Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Christmas rush

It's a long time since I posted. I have been very busy spinning, knitting and soap making. I am making 80 Kg of soap before Christmas. This is going down to Devon and then to Shanghai to be sold in a chain of beauty product stores. Only 3 days of soap making left and then I hand it over to my Son-in-Law.

I don't really want to spend all my time making soap. I want to spend more time spinning and experimenting with different fibres and blends. I have started making a chunky jacket in Jacob's Fleece. I have finished the back and just started the front. I will take a picture and post it soon.

This week I have been renovating a vintage dolls house for my Granddaughter Rowan. It is quite cute, but was a bit dated, and a la 'Homes under the Hammer', it is being totally refurbed. I have taken off the front so it can open up that way as well as the roof and top storey coming off. I also ripped out the wall between kitchen and dining room and am turning round the kitchen units to make more room. New carpets, new paint, including the outside which is now white and will have black trim. Most of the painting is done now, so tomorrow I will start to put it back together again.

I have also been knitting a blue teddy for Rowan in eyelash yarn and a hat in Big Wool for Casie. I finished Sarah's present last week.

We now have 3 guinea pigs. Mr Quiggles we bought in October and he is quite big now. His fur is mostly white and stands out sideways. The 2 new boys came from our local animal feed depot, they are brothers and the owner's wife didn't want to separate them so we had both for the price of one. They are smooth coated apart form a rosette on their heads. Frodo is mostly dark brown, Bilbo is white and ginger. They are cute little boys.

The chickens are well, we still have 8 babies, now all grown up. The rest we will sell in the Spring as laying pairs. The garden is a mud heap now, so we are looking for some wood chips to cover everything to soak up the wet.

I have lost several bunnies, I am down to 9 now. Truffle died very unexpectedly as I was brushing her. One moment she was alive, the next she went limp. Her son Citrine did much the same thing, although he was still alive until I took him out into the kitchen. I wonder if it is something hereditary. Emerald also died suddenly, I just found her dead when I went to feed them one morning. It is very strange.

I have just bought a parlour cabinet from a ladly who phoned me to ask if I still rehomed sewing machines, I said I did, but didn't pay very much for treadles as I had too many already. I paid her £10, but told her I would pay her another £20 when I sold a machine after Christmas. It is a Singer 28 cabinet, but the Victorian decals are very worn, and so is the rest of the machine. I decided to keep this and sell the Singer 28 open treadle I have. I have put my Ottoman Carnation Singer 28 in it and it looks lovely. It needs a bit of tlc, a section of veneer needs replacing, another section along the back needs glueing down and the top needs stripping and refinishing.

I just got some needles for the Singer 206, they came from America, and it was still cheaper than buying them here. 20 needles for £7 from USA and 4 for £6.60 here. I don't think I will have time to try it out before  Christmas.

I am so looking forward to relaxing after Christmas, just putting a few sewing machines and some knitting machine parts on eBay, spinning, knitting myself a load of new sweaters and cardigans (most of mine need dumping), knitting some sweaters and a cardigan for Rowie.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

New sewing machines

On Monday we went to our local auction and spotted several sewing machines, one was a treadle with an unusual machine in it. I checked the serial number when we got home and the machine is a Singer 206, the first zigzag machine made by Singer, and not electric. The machine dates to 1951 and has the Singer blue Centennial badge on it. I looked it up on the internet and found a review which said this model and the 306 and 319 should never have been made. I already had a 306 and love the chunky retro style and its cams for fancy stitches, that machine is electric. I decided to buy the machine and got it for the princely sum of £10.

I posted a message on ISMACS (International Sewing Machine Collectors Society) asking for opinions on the machine. All of the replies were positive and it seems the 206 is quite a little workhorse. With an industrial motor, they sold as industrial machines with no other modifictions. I will post some photos when I have taken some.

In addition, I bought a German hand crank (£18, more expensive than the treadle), absolutely stunning and in great condition. This one is to be cleaned up and put on eBay. The name 'New Silent is on the arm of the machine. I am trying to get some information from ISMACS as to the manufacturer. So it was a good week for machines. 

I put a 201 treadle on eBay yesterday. I sold 2 vintage typewriters on eBay tonight. I have another straight leg treadle to restore for next week with a Singer 15 in it. Treadles seem to be selling quite well on eBay at the moment. The extra money will come in handy for Christmas presents and the MOT for the car.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

How time flies

It's quite a while since I posted a blog. We've been so busy lately, what with Phil going to fishing matches every week, auctions, visits to the vets (ouch), putting stuff on eBay.

We have sold two of the baby chickens, a cockerel and pullet to a lady in Buckinghamshire. She is very nice and her chickens have a really good setup so we think they will be very happy there. They are so big now, and Zinny is a super looking cockerel. What a pretty boy!

I have been spinning some of Lily's Leicester Longwool fleece. I have commisssions for 4 pairs of wristwarmers from Sue Bailey's work colleagues, so need to finish them before the next Spinners Guild meeting next Saturday. Busy weekend as we are going to Sarah's on the Sunday for the Herring Fest.

Tomorrow we are going to Sheilar's for Sunday lunch, she invited us on Friday after the Bond knitting machine course. I went to Nova Trims in Leicester with her on Tuesday. So much stuff for crafts, anything you can think of. She couldn't get the pink fur fabric someone had asked her for, so I took her to the Fabric Warehouse in Lee Circle. Of course they had it, they have most things. She also managed to get some check fabric, mustard fabric and some dark brown cotton for her Johnny Rotten baby dolls. I have to say the baby reborn dolls are quite scary.

I found some pretty baby cord in cream with red flowers, I think it will make a lovely dress for Rowan for Christmas. I need to find a pattern so I can work out how much fabric I need. They also have some crushed velvet which might be good for covering the plywood shelves in the cabinet I bought for Sarah's workshop.

Monday, 10 October 2011


Not posted for a while, been very busy. went down to Devon Sunday before last to help Sarah with her soap making course as she had 12 people on it from Waitrose in Holsworthy.  Since then, I have been cleaning and restoring sewing and knitting machines to put on eBay. Ebay seems to take up far too much of my time, but we need the money to pay for chicken food and other animal stuff.

I want to get on with my spinning, but I am knitting a child's cardigan for Sheilars Crat Shop in Lutterwirth as she was a bit snowed under. Once that is done I shall get back to spinning my Jacob's Fleece and knitting my cardigan for the Winter.

