Sunday, October 17, 2010

Thursday 14th October 2010 - weather: wet and windy

After a brief coffee with chums in the village, I headed to the allotment. The weather was 'orrid! There was a fine misty rain blowing in my face all morning. You know the type, you don't realise how wet you are getting as it is such fine rain, but when you break for a coffee, you realise you are wet through and shivering.

However, regardless of the rubbish weather, I had work to do. The main challenge of the day was to completely weed the winter root bed and finish de-dandelioning the strawb bed.

The roots are all looking great. I have more beetroot than I have ever successfully grown...the same with turnips. The parsnips were so late germinating, I think I will sell them to the family as chic baby veg. I also have a late row of carrots and some baby spring onions. I don't know if the fine builders netting I have around the bed helped not only keep the muntjac off, but also reduced the number of flea beetles, but the turnip foliage is wonderful.

I checked out plot number 2 and my oriental greens and radish have germianted.....somewhat sporadically. Not ideal, but something is better than nothing over the winter. The garlic and broadbeans however are up already and growing away fast. The onions have some green shoots, but at the moment, they aren't very action packed.

I cleared away this summers sweetpea plants now as they were ready for the compost heap, but I did gather a handful of seed, but low and behold, it had started 'chitting' in the pods. Not wanting to waste such keen to grow seeds, I quickly put up a wigwam of canes and planted a thick ring of the seeds. I have more at home in packets to sow, but I wasn't going to waste these babies.
As the rain drove on, I began to loose the will to live, so after weeding through, I picked the borlottis that were ready, some runner beans and a courgette, then called it a day.

As I headed for the gate, I took a last glance at my white alpine strawberry plants and noticed they are covered in young fruits. I picked a few, which were heavenly, so now I am hoping for a few sunny days to ripen some more. They really are luxurious.
Friday 8th October 2010

Quail Diary

After a stupid accident, which I am not prepared to talk about, we lost 2 of the teenagers so are down to 4 - the pied white, the range brown and 2 goldens. They are gorgeous and perfect and have now been sent to coventry....well, down to the greenhouse where they are currently residing in the lap of luxury under a lamp and inside the old guinea pig run. They have full adult plumage now, and to be honest, are almost as big as the original family, so I think it will be safe to let them out and take away the lamp. There is plenty of straw in the greenhouse, and I have nearly finished lagging it for the winter. When the weather gets really nasty, we have a small fan heater which we plan to put up on bricks and put an old freezer basket over it. This has a frost free setting which should just keep the kids cosy during the winter. There are also 8 large flower pots stuffed with straw in which they can huddle down, plus their lovely wooden home that Mark constructed, but only 1 seems willing to use. Maybe they will see sense as the winter weather sets in.

Group 2 hatched successfully....well, 5 babies made the hatch easily. Number 6 struggled and struggled for 36 hours, so we did the unthinkable and we gave it a helping hand. Of course, we should have let nature takes its course because when it did finally break free, it was bent double and couldn't hold itself upright. We gave the poor little chick 24 hours in the incubator alone to see if it improved, but it didn't and Mark quickly and kindly put it out of it's misery. Egg number 7 sat in the incubator for another 24 hours, but as there was no sign of action, I cracked it, and it wasn't fertile. The incubator has now been cleaned up and packed away until the spring. So, we have 5 little urchins leaping around, adult feathers already showing through, 2 pied whites and 3 goldens. This gang are much more skittish, but just as cute.

We haven't had any eggs now since the end of September, and although we toyed with the idea of giving them artifical light to encourage eggs, we have decided not to and to let them preserve their energy for the winter. The scruffy brown girl who was being constantly ravaged by the lads has grown all of her plumage back now the boys have lost interest in procreation, so fingers crossed, by the time spring is in the air and making babies is on their minds, the ratio of boys to girls will be better and she will be left alone a bit more.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Friday 8th October 2010 - weather: unseasonably mild

Quail Diary update

Day 18 for the first family, and they are practically fully grown. I will have photos to update you tomorrow, but we have 4 stripy golden, 1 range and 1 pied white.

You may of course recall, that as soon as the family left the incubator, I filled it again, and yesterday afternoon we spotted the first signs of hatching. Reader, as I type this we have 5 chicks and 2 yet to hatch. They do look mighty uncomfortable all squeezed into the incubator, but this time tomorrow they will be in their nursery with room to roam. Four of those eggs had been freshly laid that day, the other 3 were from a supply in the fridge! I did wonder if refridgerated eggs could hatch, and the answer is, yes, they do.

I will take photos of the new batch tomorrow as we move them.

The main family have now stopped laying, so there will be no more incubator action until early spring when I am hoping to purchase 6 fertilised eggs from another source to mix up the gene pool.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Sunday 26th September 2010 - weather: rain rain rain, a brief break in the clouds, then rain.

Inbetween the rain, we had a family outing to the allotment for an autumn clear.

The apple trees had a mass of apples, but all at the top beyond my vertically challenged height.
Also, with all of the rain, I feared for the well being of my gourd collection, so they needed to be picked.

Such a bounty.