|Bella and the cat go off for a play in the dark|
|Potatoes in waiting, five varieties to try|
On the up side, the peas that Dave sowed have made an appearance despite the neighbours thinking they were in too early. My 'fancy' tomato seeds have germinated and are growing well. The sweet potatoes we set in water to grow slips (shoots) are growing roots....at least two of them are. They were hard to work out, the pointed end is supposed to go into the water, but two had two pointed ends and I got one wrong I think. I've turned it around but shouldn't need it if it doesn't work.
|Rooting sweet potato|
Last week we also had some friends over for lunch. It was nice to be able to cook for someone other than just us, and some of Dave's precious beef was put to use, braised long and slow, and I also made a cheese and onion quiche in case anyone wanted to go lighter. There was also salad and potatoes baked in the oven, followed by chocolate brownies. All went down well. The friends were the ones organising the art exhibition Dave is involved in and it gave us chance to go over the finer details. Dave has just finished another painting, this time of bee-eaters. We are all looking forward to their return, such beautiful birds. We all agreed that our tongues were tired from too much talking!
We had a busy day today too. It was market day and we went off to buy some tomatoes and onions for chutney. I usually make it from just our own grown veg as we sell it so cheap at car boot sales, but we needed some spiced tomato as it is so popular. I had already made some chilli, ginger and garlic jam and used all the jars I had, but luckily the market man is back with his matching jars and we stocked up. Venka and Jordan were also there, selling their excess garlic.
|Chilli, ginger and garlic jam|
|Lovely with fried cheese|
We have lost a few hens over winter due to different reasons, so a detour to the animal market to pick up three ex-commercials yielded some rather healthier looking birds than we had last year, and they look slightly different, though still red, and have darker feathers, all intact. They still have rather pale combs and are wary of the outside world, but they will soon pick up. One has already laid an egg.
|Not the prettiest of birds, they will look better when their faces are a brighter colour|
Also in the hen house, Cagney, one of our original backyard hens has gone broody. We thought long and hard about whether to let her sit, and which eggs to give her. Only one Shumen is laying so we have decided to try her with a few duck eggs. After losing all the parent reared chicks last year one way or another, no fault of the worried mothers, and having so many of the incubated chicks turn out males makes it an expensive waste of time.
Sevi is very happy to have three more ladies....they are running away as fast as they can!
Update.....Cagney is now happily sitting on seven duck eggs, delighted to be allowed to brood, clucking away quite happily, bless her.
|A rather weak looking hyacinth in the lawn|
|Even weeds look pretty with frost|
|The perennials are growing well|