Saturday 24 June 2023

Where's Lewis?

When I find Lewis hidden somewhere, I try and get a photo.  I then send it via WhatsApp to miss Teen, with the caption "Where's Lewis?" .  She edits the photo to point him out.

We've played this game for years. She still plays, although with less gusto these days.

Here are a few of them

He's made a tent out ot the netting

Under the trug

In the black plastic tube

In the egg shaped thing

In the cupnoard, behind the sound bar

At the end of the bed on the left, under the duvet

Burnt out

For once, it wasn't me.

Thursday 15 June 2023

Shady business

We;ve had several days of appallingly hot weather.

I've been giving the Girls frozen peas in a small amount of water, in a washing up bowl (a washing up bowl used only for this purpose).   I have to place it so that many beaks can get round it at any one time.  They love it, and the Littlees try desperately to get in and have some too.

Yesterday I put out a second bowl, at the same time, in another part of the garden.  That worked well, but I'm going through packets of peas really fast.  

The Oldies are hogging the shaded places, and are chasing the Littlees away.   I put out a couple of chairs, and rigged up a kind of bivouac cover, which gave them somewhere slightly shaded to rest.   It looked like a very makeshift refugee camp.

I thought about getting a shade sail for them,  but DH and I looked at where the sun's rays fall during the course of the day and realised it wasn't going to be practical.

I then thought about getting a cantilever parasol for them, which would be less annoying on the ground for us,  and would be a bit more flexible.  I found a couple of them for sale, for a reasonable price, fairly locally on FB Marketplace.   The first one turned out to be sold.  The second one, a bit further away,  turned out to be sold by the time the first one had got back to me.

Because the problem is NOW, we decided to buy an inexpensive one, new, instead.  And, in the meantime, we  used the shade from our table umbrella to provide respite.   I also ordered another one of the run shades that i'd bought the other day,  as I thought I could cover one side of the run if necessary, to cast a cool shadow.

To my amazement and delight, the new one arrived this morning!  I only ordered it yesterday, and it was meant to be on a 2-3 day delivery.  

DH put it together straightaway, and then fiddled and farted around identifying where to put it to provide
the maximum shade for as much of the day as possible, without having to keep adjusting it.

It's great! It's much better quality than I expected, and it's going to be fab all summer.

We took down the refugee camp, so it looks better there (still a load of bits and pieces to be cleared away).  I left the chairs there for now because they provide physical protection for the Littlees from the Oldies.

The shade netting arrived as well, and I may put that up anyway. The weather is just so hot, the poor Littlees don't have big combs so are panting in their attempts to lose heat.

Thursday 8 June 2023

Noates to self

I tried again this afternoon.


I started with adding some Date syrup.  I don't have any dates, but I do have a jar of date syrup (which, like a lot of items in my store cupboard,  I bought for something in particular and then couldn't remember what, so it never got used).

Sadly, I forgot to put the grinder attachment on and, as clearly  explained in the warnings in the instruction book,  the stuff leaked everywhere.

Fortunately, I had a whole bottle of date syrup, and I'd bought a 1kg bag of oats,  so I cleared up and tried again.

Attempt two looked promising.  I tried some as I sieved it out.    I realised I'd forgotten to add oil.

I might try again a bit later.

Wednesday 7 June 2023

Oatly ridiculous

I've been drinking quite a lot of Oatly oat milk lately.  I even added it to my milkman delivery, reducing the normal milk accordingly.

I don't particularly like it hot, and I don't like it in hot drinks,  but I do like it cold.  On its own,  or frothed in cold, cold-brew coffee.

I saw a gadget for making nut/oat milk in my Facebook feed.  I didn't buy the advertised gadget, I disappeared down a rabbit hole and ended up buying an even better one . I waited until I managed to get one for a reasonable price from FB Marketplace,  as I wasn't convinced I was going to like the results.

The gadget I bought,  a Miomat, is very good at its job.

Unfortunately,  home made oat milk, made with just oats and water,  tastes appalling and has a horrible texture. 

I tried a second time, following the Nut method instead of the Cereal method.  Oats are, my instruction book tells me, one of the few things that can be done either way.

It was marginally better, but still sh*te.

I sat down and read the back of the Oatly carton.    I noticed that they added salt and rapeseed oil.  I tried a 3rd time,  substituting coconut oil for rapeseed oil (Rapeseed oil is not my friend. And coconut oil was one of the oil options given either in the recipe book or in an online recipe, I can't remember now.

The texture was marginally better,  but the taste of coconut was a bit overpowering.  I suppose I wasn't surprised, as oats don't actually have much flavour.

I was puzzled as to why there was so much difference between what I was making and Oatly.    I had stupidly assumed that Oatly was just Oat Milk, so I was also feeling a bit let down.   

