First, as promised, here is our ‘Chick Update': Butternut (yellow) has been the most wonderful mum. Five chicks hatched successfully, but sadly the last one didn’t make it (which could have been for a number of reasons). There was a bit of a fiasco on day three when Cocoa the (black) cat decided to stroll into the chick run to introduce himself… Butternut went for him and he couldn’t get away quick enough! Fortunately, everyone involved, including me and my daughter, survived the ordeal and we now have 8 hens, 3 Chocolate Orpington Bantam Chicks and 2 Blue Laced Barnevelder Chicks in residence here at Hen Corner.
Unfortunately, there were mouse droppings (black) discovered in a variety of places. I knew we had them living there and was really quite tolerant of them until I realised that they have obliterated my seed store that must have contained over 70 varieties stashed safe for next year… there are some loose seeds in the bottom of the tin, so we might have a roulette bed next year and just see what comes up…. at least the shed is clean and tidy now!
Good news in the shed is the growing supply of jams and preserves that we are making as we harvest. Last years gift of Kilner Jars are being put to good use for delights such as New Season Piccalilli (yellow) and some fabulous Plum Jam with plums kindly donated by a good friend. We spiced one batch of the jam with cinnamon, which is great in a Victoria Sponge, and the other batch we warmed up with some ginger… smashing on hot crumpets!
As in the shed, we also had unwanted guests in the garage. These were smaller than the mice and were very much *Black and Yellow* yep, nasty little wasps… I went in to assess the situation and after two sharp stings (one flew up my T-Shirt – Ouch!), I decided to don myself in my new Bee Smock and rubber gloves to get a better idea of what we were dealing with. Andy (OH) popped to the shops to buy some Wasp Nest Killer Powder and Spray… So fully protected (so I thought), I ventured back in to discover that the wasps had found the only hole in my jeans! Two more stings and waterproof trousers later, I was determined to get even… I pulled aside an old carpet (should have dumped it years ago) to get a better look and, as you can see above, revealed a rather large wasp nest which was promptly doused in Killer Spray Foam! All sorted – Phew….
More Black and Yellows:
- Berries are in full swing with our hedgerows full of Blackberries (black) and we were very pleased to find some Autumn Gold raspberries (yellow) in the kitchen garden. We planted them last year but thought the plant had died, so hurrah!
- At last the Bees are arriving! Andy Pedley of the Ealing and District Beekeeping Association came to assess the garden and is lending us a nucleus colony to see how we get on. This is a great way to experience the impact and responsibility before buying lots of equipment – Thanks for all your help Andy!
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Jobs for next week:
- Monitor the chicks, they are already starting to grow their wing feathers
- Planting the Saffron bulbs (still haven’t done that)
- Read up on the Bee Keeping, it’s been a year since the training course
- Continue to harvest and preserve
- Plan for Cider Sunday 2011!
Have a great week yourself now….