Posts Tagged chickens

Chicks everywhere!

It’s all go here at allotmore with chicks all over the place. We hatched some very sweet aracuna’s recently, we found a clutch of pheasant eggs which we popped in the incubator and we now have 3 pheasants, this years turkey chicks have arrived, we have 12 unwanted bantams arriving tomorrow to be rehomed with us. Not sure where they are all going to go in the short term but we will work it out. The geese have finally given up on trying to hatch their eggs, we have two girl geese so it was always a hopeless effort but they have been putting a lot of time into it and are looking a bit shabby now. We have lots of teenage cockerels from our previous hatch at the moment as well. Some of them are very handsome and it seems a real shame to be getting rid of them but I have tried to find them homes and no one wants them so they will have to make handsome coq-au-vin. The Rhode Island Red cockerel is growing up to be a vicious beastie so I think a few people will be glad to see him go. The kids can’t collect eggs at the moment as he won’t let them. He’s really not doing himself any favours!

Chris and I went away for a few days and have returned to the plots being in full swing. The combo of rain and beautiful sunshine has been great and there are lots of very healthy looking crops out there. The surrounding field is looking very wild and beautiful as well and our neighbouring highland cattle really add to the view on a misty morning.

We had been feeling a bit down lately, mostly because of the weather meaning that people weren’t able to get planting but the last week has seen a flurry of activity and lots of new visitors which is brilliant. The lovely Louise at Godalming Town Council suggested that we put something in Round and About which has meant lots of new people got to hear about us. Thank you Louise! http://www.roundandaboutssh.co.uk/ramblings.html

We had our annual Big Lunch pizza party which was a huge success, the sun shone, people ate and drank and made merry. It was what allotmore should be all about! Now we are planning our Midsummers Barn Dance on 21st June. It is all set to be a good night out although Chris is making the debut of the brewing clubs ales and ciders so it could mean a few bad heads the next day!

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Happy 2013

Let’s hope it’s not such a damp one. I have to admit that the rain has been getting me down a bit as it did seem to rain for every event we organised last year I think we deserve a break. For the first time in ages I saw the piglets ( well they are big girls now) chasing a magpie around their pen this morning. I think they have been feeling the rain as well as they have been barely getting up. It cheered me right up to see them having their game of chase.

The chickens seemed to have perked up as well, they have all finished their moult now and are looking beautiful again. Hopefully we will satrt to get eggs again soon. Two of the chicks we hatched last year have turned out to be boys. One of them has started to crow this week – it’s more of a strangled croak at the moment but it’s only a matter of time. He has started to peck my boots when I put them to bed as well so it might be time to be looking for a new home for a very handsome Lavender Leghorn Cockerel. The other one is a Rhode Island Red but he is very well behaved so far…

This year I am determined to spend more time working on our patch and actually grow some stuff. My small assistant is happy to dig about in the mud now so hopefully we will be able to get stuff done.

I’ve been chatting with some of the plot holders and we are going to be having a more social year this year, there will be the first allotmore barn dance (location tbc), more bring a dish meals and hopefully we will start to use the clubhouse a bit more for local groups- so far we have a wine tasting club and group of natty knitters interested. I could really do with some tips on how to knit! We’ve got a couple of pizza parties scheduled and everything is starting to feel like it’s waking up again. I’m pretty sure we will get a cold snap before spring is sprung but it certainly feels like things are moving foward. Happy 2013 everyone, lets hope it’s a good one!

P.S One of my new year’s resolutions is to blog more regularly and to include pictures at last!

 

 

 

 

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Jubilee Big Lunch

We decided to move the date of this year Big Lunch from the official day to 30th June, we are going to combine it with a bit of a fete and hopefully it will be good fun. We figured that lots of people would already have Jubilee plans so adding another one didn’t make sense when we can do it another day and given te Jubilee weather i’m pretty glad we did decide to move it.

It’s been a really funny growing season this year and it feels a little bit like the year is slipping away and we haven’t really got started yet. The weather is putting people off coming up as there hasn’t really been any nice weekends or evenings for ages. It’s all a bit grim really but the stuff that is in the ground does seem to be doing ok.

Last week I went to pick up this years supply of Turkey chicks from their hatching place. I’m always excited about the arrival of new animals but I do find the turkey chicks a bit stressful as they are so much more sensitive than other chicks. I will be happier once they are out from under their heat lamp and pecking around in the field. Once again i’m amazed at how such cute little chicks can grow up to be such interesting looking adult birds!

