Here Be Chickens!

Well, we’ve finally fulfilled another of our urban homesteading aims and got ourselves three lovely Rhode Island Reds for the back garden. The children have named them Red Feather, Hetty Feather and Roxanne. We are now getting 2 eggs a day so far, poor Red Feather hurt a claw in the garden on the first day and I think it has affected her laying potential.

Alice and Bobby find the first egg.

Alice and Bobby find the first egg.

The bunnies have retreated to their own side of the fence and seem a bit put out by the feathered additions to the family, but they’re not against pilfering some of the chicken food if the chickens are far enough away.

Alice reading the animals a story

Alice reading the animals a story

Roxanne is the chattiest of the flock, but the sound is rather lovely. They’re very curious, making it difficult to move without looking when trying to hang clothes on the line as they’re nearly always investigating my feet.

So far the children have enjoyed having eggs for breakfast much more often than I’d think of offering. I’ve liked using the eggs in my baking too.

Bobby enjoying his dippy egg, showing it to his teddies.

Bobby enjoying his dippy egg, showing it to his teddies.

In allotment news, my working through the rather wet and windy month of July has resulted in a lot of weeds being a bit too successful. On the plus side, nothing died from lack of water. We are now harvesting an abundant crop of peas, lots of lettuce, beetroot and turnips are ready too, and broadbeans. We will have some carrots and parsnips after all, once we find them beneath the weeds. Potatoes have been a deadloss this year, the plants don’t seem to have come up right, though we’ll still get some. French beans are climbing nicely, as are some runner beans that were a gift as young plants from another allotmenter who had no room left for them, and I’m growing them more for the lovely orange flowers than for the beans.

But I’ve done it again on the courgettes. Shaun planted the first seeds, but we didn’t remember they were round ones, and by the time we looked, they had become the size of pumpkins!

6 jars of courgette relish, made with just one courgette.

6 jars of courgette relish, made with just one courgette.

So I’ve started making relish. This recipe was given to me by a friend, but she couldn’t remember where she got it, so it’s not mine to take credit for but I’d like to add it:

900g courgettes, peel on, but seeds out, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
500mls cider vinegar
500g sugar
1tsp turmeric
1tsp chili flakes or more if you like it really hot
2 tsp mustard powder or mustard if you’ve no powder

Put all ingredients into a large saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer about 1 hour
Add 2 tbsp corn flour if it needs thickening at this point.
Pour hot into sterilised jars and seal.

Once opened, refrigerate, but otherwise will keep fine. Better after a couple of weeks.

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