Sarah's dog Holly came back with us this time and will stay for a couple of months. It will give her and Sarah and Casie a break. Phil is doing the usual training, but it is more difficult this time because it is so long since she stayed, over a year. Holly seems to be getting on alright with the chickens. She is frightened of the ex-batts who aren't in the least bit afraid of her. They peck her and she runs away. Hopefully this will cure her of chasing after Sarah's hens.        

Monday, 26 September 2011

Spinning and knitting

I have been trying out the chunky handspun Jacob's Fleece on various knitting machines to see which works best.



The Bond I bought at the auction on Thursday actually knitted OK but I don't think the machine will be able to knit handspun for long. The Singer Designer 2 wouldn't knit it at all, but the Brother Chunky KH260 knitted it quite well and I think with wax on the yarn will work much easier.


I decided to knit myself a chunky jacket from the Jacob's Fleece, and I will knit this by hand to give it that handspun/knitted look. I have enough spun to knit a tension swatch and start on the back, but need to card some more fleece over the next few days.

I carded some cream Leicester Longwool a few days ago and spun some this morning. The fibre is beautiful and soft, shearling from a sheep called Maddie. It spun up well, I could get it quite thin with not many slubs. I tried spinning it uncarded and it was no more difficult than the carded.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Autumn evening

The nights are drawing in even quicker now. This afternoon has been very wet with driving rain. we went into Claybrooke to buy straw for the animals and went to our nearest town, Lutterworth for some groceries. It was just before 6 when we got home and it was nearly dark. Lowering skies, ragged clouds and rain soaked landscapes all combined to make the early evening like night.

We rushed to close up the animals and feed them before it was quite dark. Fortunately I have electric lights in the rabbit sheds. Poor Phil was out feeding and watering the chooks with only his headlight to pierce the gloom.
That done it was indoors for a cup of tea and cream muffin before I settled down to photograph a sewing machine to put on eBay.

I have put a variety of goodies on eBay this week as I don't have a knitting machine ready to sell. I listed some Toyota knit tracer patterns, machine knitting books, some washed fleece ready to card, some punchcard packs and 2 sewing machines.

The Singer 12 machine I put on yesterday has a bid already, and 18 watchers, not bad for 24 hours. Now I am off upstairs to card some cream shearling Leicester Longwool fleece ready for spinning tomorow. It seems as if everything is accelerating towards Winter and life is accelerating towards some as yet unknown change.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Weavers and Spinners Guild

Spent the day at the Weavers and Spinners Guild at Botcheston near Leicester. A brilliant day, about 30 women there with spinning wheels. What more could you ask for, a whole day to spin, with like minded women, gossip and lunch. We all brought contributions for lunch and it was spread out on the worktop in the kitchem so we could help ourselves. A lovely buffet with pies, quiche, salads, ham, potato salad and other goodies. Then, there were the desserts. Apple pie, cherry and strawberry pie, lime cheesecake, lemon cake and to top it all, a huge chocolate iced cake measuring about 10 inches square brought in by Debbie. With that went cherry pie filling and fresh cream. It's a long time since I've eaten so much.

Before luch we had a demonstration on cords and braids which was very interesting. After lunch we had notices, then we got on with our spinning. Sue (the lady from Countesthorpe who breeds Leicester Longwool sheep),  who gave me a lift had brought an Ashford Country spinning wheel which is for chunky wool. She inherited this wheel along with another more traditional wheel and found this easier to use. I tried it and found it difficult to use. Then Jenni came over and looked at the wheel and adjusted it a bit so Sue found it easier to treadle. The huge bobbin had come apart so that one of the discs was loose and kept moving round and scraping on the flyer. Eventuall Sue managed to get it going once Jenni told her to hold on to the fibre until it started to draw into the orifice.

I was happy with the amount of Jacob's Fleece which I span, nearly a whole bobbin. I tried yet again with the North Ronaldsay which I had difficulty with last week, but still couldn't get it to catch so abandoned that in favour of the Jacob.

All in all, a very good day. When I got home, I had a cup of tea, did a bit more spinning and then decided to walk down to the fishing lake as Phil wasm't answering his phone.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011


Yesterday we went to our allotment after a week of unsettled rainy weather.
We thought the weeds would be knee high, but no. They hadn't really started after the near drought.


The beans however had started to take off, both  Borlotti and runner, so we had a nice picking from them. The beans are so pretty. white flowers on the Borlotti and red on the runners. I believe they were originally used as ornamental garden plants as were tomatoes or 'love apples'.

 The carrots had cheered up from their limp distressed state and were getting fat and juicy. We have done a lot better with carrots this year. The last two years they have not done well at all.         


The cabbages had also grown quite a bit. We took home a bag of main crop potatoes, 3 cabbages, sweet corn, beans, spinach, lettuce, mange tout peas and a load of weeds for the rabbits and chickens, very little wasted on our plot.

The sweet corn, although the plants are small has actually produced some nice cobs. This was the last year of growing sweet corn unless it actually produced something. The last three years it has been a waste of growing space. So a reprieve for another year.

We have noticed that after three years of rotavating, the docks and dandelions are very much fewer, mostly growing where the paths are by the compost bins. The weeds this year are annual grasses, Chickweed, Fat Hen, Sun Spurge and Shepherd's Purse. The only perennial weed still a nuisance is Couch Grass, but even that we are getting under control. Couch Grass is not useless, it is a good herb for urinary infections and soothes inflammation.

Most weeds have medicinal propeties, Dock is a purgative and the root can be used to obtain a yellow dye. Dandelion is a diuretic, hence it's common name of wet-the-bed, it is also useful in spring as a tonic and blanched leaves can be used as a salad leaf. Chickweed is full of iron and is often given to budgies, it also is a cooling and soothing herb that relieves itching, promotes healing and has anti-rheumatic properties. Fat Hen can be used as a vegetable as can Nettles. Shepherd's Purse can be used to stop bleeding. Sun Spurge however is toxic although the milky sap is said to be a wound healer.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Change of seasons

The nights are drawing in, dark at 8.45p.m. Soon winter will be here, the season of Crafts, .

During the day, while the rain pours down outside, I can knit on one of my many machines, or make some patchwork using a vintage treadle or hand crank.

I have never been a winter person, I like hot days and summer sunshine, but since I have lived in a small village in Leicestershire, I have grown to love the change of seasons, each with it's own occupation.

Crafts in the winter, snuggled indoors against the cold, sitting knitting or crocheting by the fire, drinking tea from porcelain cups. Hand quilting while watching TV. Hearty stews and soups to warm you up.

Planning the vegetables for the allotment and greenhouse in early spring, frantic planting of seeds in the greenhouse and watching them shoot up, back breaking work down the allotment to get everything in in time, if the soil is dry enough to dig.

