Sunday, 22 July 2012

Veggie progress

 They say you need a lot of water for runner beans. It all started so well with beans germinated under a cloche they seemed to be ahead of a "normal" season. Now they look battered and water logged some flower but no beans and poor lank growth.
 Since this picture was taken the weather has improved beyond recognition with temperatures above 20C every day since the weekend. So we get get some beans but not a heavy crop.
 Peas and broad beans have done better but the pollination of the broad beans has proved patchy in the later stages of the crops development, they are at the moment about or 4 weeks late.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

What is it?

 An insect found in Hopesay, not seen this one before, it can articulate its neck and seems to have a large ovipositor. Click on the image to see the detail more clearly.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Rearing Laying Hens

 We have long since raised our laying hens from day old chicks, there is a scarcity of point of lay organic hens and when they are available the cost can be prohibitive. 
One of of main problems when bringing laying hens into the flock was their susceptibility to predators such as Goshawk and Carrion Crows. They seem to be relatively safe after about 20 weeks. So to take the chicks from the small pens they share with their surrogate mothers to the open paddock we have bought at great expense this fancy new house and run. 
Once settled the broody will be returned to the flock and these 6week old pullets will fend for themselves in the front garden. Initially locked in the pen then roaming free in the garden using the pen as a night shelter.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Hand shearing, progress made

 So far all the sheep here in Hopesay are done. See here some examples of my work.
Speed is  (slowly) increasing and the amount of collatoral damage seen as small dots of blue spray are reducing.
The whole process is strangely empowering as although the time taken and cost are far in excess of contractor shearing, we now have control of timing and are not reliant on the availability of busy contractors.  
Summer and un-sheared sheep have always been a time of worry for me as a small flock keeper with the spectre of fly strike at the back of my mind. So far we have only had a single fly strike incident. One of the few benefits of this cold wet season is that the fly population like every other insect is significantly reduced. Every cloud......