Unfortunately it was very nearly his undoing. There was a terrible loud cheeping of chick and the cat came running in with one of Cagney's chicks in his mouth. It was a traumatic happening and although Dave was quick to get the little bird from the cat he was shocked and died later. I told Dave he would have to go back, we can't risk him killing the neighbours' chicks...though there won't be any till next year now.
But after calming down and analysing what had happened, we realised that the chick must have gone through the wire gate straight into the cat's jaws. The chicks are used to having Splash around and without Mum to tell it this was not the normal cat the inevitable happened. So he is staying on condition that he behaves. He has not been in with the chickens yet but when he does the ex-batts will put him in his place without doing him any harm, like they did with Splash, the dogs and even the goats!
Apart from that he is doing really well. The change of diet is playing havoc with his digestion but that is coming right. He sleeps a lot of the day away beside my side of the bed on an old quilt, goes into his room at night, comes into the garden with all of us when we are out there and is starting to play with Splash.
|Up in Splash's favourite apricot tree|
|Where is he?|
The garden is still looking parched despite a few thunder storms just lately...which has brought the beans in to flower. After doing some research we have decided to lift the potatoes and hope they will be OK in the cellar. It seems if you leave Sarpo Mira in the ground so long their skins set they do not soften properly when boiled. We tried this out on the tiddlers today and sure enough the ones with set skins were ....not exactly hard....more firm. They are also suffering a little with scab despite being hailed as disease resistant. So we will put them in the cellar and hope it's not too warm for them. Otherwise the Maris Bard are knobbly but a good size, Nadine are smoother but odd shapes, large but good inside so they've done OK really. We just need to be able to keep them now!
|Nadine potatoes, with strange folds|
|Sarpo mira There are a lot more of these so I hope they will be OK in the cellar|
Elsewhere the chard keeps producing, the British celery is struggling but not as badly as the local variety. Tomatoes are doing OK, though Venka won't have it and sends buckets of huge ones over....and we send her some small green ones (greeted with great suspicion by friends and family) So more sauce is made, making use of the pulper which works well with our firmer small tomatoes but not so well with the huge and rather delicate ones. Carrots and beets are still being harvested as and when needed, though the carrots are getting nibbled. And we had another couple of baby artichokes today. I am assured by my gardening friends that there is still time to get more seeds in but they will have to wait till the weather cools down a bit.
|Chard again, some for the freezer, some for the animals|
|Half way through preparing the two artichokes from the last blog's picture|
|Tommy pulper in use, top left is the waste, skins and stalks|
The flower garden is looking a bit worn out. I have cut back the nicotiana and antirrhinums to push them back into life, but everything really needs dead heading or cutting back. The good thing about nicotiana is that they attract hawk moths at dusk as the perfume encourages them to feed so the later developing self sown plants are pulling them in like a magnet. We are out there every night at the moment, being eaten alive and with dogs and cats in tow, trying to get a decent photo for ID. But there are so many I can't tell...but I know a girl who might. Picture overload to follow. All angles as requested!
|Had to include this for the tongue!|
|And a couple of other night time visitors|
It was Venka's 70th birthday last week. We didn't realise and they don't really celebrate birthdays. But at 9.30 there was a ding dong on the bell and there she was in her red sequinned top which is a clue that something is up. Dave had gone out but was due back any minute. I could hear lots of voices and when I went round there was a table full of friends and neighbours, table laid with tomatoes, cheese bread, salami and cheese, rakia, a bottle of scotch, beer and coke. Dave gave Venka a white canna we had bought recently and we sorted her another card to go with the others she has collected. Then there was coffee and huge bowls of honeydew and water melon. I'm so glad I didn't have breakfast!
Dave had offered to help with picking the beans in their field, but because of the storms they kept putting it off, but it eventually got done on Sunday while I did yet more bottled tomatoes. All we have to do now is sort them and there aren't as many as last year. We went round later for a meal of tomatoes, mackerel and potatoes followed by the inevitable melons. And of course rakia and beer.
In the kitchen my new fridge freezer has arrived. It needs the doors changing round but I'm really pleased with it. The old one is upstairs for milk/overflow. And Dave has done the second set of shelves so all the bottles can be kept together.More and more we are having meals of home produced food with the addition of an occasional ingredient, like sausage for Dave's Scotch egg (mine was made with our own cheese, breadcrumbs and herbs) and sultanas for the white carrot salad.
|We haven't another spoon to fit the new doors so will have to find a solution|
|Gooseberry chutney, a new one on me. Sweet and very sharp|
|I was trying to use up gooseberries to make room in the freezer but ended up putting rhubarb in....|
|Blackcurrant cordial on the go. Lovely|
|Rhubarb an gooseberry juice for cordial|
A couple of pics showing how grateful the goats are for giving them a wooden trough to keep the hay off the floor....first Tilly then the three amigos decided it was a good place to rest