Spring in the Garden

Spring in the Garden

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Grand Designs

We have some exciting plans for the garden this year.

Amber's egg is top right
First of all we hope to acquire a couple of new chickens fairly soon.  We think we ate our last home-grown egg this morning as Amber hasn't laid an egg since 12th January.  The extra large eggs I bought in the shop were still smaller than Amber's have been, although hers were a bit too big.  They over-spilt in an egg poacher and couldn't touch each other in the egg compartment of the fridge.  They were also too tall for an egg box.

Hubby and I recently started a bee keeping course and are thinking about getting a hive, but they do seem to need more attention than chickens in some ways , although they don't need looking at every day.

We're hoping to have an extra shed by the beginning of March, but it may not be a potting shed, which I had wanted.  The space available is a bit small. There was an old Wendy House in the garden when we moved here, nearly 16 years ago, and hubby knocked it down last weekend.  Disposing of it wasn't easy, though, as it seemed to be made from asbestos-reinforced concrete. After taking it to the wrong tip on Saturday, he took it to the right one first thing Sunday morning only to be told he had to go away and wrap it in plastic first.  Having finally done that and returned to the tip he found that he had his annual quota in the boot, but there was still a fair bit still at home, so we'll have to think about what to do about that.

Now you see it
Now you don't

First of all, though it would be good if I started by planting some broad bean seeds as January is nearly at an end.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

A Blog Award for Me and My Favourite Bloggers

On a more cheerful note, I'd like to thank Karen at The Garden Smallholder for giving me a Liebster Blog award, an award given by bloggers to up and coming blogs with less than 200 followers.  I'm glad that Karen has faith that I am up and coming in spite of my long lapses and the fact that this blog has been plodding on for a few years. I don't think I've had an award for this blog before, so thank you very much Karen.  If you didn't have one already I would choose to give one to you, your own blog is always so informative and interesting with lovely pictures.

I'm told that acceptance of the award is conditional on the following:

Copy and paste the award on your blog.

Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them.

Choose five other blogs to award with less than 200 followers and leave a comment for them.

The blogs I choose are not all gardening blogs but the owners mostly have at least an interest in gardening. I choose to give a Liebster Blog award to

Kay and Sime aka The Smiths on Tour for their cheery outlook and interesting ideas.

Nicola for her interesting view of life without a car, in Around Britain without a Plane, which often gives me food for thought.

Just Gai for her interesting insights.

As you will have gathered, I enjoy reading things that make me think.

Lucy at the Smallest Smallholding for her enthusiasm and ability to bounce back with renewed optimism after setbacks. (She has quite a few followers, but I don't think it's reached 200)

David at The Anxious Gardener, who not only provides interesting and useful information but adorns his blog with beautiful photos.

There are a few others I considered giving the award to, but I think they may have too many followers.

In fact this has made me realise what I've been missing on all these lovely blogs. I'm afraid I don't have the time for reading and writing blogs that I would like to, just now, but I will try to look in a bit more often.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

RIP Robyn and Betsy

Unfortunately we lost Robyn at the end of November. She had not been laying for most of the year, but otherwise seemed healthy enough. Then in the middle of November she started to go downhill.  I noticed all the chickens suddenly running from the end of the run into the hen house for some reason and Robyn ran straight into the ladder.  Any unusual behaviour that followed I put down to her having bumped into the ladder, initially.

This all coincided with my mother-in-law being in hospital and hubby was working in Switzerland and the kids were at uni, so it was up to me to visit mother-in-law during the week.  In the second week I started to notice that Robyn was falling down the ladder from the roosting area and not sitting on the perch when she was roosting. On the Wednesday morning as I fed the chickens and let them down before dashing off to work Robyn's difficulties became more obvious to me, but by the time I'd got home after work and visiting my mother-in-law it was dark and all the chickens were in the roosting area.

Thursday morning I decided to bring Robyn in to keep and eye on her, so I put newspaper and dust-free sawdust in a large cardboard box to keep her in. She didn't seem to be eating and drinking properly and had a couple of black spots on her comb, which was a purple colour at the back.  I kept a close eye on her, making sure she had enough to eat and drink, but she didn't have much appetite and could hardly move.  Hubby was home at the weekend and we wondered about taking her to the vet, but it was a bit late on Saturday before we thought about it and by midday Sunday she was dead.

It was after Christmas we noticed that Betsy was limping and keeping one wing open. I made sure she had enough to eat and drink as she wasn't going downstairs much, but stayed in the nest box a lot. A few days later her droppings were green and runny although she'd not had any greens to eat, so hubby took her to the vet. The vet said there wasn't much hope for her if she had green, runny droppings and also felt lumps inside her rear end.

Paralysis and tumours are symptoms of Marek's disease, and although it was less obvious with Betsy, it was pretty obvious Robyn had most of the symptoms, including a film covering at least one eye at the end. I'd ruled it out to begin with because I thought they were vaccinated against it, but it seems the vaccine doesn't always work.