Thursday, 12 February 2009

New Year, New Life

Needless to say, when push comes to shovel I prefer to be a warm weather gardener which isn't very good if you are trying to be self-sufficient! However, we are enjoying enormously the fruits of our 2008 labours: vegetables from the freezer, apples still in the boxes and of course pork in the freezer. We also have a number of chickens in the freezer as we had a large number of cockerels and, finally, we have been given a leg of wild boar by the local gardien de chasse. And of course we are getting plenty of eggs from the hens.

At the end of last year I put some onions and garlic in the vegetable plot and now it's about time to plant the next lot of onions. But it's so cold out there that the motivation factor is dreadfully low! However, we have started to prepare the new potato plot. Against all advice we have rotavated this area and I am quite certain that we will be regretting this for a fair few years as all the chopped up roots of bindweed come back to haunt us. But Max can't dig at the moment (he's just had his carpal tunnel operation) and I dug so much last year that I just couldn't face it. So out came the rotavator.

We still need to fence this second vegetable plot area. We have a large rabbit population here and I am not happy to plant one for me and twenty for them. So the fence is on the "to do" list. We have, however, bought our potatoes and onions for planting and this year I'm also going to plant some Jerusalem Artichokes. I thought I would put them at the end of the pigs' enclosure so that when I've dug them up the pigs can take whatever I've missed.

But things have been happening up the garden path despite my laziness. To our astonishment one of the hens became broody over Christmas. We found her tucked away in an outhouse between the drying machine and the wall, well hidden and out of the wind but still very cold. We left her alone and on 24 January she suddenly appeared with four chicks. (That mean that she kept them warm in temperatures of -10 degrees during the night and not much warmer during the days.) Sadly, only one of the chicks survived beyond three days but it is wonderful to go out and see them wandering around the yard, mother hen gently lifting her wing whenever the chick needs to warm up or get away from some terrifying object; a human being for example!

Soon after Christmas also we were given two goose eggs, one at the beginning of the week and one a few days later. We put them both into the incubator on the days that they were given - in other words there was a gap of about five days. This morning I was tidying up the room and suddenly noticed one of the eggs had a hole in it. On further inspection I heard wonderful squeaking noises and sure enough a couple of hours later the gosling popped out. I might say that he (well, he's a he until he proves otherwise!) is a lot stronger than the chicks we've hatched and a lot bigger too!

An hour old

Two hours later

I have left the second egg in the incubator in the hope that it will hatch in a few days time.

So there's new life at Gennetay and very soon it will be warm enough even for me to stop making excuses and "get out there".


lisa winter said...

thank you for this story, i enjoyed reading about your farm and especially your chickens and goose. my husband and i are working our way towards trying to grow most of our own food and to be self sustainable too. there is a lot to learn. best of luck to you.

UKBob said...

Rotorvating is ok unless as you say you have things like Bindweed which is terrible to get rid of if you don't use a spray, and even then it can take a few doses.

Rumpleteazer said...

Good to see some signs of Spring at last, although here it doesn't exactly feel Spring-like at the moment. Your gosling looks cute - it will soon grow though! We were thinking of getting some more this year - we lost our previous ones to a fox a couple of years ago.

Up The Garden Path said...

He is already much bigger. I've put him in a box next to the Everhot (sort of AGA type oven) so that he can keep warm. He's very sweet and fluffy - shame he has to grow up!

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Wow- hard to think about baby birds here in Feb, but he is really cute.

Polly Pierce said...

Hi Jean! Great post as usual, best wishes to Max and his carpel tunnel. Love the pics of the livestock, the difference between the gosling and the chick is amazing!

I tried to say Wow! about your blocked socks over on the English Armchair Abroad and yet again can't leave a comment! I think typepad's got it in for me...

Keep up the good work and good luck with the bindweed, with any luck your sub-zero temperatures will have frozen it half to death!

Eco Gites of Lenault said...

How's the gosling doing now?

Rosie x