New Chicken House cont.

The chickens have been out in the garden since the avian flew restrictions have been lifted, but now it’s produce growing season they have to stay in doors! That means it’s time to cut the windows out of the new chicken house.

It looked quite drastic to begin with.

But with the help of some very sticky greenhouse tape, some cable ties and a length of chicken wire, we have managed to make some neat and tidy windows for our chickens to get some light and fresh air but not get soggy when it rains!

They do seem quite happy in their lovely new home! ๐Ÿ™‚

This poly-tunnel was bought second hand with a view to making a practical chicken enclosure. The aim was to protect them from the worst of the weather in the winter and there being no where for bugs like spider mite to hide away.

One of My Favourite Times of Year!

Yes, it’s one of my favourite times of year. I can see everything is brightening up. The particular bird song, new shoots peeping through the soil, blossom coming out, so it’s time to get active in the green house. My fingers get itchy this time of year and I get the impulse to grow things! I’m not one for gardening in the cold so tidying up is being done now as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve had a sort out in my green house and moved a few things round and it’s now set for action.

Today I sowed some tomatoes, cucumbers and small red peppers

I have made a gardening journal from an old book, that I try and keep a record of how things go in my garden as well as hints and tips for me to refer to.

Here’s a sample page. ๐Ÿ™‚

New Years Marmalade

It’s the time of the year for marmalade, the Seville oranges have been in the shops and thoughts are directed to making a years supply of marmalade. The reason for this sudden desire to slice 6 pounds of oranges is two fold. It tastes better and it’s cheaper!

For several years now I’ve put the oranges in a food processor to chop them, but this year I decided to slice by hand. Oh my word, I was so surprised how pleasant it was to sit and slice the oranges by hand (with a nice serrated steak knife) in the quiet. A very simple life thing to do, and it was easier to extract the pips too!

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Once the sliced oranges have soaked over night they are meant to be simmered to reduce the liquid by a third. When I had heated the the water in the pan and added the sugar I realised I hadn’t done that!!!

I managed to rescue it by taking some liquid out, adding more sugar and a bottle of liquid pectin. Here on my pantry shelf are twenty jars of marmalade. I now feel like Moomin Mama and I have a very happy husband!

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It tastes exceptionally good too ๐Ÿ™‚

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New Chicken House

To start off the new year of my Simple Life Blog, I’m excited to show you our new chicken house. Considering a chicken house the size we needed would have cost around ยฃ900 without nesting boxes etc, we decided to be creative and find an alternative solution.

This second hand polytunnel we found was the right size and only cost us ยฃ80!!!!new-house-1
All that was needed was to secure the sides with chicken wire so they can’t dig their way out.

We have a shut down for chickens here in the UK at the moment because of bird flu, but as soon as that is past we are going to cut out a large window along theย the front and fill with chicken wire.

new-house-2So here they are, all secure and safe with lots of room. The nesting boxes you can see in the front corners are made from insulated dog beds which are easy to clean and only cost ยฃ35 each!

new-house-3The result, happy chickens and happy Debbie! ๐Ÿ™‚

Latest Produce report

Despite the major neglect of the garden it is still producing wonderful things for me!

I think it’s the best year for beetroot in a long time and my carrots haven’t had carrot fly this year ๐Ÿ™‚

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…and the first proper fruiting of a young apple tree. The apples are still quite sour so have to stay a bit longer, but I must keep an eye out for scavengers!

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We’ll soon be building a new chicken house, so watch out for that ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m very excited!

Garden Success

How do you see success in your garden? Are you like me expecting that you can achieve what you might ย consider great things as well as working and looking after you family and your house?! I continually have to put this success into perspective. There is only so much time you can put into growing things unless you are putting all of your time into being self sufficient (so my husband keeps telling me)!

I’ve just been out to explore the garden that gets attended way less than I’d like, to pick some things for lunch and this is some of what I saw.

I have pumpkins,

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beetroot,

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chillies,

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peppers

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and tomatoes

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and my husband says I should call this success! ๐Ÿ™‚