May 2011

                                                                  A Touch of Weather
The wind howled the rain took a horizontal path across the frozen landscape and so May shaped up to be pretty miserable, little grew, much damage was done to the trees and the pond appears to have leaked.
The pigs are a mighty fine pair of boys. I measure around the piggy just behind the front legs and the length from behind the ears to the base of the tail with my sewing tape. From this measurement I can calculate the weight. They are currently 40kg and increasing in weight at about 0.7 kg a day, which is an alarming amount, as they don’t seem to eat much. They a friendly souls and chat away to each other constantly and will watch me wander around the field and like a scratch behind the ear when I come close by.

At the end of last month we had popped eggs under a broody hen. The hen was quite cantankerous throughout the broody period. Ted would lift her out once a day to get some air and food at this she would make a big fuss and make sure everybody gathered around seeing how important she was. No other chicken would come too close as though very important she was very grumpy and would peck quite sharply.
After 21 days the eggs began to crack and we had 3 baby chicks, we were a little disappointed that we only got 3 but in reality it was enough to be going on with. Mum and kids been moved into there own special run where they have everything they need. Mum is very protective of the little ones and remained resolutely crabby. She is now getting more food herself and beginning to preen so hopefully she will cheer up soon. I mean she chose to hatch eggs.
The chicks are very very cute.
Llewellen and the girls have been off form for a few weeks but since separating the mum and chicks they are all getting pecked less so have bucked up rather. The best morning routine, if you’re a chicken, is to go into the tractor shed and have a happy half-hours hide and seek.
I have added an updated view of the tractor shed; I had thought that last month it had shown growth however it has growed and growed
A certain level of overcompensation might be occurring. Ted has struggled in boats for 20 years and now has enough space for the workshop of his dreams. There have been diagrams; there have been design consultation sessions. Finally it has come together with the simple process of answering a few questions.
How big should the workbench be? The answer is How big can it be? A simple design tool to is when you can see there is space for another shelf put one in, you cannot have too many shelves.
Some projects this month have been really successful.
The improved drain system from the static van is up and running and is working well. We have 3×200 litre containers connected together in a series 2 are closed facilitating anaerobic digestion and 1 is open for aerobic digestion with a filter of sand and gravel. This had all been worked out theoretically but now it’s working well, and is right posh
Coming out of this research was the discovery of Bokashi composting. This is very similar to the compost toilet. You put waste any waste fish heads, hair, pasta bits in a bucket and layer it up with bran treated with effective microbes. I have made the bran mix up and it is working. One of my favourite things is sieving the washing up bowl and tipping in the results. I am still investigating exactly what effective microbes are. Unfortunately they are marketed at the magic fairy dust end of the composting spectrum. With my bottle of EM I was sent a free Orgone; this is a lump of resin with bits of aluminium stuck in it. It is going to neutralise my negative irons apparently.
So searching for a more scientific background I have found it is rather like making yoghurt. Milk and also water drained off soaked rice are fermented together with molasses. So you make a vibrant zoo of bacteria that are particularly good at digesting anything really quickly, the lions of the bacterial world. I have the bokashi bucket a wormery and the compost toilet all-functioning now. Also water down the drain after filtering is saved for the greenhouse. It’s becoming not so much managing waste as peering gleefully at a plate of food and wondering what I am going to get back and how.
Some projects seem more doomed due to lack of active enthusiasm on Teds part. Processing seaweed to make my own sushi wrappers is not going very well. The vinegar bucket is an interesting colour and there is less eagerness than I would like for nettle projects. The mushroom logs remain just logs
The scythe has been wielded. In the single hour the month had, of less murky sky than the rest of the time, we tried it around the trees and that looks like it might work well. So should the time come round again when it is possible to stand upright a scything we shall go
My first clay project is nearly finished. I have used pebbles in a clay base to make a mosaic and I am very proud of the results.
A friend’s son made a little film of the chickens , mainly, as a project.

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2 Responses to May 2011

  1. Lindy says:

    Oh thank you Auntie Susie. This is the sort of update I require on a weekly basis please.

  2. Grandmarrrr says:

    The pebble mosaic is fabulous!

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