Then the slower pace of summer, hoeing and hand weeding, picking the first harvests of lettuce, radishes, baby carrots and rocket. The first taste of new potatoes fresh dug and brought straight home and into the pot. The glut of runner beans and courgettes, sweet corn if the weather has been sunny enough, you can't beat the taste of a raw cob picked from the plant and eaten straight away. Raspberries and strawberries picked and eaten there and then, full of juice and flavour.

Autumn, the final preparations to bed down the allotment for winter, clear out the greenhouses and batten the hatches for the long dark nights with rain, gales, snow and frost. Getting the rabbit and chicken sheds draughtproofed so the animals stay snug and warm in the worst of the winter cold. Last year we didn't have chickens and the sheds we have will need an extra layer of either bubble wrap for warmth or plywood to keep out the draughts. Fortunately chickens are hot creatures and huddle together for warmth.

Time also to make  preserves, elderberry syrup for winter coughs, wine to drink next year, jams and jellies for my son-in-law for Christmas. Maybe even to try my hand at cider making. Soap making for the winter orders in the posh shop in London.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Yet more chickens

Well,  a lot has happened since I last blogged. We have 2 new chickens. Last week, a huge cockerel was found wandering in someone's garden just down the road. Ours is only a small village, about 55 houses and most people have been here quite a while. We have been here 15 years in November. I digress, the lad in whose garden the cockerel was found thought it belonged next door so put it in their garden. Jacob found it in his garden trying to fight with his cockerel. He tried to find it's owner, it can't have come far as it can't fly. No-one owned up to it so he was going to wring it's neck. We heard about it from our neighbour and said we would keep it for a few days and see if the owner could be found (ha ha).

This is him, and a very handsome chap he is. We have identified him as a Cochin, one of the largest and gentlest chicken breeds. Not sure what colour he is, but all the people on the Chicken forums I belong to agree he is worth keeping as he is gorgeous.

We kept him in one of our rabbit sheds with his bed in an indoor cage base for several days. No owner coming forward we decided to keep him. We also decided he needed a lady friend, so I did a lot of online research and the nearest I could find breeding Cochins was near Lincoln. I spoke to the breeder and he said mature hens would cost us £25 each so we decided to have a think about that. By the time we had paid for fuel it would work out quite expensive. Then we spoke to a local farmer we know in the next village and he knew of this lad in Bitteswell which is about 4 miles from us. We went to have a look and he has got Cochins. We agreed to have a black one and a white one.

Because they are farm chickens, they haven't been that well looked after and the white one we picked up on Sunday (Duchess) was a bit battered from an Orpington cockerels attentions. She had been kept in a shed with 4 other hens and a cockerel. She had pooh in large lumps stuck on her claws, making it difficult for her to walk, it was so hard we had to cut it off with wire cutters. She also had it stuck on her foot feathers so we had to get it off them. then her bottom was dirty so we had to clean that up. She is a lovely girl though, very gentle, Windsor (named after Windsor Davies because he is a lovely boy) thinks she is fine. He sidled round her a few times and then jumped on her. She put up with it all as hens do, then wandered off up the garden.

Phil had been making a shed for them out of a large rabbit hutch which we got from our neighbour. It was intended for the chicks but we have others.  I cleared and levelled the piece of ground at the end of the garden where we intended putting them, then Phil started on a run, very makeshift but it will do for now. Most of our 'do for nows' last indefinitely, I think the same can be said for a lot of back yard chicken keepers.

Shed and run done, we put them in and left them to it. The fence wasn't very high as they can't fly and we figured he wouldn't be able to jump very far, wrong! He is an escape artist. We put a shed side on the lowest side of the run as he was just jumping on the next run roof and then out. Then Phil put chicken wire on the top of the side of the run. The shed itself was high enough so he couldn't get over that. He still got out. We had let the ex-batts and Nankins out because we thought he was securely penned in and I was upstairs when I heard a fearful commotion. I shouted for Phil and we hot footed it into the garden and found Windsor and Del boy fighting, both covered in blood.

We separated them and I grabbed Del while Phil grabbed Windsor. Widnsor was put back in his run and Phil held Del while I went ofr Tea Tree water, cotton wool and towels. Del was a real mess, he had puncture wounds in his comb and wattles, I don't know how long they had been fighting, but the blood was starting to clot. I cleaned it all up and dried him off then we dumped him in the cage Windsor slept in the first two nights. He was not at all amused.  Then we started on Windsor. Because he is so heavy, Phil had to hold him while I cleaned him up. I didn't find any damage on him, I think all the blood was Del's. Although Del is a stroppy little so and so, Windsor has a height and weight advantage. We put Windsor back in his run and he seemed very shocked and never attempted to get out again. We put Del back in with his ladies later that night, once the blood had clotted. It didn't seem a good idea to be putting a bleeding chicken in with others. They go mad at the sight of blood. While I was cleaning Del up, they started grabbing the bloody cotton wool and running off trying to eat it.

This morning all is peace and calm. Del and Windsor don't seem any the worse for their set to. Dell still looks bruised and bloody, but he is crowing like a good un. Windsor has the garden to himself this morning.  We still haven't worked out how he is escaping, but we have blocked off the gap underneath the shed in case he is getting out there. We shall see!

Duchess seems to be a home body, she likes to be in her shed, sitting about. She loves having a supply of clean fresh water, the bucket they had in their shed on the farm was green, yuk, the floor was covered in pooh, no shavings or straw. I told her she'd get a lot better treatment in our house. She is so gentle, she's not keen on Windsor's attentions, so she tends to hide from him. I found her yesterday behind a piece of Novolux roofing sheet which had been removed from one run while we made theirs. I will take some pics of her and post them tomorrow.

She has a very battered back and sides, her back feathers are all broken, she has scuff marks on her sides just under her wings where the cockerels claws have scraped her, so I have decided to make her a chicken saddle or apron. This is the sort of thing I mean -
                                            You can also get butterfly saddles which may be the way to go as Duchess has damage to her wings as well. You can buy them from this website -

Apart from that, life has been quite quiet!  I am off to North Devon next Monday to stay with my daughter Sarah for a week. It's been 3 1/2 months since I've seen her and Casie and  Rowan. I got a bargain from National Express, I heard it on the car radio when we were down the fishing lakes last week, go anywhere in the UK for £9 single journey. Going down to Devon costs about £60 return. I checked when I got home and sure enough it was true. I hadn't decided when I was going to Devon, it just had to be before the 25th August when my ex-husband was coming home and would be at Sarah's for an indefinite time period. I phoned her to tell her the good news and we decided I would go down on 8th August and return on 16th. I went online to book it and whwn I put in I was over 60, the fare that came up was £4.50. I couldn't beliwve it. Devon and back for £9. I rang Sara and told her I was booked it, but the fare wasn't £9, it was half that.

