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.