Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Peckingham Palace Clean

 After my early morning walk around the village in thick fog
I decided to clean out the chooks when it lifted
 What a difference a month makes to a garden!
 The lawn is saturated, frost hit foliage is dead or dying
 I'm glad that the chooks have a nice warm weather resistant Peckingham Palace to 
keep them dry and happy during the winter
A week ago there were still flowering plants in this bed - now bent and frost bitten
Seems like perfect weather for bug and insect hunt though - keeps the girls amused for hours!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chicken chat

 After all the rain we had a couple of hours of sunshine today
 The chooks made the most of it sunbathing, whilst I did the monthly Peckingham Palace clean out.
 It took me an hour or so, then it rained again, so the chooks rushed back in and spent the rest of their day spreading the bedding around.
And of course, scratching for seeds and corn which I threw in to keep them occupied later.

I just love their covered run - it was worth every penny.  It means that right throughout the winter months, in rain, hail, and deep snow, they can keep nice and dry and clean, and most importantly happy, and warm. And have the best of both worlds running in and out to make the best of the weather.   And oh how happy they are when the sun shines in the winter, lying on their sides in their mini 'sauna' soaking up the sunshine and chilling out.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Busy day in the garden before the rains come.....

We are due wet weather this week, so I have made the most of a windy day to get as much as I could manage, done in the garden today.

 The fruit cage badly needed weeding. 
 The path has become smothered in nettles and chickweed
 Dandelions were establishing themselves in the beds
 I have never seen such a luscious 'crop' of chickweed!
 Even the strawberries have gone 'mad' so I had to get it sorted asap

I weeded the beds and in this one I planted winter cabbage.
Tiny I know, but they'll soon grow - fingers crossed
A few hours later I had weeded the paths
I dug out all the weeds from the beds too.
It was hard work digging it all by myself - but the end result is worth it.
Here it is finished.  I cleaned out the chickens and used the Hemcore for the paths.
Over the winter I will add more.  It 'disappears' over the winter as the worms seem to take it down into the ground.   This year I will add it to the beds as well as it really enriches the soil.
And here are the ladies who provide the enriched Hemcore for me.
They've spread the bedding out for me - and there is not a feather in sight.
How long for I wonder?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Now you see you don't......

I made this willow arch many years ago, but trimming it three times in a summer was getting to much for me to manage on my own - so I made the reluctant decision to........

 Get my gardener to give it the chop!
 I have had to hire a gardener to help with all the pruning this year
And to do some landscaping of the gardens out the front for me, it's all getting a bit too much.
I loved the big English Country Garden flower beds, and all the shrubs in the front - but they have to go - too high maintenance for me to cope with.  So it'll be just lawns.  Never mind, I still have lots to do in the back garden that I can cope with.

Pictures from the garden last week

 I mowed the lawns again - the grass growing is slowing down thank goodness
 The frost hasn't yet spoilt this pineapple plant - isn't it delicate.
 I love the way this Rubeckia almost 'shouts' 'Look at me!'  It's strains to reach out and get your attention!
The woodland border positively glows this time of year

 The ice plants are HUGE
 The Alstromeria are looking red hot and flowering again
After being chopped down to the ground a month or so ago.

Must dash - more to do in the garden

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

So far this week.............

I have picked lots of veggies from up the allotment and cooked a huge veggie curry.
Seven pounds in all!

We had to have some for lunch of course

And I vacuum packed the rest popped them in the freezer to enjoy in the deep midwinter

Here are the eggs from my little bantams.  The brown one (top right) is from Dolly my bantam silkie.
She's been broody lately - and she also laid the the tiny egg on the bottom left on Saturday.  It's the size of a small marble - and has a yolk inside too - you can feel it when you shake it!
I took it to my son's so that my little grandson can take the eggs to school for his 'Show and Tell' day.

Friday, September 21, 2012

This week I have.......

 Cleaned out the chickens
 Mowed all the lawns front and back
 Did some weeding of the flower beds
 Had to spread the mowing over several days due to the weather
 Still have some flowers - this  fuschia is looking spectacular and very tall
Alstromeria are regrown and flowering again after been cut right down
 The duck gets to see daylight again
 Moved everything around in our little conservatory/diner/laundry room - to fit my keyboard in - I need to practice every day, and would not do that if it stayed in the studio at the end of the garden during the winter
 More mowing

 Some flower arranging today - done in the garage as there isn't much room elsewhere
 The gladioli arrived yesterday in tight bud, but overnight are just starting to open up - they'll look a picture by Monday
Spent another 3 hours up the allotment, took lots of photos with my little camera - but had a malfunction so nothing to show for it.   Mr Lottie dug up the last row of potatoes which are now in sacks and hanging in the garage.  We have another three full carrier bags of French and Runner beans to prepare for freezing, and have cooked another 20lb of mixed veggies yesterday, and apart from all the veggies mentioned in the previous post with roast veggies, this one has mushrooms pumpkin and lots of french beans, bagged them up and put them in the freezer this morning.  The above is a curry flavour one.

Heavy rain today - but still achieved lots!

Off to the 'pictures' tonight in a village hall a few miles away to see The Best Exotic Magnolia Hotel.

Could do with a laugh - taking cushions for backs and botties as the seats are so hard!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Harvest Cookup

 You can see the above photo on yesterday's post.
 I really didn't intend to 'process' all the veggies - I ache from yesterday's hard physical work up the allotment!
 But I decided to get them done whilst still absolutely fresh with the help of Mr Lottie
When we sorted out the potatoes there were lots of tiny ones - and we couldn't just throw them away, so Mr L washed them and I put them into the mix as well.
Absolutely delicious roasted vegetable mixes are such joy in the dark winter months.
 So I shall be busy tomorrow weighing and bagging these
 Remember the big trays with lids that the school dinner ladies used
Well I cooked three trays full - they were  heaped up high and gradually cooked down
 This bowl is as large as a  big washing up bowl!
I just don't have any more energy left to bag them up tonight.
Apart from the contents of the wheelbarrow 
Here are some of the ingredients that went into the mix.

I used all the above plus.........
Tiny potatoes that most folks would throw away
Fresh Oregano from the garden
                            Onions                   (33p)
                            Celery                    (49p)
2 large jars of roasted red peppers    (£3.58)
4 tins economy chopped tomatoes    (£1.24)
                          Total                        £5.64

A provisonal guess would be that I have 10lb - 15lb of roasted veggies here - enough for 20 - 30 meals  - not bad for an outlay of £5.64 is it!

I have used 8oz today which I added to 1lb lamb mince, with mint sauce and mushrooms and made a delicious huge Shepherds Pie topped with creamy mash made with more of the little potatoes and have half the mince mix in  the freezer for another meal.


I got up early and bagged the mix up and popped it in the freezer
20lb 12oz