April 2013

We were at a friend’s house a few weeks ago and noticed they’d been pruning. I went back a couple of days later and retrieved the cuttings from the compost heap. Some were long enough to turn into a new fence. Some were too short for anything and are adding to the biomass of our woods. And a few became Her Outdoors’ first garden sculpture of the year:

hazel chicken

She’s not overly happy with it. I think if I’d done it, I’d be looking for an agent.

Here’s some video of our latest arrivals from yesterday evening. (No wabbits were harmed in the making of this clip.)

I was trundling along the field with a wheelbarrow just now, admitting to myself that I’m starting work a bit late today (even though it’s a Saturday). And I thought, at least I’m not commuting any more (so I’d already saved a potential two hours of travelling). Which led me to wondering how much travelling time I’ve saved by moving to France in August 2007.

So I worked it out: 293 weeks, or 5,860 hours, or 244 days – and that’s assuming no delays or cancellations.

I’m now tempted to start work a little bit late tomorrow, too (even though it’s a Sunday).

Sometimes 140 characters (including spaces) just doesn’t cut it – and this is one of those times.

We have our first guests of the year, and I promised a few weeks ago that our first wild orchids would be out while they were here. So I am very relieved to say that, this morning, I saw an Early Purple orchid just about to flower outside the poly tunnel. Dangerous things, promises.

In other news, Her Outdoors tells me that a sparrowhawk has just moved into the area. Unfortunately for me, one of our older hens has just started sitting on 11 eggs. Put the two bits of news together and you discover that I must build a hawk-proof enclosure for the new chicks in the next 27 days. (Because I really needed something else on the to-do list, what with the second guest kitchen to finish, platform to make, structure to build for the fridge-freezer I promised – ! – to this year’s guests, pallet fort to create and road to complete, how will I ever fill my time? And I promised to help Her Outdoors in the veggie patch this year…)

Four of our chickens have been in the habit of escaping the 2-metre fencing around the orchard recently. A pile of black feathers this morning tells me one of them didn’t make it through the night and there’s a very happy fox sleeping off a successful hunt. Yes, we can clip wings, but that didn’t stop the first escapee and time is rather short at the moment.

I may have mentioned the horse breaking out several weeks ago. While he was out, he scratched the backs of his legs on the mobile rabbit runs, which rearranged them enough for the boy bunnies to get in with the girl bunnies. A few days ago, eight new bunnies arrived in the night.

And finally (you can see what I mean about 140 characters not being enough for today), I came up with a new plan to sell more copies of my book. I put a new blog together here that explains the plan – and allows you to download the book absolutely free, then decide how much (or how little) you want to pay for it later. If you could let other people know about this blog, I would really appreciate it. To save you the trouble of hunting back through this paragraph for the link to the free ebook blog, here it is again.

(And here if you missed it.)