Monday 22 October 2012

Excaged Birds Outside For The First Time

Just some pictures of our excaged birds enjoying the outside for the first time!
A friendly hen

More feathers on a bird in Tescos!

Excuse the ripped trousers!
They all seem pretty friendly. The hen in the first picture won't leave me alone when I'm in the garden. My little girl loves them as well, and kept making "BOK" noises at them!

Friday 19 October 2012

Ex Caged Birds

Although battery hens are a thing of the past in this country there are still caged birds. I've bought 10 of them (well 11 as I got given one for luck) and you can see the condition they come in isn't much better than from battery cages. Many feathers missing and some sore bums!
Don't get me wrong. I'm not criticising the British farmer, it's all about supply and demand, if people still buy the eggs it's better they come from this country. Not to mention the fact that our welfare standards are much higher than many EU countries where we still import eggs from, so I'm not having a pop at British farmers.
A few feathers missing
These birds haven't cost me much and it was a bit of a spur of the moment thing to buy them (in fact I've just spent my Friday night putting up a shed for them to sleep in while they waited in the van!) but I like the idea of bringing them back up to health and we've had them in the past and they make great layers. That said I know I've got them the wrong time of year - but their main job is to be eating and scratching all the weeds from the veg garden for the next few months anyway so any eggs will be a bonus!
Not looking too happy for themselves

Some sore bottoms!

But with all this niceness I must bring you all back to earth. This are still not pets, and although I'm giving them a nice "retirement" when they stop producing eggs they will be culled. But then they will have hopefully had a nice couple of years living nearly free range on my little smallholding so it's not too bad!
More pictures to follow when they spend their first day outside!

Sunday 14 October 2012

Buying Apples

 I hate to have to buy apples at this time of year. Normally I get them for free from my mum and dads farm (well I pick mums store of apples in payment). Stocking up on Cox, Scotch Bridgett, Norfolk Royal, Bramleys and numerous other types of apples, many from trees I planted on their farm 6 or 7 years ago. But not this year, the trees are pretty much bare!
My usual haul of apples - but not this year
My favourite cookers (from the left) Warners King, Scotch Bridgett and Bramley (this year I'd be lucky to find three to take a photo of!)
Buying apples - but cutting out the supermarket when I can!
Instead I've had to buy apples! Luckily I've found a farm selling them on the side of the road - the most beautiful tasting cox apples on this world, much nicer than the insipid things we're treated to form the supermarket the rest of the year. These were fully ripe when picked and so taste their best.
I can't wait until my own trees are producing!

Thursday 4 October 2012

Raspberry Jam

We've not had a huge amount of anything out of the garden this year, but we've been having raspberries most nights now for quite some time. The Autumn fruiting raspberries are great, as they crop for so long but as the nights get colder and the days shorter they start to loose their sweetness a little bit, although I still think they're lovely - not so great for our baby to eat (who has her fathers sweet tooth I fear).
 With a bit of a glut from a few days of not picking, I decided to make some jam. Normally this time of year I have so many things to make jam out of I wouldn't know what to choose, but not this year! Still even though it's a small quantity of fruit (800g) I thought it would be worth it, especially as there's no damsons this year (for my favourite jam).
 Jam making is ridiculously easy.
  • Weigh the fruit 
  • Boil it 
  • Add an equal quantity of sugar 
  • Boil it some more until setting point is reached 
  • Put it into jars
  • Eat it
Only four jars made but we don't really eat much jam so it should last us a while. It tastes amazing and should soften the blow of not having any damson jam this year.
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