I got second place for my bread -- there were three entrants, and they awarded first place, and then gave the other two joint second -- the show organiser commented during his remarks that the hand made bread category was particularly hard to judge as all the breads were so good!
Have just got home from Sioe Salem where I won first place for a hand knitted item (okay, admittedly I was the only entrant in that category, but they could have decided that it was horrible enough that they didn't have to give me anything... :)
This is the first green pepper we've eaten -- still rather small, and the skin was much thinner than those you get in the supermarket, but it was quite flavourful -- I am normally not a big fan of green peppers as I think they are a bit tasteless compared to the red ones, but this one was quite yummy...
The first harvest of the season! There are SO many blackberries out there -- I think that I will be picking blackberries daily for the next few weeks... But watch out for nettles growing in the middle of the brambles -- ouch!
Well, I am sad to report that after weeks of waiting there are no chicks. On Thursday, day 21, there were 4 eggs under the hen. Thursday afternoon I found, outside the nest, a dead, wet, cold, chick. All day Friday she wouldn't let me near her. And then on Saturday morning I found another cold, wet chick outside the nest, still covered in bits of yolk and shell, so I tried to have a go at reviving here, and brought her in the house and put her in a box on top of the boiler but she didn't come back to life. And then when I went back into the barn to look at the broody she had got off the nest -- and there was nothing in there! So I have no idea what happened to the other two eggs/chicks... I have now put her back with the rest of the hens and she is not acting broody anymore... So no chicks for now until the next hen decides she wants to have a go. Anybody have any idea what went wrong here? Was she just a bad Mommy or was there something else wrong?
Have built a run for the chicks when they are born (hopefully!) on Thursday. It's amazing what you can do with some odd bits of wood, a staple gun, and a roll of chicken wire...
We candled the eggs the other day and five of them looked solid (i.e. so dark that we couldn't see through) and the sixth one looked clear, just like an egg through the fridge. I marked that one with a pencil so I would know which it was and I planned to remove it this morning -- but when I went to check on her she had already destroyed that egg for me -- so I am finally going to admit that she must know what she is doing and I am going to let her do it in peace...! :)
So today is day 15 of my hen sitting on eggs and up till now everything has been fine. She is sitting on 8 eggs in a broody coop in the barn. I've left the front off the coop and enclosed a small area with hurdles so she has somewhere to get off her eggs and poo and eat and drink, etc. I take her off the eggs every morning to check that the eggs are okay but she usually doesn't eat at that time and runs straight back onto the eggs although I know she is eating at some point as the food keeps getting messed up, etc.
This morning I was out in the field and heard this horrible squawking from inside the barn -- ran in to find one of the eggs on the floor, cracked, and with blood oozing out (I guess this means the eggs are fertile at least!). I took the egg away and tried to check that the other 7 eggs were okay -- she wouldn't get off them, so I felt around under her as best as I could and all seemed fine. So I went back outside to finish my other chores and then a few minutes later popped back into the barn to get something and noticed that she was out of the coop again so walked over to her corner and found that another egg was on the floor and completely smashed and what looked like yolk mixed with blood all over the floor.
At this point I rang Greg who advised that I should put the front on the coop and confine her in there. Have done this but am not really happy about it for two reasons: 1. If she wants to eat, drink, poo, etc., then she can't until I next come and let her out. 2. My first broody hen turned out not to be a broody hen after all, and I feel that I don't want to force the hens into sitting on the eggs against their will, which is why I didn't put the front on the coop in the first place as I felt that if she was truly broody she would sit and didn't need confining -- so in the event that I am wrong about this one as well I don't want her enclosed in there... Also, for the duration of the last two weeks, she has been sitting with her head into the darkest corner of the coop and her bum nearly hanging out the open end. Now, since I've put the front on, she's turned around and is facing the opening -- so why has she changed position unless she's unhappy?
Any thoughts and advice would be most welcome as I am rather worried that I am doing the wrong thing!
The Bwlchyrhyd Farm Shop is now officially open for business. Eggs are 75p for six. I can't legally say that they are free range, but you've seen how they live... If you are coming by to buy some and have any spare egg cartons to hand, please bring them along...