Thursday, September 23, 2010
Autumn in Scotland
These last few weeks there’s been a real autumnal feel in the air, and the leaves have started to fall around our cottage.
What we’re harvesting in the veggie beds seems to be reflecting this change in the seasons. We are now on to the broad beans and purple sprouting broccoli, which feel like back-end crops to me.
The tomatoes in the greenhouse are ripening well thanks to some late summer sunshine, and we are still eating the chard, which has been a brilliant crop and has just kept going and going as a cut-and-come-again leaf.
The battle between man and chicken continues. You don’t see her - nicknamed “The Roadrunner” for reasons of appearance - out of the run for a couple of days and father-in-law starts to celebrate victory. Just as he’s beginning to think he’s cracked it and she can’t escape, she strolls past the conservatory, bold as brass.
Our chickens are all laying well, and egg sales pay for their food, hay and bedding. As we don’t have many birds, the sales table is hardly groaning, but every little helps.
The four chicks we bought as six-week-olds are grown up and just coming up to point of lay. It gives you an immense sense of achievement, so see them grow and thrive.
Flushed with this success, we bought eight turkey poults a couple of weeks ago — one stag and the rest hens. We keep repeating the mantra “Don’t give them names because you won’t be able to eat them,” but my wife, who has named all the chickens, is finding it hard to resist. So far only the stag has a name — Lurch — as we’ll keep him, while the rest will be up for the chop come December.
We were almost down to seven recently, when our wee black terrier sneaked in amongst them and tried to have Christmas dinner early. Not once, but twice, and the same turkey each time. The first time he got the jump on father-in-law as he went through the gate with the barrow to clean out the coop. The second time he shot past me like a four-legged, turkey-seeking Ninja.
The hardest thing was getting the determined dog to let go, and once we did, we found — luckily — the skin was only lightly broken and the turkey a little shaken. This culminated in a trip to the vet and a wee jag against the inevitable infection. When you see what terriers eat, I would have thought at least two large shots would have been the order of the day.
So the downside is that’s £10.53 — that’s about $15 to you guys - off the turkey profits already, but the upside is that as part of his examination, the vet weighed the turkey, and she came out at 2kg — amazing to think at that growth rate, every couple of weeks we could invite someone to join us for Christmas dinner!
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