Yesterday we ate our first broad beans and lettuce from the garden. It is always a treat when the very first things are ready to eat. Shelling the broad beans is a very pleasant way to spend a few minutes sat down. I went the whole hog and also took the grey inner shells off just leaving the vibrant green pearls. The lettuce is a butter head variety and full of flavour unlike the shop bought stuff which tastes of absolutely nothing even Mike ate his salad which for him is good as he is generally allergic to things green.
As you can see it is stupid o'clock and here I am sitting in the middle of the night not knowing what to do with myself. Thank heaven for the blog, at least that is a nice quiet job to do in the wee small hours of the morning.
Yesterday morning I had a purge on the kitchen and went to town on the floor which every now and again needs a really good clean not just a wipe over. I also cleaned out the chicken house so that at 3.30 we could go and collect the new hens and put them straight into the newly cleaned house. They are poulets of 15 weeks so as yet not point of lay. We can only accommodate four birds so that is what we got and because they are relatively young they were £13 each. The older they get the more the price rises as feed is very expensive at the moment. We brought them home in a cardboard box and put them straight into the eglu but left the outer door shut. They will be about a week in that area before I turn them loose into the big run. Then we have the evening training session chasing them around and persuading them back into their house. I have not worked out the economics of the venture but I may keep an eye on the cost of layers mash and see just how it pans out. They do of course get loads of kitchen scraps to eat so their diet is supplemented from the general waste. They are also fed lots of weeds when I am in the garden weeding. I cannot leave them to wander at will because of the dogs and because of their destructive nature. I have no idea of the price of eggs as it is so long since I have bought any but I will have a look and see and given that the hens should lay approximately 360 eggs each per year that is 1440 eggs per annum or 120 dozen. I just looked it up on the Tesco site and free range eggs, medium, are 26p each which works out at £374 over the year. Well the initial outlay of £52 and the cost of the feed means I am in significant profit. They are bedded on shredded news paper so there is no cost there and a bale of sawdust last me over a year. Manure goes in the compost heap as an accelerator so all in all it seems to be a very cost effective system. Now if only I had room for a PIG!!!! or may be a goat or two!!!! My Dad was right I should have married a farmer!!!!
I have to tell you about this - yesterday afternoon we had someone from EON [electricity] banging on the door and before he had a chance to get into his stride I offered to sell him electricity - stunned silence - so I continued to ask how much he would like to pay me for some electricity. Eventually the penny dropped and he realised he was on a hiding to nothing as we were generating electricity but I had had my fun with him. Just another added benefit to solar panels and quite unexpected!!!!
Have a good day all and hope the essay is finished Anne!!!!