It's unfortunate that Phil can't come down this time and leave me there, but we didn't have £100 to spare for fuel there and back and my return fare. We will go down in the car and take all the stuff we need to take in a couple of months when David has gone back to America.

Poor Phil will be carrying the can looking after all the animals while I am away. I know he has done it before, but we have 28 chickens now in 5 pens. We have to sort out the chicks and remove them from their Mm's this week. Ginger's are already away from her because she was pecking them badly. Her chicks fight with Zinny the bantam/Araucana cross, so we will put Marje's chick with Zinny in one of the big indoor cages for a couple of days, then add one of Ginger's and do it that way. Bessie's aren't due to leave her for another week. That means that Ginger, Babs and Marje will all be back in with Rocky while I am away, and the chicks will be in the chickery in 2 separate lots.

That's enough for today I think.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Treadles, hand cranks and chickens

I am in the process of finishing off a treadle which is going down to London. I had to reveneer the top because the lady who is buying it is very fussy. She wants it as the centrepiece in her new sewing room, so it is understandable, but perfect treadles just don't exist. All of them need some attention and she didn't want any bits of veneer missing, so it has been a long haul.

Hopefully the finished product will be suitable for her. I have to rewax the foldover top, finish oiling the iron legs and wire brush a few patches of rust, respray the flap hinges, machine hinges and catches for the drawer assemblies, then put it all back together. Then I have to take pictures and send them to her. I will be glad to get this one out of the way.

Then I can fiddle about with the treadle plate on Sarah's little cabinet so that can go down to Devon. My Singer industrial treadle is also going to Devon to be used for quilting. Sarah has a lot more room than I do now, and all the treadles will look nice in her sewing space, especially when she has workshops. It will be nice to have more space in the dining room so I can use the other 3 treadles in there which are rather cramped at the moment.

I bought two new hand cranks at Saddington car boot on Sunday, a Jones Popular VS electric in silver grey, with it's cute little carry case and a Jones no 53A hand crank also a VS, this also had a case, but it needs some work. The handle is missing and thee are two holes in the sides and a lot of paint to remove. The machine itself is in good condition. I intend to have a play with these next week.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


Sue Bailey, the lady in the next village who keeps Leicester Longwool sheep rang me 2 weeks ago to say her sheep were being sheared and did I want any of the fleece. Needless to say I said yes as the shearling fleece I got 18 months ago from her Lily was beautiful. It was black and cream, but where the sun had bleached the darker fleece it had faded to a gingery shade. This gives a nice accent every now and then when spinning and the wool was very soft.

Shearling fleeces are the first shearing ever of that particular animal, so the softest, including the lamb's wool, the thickest, weighing in the case of L. Longwools about 15 lbs, the next shearing will probably weigh half of that.

Sue gave me a list of what she would have, and I chose about 5 fleeces including a cream shearling L. Longwool, Duke's (the ram) fleece which has a lot of pale grey in it, a Hebridean cross which was cream and a couple of others. She said she would get them weighed and see what the going price was per lb.

She rang  me again yesterday to say the ones I wanted weighed about 35 lbs. she was actually at the farm as she doesn't work on Mondays so we arranged to go over and see the lambs and the shorn fleeces.

When we got there, she has a new dog, a beautiful Rottweiler called Roxy, daft as a brush. We saw the lambs, already quite big at 18 weeks old and getting beautiful thick coats with curls. Sue and I had a rake through all the fleeces while Phil and Jeff chatted about farming stuff. I decided to have a couple of extra, dark Hebrideans, almost black nearest the skin with ginger tips again. That cost me an extra £5, Sue had already agreed £30 for the rest. The going rate was £1.20 per lb. but she gave me a discount.

I asked Sue what she was doing with the rest and whether she was taking them to Melton rare breeds fair in the Autumn, but she was undecided. So I can have more fleeces if I want them later on. I will pick them up next week or the week after, when I have the money spare. I might even wash and card some and try selling it on eBay to see how that goes.

Sue also wants to try felting some of her fleece so she will let me know when she has some washed and I will take my beach mats and some old net curtains over and we will try it out. Messy business but fun!

I have 3 cream fleeces to experiment with natural dyes. I have grown Dyer's Chamomile, Woad and Indigo this year. I did have a Weld plant but I'm not sure if that has survived as it didn't look too healthy last time I looked. The Alkanet which used to grow in the garden has all gone, though I imagine if the chickens didn't free range it would soon grow back. Sarah geve me some dried Madder and I have some onion skins.

We had a chat about buying chickens at Melton, after Sarah's experiences with Mycoplasma and Jeff said they got some chickens from Melton and got Mycoplasma. It seems to be in all the poultry auctions, so it's better to go to a reputable breeder of the breed you want and check the adults before you buy young stock.

Sue has just wormed her chickens, and I need to worm ours. I will be buying some of the Marriages layers pellets which are impregnated with Flubenvet. You feed them that for 7 days.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Final tally on chicks

We finished up with 10 chicks, 8 Araucanas, 1 Bantam/Araucana cross and 1 Nankin. We lost 4 squashed by Bessie which were 1 Araucana and 3 Nankins. We had 3 eggs left which contained 1 undeveloped and 2 with dead chicks inside. This may have been from a time when both Bessie and Marje decided to leave the eggs in favour of their chicks so they went cold. So we have 90% fertility from the Araucanas and 100% from the Nankins. I already have an order for 3 Araucana hens and hopefully will be able to sell most of them I think we will keep the Nankin and Zinny. I will take pictures tomorrow.

We need to get another shed built for the chicks to go in at 8 weeks when they leave their Mothers. We may be getting a huge rabbit hutch from Dave and Denise down the road as their son has just split up with his girlfriend and she has taken her rabbit and gone back to live with her Mother. She doesn't want the hutch Ian built so it may be going spare. It is a 3 tier so we should be able to adapt it for the chicks.

Monday, 20 June 2011

More chicks

We now have 6 Araucana chicks altogether. Bessie who managed to squash 4 chicks now has 3 live ones so hopefully she has leant to be a Mum. She is still clumsy and tends to tread on her babies but they quickly learn to get away from Mum's feet. She trod on the youngest tonight, it was only born today and wasn't on it's feet properly yet. We managed to get it from under her feet. It should be running around tomorrow.

