30 April 2010

Amazing April light just before the rain

It's been hot and dry for a couple of weeks and we really need a bit of rain to soak everything I've planted over the past month or so. Yesterday evening the sky became dark and with a beautiful light and the wind stopped for just a few minutes before the drops started to fall.

I've just checked the water butts and they've been topped up overnight. Perfect timing !

26 April 2010

Stevia rises from the dead - yippee !

This is the second year this Stevia plant has overwintered.

The leaves started dying a few weeks ago and I tried watering then not watering and eventually gave up; thinking that the plant was dead.

I had a look yesterday and there's new growth from the base of the plant which means; with a bit of luck, that I don't have to look for new Stevia plants this year.

Latest lamb - small but perfectly formed

We have a few young ewes due to lamb soon so we're keeping our eyes peeled regularly on the field in front of the house since the flock have gone outside on to the new grass.

The sheep turn their noses up at hay now and we've almost stopped feeding supplements as both the ewes and the lambs are looking pretty chunky but the yearlings who are pregnant still need a bit extra so we're getting pretty good at slipping some corn and lucerne nuts in front of them and they've started to become used to a discreet treat.

This teeny weeny little lamb was born yesterday. She's the smallest lamb I've ever seen and when we saw her at first we thought she might be premature.

On closer inspection, we saw her little feet are hard and you can feel her teeth and today she's running after her mum and screams her head off when she's lost. She's pretty normal for a day old lamb really.

We're almost at the end of our terrible footrot problem. Seven of our goats still have a slight limp and I still have a slightly sore back but we're getting there.

18 April 2010

April anticipation. The weather has changed; it's getting warmer...


April anticipation, originally uploaded by hardworkinghippy.

A young Wisteria comes into its own

8 April 2010

There's mud everywhere and the tarpaulin has blown off the hay !

5 April 2010

The self-seeded lettuce is ready to eat and the no-dig seed bed is ready to plant !


Our neighbour Robert gave me these lettuces and told me to let some self seed and I'd have early lettuce. The commercial winter varieties I planted just haven't grown at all but these ones been through frost, snow, hailstones and torrential rain and they've come up smiling and taste wonderful!

Alongside them is some Italian Parsley which is coming on well, and there was Coriander but it's disappeared after a morning frost on Saturday. Behind, is my replacement patch of wild strawberries which has always grown there and I use it to re-plant where I think the strawberries will grow well or just to give away to friends.

Next to that bed is another cage that Fabrice put up for me yesterday. I normally just cover newly planted seeds with wire tents to protect them from the chickens but this little area was just asking to be cordoned off so he's driven four or five posts in and put a chicken wire round and made me a little gate.

The ground in this little spot was used for pumpkins last year and was really well mulched - once when the pumpkins were planted and again just before the winter really started. The mulch has rotted down and the resulting earth is just beautiful, dark and crumbly and totally weed free thanks to the chickens.

I can't wait to finish off the top of the new cage and start sowing seeds in that patch of earth but after our terrible experience of foot rot which spread through our flock of sheep and goats like wildfire I've had a very bad back.

After a visit to a chiropractor who seems to have cracked me all back into place, I have been ordered to do nothing for a while - which is very easy at the moment because I can hardly move ! I should be very careful over the next week or so as my back heals, so I'll have time to devote to this rather neglected blog.

Here's a short video of a chicken weeding - thank goodness I don't have to do this right now !

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