We have some more eggs in the incubator and they are looking mostly fertile so we should have more chicks in a couple of weeks, both Light Sussex and backyard.
So now we are fully fed up of eggs all ways we will have to be making stuff from them until the car boot sales start and we can sell them there. Dave is fretting because his ducks aren't laying yet, but I am breathing a sigh of relief. He hasn't an incubator big enough to take a week's worth so I would have to find something to do with them as well!
|They may not have started laying yet, but they are mating a lot and making a heck of a din!|
So it has been a baking time with the freezer now having cakes, fruit bread, quiches and the like with it emptying fast of veggies. There is also a double batch of St Clements curd in the fridge, we have been eating creme caramel regularly (Dave found some fresh creamy milk in the village) and there are thirty eggs in bags of two in the freezer. I have also made some pink and white pickled eggs. No idea how they will taste and there aren't many as the big batch I cooked using my fail-safe technique for boiling and easily peeling fresh eggs failed miserably. So a few were fed back to the chickens. Still, the ones I did will give me an idea whether I will like them enough to do more. The pink colour was from some beetroot vinegar from the beets I pickled last summer. Thanks to Tracey Macdonald for sending me her recipe. http://beezoneinbulgaria.blogspot.co.uk/ I'm sure if anyone wants to try them she will not mind me passing it on, please ask.
|Good old stand by when you have too many eggs, creme caramel. The caramel could have been darker and the extra egg I sneaked in was not really necessary, but they were yummy all the same|
|Lovely, fresh, creamy cow milk!|
|We had these walnut macaroons at Venka's one day (no doubt she was using up the eggs we had given her!) and they were so good I found a recipe on line. Made mine with chunkyish nuts..yum|
|St Clement's curd, bagged eggs and pink pickled eggs.|
Another good way of using the eggs is pasta. Dave loves his lasagne and I like tagliatelle. We are getting a bit of a stock of lasagne sheets in the freezer ready for quick summer meals later.
|Lots of pasta|
|Dave's lasagne with rosemary and garlic bread|
|And my veggi pasta with sprouted seeds|
So at the moment I have just a dozen eggs in waiting and will see if I can keep up this time.
The seedlings are coming along, not too fast as we are still in February but germinating and I have been able to get some annuals, onions, salad and brassicas into the cold frame. It is far too early to put tommies and other tender seedlings out there of course, but hopefully as things germinate upstairs and are moved out it will make space for tomatoes, peppers etc to be potted on into their own pots.
|Sweet peas and marigolds can go out once they have all germinated|
|Tommies under bottle cloches, salad and fennel in cells. Just waiting for herbs to germinate|
|Peppers seem to take forever|
The over wintered chilli plants have come through well and have started to sprout new leaves. They will be getting a heat boost this week as temperatures are set to soar to 23C making the corridor a rather nice greenhouse temperature by day without the steep drop a glasshouse would have overnight. Also up there the geraniums we have on the outside stairs are growing well, making cutting material and that can be done when there is space.
|Chillis properly alive. They are only mild and two large plants, plenty for us.|
|Lots of fresh growth on geraniums|
Dave has straightened up the polytunnel frame and strengthened it, putting supports down the middle so that if we should get more snow hopefully it will not collapse this time. We need to get the new cover which came over with my sister's belongings (I hope, we didn't actually see it!) and see if the frame is strong enough to take it. He has also put in steel supports for the raspberries and grapevines after the weight of the fruit snapped the 4x4 timber last year.
|Well, the frame is upright and reinforced so we will see....|
|The new vine frame|
I always get a hankering for fresh veg at this time of the year and with the broccoli, kale and cabbage frosted and ruined we were relying on the few sprout plants we had left. But they are now done...we had the last sprouts today....so I have started to sprout seeds in the kitchen, something I used to do a lot of in years past. I love the sweet, nutty and fresh texture sprinkled on to salads, pasta and on a sandwich (fresh crusty bread, butter, marmite and a pile of sprouted beans....yum!) as well as picking at them.
|Sprouted lentils to the left, mung beans on the right|
|Soaking chick peas and lentils ready for the next lot|
But with the weather picking up for a while the lettuce and herbs in the garden will soon get going and there are some fresh half grown onions if I need them. We still have the threat of some low minus temperatures at night but hopefully it won't stunt things too much if daytime temperatures are higher and for longer. Already, in just a few days, everywhere is looking greener, bulbs and rhubarb are getting going, shrubs and perennials sprouting and the cornel tree is showing a little yellow on the blossom. Not forgetting the lush weeds of course.
All the animals are more active in the warmer weather and the cats especially spend more time out in the trees or barns night and day which is a relief to Bella as their rough play worries her. She should be grateful that they are now playing with each other and not attacking her! They have us in stitches as they fly in through the cat flap and scoot around the kitchen, playing ice skating on the tiles.
|Charlie cooling off right in the middle of the kitchen floor...just where I want to be! He's losing his winter fluff in clumps|
|Spud enjoying just sitting in the sun and contemplating. He doesn't have winter fluff|
And of course the goats are not here much as they go out if it's not raining
Out in the nursery the chicks are growing fast, with the Light Sussex now much bigger then the two hairy legged ones. With the warmer days and their feather growth they can now have the heat lamp off by day and have been given the run of the shed with a mesh door to keep the cats out. They should be fully feathered by the time the next lot need the lamp.
|Going through a plain stage|
We went over to my sister's last week as their worldly goods were delivered, and helped to unload the van (well, I was supervisor and lunch maker) My they have a lot of stuff, but it looked more as the house was fully furnished when they bought it. We have heard little from them as they try to make sense of the many boxes and flat pack furniture. At least it makes a change from chopping up branches! They did come over in the car the next day though, it must be great to have their own transport once again as they couldn't get out with the camper with the weather being dodgy and the verge very swampy.
|And the Range Rover joins Kevin the camper|