Its getting closer!

It’s only a week now until our first Golden Guernsey Goatling, Allysum, is due to give birth.  We have cleaned out and disinfected her pen and laid it with a nice deep bed of straw!  There were no side effects to her recent Lambivac jab and she seems very calm and healthy.  Although it is common for goats to have twins we are hoping she will have only one kid, as she is not a large goat.  Her sister, Aster, who is due about 4 weeks later, is slightly larger.  Their cousin, British Guernsey Angelica, is quite a bit larger and it was her mum Marigold that had 3 girls, so who knows what she will produce.

I have managed to dig a very small amount of the vegetable plot outside and the ground is working up nicely.  It’s quite weedy as I didn’t manage to do mutch to it last year, but it seems to be turning over easily.  I guess I could have just sprayed it with roundup, but we are trying to be as organic as possible.  There’s still a lot to do but I need to pace myself so  I have to do a little bit at a time to ensure I can manage.  I should be able to get a few early veggies in the ground in the next few weeks.  I plan to build a moveable frame that I can put over the brassicas and cover with neeting to keep the butterflies off, and hence the caterpillars, again minimising the amount of digging/hoe’ing I have to do.

The beds in the Polytunnel are dug and I have planted early spuds, garlic, onion sets plus some early carrots and salad leaves.  I have also started some seeds of cabbage, brussels etc., in the propogator, so things are on the move.  I need to get some grow bags as we tend to put the tomatoes in there rather than in the beds.

We are going to have a try at growing some melons in the polytunnel this year as well as some butternut squash.  We both like fresh melon and butternut squash is always on our shopping list.  We also have a Grapevine in the Polytunnel which is getting stronger and in a couple of seasons we should have a good crop of eating grapes as we are training it up and over one of the tunnel hoops so we should have plenty of room.  One other plant I want to try and grow is some Hop plants, for my brewing!  Apparently ‘green’ hops in beer are catching on with a very distinct flavour, so one to watch!  This plant will probably have to go outside so I am going to try and let it grow in the hedgerow, where it originally grew in the distant past, but I am also going to investigate if I can grow it in the polytunnel and train it over the hoop like the grapevine.

The chickens are still laying okay but the ducks for some unexplained reason still haven’t come back into lay.  We prefer duck eggs both for eating and cooking, so its a bit disappointing.  Hopefully once the weather warms up they will decide it’s time.

I have also managed to prune the fruit bushes in the fruit cage.  Its a bit cramped but we have both summer and autumn fruiting raspberries, black and red currants, gooseberries and some blackberries and loganberries, plus a crown of rhubarb in the corner.  The summer fruiting raspberries were desimated by the frost last year when it didn’t rise above -10c for nearly 5 weeks, so we will need to re-plant these.  The Autumn fruiting ones seemed to fair much better for some reason so we should get a good crop from these this year.

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