into Derby to pick up some curtains for her new bungalow, then walked the dog, came home had our starters early while the dinner cooked. We almost fell asleep, but her elbow was aching, probably from digging up the shrubs for me that she didn't want in her 'landscaped' garden! So I let her have some of my Aloe heat gel, which I think soothed the aformentioned elbow.
    Love the soap! your pheasant dish sounds like a real Gourmand preparation..right down to the dish it was cooked in LOL!
    Have you ever cooked Cassoulet? I remember cooking this some years' ago and although it took some time to prepare and cook, not to mention sourcing some of the ingredients, it was a wonderfully satisfying meal, with some crusty French stick to mop up the juices...mmmm deliscious!
    Well, doing some more DIY later today, so better get some shut-eye, not to mention 'beauty sleep' LOL!


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