Veg, jam and other matters

First jam of the season

First jam of the season

We’ve had a fairly busy past few days as bed and breakfast visitors are on the increase as well as it being our busiest time of year with our full compliment of animals, fruit and vegetables to attend to – not forgetting the ever present weeds! So just to add to the list of things to do, all the soft fruit has begun to ripen in earnest. Kevin’s the harvester around here and he’s been busy picking – and eating – like a man posessed! So the other day I got down to making the first jam of the season which was raspberry, followed the day after by blackcurrant. So now our guests will also be able to enjoy a taste of Garybuie at breakfast time! Also a couple of days ago we had our first meal of the year made entirely of products from Garybuie and the extended glen. It was a summer lamb casserole which included new potatoes, baby carrots, peas and rosemary. It was delicious, although I have to admit that the potatoes could probably do with an extra couple of weeks yet.

Freshly picked

Freshly picked

Last night we tried yet more baby veg within a stir-fry. After watching Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s ‘Summer’ program the other week, he suggested using small courgettes when the get to a finger’s length. I suspect that my fingers are probably smaller than his though!

On the animal front, the late developing fourth Ayelsbury Runner drake has got himself a reprieve for good behaviour! We’d planned just to keep Francis Drake but as all four ducks seem to be living  peacably, then he can stay. I guess we’ll have to think of a name for him now – any suggestions? It’s quite comical in the morning when I let the ducks out. Their house is next to the ‘overby’ chicken coop, so the chicks hear me letting out and feeding the ducks, a sound which seems to get them quite excited!  Yesterday, while the ducks were finishing their food, I peeked into the coop through the ventilation grid and had to smile at all seventeen chicks scrabbling to get to the pop-hole first. It was like the news reports we see of the first day of the January sales!!!

Under the weather

Under the weather

Yesterday, after almost eight weeks of sitting on an empty nest, our phantom broody hen finally decided to call it a day. She was very quiet and stayed near to the house most of the time but she did move around and sat for a wee while with the other hens as well as preening herself occasionally. So we’re keeping an eye on her and giving her the odd tasty morsel in the hope that she’ll get over her upset and soon get back to living up the tree with Brenda, as and when she parts company with her offspring. She does seem a bit brighter today which is encouraging. Still on hens, we’ve suspected that one or more of our layers has been laying away but where do you start to search? Well today Kevin was in luck as he spotted Queenie, one of our Light Sussex ladies heading off with some urgency across the drainage ditch to where lots of tall plants and grasses are in abundance. And there he found her – singing to herself – on a nest holding fifteen eggs!  

Babysitting again!

Babysitting again!

And finally, Puff has now come back into lay, producing an egg everyday this week so far. We think she could do with a break from motherhood, for a wee while at least, and as our most recent chicks will be out in the big wide world in a couple of weeks, we’ve decided to incubate maybe half a dozen of her eggs. Hopefully we’ll have the same success rate as with the Aylesbury Runners.

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