On 24th June we are having a bit of a willow hurdle workshop with our friendly neighbour Adrian showing us how to make our own hurdles. It’s a day course from 10 – 4pm and lunch will be included. It is £10 a head so if anyone fancies an alternative day out please let me know.

 

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Is it spring?

I haven’t written a blog post for a while  but that doesn’t mean that there has been nothing happening at allotmore. A lot of it has been preperation for the new growing season and generally battling the elements – the freeze last week caused a burst pipe in the clubhouse which meant that we had a floating floor for a while but it is all fixed now and hopefully the rogue pipe has been located and it won’t happen again. We are a bit behind on the plot prep as the ground has been too hard to dig for a while, luckily its also meant that no one had been thinking about growing either.

We’ve said goodbye to a few of our customers but have already gained so new ones and we will have some new plots available very soon so are looking forward to welcoming some more new faces very soon.

This weekend saw the return of the first intrepid growers, the sun was out and it seemed that spring was on the way. The chickens and ducks have started laying again and I’m wondering if the saddlebacks left us with a little gift before they headed off in December. Lizzie is looking rather rotund but it’s hard to say yet. I really hope she is pregnant and we will have some spring piglets in a month or so but I will just have to wait and see.

We are starting to think about heading out to some shows again and trying to raise our profile a bit, we are also hoping to run some more evenings and courses this year. Rodborough School have asked if they can come back again in the Summer so its really starting to feel like things are coming out of hibernation, just need to get myself going now 🙂

 

 

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Allotmore heads East

Chris was  very keen to run a series of foodie evenings at Allotmore this summer. It turns out that everyone goes on holiday in August so in the end we had two fabulous nights and now have plans for lots more.

The first evening was our Moro Night, with plot holders cooking dishes from the Moro East cookbook – a really beautiful book which my old boss gave me as a present when I first told him about Allotmore and has been a bit of an inspiration ever since.  The idea was that everyone cooked a dish and brought it along and we had a mighty feast. It worked brilliantly, the plot holders are a talented bunch of cooks and we had beautiful weather and plenty of wine. I think we all ate more than we needed and it was a really nice way for the plot holders to get to know each other. I emailed Sam and Sam from Moro and they very kindly sent us a signed copy of the new edition of the recipie book which was really nice of them. We had a vote on the best dish and Carrie and her Chocolate and Orange Torte won 🙂 It was a really nice evening and we are now planning to do something similar for harvest time.

The second of our evenings was the curry and meteor night. Chris has always been interested in space and eating curry so the timing of the Persid Metor shower was perfect.  We tried to build a tandoor oven for the evening but we didn’t really have enough time to let it dryout so when we tried to fire it it exploded a little bit 🙂 Luckily the pizza oven can cook a good naan bread. We took a trip to Tooting and bought lots of lovely fresh ingredients and then I did lots of chopping and Chris cooked up a feast. He was cooking for pretty much two days but I think it was worth it. He made loads of different dishes and I think everyone enjoyed eating it. The plan was to camp out and watch the meteors are eating but unfortunatley the weather was conspiring against us and the clouds and full moon combo mean’t that we didn’t get to see any. Chris did dress up as Carl Sagan and do a talk on meteors though which was very funny and quite informative too 🙂

We are now planning a wine tasting and italian meal for some time in september and perhaps a trip out foraging if we can find someone who knows what to look for. Should be fun!

 

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The times they are a changin’

It seems like there has been a lot going on lately. It’s been a bit of a change for me as I have given up my London job and joyful daily commute ( well I’ve taken voluntary redundancy as the the timing seemed right and my heart just wasn’t in it any more) and I’m looking forward to a little hatchling of my own in October. I’d been doing my job for over 10 years so it is taking me a little while to adjust but I have been so busy I’m already wondering how I ever found the time to go in. There is so much to do – maybe I was neglecting stuff before I’m not sure.