It was hatched at a time when Bessie was running around outside gobbling food, and it got a bit cold and limp so we got the hairdryer and blew warm air at the lowest speed on it for a bit. It did the trick as it's feathers dried off and it started moving about more. It's a problem that the nest boxes are higher up and once the older chicks are running about they tend to fall down into the shed and then Bessie doesn't want to get back in the nest. We solved it with the latest by putting her in the big indoor cage. What a tussle getting her into the cage. I had to fight to get her out of the shed. Once she was settled in with her eggs and 3 babies she was fine and settled down on top of them. I gave her a load of wheat and she was obviously very hungry and ate quite a bit, followed by some layers' pellets.

There are 4 eggs left, but one of them rattles so think the chick might have died. We will wait another few days to see if any more hatch. So far we have had 100% fertility from all the eggs, 4 squashed and 1 died in the shell. Pretty good going I think for our first attempt at hatching chicks.

It was a learning curve for both us and the hens. For example, we won't put Nankin eggs under Bessie again, although she didn't have them in the first place, but they kept changing nests and she ended up with them. In future, we would make sure when they are hatching they are under a Bantam.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Chickens again

Yet another chicken was poorly. Her rear end was bleeding so separatd her from the others as they kept pecking at her. Couldn#t find anything wrong with her so put her back with the flock overnight. Yesterday morning I checked her again and felt a small lump in her oviduct. I thought it was too small for an egg so gave her an internal exam and found a smashed egg inside. I pulled it out, checking to make sure I didn't leave any small pieces as it was very sharp, and was obviously the cause of the bleeding. I then flushed her out with several syringes of strong tea tree water as the egg was going rotten and had obviousy been in there a few days. It seems to have done the trick, no more bleeding and she is back to her old naughty self. Getting into the fruit gaden and eating the leaves of the raspberries. Then you have to lift her out as she hasn't worked out how to get back out herself.

Another 2 chicks have hatched, both Araucanas and Bessie has finally managed not to squash the latest. We tried to offer it to Marj, but she is out with her baby and didn't want to know so we had to put it back under Bessie as it was getting cold. Finally she has her own baby, hope it's OK tomorrow. We might lose all the other eggs (about 5 left) if she decides to take her baby out and about. Ginger was OK as her babies were both young when the Nankin and 3rd Araucana were given to her.

It's lovely to see the little chicks running round in the chickery with their Mums. We (Phil) had to build a new split run to keep the 2 bantams and chicks in. Marj (Araucana) was attacking Bab's (Bantam) baby, Babs was attacking Ginger's (Bantam) so the answer was to separate them. Tonight is their first night out in the chickery. it wasn't very warm, so I stapled bubble wrap over the mesh doors and gave them plenty of straw.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011


Another of our ex-batts has been poorly, she had an intestinal prolapse and although it was put back inside, I think the shock killed her as she died last night. The vet said he couldn't have done anything else. Cowslip is now running round with Zinnia over the Rainbow Bridge.

We have another Araucana chick. One of the eggs under Bessie started pipping so we removed it and put it under Marje who hasn't had any chicks yet. So far, so good. No squashed chick. Let's hope it continues. 6 chicks so far.

The new run is nearly done, only some of the roof netting to be attached and top doors made. Hopefully the bantams can go in it for good tomorrow instead of being removed at night.

Monday, 13 June 2011

New chicks

We have finally got some chicks from the Bantams and Araucanas who have been sitting for the last few weeks. We have 1 Bantam/Araucana cross born on 5/6 (the day Zinnia one of our ex-batts died), 3 Araucanas born on 7/6, 8/6, 10/6, 1 Nankin born on 8/6. We lost 3 Nankin chicks and 1 Araucana squashed by Bessie, so we took the last Nankin egg and put it under Ginger and the last Araucana chick before that too got squashed. Bessie keeps changing nests and was trying to get in the same nest as Ginger with her chicks so we brought Ginger inside in the big cage and the chicks were much happier.

Phil has been building a new run with the hutch as the shed, partitioned, as Babs started attacking Ginger's chicks. Ginger has been out in that this afternoon and the chicks have been out in their yard eating tiny worms and bugs disturbed by Phil. We need to get some more shade netting to put over the roof of the run to protect it from predators.

We still have some Araucana eggs under Bessie and Marje, but no idea if any of them are fertile. We will give them until the end of the week.

Update - Another Araucana chick is pipping. We have removed it from Bessie and put it under Marje to see if she is any better at keeping chicks  without squashing them. She is the only one who hasn't hatched any chicks yet.

Sunday, 22 May 2011


We decided on Friday to go down to Devon to see Sarah, Casie and Rowan. Mad rush all day as I wanted to restore her new treadle which is a New Williams -

 The woodwork needed some serious work as there were a lot of stains and water marks. I had to strip off all the shellac polish with methylated spirit, bleach using a mixture of washing soda and hydrogen peroxide, sand down and then stain with dark oak. I got this far on Friday and decided not to polish the top as it would probably get damaged during transit. I stripped the treadle right down as it needed a good clean and was easier to transport that way, taking up much less room.

The now mostly stain free treadle top was lovingly wrapped in blankets and placed in the car, with machine and treadle parts all round, plus a drum kit and guitar for Rowan, Phil's sea fishing tackle, various plants and lots of eggs for them to eat as Sarah's chickens are only just coming into lay.

Once we got down to Devon, Phil had tea and went off to fish on Clovelly harbour and I set to to clean and rebuild the treadle irons. Had some trouble with this as some of the nuts and bolts didn't want to go back together, but with perseverance and a lot of muttering, it was done, top on and looking very nice. Another hiccup was that I had left the bottom treadle rod in the car and had to put that in when Phil came back.

Next was polishing the top and front drawer with button polish and linseed oil. While this was drying I serviced and cleaned the machine head, this included cleaning and polishing all the somewhat rusty chromeware and installing a new leather treadle belt. When this was finally done, the machine looked quite stunning. It is the first Canadian machine to be in our collections. Made in Montreal, Canada.

Another hiccup. Phil being heavy footed managed to break the wooden pitman playing with the treadle and I was not amused. The machine was now unusable until I repaired or replaced the pitman. We soldiered on and I decided to test the machine by hand cranking it.

I had previously sent Sarah the user manual so she read out the threading diagram so I could thread up and then while I guided the fabric, she spun the wheel round. This is one of those machines which run in the opposite direction to Singers which move towards you. My Jones Spool is another. With just a little adjustment on the weird top tension, she sewed like a dream. Such a straight stitch, absolutely beautiful. Sarah had earlier said this machine would probably only be used as a show piece, but now I think she will be well used for quilting.

