Saturday, 9 May 2015

Starting to feel a bit chipper

Exactly four soggy, bleak months since we arrived here, and after not a small amount of "what in the hell have we dones", this week it finally feels like we are making some progress in the direction of our dream.

 After much searching we have finally purchased a ride-on lawnmower in a rather fetching stop-you-in-your-tracks yellow. This will hopefully mean we can actually still find the hens and the pond once the grass really gets going. Our chipper was also hand-delivered from Devon by a lovely old gent called Paul, who bestowed upon us (and at great length) much wisdom about bees and growing Manuka trees. Not much use to old City me but here you never know... The chipper attaches to the back of the tractor and will turn all the random branches and brush around the place into woodchip for our paths and veg patch (think Fargo but with fewer bodies). And completing perhaps the ultimate triumvirate of boys toys, a new chainsaw with the power to bring down a Giant Redwood in one fell swoop (or so I'm told).

The new chipper in action

The solar panels are now up! And right on cue, as soon as the last panel went up the heavens opened and it hasn't stopped raining since. Fortunately we've been led to believe that they will generate electricty regardless of the weather. I can't help but question whether we shoud have opted for a more water or wind based renewable form of energy but I hope to be proven wrong!

Putting up solar panels in the driving rain
More new arrivals this week in the shape of eight day old Ross Cobb chicks. Yellow and flluffy and surprisingly noisy we now have our work cut out to keep the little blighters alive and well for the next eight weeks or so. We've set up the chick equivalent of Tanning World in the workshop to keep them at a toasty 30c under an infra-red light. Together with a brand new, real wool blanket, sugared water and corn crumbs it is now without doubt the most desirable spot to be in the whole place.
Egg update: we are now getting two eggs a day, admittedly they are costing us about a tenner a piece after all the food we have shoved down their necks for the past four months, but nonetheless taste delicious. It would be more but one or two of the hens seemed to have been absent on the day they covered making shells at hen school and so we end up with a soggy mess in the laying boxes instead. That said, we would go so far to say that this week we had a veritable glut of eggs and so indulged in a SIX EGG omelette (oh the extravagance). I only hope that we haven't jinxed the hens as last time we went all out on the eggs they didn't lay another single egg for weeks!

Cheep cheep!

This week we have been mostly eating rhubarb and bacon, separately and together (don't knock it until you've tried it). Rhubarb crumble might quite possibly be the food of gods, especially with old school thick, yellow custard (but ask me again in a few months and I might beg to differ). The bacon we cured ourselves with sage and salt using belly pork from a friend's pig. It's been hanging in the cold store for a couple of weeks now and tastes truly sublime. This I will never tire of eating - I think my arteries will pack up before my appetite for it wanes.
And finally, the bloody drainage issue seeps on...

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