best layer of the month # March

It’s the last day of the month (again) and time to tot up eggs.  31 days in March, and weather has been mild, so only normal that egg count is up.  For this month, I collected a grand total of 82 eggs.  That’s 23 from Mauricette, 29 from Ruby, and it’s Florence, this month’s winner with 30 eggs.  Yay!

best layer of the month #January

It’s 31st January already!  So, after a quick phone call to Mr Tattoo, to wish him a happy 33rd birthday, it’s time to tot up egg total for the month.

Egg count is down from normal, partly (I think) because of the weather we’ve been having.  We had a couple of snow falls this month

About 10cm in those photos, and the hens were rather perplexed by all that white stuff covering the ground in their enclosure.  I had to rake a clear space so that they could see grass poking through before they agreed to get back to their normal activity of pecking & scratching.  A bowl of daily “treats” helped too.

Anyway, for January there were a total of 67 eggs.  From left to right in photos: Mauricette laid 18, Ruby laid 23 and Florence (our black Medici) laid 26.

best layer of the month # November

Time to tot up egg count for this chilly month of November.  All gals have been laying well, I’m pleased to say.  A total of 76 eggs for November with Mauricette (photo centre) laying 24 very large eggs . . . Florence (left in photo) laying 25, and Ruby, our red hen laying 27 eggs this month!

Not only have we had a bumper harvest with eggs, but we also harvested our kiwi the other day. I didn’t bother weighing, but this is what we harvested.

 

 

best layer of the month # May

Yesterday it was time to tot up the egg tally for the month of May.  The gals are all enjoying life in the orchard, in the shade of several apple trees.  The ‘on-loan’ bee hive isn’t far (top right in photo) but bees and hens appear to be living in harmony.

It looks like Miss Moneypenny might be starting to get broody again (always seems to happen to her when weather stays warm) because she’s begun leaving a few fluffy feathers in the nesting box, but, she has also been laying really well.  Total eggs count for May was:  Mauricette – 20;  Ruby – 26;  Miss Moneypenny – 27; and this month’s winner is Florence with 28.  Which makes a grand total of 101 eggs this month.

A few more photos, of future apples and pears.

Apples should be in abundance this year but we’re not counting our pears just yet.

how does your garden grow?

a photo heavy post today, as I was out in the veggie garden, having a look at how all the edibles are coming along.

We moved here in December 2014, and one of the first things we did was to plant a small blackberry bush which seemed to take forever to establish itself.  So pleased to see that this year it’s thriving.  Will there be enough fruit for blackberry jelly this year, I wonder?

Strawberries have already got fruit, some of which is turning red.

and the husband, after weeding in those patches, has decided to plant something else in one of them, where the strawberry plants were sparse.

Elsewhere . . . looks like we’re going to be in for a bumber crop of artichokes

I counted 37 but I’m sure I must have missed a few.

Under shelter, we’ve finally planted tomato plants.  Eight inside the greenhouse

They look a bit lost in there at the moment, but they’ll grow!  We’ve got 6 of the “ondine” variety in there and 2 “crimean black”.   Then more “crimean black” outside, but protected under plastic.

The husband put in 6 lettuce, but looks like the slugs have already visited.

Potato plants are overflowing from their wooden grower

Asparagus has been doing really well so far this year and we’ve already had several harvests and given some away to the neighbours.

And raspberry bushes are looking very healthy.  It’ll be a long while before they flower & fruit, but I’m already drooling at the thought.

There will be further plantations of things like radishes, chards and courgettes but for mid-May, things are already looking promising.

And before I say goodbye for today . . . a gardening themed present arrived out of the blue the other day, from a French blogging friend, Lilubelle.   She had been keeping busy during confinement and thinking of her friends . . . and made me the most gorgeous diary, with “cartonnage” method, and a fridge magnet PLUS several packets of seeds.

 

blossoms & bees

Time for a quiet wander in the orchard, where fruit trees are coming into blossom . . . above, one of our pear trees, and below, one of the neighbours cherry trees.

We also have a cherry tree but it came into flower a few weeks ago, and I missed taking a photo in full blossom.

The husband is a very happy chappy . . . we’ve got a bee hive in the orchard now too!  It’s only “on loan”, so to speak, from a neighbouring amateur bee-keeper friend, who already has 5 hives on his land and was looking for a fresh spot for his sixth colony.  However, the husband has his name down on the waiting list with a local professional bee-keeper, and hopes to get his own colony later this month.

So, here is the “on loan” hive with a colony of Buckfast bees.  Next to it, a base made of old palettes, all ready for the huband’s hive, when his colony is ready.

Other photos to show you a couple of our insect hotels which are being lived in by a few mason bees.

I don’t know much about bees, but the husband tells me the mason bees are solitary bees, that don’t make honey, don’t live in hives, just lay eggs and raise their young in places like our insect hotels.  They are still excellent pollinators though.

change of pace

Life has changed pace.  Staying at home is starting to become second nature. If it goes on for much longer, we’ll probably turn into hermits.  Anyway . . . weather has been gorgeous. Please note the blue skies, as Gibbs and the husband wait (for what?) at the garden gate.

We’re trying to switch off news channels, which just seem to be repeating the same stuff over and over, with no actual new news.  And finding things to do, for example . . . I was in dire need of a hair cut, but since there’s no chance of hairdressers reopening . . . out came the electric shears, and, with the help of the husband, I now look all “neat” again.

 

best layer of the month # March

Above is one of the little joys in life these days . . . the daily visit to the hen coop, and that magical moment, when I lift up the lid of the nest box, to collect fresh eggs of the day.   Above photo has been a frequent event:  four hens, and four eggs.

Our hens don’t know what’s going on in the world these days.  They wake up, go about their business, and have been laying so well.  Total number of eggs collected for March is 104.  Yep, that’s right: one hundred and four eggs.  Which means, what with confinement, and shops not necessarily having everything in stock, we and neighbours aren’t having to buy eggs.  Thanks to our four gals, there are more than enough to go around.

Florence, our black Medicis hen, wins the best layer award for March with a staggering 31 eggs.  Ruby (the red hen) was just behind with 30.  Here they are in centre of photo.

And then Miss Moneypenny (with speckled collar) laid 23 and Mauricette (on right in second photo) laid 20.

getting some fresh air

I am so very lucky to be able to go outside and get some fresh air, without breaking current confinement rules (which have tightened up in France since Tuesday evening).  A couple of photos taken yesterday afternoon, where the husband and I have an archery target set up in our orchard. It really did me the world of good just to be outside for an hour, to empty my head, and shoot a few arrows.

*** Please note:  I used to belong to an archery club so take all the necessary safety precautions.  No neighbours or pets were anywhere near the orchard or on land behind at the time.

best layer of the month # February

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Hens have been very productive as usual, much to the joy of neighbours.  We collected 88 eggs in February, and since there’s only the husband and me at home, there’s no way we could eat our way through that lot! 

Best layer of February is Ruby, our red hen, who laid a total of 28 eggs, only taking one day off.  Florence wasn’t far behind, with 27, while Mauricette and Miss Moneypenny laid 17 and 16 respectively.