I was very pleased with the way the restoration turned out. There was still a stain on the left hand side of the treadle top, but this was much less obtrusive. I finally gave all the woodwork a coat of antique wax polish and now it glows. I will get Sarah to take some pics of the restored top and post them another day.

All in all, a good day in Devon, although Phil didn't get a lot of fishing in because the Anglers' Car Park was shut and he was sent away from the car park near the Red Lion and told to park in the Main car park which is about 3/4 of a mile away, impossible with a heavy fishing trolley and rod bag as it is all steeply downhill. So, he came home. He did catch a small European Bass which Casie cooked with Rosemary, Thyme and lemon. Sarah and Phil said it was very nice and Phil would like to catch a bigger version next time.

We got home from Devon about 1a.m., fed all the animals, had a cup of tea and went to bed about 2 a.m. We had been up for 22 1/2 hours, What a long day! Phil, poor love had done all the driving because he enjoys it.

Thursday, 19 May 2011


Well, some of the exotic seeds have started coming up, several different colours of Butterfly Vine - Double blue, lavender and white, some more Loofahs, Woad and Indigo (dye plants for my collection, I already have Weld and Alkanet.
The allotment is all rotavated and we have peas in as well now. Friday we should be able to get some cabbages in, for us and the chooks who adore Greyhound cabbage. The ex-batts can strip a cabbage in 20 minutes. The two bantams are both broody, one is sitting on 2Araucana eggs and the other was sitting on ---nothing, so I tucked two Nankin eggs under her, she was quite happy about that and pushed them further underneath her feathers. Today when they went out to eat, they came back in and swapped nests, strange creatures. Maybe we will get chicks, maybe not.

The first pic is Lavender Araucana chicks, the second Nankins.

Saturday, 14 May 2011


This is a really busy time both in the greenhouse and up the allotment. We have nearly finished rotavating the whole allotment. We have sown lettuces, spring onions, rocket, carrots, globe onions and shallots. We have plants queuing up in the greenhouse - cabbages, purple sprouting broccoli, peas, beetroot, sweetcorn, more lettuces, runner and Borlotti beans and courgettes.

In the greenhouse we are growing tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, peppers and a melon plant. I have also sown lots of herb seeds to plant out at the end of the garden, some dye plants and some exotic flowering plant seeds which I bought from eBay last year and lost.

The chickens are all doing well, Phil has grown loads of cabbage plants for them and they can also have all the plant tops like carrots, gone to seed lettuce and plant thinnings. They will have to share them with the rabbits of course.

I had another rabbit die two weeks ago. I went in the shed to feed them and Emerald was just lying there dead, not a mark on her, she was only 3 years old and one of the best wool producers with a really thick cinnamon coloured coat. short of having a post mortem done it is impossible to say what caused her death. Rabbits can die suddenly of heart attacks and there were literally no symptoms. She was fine the night before, scrabbling at me as usual when I fed her and trying to bite me which she always did. She had eaten all her food that day, but not that night, So I am down to 11 rabbits now.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Quick update

Not had time to post lately, too busy with the allotment, chickens, and eBay. One of the ex-batts seems to have hurt her foot, she's been limping or hopping for a few days, but she is starting to put a bit of weight on it now. Strains and sprains take a long while to heal, longer than broken bones.

Kesira one of the cats is also a bit off colour and not eating much at all. Hopefully she will be better tomorrow, she ate a bit of tuna tonight. Several of the cats seem to have had a cold of sorts, sneezing and croaky voices so maybe she is the same.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Ex-battery hens update

Finally the new ex-barn hens have been accepted by the ex-batts. They still pick on them occasionally but not nearly as much,and they are totally integrated both day and night. The 3 ex-barns still stick together while free ranging.

Zinnia is starting to grow new feathers, and so are the other bald hens. This is Zinnia now, I will post another picture when she is all feathered up. The feathers are just little black stubbs in their skin at the moment. 11 eggs today, nearly a record.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Update on everything

Well, I haven't had time to post in quite a while as we've been busy with chickens. Last week, we picked up 3 more hens from the BHWT. These were Barn hens, but they are much balder than the ex-batts. They run around and jump a lot more, but they are very timid. We have had a problem with the dominant hens in the ex-batts bullying them, so much so that we have had to separate them during the day and just put the new ones in the shed at dusk when the others are getting ready for bed. We allow them all to free range together as they don't do much bullying when they are distracted by foraging and scratching about. It seems to be working as there is less squawking at night now. I have been getting up every morning at 6am in order to remove the new hens before they gett picked on. Tomorrow I will leave them a while longer.

We went to the Rare Poultry Breeds show at Melton Mowbray today. We met up with some of the members of the Poultry Garden Forum. We bid on a trio of hen Nankins, but they went for £45 which was too much for us. Another member of the Poultry Garden breeds Nankins so I have contacted her to see if she has any hens or hatching eggs for sale. She is in Somerset so it might be possible to detour when we are going down to Sarah's on Casie's birthday.

I am going to stay at Sarah's for a week after Casie's Birthday party. That will be lovely, hopefully the weather will be good and we can do lots of gardening as well as admin for Sarah's business. Her new garden is huge, so will take a lot of preparation this year. Poor Phil will have to look after all the animals while I am away.

We are going to try hatching some Nankin eggs as soon as we have built an incubator. We have a polystyrene box with a lid which is about the right size, we just have to put some bulbs in to heat it, or we can try the reptile basking light which is around somewhere. We really just need a thermometer and thermostat. We will have to make a brooder as well for the chicks when they have hatched

We lost one of the Angoras a few weeks ago, but Aragon was old so it wasn't unexpected, but Jasper has suddenly lost weight and all his fur fell out. we took him to the Vets  as he lost weight so quickly. She couldn't find anything wrong with him so gave him some wormer, probably because I asked if it could be worms. He has to have the paste every day for 9 days. He is still with us, and I don't think he has lost any more weight. I will weigh him tomorrow and then every day after that to see if he is putting any weight back on. His fur is growing back very gradually. Thistle did much the same a few weeks ago but has put all the weight back on and regrown her fur. She didn't lose much as much weight though.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Ex-battery hens

The ex-bats shed is up after having been cleaned and disinfected. We picked up our 7 ex-bat girls on 27th Feb. Zinnia, Petunia, Lobelia, Loretta (Hermaphrodite), Daisy, Dandelion and Daffodil.             

They have a temporary run until we get the bigger one built.

First one out was Lobelia

I shot some videos with my phone

The Nankin house is done and they have been in residence a week.

We intend to make the ex-bats run big enough to incorporate the Nankin house/run and eventually have the Nankins in with the ex-bats. Del boy isn't big enough to hurt the bigger ex-bats.

