As it turned out, the end of 2013 also coincided with the end for a couple of spare cockerels from the clutch of eggs that hatched during the summer. Perhaps not the most celebratory of starts to New Years Eve but the job needed to be done.
While still not a pleasant task, the steps are more clear now and once I work up the nerve the actual killing is done with minimal stress for both the birds and me!
Plucking is another story and for some strange reason I find myself unable to take that on. I can deal with the killing and the butchering later on so perhaps I just need that intervening time to deal with the change from live animal to carcass.
There are 2 or 3 more unwanted “gentlemen” still with the flock so it’s only a matter of time before they get dealt with too. For the moment, they don’t realise their lucky escape by not perching close to the door of the coop but the clock is ticking for them as well
New year, New start
The start of a new year is always a good time to think ahead to the growing season but as usual I’m way ahead of myself and thinking about the raised vegetable beds already!
The first task for New Years Day was to set up some sort of cover for the raised bed where the soft fruit bushes were planted a couple of weeks ago. I hadn’t expected to lose a raised bed for these but given the state of the ground when I planted the fruit trees it seemed a wise idea to sacrifice it.
A handy coil of old water piping behind a barn was soon put to good use and I’m quite impressed with the results. There is even enough piping left over to deal with a couple more raised beds and even better, a little less rubbish left behind the barn!
I’m not sure where to get the plastic (or netting) to put over this but I’m sure that Google will be able to point me in the right direction. Once that is in place I can see whether there are any noticeable benefits and that might help me decide about getting a greenhouse and/or a polytunnel in future.
Rain stopped play
After the rain set on for the afternoon, the obvious plan was to head for the kitchen and get on with some other jobs.
There was a quick round of sausage making – pork and leek if you’re interested – as we had just about run out over the Christmas period. Due to a miscalculation with the length of sausage casings, I’m left with a supply of sausage meat which will probably be used to make Scotch Eggs or maybe try a “Scotch Egg Pie” recipe I’ve come across.
The moment of glory for this afternoons efforts was the loaf of bread though. In my humble opinion a quite spectacular loaf and proof enough for me that I have mastered my basic loaf recipe based on one I found on the New Zealand Kitchen Aid website.
All in all, an excellent, productive day and a good start to the new year!