Saturday, 24 July 2010

The Gang's here!!

They came two by two: two one day, two the following day. Not expected, but dropped off by a friend, 'Because they are getting on my husband's nerves' she said. 
I took one look at them and thought, 'Oh dear'. And you know when your instincts speak loud and clear? Well that is what mine did as I observed the mottley crew. 'Trouble'. That is what my instincts told me. 

And here they are:

Chickens! There are four, but one is being stood on by the Bareneck Chicken (the fawn coloured one). They will be let lose soon, once they have got their heads together about being moved. I treat the days before this happens with  much joy. Once they are out and about,  hooliganism will hit Labartere. They already chatter endlessly about their intended adventures, building plans of campaigns I suspect. 

And bless Hubs / Head Chicken Keeper. He recycled the pig arc to make them a temporary house:

Right outside the bedroom caravan, under the fig tree. If the cockerel should get his act together (three hens one cockerel) and start crowing at unreasonable hours it shouldn't be too difficult to lob something at him from our bed. At the moment he seems to have become de-feathered, and looks a bit nudey. Will have a hunt on Google to see why this is. Actually, there doesn't seem to be much of the 'cock' about him at the moment. Perhaps he is waiting for his testosterone to kick in and make a 'man' of him. 

Anyway, in the renovated pig arc The Gang will stay for a week or so, and then they will be let out. Bools and Gus have to get used to them being around. Last time Gus came across our neighbour's chickens he sat on one. Not sure that he knew what he had to do with it once he had caught it. But at least he didn't kill it. 

Veg Plot Project:

Yippee! The recent rain has enabled the Tamworths to start digging in earnest in their plot, which is to be next years veg plot. On passing their patch earlier on today, Tess was snoozing away in their hut, but Max was sprawled out along a furrow he had been working on. Obviously it had tired him, because it looked like he had collapsed on the job. 

And an idea has been posted by Hubs, that to help with the expense of feeding them, that it would be a good idea to partake of the acorn harvest soon to come from the many oak trees both on our property and in the surrounding woods. Great idea. But I suspect it will be another 'idea' which is slid over to me to put into practice. Ah well. Bools and Gus will enjoy being out and about while I wild forage. 

The Veg Plot proper has just fetched up a good harvest of potatoes:

Bools looking a bit p*****d off because he thought he was going on a dog walk, and  thinks it a waste of his time to be involved in a photo shoot of the potato harvest! The Veg Plot itself has gone tatty. Planted rows of seeds, but a lot didn't come up this year, I think because the weather has been so topsy turvey. Yesterday it felt as if we had skipped into late Autumn, because it has turned chilly and autumnal, so the plants must be confused. Anyway, now Le Tracteur is here, Hubs / Farmer In Chief, is going to plough up the Back Field and put it into crops, mostly to feed our animals, in particular, the pigs. We reckon that they eat about 2kg each per day, which at the moment is made up of purchased grain and food from the kitchen. 

Menu de Jour:
Potatoes (cooked, battered ones from the harvest). Pasta (left over from lunch). Lettuce (bolted). Beetroot tops. Carrot tops. Figs ( squishy ones from jam making). Carrots (mouldy ones left in a bag). Courgette (donated by neighbour). Tomatoes (inside core). Tin of Coeurs de Palmiers (thought I would try them and - yuk!) Gravy ( cold and  gone stodgy). Plums (tops of, after prepping for jam). Avocado skin ( from starter at lunch time). Bread (end of, too hard and does my teeth in!). Mushrooms. (Were supposed to be for Breaded Mushrooms, but carton had gone off)

This, then, is what the Tess and Max can eat in one sitting. Most of that which I have listed are bits and pieces which would have landed up on the compost heap, there to be recycled by the crows, magpies, Bools, Gus, and assorted other wild life, but the bulk would be the potatoes. So next year, to decrease the amount of bought in grain, we have to increase the vegetable material we grow here. Phew! That's going to be a task and a half! But John Seymour, the smallholder's guru, says it can be done, so we will have a go. 

And that's that for today, friends. Oh, the river beach is back, which I think I mentioned the other day, although has been temporarily flooded over again by the rising of the river water after the recent rains. But in a couple of days time it will be dry enough to enjoy again. This is taken from the bridge. All the vegetation to the right is our woodland, and the beach joins our land so I can walk out onto it. If you would like to come sit and enjoy the river with me, then please feel free to do so......Otherwise, sending you the piecefulness which it most times has - when the cars aren't whizzing over the bridge, and the young boys aren't racing around on their buzz bikes or splashing about in the water, which is actually quite large chunks of time.


Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Wish you were a bit closer so I could help you feed Tess and Max. Good luck with your poules - we have friends up North who started off with 4, not sure how many thay have now! As they are free range they can never find the eggs:) Diane

Roz said...

what a little piece of paradise you have! the cockerell is probably just moulting or a bit stressed - I am sure once settled in the feathers will reappear and he will be a fine specimen once again. Bravo for rescueing them x

Anonymous said...

Hello Vera,
You will just have to tell Chauntecleer to behave and shape up, or he will be the main ingredient in a pot of Coq au Vin.
I have just been reading about Wellington crossing the River Adour (a great strategic achievement) so it was interesting to see your lovely photo of the river. What with the docks and the acorn harvest you are not going to have much time to sit on your beach by the sound of it.
Keep smiling,

Vera said...

Diane: Just been looking at your photos - your garden looks fab. Agree with you that you are a little too far away to donate to the food table of the piggies, which is a shame as I would love to meet you. The Gang is to be free range as well, but encouraged to go back to bed every night in their little hut. Have you harvested those plums yet?

Roz; Thanks for info about the cockerel, as I was getting a little worried about him. Because they arrived all of a sudden, they had to be housed for a few days in one of the rabbit hutches which possible freaked him out, hence the moult. The girls are alright though, but then I think that us females are made of stronger emotional stuff anyway!

Ondine: Interesting about Wellington crossing the Adour. Any info about where that was? And you are right about not having much time to sit on that beach - the docks and the acorns are likely to be ongoing jobs for many a week yet.

DUTA said...

Good Luck with the new addition, the chickens! I'm sure you'll know how to handle them.
I like the picture with Bools and the potatoes. I don't like your Menu de Jour.
Thanks for sending us some of the peacefulness of the river.

Anonymous said...

Hello Vera,
Wellington crossed the Adour not far from Bayonne.
I have a stream running through my garden in France, but it is in quite a steep sided gully with lots of trees, so you can't see very much of it, except for one nice view from what will (eventually!) be the dining room window. It doesn't have a sweet beach of course, but there are some friendly ducks.

Vera said...

Duta: The pigs like the Menu de Jour though! We like to give them a variety of food to keep them interested in their food rather than keep them on pellets. Ah, the chickens and us are getting along just fine, which is just as well since we have a few more on their way to us! Glad you enjoyed the peacefulness, Duta. It means a lot to me that you did.

Ondine: Your place sounds lovely. Do you run a blog so I could have a look at it? But at least you have water near you, which I think is important for the feel of a place. Wellington crossed a long way from us - I think Bayonne is where the Adour fetches up. We are nearer its source, being close to the Pyrennees.

Anonymous said...

Hello Vera,
No, I haven't got a blog, I am quite a newcomer to the wonderful world of blogging. I've always enjoyed reading diaries since I discovered Sam Pepys, so I am a reader rather than a writer.
The house is in the Limousin, a beautiful area of rolling green hills and deciduous woods, my stream eventually flows into the river Gartempe. You are right about the soothing effect of water.

Vera said...

Ondine: I came into blogging by accident really, after a friend started off a blog and I started following it when we came to France as a way of keeping in touch. Then I started recording our attempts to become smallholders by starting up a blog as well. It has become a big boost to us when the struggle to forge a new life gets us down.... by reading old posts we realise that we are making headway. And I have also met some really wonderful people online, which gives me a much needed boost as well.

Ken Devine said...

Hi Vera
You are both (all) doing fantastically well. I love to read of your ups and downs and the progress you are making.
I thought the meal of the day was yours at first and thought how hard it is for you at the moment :)

Vera said...

Hello Ken, hope you are well. No, the menu du jour was what we gave our piggies for their meal, and I included it so people can know how pigs are great recyclers!

French Fancy said...

Just as you are getting stuck into the French dream I am getting out of it - at least 24/7 12 months out of 12 out of it. Our house will become a holiday home as we return to the hard graft back in Blighty. Good luck with your hard graft and animal husbandry in beautiful Fran

Vera said...

Thanks FF, and good luck with your return to the UK.