|Tilly gets stuck in to the hay bag|
|First milking, what a good girl|
|Someone just has to stick his nose in, he's not bothered that they are big, he was straight in the shed to see what was going on|
|This lot were very curious|
Considering Milly has only recently been trained to hand milk and Dave is very much a novice things are going OK. We have had one batch of milk with a hoof in it which had to go on the compost heap, but generally she's very good and is giving us a couple of litres a day, Dave goes out with the dogs in the morning to cut browse for them which they love, and they like some of the waste veg which they share with the birds. Tilly has taken to the sunflowers and is stripping the lower leaves, shame as it reduces the shade for the birds but they all have to adapt. There is plenty of shade elsewhere.
|First time out...they can hear that 'wolf' panting!|
|Tilly sets to trimming the pear tree|
|Adaptation...to keep those pesky ducks out of their water!|
|It's been a while since I strung a hay net up|
|Chilling under the walnut|
One small thing...Milly doesn't take to the dogs even though there were plenty at her old home. Bella is, as we knew she would be, rather nervous of these large animals and will huff at them while nervously twitching her tail, but Bonnie who wouldn't hurt a fly but who tends to pant quite loudly in the heat and search the fence for a way in when we are both in there, seems to be seen as rather ferocious and there is a lot of nervous bleating and stamping of feet. She'll get used to them, they can be trusted with the chicks so they aren't going to bother goats!
The first of the milk has been made into ricotta as I still had some cow's milk to use up. Flavored with garlic and herbs it was yummy with tomatoes, or on crackers, or as a topping for baked fish.
|All our own work...except for the fish, we can't quite run to a sea!|
Cagneys foster chicks seem to be doing fine. They are compact, sturdy little birds, very unlike the Shumen chicks we are used to, and are still keeping close to Mum. One was a bit lame after Cagney trod on it but seems OK now. They are not growing in size particularly fast but are feathering up nicely. The three amigos (older chicks) are doing well though one is a strange shape, rather like a rumpless araucana, though it's always been like that.
|The three amigos off on a mission|
With the temperature soaring to the mid 30s in the shade the ducks are struggling a bit. They have a cool water top up in their pond, but I think the attention of the drake, who's ardour doesn't seem to be diminishing, is setting the girls panting for the wrong reasons. Ducky has to wait her turn for a dip and it is quite alarming to see the way she pants, but hosing the patch of weeds gives her somewhere cool to sit while she waits her turn. The chickens are also happy to have their dust bathing area well hosed, they can't wait to get in to the damp and spread themselves out. Chicken egg production has diminished but we forgive them that. The ducks just seem to go on though, surprising us as we thought their laying season would be short.
|Ducks in the shade of the sunflowers Tilyy hasn't stripped yet|
|A panting Ducky making for her camomile patch, her favourite place before the sun comes round|
Things are a bit mixed in the veggie patch. We are having trouble with flea beetle and whitefly on the brassicas still. I have given up hope of anything coming from the last lot of veggies I sowed. Some did germinate but quickly disappeared. This may have been because of the snails which have been very active in the warm and wet weather. The tomatoes are doing OK and I have bottled more and used some for chutney, the cucumbers are mostly flying into poultry towers as we don't get to pick them every day so sometimes get too fat, same with the courgettes. The runner beans are doing well too and the weather has brought on a new flush of flowers. Venka has asked for some seed for next year, she's fascinated with how sturdy they are and how long they can grow. The remaining red and Tosca onions are gradually being used, but many have stopped growing due to lack of root and having chunks taken out of them. We have found more chafer grubs when digging potatoes and also mole crickets. Either could be the problem. The late planted sets down the other end are not growing either, but I suppose they could be a small variety, or late. We'll see. The potatoes are really growing with the wet weather, The Arran Pilot are done now and we are on to Maris Bard on the first row. They seem rather knobbly which is OK, but I'm not sure I like the flavour. They are too sweet. Might be better with dryer weather
|The rhubarb has put on a spurt|
|There are lots of these huge black bees (or are they purple?) helping to pollinate the beans|
|Nearly missed this butterfly...and I did miss several more interesting ones!|
|We planted French marigolds between the tomatoes this year, not sure how effective they are at keeping bugs at bay, but they look nice|
|Tomato Rio Grande, buckled under the weight of huge fruit|
|Lots of ladybirds this year, here on peppers|
|Red cabbage, hearting well, looking stunning. If only all the brassicas looked so good|
|Hmmm...Romanesco, not sure|
|Lots of melons coming|
|Some sweet potatoes are doing well. but I have to keep moving the butternur squash as they have changed direction tis year and are determined to overpower the SP|
|This one is not so good|
|The main planting of sweetcorn is bulking up|
|UGH! Mole cricket (was)|
|Hmmm...not your best side|
|Bottled cherry toms ready for winter|
|Well....it tasted good!|
And of course, with veggies now coming over the wall we are not short of much. Venka misses nothing!
|Green peppers and white chillis from Venka...mostly mild but the occasional hotty|
The flowers are doing well still. When some varieties fade others come in to fill the gaps. Unfortunately we have lost our Chat Noir dahlia, the very dark one, which got battered in a storm. It's a shame and I hope it will grow a bit again even if it gets no more flowers this year. We seem to have a lot of dark flowers this time so plenty of interest. I've given up trying to dead head cosmos and other annuals, I just can't keep up and the veggies are more important really.
|Soggy roses, but they are already having a second flush|
|A self sown Million Bells petunia in the path|
|The globe thistles are breaking....happy bee|
|....and purple scabious are stunning|
|More dahlias blooming|
|Not the Chat Noir, but a smaller and I think just as striking dahlia|
|Surely this bee can't pick up any more pollen|
We were in town the other day to meet a couple from the UK over on holiday/house hunting. We had a great natter, giving me jaw ache. They kindly brought me some vanilla so custard is back on the menu! They are coming to see our plot tomorrow (hope it doesn't put them off!!!) and we will do a bit of a tour of the local villages. They will be continuing around the country at the weekend so I hope they are coping with the heat, far too hot for me to be out and about but when you are here for a short time you need to make the most of it.
|Fields turning yellow|
|Waiting at the level crossing|