The ex-bats have been laying quite well, usually at least 3 eggs a day, sometimes more. They are realy funny creatures, but it's lovely to see hens who have been shut in tiny cages for the last year roaming around and scratching and pecking. They squabble a bit and pick on poor Zinnia who is the baldest. She is obviously well down the pecking order. I'm not sure who is in charge yet. Dandelion likes to nest in the corner amongst the straw (we haven't got round to adding nest boxes yet), she picks up pieces of straw and throws them on to her back, it's quite entertaining to watch.

Loretta (who we were told is a Hermaphrodite) just seems to amble about, very laid back, s/he doesn't join in the squabbles. We have to wait and see if s/he starts to exhibit cockerel behaviour. Apparently in hens only one ovary of the two is working. If that gets damaged testosterone builds up and the chicken changes sex. They are never fertile and don't crow, although they will try and tread the hens and otherwise behave like cockerels.

We hope to add a nest box and perches tomorrow. The perch will be low down to start with and will be moved up to the correct height next week when they are used to it.

There is another ex-bat rehoming on March 20th and we have decided we have room for 3 more girls so will put our name down.

We have called the shed where the Araucanas and Silkie crosses live Cluckingham Palace.

The Blossom gang as we call them have been out in the garden quite a bit and now expect to be let out when we open them up in the morning. 2 of the Bantams are laying and one of the Araucanas. We are getting up to 7 eggs a day and should be able to sell some of them to help pay for the chicken feed.

On a sad note, we had to euthanase our oldest rabbit Aragon, a white Angora. He was old when we got him 3 years ago. He was only expected to live 6 months. so he didn't do badly. He was a greedy old boy. His one delight in life was to stuff his face all day long. He fell out of his cage more than once he was so eager to get to his food. I went in to feed them yesterday morning and he didn't come rushing out so I opened his bedroom door. He was lying there on his side, hardly breathing and covered in sawdust. He must have collapsed in the night and was trying to get up and just scrabbling in the messy sawdust.

I took him out and cleaned all the sawdust off him. I tried to give him some water from a syringe, but he wouldn't swallow at all so we decided to take him to the vet's. I was hoping he would just slip away on his own, but he was a stubborn little man and wouldn't give up even after the injection.

He has gone over the Rainbow Bridge now so should be jumping about in the fresh grass, young and healthy again.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Update on chickens/eBay/treadles

Phil is still making the Nankin house, the run is  finished and the Nankins were in it this afternoon. Hopefully the shed will be finished tomorrow evening. I am repairing the ex batts shed which has a few worn battens. I hope to be able to finish that tomorrow and put the shed together so I can paint the outside and dry the inside.

I have an electric Hague linker and a Bond knitting machine on eBay which seem to be doing quite well. I have had shipping enquiries for the linker from Russia, Texas, Cyprus, Australia and Germany. It seems a very popular item. I found that although the electric linker was good I prefer the hand linker.

I am restoring a treadle for a friend of my daughter's. It has suffered some water damage on the top so I have had to strip off the polished finish down to bare wood. I was told I could bleach wood using washing soda and hydrogen peroxide, so I shall be trying that tomorrow. The fold over top had bad veneer damage, lots of bubbles and areas where the veneer had lifted, I tried ironing it down, but some of the bubbles were too bad so I soaked the veneer, steamed it with the iron and removed it. Tomorrow I will soak it again to remove the bubbles and dry it between 2 sheets of wood to flatten it, then reglue it and fill in any gaps where the veneer has broken. The irons aren't too bad, just need  a good clean and wiping over with linseed oil. The machine needs a good clean and some attention to the chrome work with emery cloth and wire wool soaked in metal polish. Hopefully that will clean all the old rust and dirt off.

Sarah is going to a trade show at Biringham next Tuesday. She wants me to go down for a couple of days to look after Rowan while her and Casie pack and is going to collect me on her way back from Birmingham. We have to go to look at some sewing machines in Rushden on the way back to London. I will dismantle the finished treadle and take that with me so Liz can have it before Sarah goes to Devon on 1st March.

I still have to restore another treadle, this one is very bad, I tried to patch the whole veneer on one end but it looks bad so I'm going to take all the veneer off and replace it with some very thin plywood I've had for some time. I have already reveneered the foldover top with it and it looks good. There is a cut in the top where it looks as if someone tried to saw across the end of the table. The raised part of the top and the front flap will also need reveneering to match. The irons for that will need a good going over with a wire brush as they are quite rusty. Hopefully I will only need to clean it with vinegar and then linseed oil it. I haven't decided which machine to put in that, either a Singer 15 Sphinx, Singer 15 Filigree or 66 Lotus.

Soon we will have to go up the allotment and rotavate so we can get some seeds in and prepare the asparagus bed. There aren't enough hours in the day to do all I want and need to do.

Enough writing for 1 day. I need to go to bed as we are getting up at 7am now so we can open up the chickens.

Monday, 14 February 2011

More chickens

Over the weekend we went to a Poultry show in West Haddon, Northants. They had lots of different breeds in the show and also some for sale. I had been looking online to try and get some rare breed chickens and had been having trouble finding any for sale. Lo and behold, a trio of Nankins (very rare and on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust critical list, which means less than 100 hens in the UK) was up for sale. We talked to Paul who bought them as hatching eggs last June. They hatched in July. They are very pretty and they were very cheap, £30 for the 3. Most rare breed trios cost around £75.

So we are now the proud owners of some very rare chickens

Nankins are true Bantams and one of the oldest breeds.

Monday, 7 February 2011


Today I repaired the chain link fence I removed last week, and tomorrow it will go up on the chicken run as long as the weather is dry.  I want to get the roof netting stitched to the fence before we go down to Devon for the day. Once that is done I feel the chickens will be more secure. The chicken wire has sagged and the fox could get under the roof netting and over the chicken wire.

We are rehoming some ex-battery chickens in March so we have to start on a run for them. Phil said he will make some frames to stretch chicken wire on so it doesn't sag. Chain link is so expensive and chicken wire is a lot cheaper. We have to get the shed from Denise's Mum's garden so we can make a door for it and check it all over for any damage.

The strong winds have died down this afternoon, thank goodness, but it is still quite warm out. My hands are aching from twisting the chain link fence as I repaired it.

Thursday, 3 February 2011


We have done hardly anything in the garden for the last 2/3 years, apart from mowing the grass. This year we have started early because of building the chicken run and having to sort out the end of the garden. The fruit bushes which came back when we gave up our second allotment will be going back onto our first. The area will be dug over and seeded, once the grass has grown the chickens will be allowed to free range. We also have to repair the bottom fence which has started falling apart. It was only made as a temporary measure from old larch lap fencing laths.

