Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thursday 15 July 2010 - weather: overcast, wet and very windy

Who told the wind it could blow my hair all over the place? I look like that fella, you know, the lead singer from The Cure!! The wind is knocking the leaves, and branches out of trees, blowing over flowers and blowing showers around. What a blustery day.

Anyhow, a flying lottie visit as I had to work until 12.30 so arrived on site at about 1pm. The rain has been a godsend. Someone somewhere must have seen my dodgy raindance and came up trumps. Now, some sunshine again would be good, just to get everything really romping. Of course there are weeds everywhere, so I spent the first hour weeding the brassica bed which doesn't have weed supressing membrane down. Such a shame I didn't do the entire area, but I still had onions and shallots growing there. It wasn't so bad, the ground was lovely and soft and the weeds mostly just pulled clean out. Plenty of greens growing. The kohl rabi are globing up nicely, the sprouts are already getting tall, and a few cabbages appear to be trying to heart up. The kale, red, green and black is ready to start loosing leaves as is the spinach. I suppose now summer is over, we will be back on cooked dinners so I can start using my greens.

I then spent the last hour harvesting. I gathered 2 and a half pounds of raspberries and there are still mountains on the canes. I also havested a bowl of red currants, and again, that was only the tip of the iceberg. I did however strip the gooseberry plants of fruits. Now to decide what to do with them. The rasps are already in a pan cooking to extract their juice so I can strain it and make raspberry jelly for use over the winter. The next batch will be frozen to use in trifles, crumbles and pies.

Before leaving I picked the first 2 cucumbers and gathered the onions and shallots to dry off at home in the conservatory. Looks like the shallots are white rot free. Some of the onions are dodgy, but in general, not bad at all. I also picked a small handful of purple queen french beans, the first beans of the season, and dug some International Kidney for some new pots. Looks like it is going to be a lovely lottie supper tonight.

Quail Diary
The gals are all doing just fine, bless 'em. They are still a little timid, but then I don't have the time to sit in with them and get them used to me. I have taken to feeding them dried mealworms by hand, and some will take from me, some won't. The boys, Gingernut, Grumpy, The Big One, Bobble and, the Brown Boy are constantly shagging the gals and leaving them all with bald necks. I fear a cull...I keep threatening this, but the children scream in terror at the prospect.
I wonder what the neighbours think the strange noise is at 3am when the lads all come home from the pub and start crowing. I know they do this at 3am as we have had the joy of having windows open during this hot spell, and when I get up for a tinkle, as I sit there answering this call of nature, I hear their call of nature - the quail equivalent of cock-a-bleeding-doodle-doo!!
They love lettuce and radish leaves, which I have a plentiful supply of on the allotment. I have also told 'Old Jack' on the plot to keep his old bolted lettuce for me as the clan demolish a little gem in a morning. They adore dried mealworms, but the food of choice are the live giant mealworms. I am not allowed to give them anymore though as they are pricey and really they are to feed hubby/son's lizard, not my gals. Also, I think it puts hubby off the eggs a little bit to think they are eating wigglies. Don't know what he thinks free range hens chow down on, but I am sure a lot of it wriggles, creeps and crawls.
Very proud of my gals. Six eggs a day, except on clean out day which puts them off their stride so we usually only get 4. I would just like to add, quails eggs make great cakes. Number one son had a go and we weighed the eggs, broken into a jug, and then did the same measure for fat, flour and sugar, and they make lovely light cakes. I have been giving the odd dozen to chums, and of course family, and people are in general, delighted with their gift. At the weekend I plan to make a quiche...I shall take piccies.
Egg count - 323


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you said that because I was sure mine all stop laying on clean out day too! You might have to cull some boys - ours injured each other to the point that we didn't have any choice and I wish we had separated them earlier.
Mealworms are so expensive but they just love them don't they??

raymee61 said...

Try keeping the eggs a week or 10 days before hard boiling.. The will peel easier...

Emma Jane said...

Yup, I have found that once they are a week old they are easier, as the air sac gets larger. Also, after they are hardboiled, leave them a day or 2 before scoffing them - they seem to be easier then also. They are so yummy though, I can forgive them their resentment at shedding their shells.