A little bit of this and a little bit of that

One of our Lemon Pyle girls Alice went broody. She was sitting on four eggs, so I moved her out of the coop into a broody box. She was so much happier, she was doing a very good job but alas two of the eggs broke as the shells were not very strong. I was concerned the other two eggs might also be fragile and if they broke she would be so disappointed. I knew this girl, she was going to see it out to the end and I wanted her to have some chicks (she is such a good mum).  The week before I had placed an order for some white LF Faverolles eggs. They arrived just in time. I put these under her late at night, took out the remaining Lemon eggs and hoped for the best. I was so happy when 21 days on the dot six little chicks hatched out and all were doing well – then Mum sat on one. Such a shame, they are really cute and big chicks. Alice is doing a great job.  I think I have worked out the sex, we have one boy and four girls.

Rufus our Rhode Island red cockerel has just moved out, my friend Mandi picked him up to take him to his new home with a harem of girls who sadly lost their cockerel. He will be so happy with his new wives.  He is a lovely lively young fellow, a beautiful colour of dark reds and a few dark brown almost black feathers in his tail – a real stunner. Hopefully he and his wives will have lots of chicks in the spring.

Just when I thought the cold weather was upon us the sun comes out. This has given me more time to get everything tided away. Garden chairs and tables all wiped over and stored away. I also want to mark out a new flower bed and get ready to move some trees in November, this will give them a chance to bed in  well before the sap rises in spring. It’s a good opportunity to take photos of plants you may want to move because they have outgrown their beds before you cut them back for the winter. The photo will tell you where the plant is and how much space it will need.

We had a very good year with our roses – they now need a good trim and I will prune back around November. The grape-vine across the front of our house has produced an abundance of grapes. I’m going to try my hand at grape jelly – any other ideas would be most welcome. The veggie patch is now looking quite sorry for itself, time for a good weed before we cover it in black poly for the winter. I like to give it a good feed a few months before we plant up for the next season, then I feed as I go. We have laid by a few buckets of chicken poo, which will be diluted with water then poured over the beds. I hate the smell but it does such a good job. So it’s pegs on noses and carry on with the good work.

If you have any left over pears I have a nice recipe that will make a real Christmas treat: You will need:

About 12 pears, 1/2 bag of castor sugar, clove sticks, star anise, 1 bottle  red wine, cloves,vanilla pods, jam jars.

I cooked my pears in batches of 12, first you peel them, cut in half, try to retain the stalk, place them in the bottom of a big pan,cover them in the sugar, break cinnamon stick into four, scrape the vanilla out of its pod, drop 4 star anise and 8 cloves into the mix – think mulled wine. Then I covered the lot in a bottle of red wine (any will do), simmered for 20 mins until the pears were soft but not mushy. While this was going on I put my jars into boiling water. When the pears were ready I took my jar placed 4 bits of pear, a star anise, 1 cinnamon stick and a few cloves inside each jar then poured the red wine in. The smell was gorgeous. Once they had cooled down I drew a nice little label and stored them away to give out at Christmas. Of course I may have to keep them for myself, they are so yummy.

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