Posted by: hencorner | May 10, 2014

In England’s Green and Pleasant Land

Welcome back to Hen Corner!

As featured in Country Living Magazine
In recent weeks we’ve celebrated our four year blog birthday, delighted in a Devon holiday, and were honoured to speak at a local Women’s Institute  meeting. Readers who follow us on Twitter and Facebook will have seen some of the other things we’ve been up to recently…
We are currently building a new website, by subscribing to emails (box right) you’ll never miss a thing!

SYFE - New FamilyMeet the family…

When deciding where to go for a spring break with the family, I contacted Gillian @FarmerDixon from South Yeo Farm East, who has been supplying us with fertile eggs to hatch under Broody Butternut and delicious rare breed lamb butchered and boxed for the freezer for several years now. How wonderful to meet the farmers and animals that we’ve known from a distance for so long. Gillian kindly recommended the holiday cottages on her neighbours small holding so we had a wonderful week at Eastcott Vineyard, complete with wine tour and tasting, and took the opportunity to explore some of the West Country’s beautiful scenery along with visits to local National Trust properties and The Eden Project.

Gillian and her husband, Ian, have been keeping rare breed sheep, cattle, pigs and chickens for many years now; the lambs pictured here with their mum are a Welsh breed Balwen. It’s a busy job, they’ve been lambing since January and are now calving, overseeing and often assisting with every single new birth. Fortunately, between a flock of fluffy Pekin hens and a large incubator, the baby poultry don’t need much help entering the world; whilst we were there, we met a some day old goslings who had been hatched by a bantam (small breed) hen. Already, they were quite large and it wouldn’t be long before they outgrow their petite mummy! If you’ve ever fancied hatching eggs and rearing chickens, do check out the breeds that Gillian stocks, and don’t forget her delicious meat that can be posted anywhere in the UK, full details are on their website.

ECV - Sparkling wines champagne methodCheers!

When we usually arrive at a holiday cottage, there’s often a pint of milk in the fridge and some tea bags in the cupboard, but when we arrived at Cabernet Cottage, there was a welcome bottle of wine in the fridge, of course! Hilary & Richard Waller have 6 acres planted with 6,000 vines of 6 varieties of grapes; three English varieties: Rondo, Seyval Blanc, Solaris that like living in the UK and give a good crop most years, then the French Champagne Trio of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. They are the hardest to grow here, especially Chardonnay, which likes a nice warm summer to flower; though harvests are less reliable, they do make very good white wines, especially their sparkling varieties. It was great to join in on the first Grand Vine to Wine Tour of 2014, and whilst learning about growing grapes and producing wine, the highlight was tasting their award-winning wines; 3 sparkling (dry, medium & rose) and 2 still wines (white & rose). My favourite was the Brut Zero Sparkling, which rivals a good champagne, and might indulge in a case to enjoy throughout the summer!

More than Honey: Sara will be looking at the role of bees in so much of the food we produce in the UK, she will be looking at changes in farming and bee keeping over the years and the challenges and benefit of keeping bees today.Who is in the hive?: Sara will explain the structure of a honey bee colony, looking at the nest, the castes, the life-cycle, and roles of each bee.The Bee Keeping Year: Sara will outline the seasonal tasks & responsibilities of keeping bees today including suggestions as to how those interested can find out and experience more.
Read more at http://www.countrylivingfair.com/Spring/Content/Spring-Garden/4_10/#2Lq7bkl3oHGxTz3q.99

UH peopleComing up at the Corner…

This year we have planned courses right throughout 2014 giving everyone the opportunity for ‘A little bit of country life in London’. Throughout the summer we will have three types of courses available: Introduction to Bee Keeping, a practical hands on opportunity for small groups to inspect our honey making pollinators, Urban Hens, keeping chickens in London and Pick and Pickle, an introduction to preserving.

The LoraxBook of the Blog Post:

The Lorax

By Dr. Seuss

“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” The wisdom of Dr Seuss opens our eyes to real environmental issues in his unique captivating rhyme…

This book is available with many of our other favourites books from the Hen Corner Shop!

 

Other News:

  • Sadly, Ascot our beautiful Silver Laced Wyandotte died before Easter, but we have since introduced two new big chickens to the Eglu Cube and two fluffy Lavender Pekins to the bantams in the Eglu Go
  • I’ve always admired the Women’s Institute and took Butternut, our Buff Orpington, with me to speak to our local group; she was happy walking around the front of the hall whilst we joined in with the anthem, Jerusalem!
  • With the mild weather, the bees have got ahead of themselves and have been set on multiplying. We had a swarm in April and are monitoring them carefully to maximise honey production

Jobs for next week:

 

Have a good week yourself…Hen logo good

Join us on the Journey!

Posted by: hencorner | March 23, 2014

Our 100th post, Celebrations all round!

Welcome back to Hen Corner!

As featured in Country Living Magazine
I can’t believe that I’ve written 100 blog posts, thanks so much to our regular readers who keep coming back for more. Congratulations to the three winners of tickets to the Country Living Spring Fair, we hope that Sam Fut, Bridget Mellor and Julie Fraser had a great time and look forward to hearing their highlights. Readers who follow us on Twitter and Facebook will have seen some of the other things we’ve been up to recently…
We are currently building a new website, by subscribing to emails (box right) you’ll never miss a thing!

