Friday, 27 June 2008

The Big Idea

We both work from home now. Under the banner PHOENIX sarl, I am an upholsterer and Max runs a branch of Les Bons Voisins looking after houses for people - mostly English people who have difficulty with the language. We both work our own hours and of course as a result we have time to look after our garden.

We used to have chickens here but never had a chance to look after them but in February I went to the market and bought two hens and a cockeral. In March it was Max's birthday and for no reason whatsoever I gave him an egg incubator. Well, why not! Four weeks later (it took us a week to get enough eggs together!) we hatched our first chicks. We made mistakes and of the six that hatched, four survived and of these one was eaten by a dog. A month after that and we hatched our second lot and this time had a success of eight out of nine. By coincidence one of the hens became broody and hatched two chicks. Suddenly from three we had sixteen. They are known as Mama and her chicks, the cock and his wife, the Adolescents and the Terrible Eight.

At the same time I decided to do something about the vegetable plot. Last year was dreadfully wet and, just like everyone else around here, our tomatoes were rotten and the only thing that did particularly well in the garden were the weeds. At one point the French Beans looked fantastic; but then the rabbits had a family get together and that was the end of them. We didn't get ONE.

So the first thing was to put up a rabbit proof fence. They can still burrow underneath but so far they haven't worked that out! I marked out six beds which Max then surrounded with old roof slates. They're not ideal but will do until we work out something better. We have a free supply of manure from the farm and this was put liberally on the beds. Only for me to have to remove it from the one marked beans and peas! You live and learn!

I would like this blog to be about our attempts to become, if not self-sufficient, then at least more so than previously. The supermarket trip was easy as it was right outside our son's school. This is no longer the case (he finished school today and changes school in September); but we have a perfectly good village market to supplement whatever we are unable to grow in the garden.

I will write about our daily trials and tribulations; our successes and our failures. I welcome your input and your ideas.

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