Everything is growing really well, it seems to be a bumper year for potatoes and comedy sized courgettes. Lots of people are off on their summer holidays at the moment so I am doing lots of watering and taking the opourtunity to have a good look at what everyone is growing. Its very soothing looking at happy healthy plants in the sunshine 🙂

I’ve been on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster with the animals lately. First of all we lost a few of the turkey chicks within days of getting them, this isn’t totally unexpected as they are really fragile in the early days. You can’t help but feel you have let them down though. After that a couple more started to look off  colour and a couple more died. It’s quite strange how a bird can look like it doesn’t feel well just like people do. I was starting to get really worried and called the vet. They couldn’t do anything without me taking the chicks into the surgery which seemed like a huge risk as they don’t really care for car journeys so I called Jason who came to the rescue. I went over to visit him and Richard and they were able to give me lots of helpful advice and some medicine which improved the birds no end. They had also lost a few more than expected this year. It was really nice to have someone to talk to about it as I was starting to dread going into the shed in case their was more deaths.  The chicks perked up and the sun came out so I was feeling much more positive only to find one morning that what I think must have been a rat had managed to squeeze under the door of the shed and pull out one of the chicks. It hadn’t managed to take it completely but it had managed to eat its head and a little bit of its body. Just the sort of thing you don’t want to see in the morning. Again I felt so stupid as it was totally preventable and it wasn’t even that it had got one of the weak chicks, it had grabbed a nice fat one. Chris secured the door later in the day and so far all is well – fingers crossed! It’s been a lot of learning for me and according to Chris I need to stop taking it all so personally if I am going to be a proper farmer. I can’t help but care about them though. I can handle the killing and eating of happy meat but the needless deaths are so frustrating.

Death has been on my mind a bit lately ( cheery hey!) as time was up for the meat birds this week. They were getting so big and cumbersome, they couldn’t really get around too much anymore.  It made me sad to watch them alongside the other birds who all seem to be able to enjoy life.  They just seemed to have been over engineered and they couldn’t cope with life any more. I went on a raising poultry for meat course last week at Netherfield and mentioned how I felt about these Cobb birds, Sarah the tutor thought that as they were designed for intensive indoor farming they were indeed over engineered to put on weight as fast as possible and in the farming systems they would be designed for they wouldn’t have to worry about walking about as they don’t really get the chance.  It was a living, breathing example of what is wrong with the chicken industry. Chris and Pete bravely did the dreaded deed and I got involved with the plucking ( I still can’t do the killing bit) and we now have some plump birds for the freezer. Weirdly now though I’m not sure I can eat them. It’s the only wanting to eat happy meat thing and although we tried to give them a nice life I just don’t feel they were ever as happy as the other birds. See a long way to go till i’m anywhere near a farmer!

That was all quite depressing but there have been some fun times too. We have got a couple of new ducklings which are very sweet. Chris and I have started work on making a clay tandoor in preperation for the curry and star gazing night ( i’d forgotten how much fun making stuff out of  clay could be, specially in the lovely sunshine) and we had a beautiful day for our Summer Fete with some excellent stalls from Ella, Zoe, Aidan, Hannah, Immy and Chris 🙂 I’m going to have to practise my hula hooping skills for next time – the allotmore record currently stands at just over 10 mins continuious hulaing!

This friday is Moro night and lots of people are cooking delicious dishes from the Moro East cook book, i’m really looking forward to it  – I really hope the sun stays out for a bit. it feels like proper summer holidays like when you were little at the moment.

 

 

 

 

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Biggest Lunch

Last year we got involved in the Eden Project’s Big Lunch. It was a beautiful day, the pizza oven had just been built and fun was had by all. It was so lovely that we decided to do it again this year.

The weather gods were not smiling on us so favourably this year and after Friday and Saturday being glorious days ( when I was cleaning and tidying and preparing) Sunday dawned an all together more grey and damp day. Every optomistic we put up the gazebo’s and prepared the dough not really knowing if anyone would venture out. Chris fired up the oven and we waited to see if anyone would turn up.

To our surprise loads of people turned up, so many people in fact that we didn’t have enough gazebo coverage or seats for everyone. Luckily allotmoreers are a helpful bunch and soon their was a frenzy of activity creating seating and cover from some former gazebo’s that had suffered from windy days and gaffer tape and staples.  Trudi and Brian even brought a gazebo with them so we were able to give some cover to the ever growing queue for pizzas.

There was a pretty solid queue for pizza making and cooking from about 12.30 to 5.30 and I really hope that everyone got fed and didn’t mind the wait too much. Pete and Edd were absolute stars helping people get their pizza’s in and out of the oven without losing them to the fire. I hope Pete isn’t put off pizza for ever now.  We reckon that a couple of hundred pizzas got made and eaten – I know I certainly made more dough than ever before!

It was a crazy day and it flew by in a whirlwind, I saw loads of people but didn’t really get a chance to have a proper chat with anyone so I hope they all had fun!

It was great to see everyone and we hope you’ll all come back again, next time we will work out a ticketing system so you won’t have to queue 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

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