Capital GrowthCelebrate a prize…

We were really pleased to hear this week that we’ve won a prize with the project Capital Growth. This initiative, that supports Londoners to grow their own food, has been a great source of encouragement to us throughout 2013 as we logged all our produce that we collected from the garden on their Harvestometer. It was through their campaign for Londoners to grow a Million Meals that we worked out that between the fruit, vegetables, honey and eggs we gathered 200kg of food worth approximately £1,160.00 contributing to 2496 meals! It was also a privilege to partner with Capital Growth for one of our Pick and Pickle courses last year, helping those that grow their own food preserve the gluts and ensure nothing goes to waste. Thank you for our prize, we looking forward to spending it on fantastic goodies to help us grow more food this year…

JBP_6350Celebrate a birthday…

Our good friends at Omlet are celebrating their 10th Birthday very soon… We have been using their fabulous Eglus to house our chickens for seven years now and they are still designing great new products for both the kitchen and the garden such as this contemporary Egg Ramp that allows us to eat our eggs in order of freshness.

We love the story of how Omlet began, and as a reminder, here is our interview with one of the founders, Johannes Paul.

More than Honey: Sara will be looking at the role of bees in so much of the food we produce in the UK, she will be looking at changes in farming and bee keeping over the years and the challenges and benefit of keeping bees today.Who is in the hive?: Sara will explain the structure of a honey bee colony, looking at the nest, the castes, the life-cycle, and roles of each bee.The Bee Keeping Year: Sara will outline the seasonal tasks & responsibilities of keeping bees today including suggestions as to how those interested can find out and experience more.
Read more at http://www.countrylivingfair.com/Spring/Content/Spring-Garden/4_10/#2Lq7bkl3oHGxTz3q.99

ITB beesComing up at the Corner…

This year we have planned courses right throughout 2014 giving everyone the opportunity for ‘A little bit of country life in London’, in May we will have three types of courses available. Introduction to Bee Keeping, a practical hands on opportunity for small groups to inspect our honey making pollinators and two types of chicken keeping courses. Family Feathers and Fun includes all the information of our Urban Hens course but also provides treats and craft activities for our younger guests.

A Year of Recipes from an Urban Hen Keeper

A Year of Recipes from an Urban Hen Keeper

Book of the Blog Post:

A Good Egg: a year of recipes from an urban hen-keeper

By Genevieve Taylor

I’ve had this book for a year now and it was a delight to pick up again this week to flick through the seasonal recipes, all using our freshly laid eggs. We are collecting up to nine a day at the moment and fortunately my daughter is becoming quite the little baker! This Sunday we were more than happy to sample her warm batch of Pasteis de Belem, Portuguese custard tarts… yum!

This book is available with many of our other favourites books from the Hen Corner Shop!

Other News:

  • Fortunately, Ascot is much better, she seemed to have something stuck in her throat
  • We did our first full bee inspection and all three colonies have survived the winter well
  • Hurrah, we’ve spotted our first couple of asparagus spears peeking through

Jobs for next week:

  • Arrange to transport one of the colonies of bees to a friend who lost one over winter
  • Give the compost bins a good stir, aerating them will speed up the process
  • Buy some eggs boxes as the eggs just keep on coming, if you are in the area, why not come and buy some?

 

Have a good week yourself…Hen logo good

Join us on the Journey!

Posted by: hencorner | March 11, 2014

Win Tickets to the Fair!

web ad

Country Living Spring Fair 2014

at the Business Design Centre, London

Win Tickets and Discount Code

We are really pleased to have been invited to do a series of talks about bees in the Spring Garden at this year’s Spring Fair run by our friends at Country Living magazine. The topics are:

More than Honey: Looking at the role of bees in so much of the food we produce in the UK, changes in farming and bee keeping over the years and the challenges and benefit of keeping bees today.
Who is in the hive? Explaining the structure of a honey bee colony, looking at the nest, the castes, the life-cycle, and roles of each bee.
The Bee Keeping Year Outlining the seasonal tasks & responsibilities of keeping bees today including suggestions as to how those interested can find out and experience more.

The full programme for all the talks in the Spring Garden can be found here and show tickets can be bought here.

However, we have been given THREE PAIRS of tickets to giveaway to our subscribers, followers, and friends…

One pair can be won on this Website, one on Twitter, and one on Facebook.

1) On this Website, please ‘Subscribe’, top right, and leave a comment, below, telling us why you would like to go to the fair.

2) On Twitter, please ‘Follow’ @HenCorner, Reply telling us who you’d bring with you, and ReTweet (RT) the competition tweet to your followers.

3) On Facebook, please ‘Like’ Hen Corner, top of page, leave a comment telling us which day you’d like to come, and do let your friends know about our competition.

You can enter only once on each platform (Website, Twitter, and Facebook), but that’s three chances to win!

Our competition closes at 12 noon on Monday 17th March and the winners will receive their tickets direct from the event organisers.

If you already subscribe, follow or like us, don’t worry – we know who you are, you can still join in the competition!

Winners will be drawn at random after the competition closes, contacted directly (by email, Direct Message or Facebook Message) and addresses will be forward to Country Living Magazine Fairs who will send out tickets direct.

We are following Twitter’s guidelines for competitions and Facebook’s Page’s Terms to run this competition.

If you are not successful in winning a pair of tickets, using this discount code: EX14S53 to book in here will help you save some pennies!

See you there,

Sara

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