New Potatoes, New Chicks, & A New Cousin

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The potatoes Johnny sowed in the tunnel at year’s end 2014 are completely out of the ground and the space is now occupied by lettuce and cucumbers.  He reckons we got 25 to 30 kilos. We’ve given a few away, bartered some for car repairs, and the remaining should last us a month or so, but only if we alternate with some rice and pasta on occasion.

The outside spuds, sown mid March to early April, began being hilled up a couple of weeks back. There will definitely be a gap in our homegrown spud eating. With the extra space provided by our new tunnel, we should be able to double the number we sow next winter.

No, the new tunnel has not been erected yet, but volunteers are lined up.  Just waiting on June, my month of high hopes and grand gardening plans, the month I constantly refer to with expectation of wonderfully warm and windless days.  Fingers crossed.

S.P. pulled all the spuds joyfully…

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…anticipating the reward of time in the kitchen to do some cooking with them.

There is still no telling if the six gifted chicks are male or female though they are getting noticeably bigger everyday.  I wouldn’t say any of them have ‘pet’ potential as I’d hoped.  They scurry and hide from all humans, even though we bring them delicious kitchen scrap treats with nearly every visit.  And they are very bold– they’ve begun to sneak under the garden gates that prevent the other chickens and ducks from visiting and dining on our lettuce and herbs.  Tomorrow the plan is to tack on a temporary sheet of plastic across the bottom to block the gap.

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Put up over the last month, the gates are much nicer looking than the pallets before them, but make easy access for the chicks.

The chicks in the incubator amounted to six in total being hatched and they’re all doing well.  Not so impressive for having had twenty eggs to start, but it seemed upon inspection that many of the eggs were not fertile.  A dozen new chicks is enough for now anyway.  We’re still hopeful for a few hens who’ll give us more eggs, but cockerels will make nice meals too.

We had one chicken who was very broody so Johnny took the two-day old incubator hatched eggs out to her and she literally took them under her wing as if they were her own.

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First feeding, new mum teaching them to eat.

Tonight I came home from the hotel to a wonderful dinner of scrambled eggs, new potatoes, stir fry, and garlic buttered bairneach.  Johnny had taken the children to the beach to gather the bairneach as a surprise for me, a wonderful surprise it was.  If you’re not familiar with these delicious gems of the sea, click here, one of my first ever posts about a beautiful day at the beach we had gathering them along with seaweed for the garden.

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Bairneach

The stir fry contained our first couple courgettes of the year.  Another polytunnel assisted treat, far earlier than those that are yet to be planted outside.  Those are still sitting in eight inch pots, desperate to spread their roots.  I got tomatoes planted this week also, forty-four in all– a mixture of cherry, slicers, salsa, and paste/sauce tomatoes.  In between them and in outside beds is lettuce, lettuce, lettuce.  We are barely keeping up with the demand and are very appreciative to be able to say that.

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Tunnel courgettes.  Yes, that’s zucchini to my American friends.

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Tomatoes and lettuce

That’s all for now on our homefarm and garden update.  The coming weeks should be plenty busy with planting out. Even if it’s windy and cold, they must get out of pots.  Being pot bound will eventually do the plants as much harm as bad weather.  I’ll keep you posted on that.

My last thought for tonight goes to Johnny’s brother and our sister-in-law.  They are expecting their first child, actually a couple of days overdue.  Big excitement in our house as we all await the arrival of another Gillan cousin.  Sending them prayers, patience, big hugs, good health, and much love from us all.  Melissa, Johnny, and the children Xx

30 Comments

  1. Don’t give up on your chickens yet. Mine were pretty stand offish to start, but now when I got outside I have to be careful not to step on a chicken because they are always underfoot. Once they learn you have the best treats, they will warm up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s very encouraging. One seems curious to approach me, but the others mad dash in other direction is just too influencing I think. Maybe where the term ‘being chicken’ used for being scared comes from?!

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    • Ha, ha, sounds much like the scene in our remaining onion box! New potatoes this early is a real treat alright 🙂 Well done for you to still have potatoes really. We fall short on most things every year.