We need to put up a new fence at the end of Phil's greenhouse right across the garden to keep the chickens down that end. Possibly fine trellis with a gate. I have moved the peach tree so it will be south of the fence and should get more sun and shelter from the fence. I can put bubble wrap on the trellis behind it to keep it warmer. One of the fig trees will go the other side of the path. I have 3 as when I moved it it had layered itself. Sarah is having the other 2 for her new gaden in Devon which I believe is south facing so they should do well. Hopefully putting the fig facing south in our garden will encourage it to fruit as I have only ever seen one fruit on it in 13 years.

I have taken out the old chainlink fence which screens the greenhouse from the top end of the garden. This will be used in the chicken run when I have repaired it (the shrubs have grown up and rooted through the links so we had to cut them in several places. Fortunately I have a small spare section for repairs. I had to remove the cold frame and sort out the plants which came from it (we have lost a lot of small plants in the very cold weather). I then had to rip up the old landscape fabric and dig out the bottom of the fence which was buried. I was very tired when I finished this but it looks a whole lot better. Yesterday I sorted out the pots behind the greenhouse and took out all the broken terracotta pots for use as drainage. Why does it always look so bad while you are tidying the garden?

Went to the auction tonight but only bought a kids tool bench. A Singer 99 hand crank sewing machine went for £25, it's not worth paying that to go on eBay, although it was in very good condition. Tomorrow I may have a day off from gardening and take photos of stuff to put on eBay. It's over 3 months since I put anything on and I have got out of the habit of it, which makes it a real effort.

The weather is not very nice tonight, there is a gale blowing, Forecast is for rain and gales tomorrw, so it might be a good day for indoor work.

Monday, 31 January 2011

More on chickens

The chickens are well settled in now, they seem to keep the same order on the perch at night, left to right, the 2 bantams, the cockerel and the 2 Araucanas. Rocky has been strutting his stuff and crowing in response to the cockerels at Dave's, Matt's and Graham's. They were all crowing when we had the full moon last week, about 3.30 in the morning.

I hope our new neighbours in the house next door (when it's sold) don't make a fuss like Bernard and Audrey did with Chris's cockerels and made him get rid of them. For various reasons they left the village. It seems very stupid to me to move into the country and then complain about country noises like chickens and dogs barking.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Happy Chickens

The chickens are quite happy and settling down in their new home. The first couple of nights Rocky slept on the floor, now he is using the perch, they  manage to all get on there, although we are putting in an extra one to make it more roomy as it's difficult for the last chicken to get on the perch.

We finished the wire round the run today although we are short of some wire mesh so used a couple of old doors temporarily just so they can get out in the fresh air. We bought some shade mesh to cover the top of the run to stop them flying out. When we let them out in the rest of the garden we will clip their wings but it's not necessary right now. The shade mesh is only secured on the four corners until we finish it tomorrow, but we wanted to let them out. Phil opened the shed door and grabbed the chickens and put them out in the run, they are noisy birds, but once out they settled down to a little pecking and grass eating from the clumps of grass I put in the run. We had to open the shed door again to get them back in as they're not used to the pop hole yet, hopefully they should start using that tomorrow. We have a few odds and ends to do but not so much of a rush for that and I still haven't taken any photos.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Chickens successfully moved in

Finally the chicken shed is finished. I will need to paint it again as the rain washed off some of the paint, we need a really dry day to dry everything out. Tonight we went down to our neighbours and picked up the 5 chickens. They have been successfully introduced to their new home, although the run is not finished because the ground is waterlogged after heavy rainfall this afternoon. One of the black bantams managed to pull her claw (the nail part so it will regrow) off in the move but it has stopped bleeding, thank goodness.

They have not been used to perches, but when we checked through the window about an hour after we put them in the shed, all the hens were on the perch but the cockerel Rocky (after Chicken Run) was still on the floor. I will check before I go to bed to see if he is up there as well. They had a try of their new food (organic layers pellets) and I have boiled up some potato peelings to go with some veg scraps left over from dinner the other day. I will add that to some pellets along with the Poultry Spice conditioning powder. At least one of the hens is laying, so hopefully they will enjoy their new nest boxes and make good use of them.

We don't have enough chainlink to finish the run, so we ae thinking about getting some 3 ft chicken wire. overlapping it and using that. Chicken wire is quite cheap, 50m of 38mm by 900mm mesh is £25 plus £10 postage, far cheaper than chain link. It obviously isn't as strong and won't last so long but it will do for now.

It's really exciting having chickens again. They made such a noise when Phil caught them, you'd have thought he was killing them. Hopefully they will get quite tame, I'd like to be able to hand feed them.

Off to bed now, I'm really tired because I dug a trench all round the run to take the netting. Pictures tomorrow.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011


Dave our neighbour gave us some plywood already cut to size to make a shed, although we are having the old one as well in case we want to get more chickens. The weather has been either wet or snowing which has really held us up, we were hoping to have the chickens by the end of last week, but Dave says no rush.

Phil has nearly finished the shed, we had 2 dry days which enabled him to get quite a bit done. I have to staple the wire mesh to the window and Phil make the nest box. The roof needs felting today and the shed painting. Sometime today we will pick up some posts for the run and a drinker from Regency Poultry. Hopefully we can get the chickens moved tomorrow. The weather is horrible, really windy and wet, fortunately Phil can make the nest box in his shed.

I have stapled the wire mesh on the window, painted the shed with cuprinol black ash, shaped the perch and felted the roof. Phil has nearly finished the nest box, just the partitions and lid to do. The window frame needs to be made tomorrow, I need to felt the lid of the nest box to waterproof it and I need to paint the nest box which will be green as I ran out of black ash. Two tone chicken shed, lol. It is actually beginning to look like a chicken shed and was much improved by the paint and felt. I really hope it will be done tomorrow, we can pick up the posts and start on the run in the afternoon as we didn't bother collecting them today. Chicken moving day tomorrow night. I will take some photos and post them tomorrow evening.

We went to Regency Poultry and bought a drinker and also had a look at their baby black micro pigs, so sweet, but £200 each. You can keep them indoors like dogs, wonder what the cats would think of that. Full grown they are just below knee level, about 12 - 14 inches high.


Wednesday, 5 January 2011

New chickens

We have spent the last 2 days buildng a shed for our new chickens, well, Phil has been building it and I've creosoted the pallet and floor. Tomorrow it can be attached to the pallet