ICE STORM

We lust lived through our first ever ice storm and it was no fun at all, every surface was as slippery as an ice rink. Then we got about a foot of snow which looks very pretty but working outside has just had to STOP! We finally have a sense of what it must be like to be in a lockdown but we have absolutely no reason to moan as this past year has been mostly business as usual for us, apart from Suzie working from home for the most part of course.

Looks innocuous enough but it was really slippery.
So many of our eggs were cracked and frozen solid, we are checking for them much more frequently now.
The chicken water.
Thankfully it would seem we have enough Propane to see us through.
Then came the snow…
Where are our vegetable beds?
Put your best foot forward.
Suzie texted this to Will, I won’t repeat what she said in her message!
In other more troubling news, Mack is missing!!!

Hugelkultur

Suzie being the brilliant gardener that she has no doubt known about Hulgelkultur for quite a while but it was news to me. It is our plan to prevent the vegetable beds from flooding again when it rains (and blimey does it pour down here sometimes). What appealed to me about it was that it uses up the byproduct of land management, pruned trees, dug turf, etc., etc.

FIREWOOD LAYER
You can dig the beds first and I did a little (you need top soil at the end of the process) but it’s back breaking work and to save our backs we wanted our Hugelkultur beds to be as high as possible.
BRANCH LAYER
LEAF LAYER
STRAW LAYER
COMPOST LAYER
MULE POOP LAYER
GRASS SOD AND TOP SOIL LAYER (WATERED)
INSULATE AND WAIT FOR SPRING!

Chickens helpful as ever
Farmer Mack (also helping)

Critter Proofin’

With the structure of our deer proof vegetable garden built it became time to critter proof it all. I have to say though that it occurred to me more than once that digging trenches is work for much younger men.

1′ wide and 8″ deep along the front….
….and up the side.
Alas, we had a bit of rain and that delayed things (and probably did for our potatoes).
Hardware Cloth 2′ x 50′ that should (hopefully) keep them out.
Have to say though that Mack is doing a pretty good job of keeping the pest population down too (Suzie told him that was his job when he first came to us).
Suze has planted some flowers in the refilled trench.

The Buzz for the Cluck

Suzie put down a deposit on a nuc (short for nucleus, a queen and starter pack basically) of Bees quite a few months ago but we got the call this week that they were ready for pick up. We knew we wanted them up by the pond but needed to do some clearing first.

We did realize after a while that this was not the side we wanted to have the Bees on and it was tiring work so we moved on.
Honeysuckle might be pretty when it flowers but MAN is it invasive!
The side where we did want the Bees.
Leedle-Houme Bees in the fantastically named “Mulkeytown” (about an hour from us – the furthest we’ve been for quite a while).
Good to know!
Very useful onsite demo.
The Bee House.
Our nuc, can anyone hear buzzing?
Suzie’s Beehive, painted and ready to go.
Suzie’s Hazmat suit.
Smokin’?
Suze is keeping them supplied with sugar water but they are already flying around and seem to be getting accustomed to their new surroundings.

So we finally have our “Buzz” and the “Cluck” is doing pretty well too. In the few weeks we have had them they have about doubled in size and are feathering up nicely. We have 10 again temporarily as one of our neighbors Chickens had Chicks before they were quite ready for them. It was pretty funny actually, one of the new Chicks made so much noise at first that all of ours cowered at the back of the box we put in there for them, seemingly terrified. All is harmonious now though.

Also, just because I’m writing this one….Amazon are now shipping Cats!

Not sure all of the bubblewrap was necessary.

Taking a Weekend Off

I think I have broken Suzie, she has spent at least the last eight days working outside, I at least had some time working on freelance stuff inside. So today Suzie said how about we rest up and actually have a weekend for once – great idea! We decided to go walk the Forestry land behind us that has recently been cleared. First off we had a walk around the front garden which is looking glorious.

We have a Magnolia tree – who knew?!
Red Bud we think.
It still cracks me up that Mack comes for a walk with us.
Mind where you step.
Empty nest, we know that feeling.
FINALLY found the other pond we had seen just up from us on a satellite image last year. Thank you Forestry Commission for clearing the land.