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  2. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    Your potatoes look lovely. Our duck eggs didn’t hatch at all (:() so getting six chicks is good. Our ‘chicks’ are pullets now – they grow so fast. We’ve ended up with two cockerels and four hens so good ratio for us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is a lovely balance among your chickens.
      Bummer about the duck eggs though. What kind of ducks are they? We have Khaki Campbells, not broody much and horrible parents (the drakes really) if they do have ducklings. We are waiting on some to hatch any day now. Have a great Sunday Karina–sun shining here, time to get outside. 🙂

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    • It is a real treat for us, hopeful to become a traditional Christmas sowing. Where are you in the states? So nice to cross paths 🙂 Sounds like we have a couple things in common.

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  3. Very nice post Melissa. Your chickens will learn you better to know, right now they just try to survive by their nature. Later they will follow you, when you visit them.
    Your new potatoes look very delicious 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Donna George says:

    The potatoes look so good. Nice looking garden, but wondering why the lettuce is planted between the tomatoes, more room? Someone’s been very busy. What are the temps outside there? Adorable pictures 🙂
    Donna

    Liked by 1 person

    • The lettuce are planted there to occupy space that was available. They will be grown and out of the ground before the tomatoes fill the space up. The temps are soooo cold, in the 40’s and 50’s, cold and windy. The wind cuts through clothes. Very tired of it. Today and tomorrow are the kind of days that having a ferry operate are questionable, just too rough. Don’t like to complain, but enough already! Those tomatoes and lettuce are in the tunnel under protection.
      Hope you are experiencing sunshine and warmth.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Donna George says:

        That’s chilly enough. Surprised these veggies can grow in those temps. I thought it was cooler there but I didn’t realize it was that much difference. And yes it’s very hot here. Outside long enough to ant 44 tomato plants – I would be passed out dead. I love the ferry. We have an island here called Bald Head Island across the shore about 6 miles out that is private, 550 homes. Only get there by ferry but extremely expensive. I love going there and riding the ferry to have lunch.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The temps are unusually cold for this time of year. Feels more like October really. All that planting is done in a poly tunnel. Tomatoes would never amount to a hill of beans here if planted outside. The summer never gets warm enough for them, and if it does, it is not lasting heat. Much veg is waiting to be planted outside, in the tunnel for now in pots–becoming a very crowded tunnel it is! Praying for warmer days. Your heat sounds wonderful!

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I wish you were living next to me with all these fabulous delights form your garden Melissa. I can only imagine that the food must taste absolute wonderful being so fresh and just handpicked from the ground.

    Fingers crossed the weather will improve. It may be June 1st today, but it’s more like October here with heavy rain and gales. I hear, though, that a mini heatwave is on the way to our shores. I can finally dig out the shorts and let my legs loose 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Hugh, the weather report just said for us not to expect much out of June, supposed to be a windy washout. Where is that mini heatwave you speak of ?!
      All hope is not lost. I have a back up plan to combat Mother Nature. It may not see us in shorts, but should help my veg to survive the weather. Fingers crossed.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Greg says:

    I’m just getting caught up from the past couple of weeks and have enjoyed your posts as usual. I think I missed replying to a comment or two you left my; my apologies.

    The fresh veggies do look wonderful! And I thought that was a zucchini LOL

    Take care and prayers for the new cousin and family,
    Greg

    Liked by 1 person

  7. singersong says:

    Hi Melissa. Only just got to this lovely post. Your wonderful world is so different to mine. Isn’t it great that we can each find fulfilment in different ways? I was salivating at the thought of that meal of eggs potato and bairneach. I have heaps on the rocks here but have never yet collected them. Come visit and show me how to cook them! There’s room for you all. B x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my goodness Bob! We would love to come and visit and share a meal with you. The garden is really blooming now, not eating much from it yet, but it’s obvious that we won’t have to wait much longer.
      How about this day?! Sent from heaven it is. I am already so sure that you’re enjoying it that all I’ll say is, woo hoo!
      I could totally see us, or at least me, dropping in on your doorstep this summer!! Thanks for the invite and let’s not let the summer pass without bringing it up again. Will you be our way?

      Liked by 1 person

      • singersong says:

        You are right! I am in wind down mode. So I have ridden to Spanish Point and am sitting in a cafe with a seafood chowder looking across in your general direction. We must savour these days. Might head up the coast now to Lahinch. I would love to come out but there’s so much on. I will find the time. I must!

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