It was about to get worse.

I read the back of the carton again.  I noticed that sugars were listed, but I had thought there weren't any added sugars (?)    I did some googling, and I discovered a very helpful video, which explained it all.   Apparently, Oatly add Amylase to their drink (plus vitamins and minerals).  The amylase breaks up the starchy chain,  releasing the sugars, which makes the drink taste much sweeter.    This was confirmed on the US website for Oatly.

I had a look at getting some Amylase.  I don't really want to be added stuff to my drink, I thought I was having a relatively unprocessed thing....  but I wanted to follow this through.    The only Amylase I could find in the UK was stuff for brewing,   stuff for school experiments which was labelled as not food safe,   or pills and potions.  The pills and potions contain all sorts of additional stuff, so they were out.  The brewing stuff didn't look quite the same as the stuff the chap in the video used.

I asked on a friendly gadget group whether people had experience of making oatly-esque dtinks, and various suggestions were made (like adding dates).  I will try that, but that won't give me Oatly.

In the end I ordered some Amylase from the US, the exact same stuff the chap in the video used, which will take a couple of weeks to get here.

I hope I remember what I wanted it for when it arrives.


Monday 5 June 2023

Glen Miller Orchestra

We were lucky to get tickets to go and see the Glen Miller Orchestra.  I love the music.

I really like the film  he Glenn Miller Story,  and so of course images of James Stewart and June Allyson popped into my head at particular points.   when they played Little Brown Jug I remembered how it was (according to the film anyway) recorded as a Christmas surprise for Glenn's wife,  and of course (in the film anyway), his plane was lost at sea.

I could see James Stewarts face when he played "String of Pearls" for June Allyson to hear for the first time;   and all the other well known numbers brought similar images popping up in my head.

Absolutely fabulous show.

Sunday 4 June 2023

Run together

Yesterday afternoion my lovely DB came over to help move the Purple Cube from the Fruit cage ("The East Wing") to its final position.     

DH cut a suitable collar from some old cube run pieces, and connected it all up.  He then clipped out some of one of the side panels so that the girls had enough headroom to go up the ladder, and we were ready to move the Oldies in.

There is still a load of stuff (paving slabs, mainly) which needs to come out of  there.   I alsio need to put some brackets up so I can better habng my treat nets and hanging feeders.  And the door to tghe East Wing definitely needs reversing, which is a major operation because of where it is located.

We put the Oldies in last night, and all was well.   It's a fab set up, and I could keep the two flocks permanently apart if necessary.  I'm going to see how they mix during the coming days, and eventuallyI'll try leaving the connecting door open to see what happens. Not yet though.

The green of the run is very unobtrusive, and I realised it was quite difficult to see from the house whether all the doors were closed, and whether all the locks were down.    I think i've fixed this, with the help of some Brother TZe tape.  

I'll take pics later.

There is still lots of carp everywhere, and it will take me a while to sort it out.

I'll post pictures soon.

Saturday 3 June 2023

Cool Running

We are now ready to move the Purple cube back from the fruit cage part of the run, to its permanent position.

DH has redone the area the Cube is going to stand on, putting down welmesh instead of the gravel-holding plastic we had down before.  That was fab,  and worked brilliantly to stop the girls creating huge dustbath holes... but it meant that the rats could build tunnels underneath without us realising.     With the Weldmesh. We should see evidence of rat tunnels before they become a problem.

We'll be moving the Cube shortly.

You may remember that I mentioned that the Newbies section of Run doesn't have enough shade.   I bought some shade netting, from Amazon, to try just on their part of the run (the Oldies section has tree shade and doesn't need any help. ).  It arrived today, and we put it up straight away.    Luckily DH mentioned that, in order to provide shading where I wanted it, I had to put the netting further back (rather than just popping it on top their section).  

It works really well!   Much better than I hoped.  The inside of the run is airy and light,  and the oppressive heat of the rays are blocked.  It's exactly what the hens will love, it'ls like being in the dappled shade of a wood.

I've listed some more ex-allotment bits for sale.


Thursday 1 June 2023

Running In

The Run is mostly up and it looks splendid. Or it would do if I cleared the piles of carp that I've got lying around. 

It's currently divided into two discreeet runs, each with their own door. .The section nearest the house is slightly smaller than the section behind it,  and that is where the New Girls are going to be for the next couple of weeks.   

The Oldies will have the back section, and I'll have to decide whether to close off the fruit cage run for them.  I don't have a way to give the new girls access to the fruit cage, I've seriously been considering a tunnel system like they use in Monkey World. I haven't mentioned that to DH yet.

Once the integration is well under way, we will remove some of the separation to make one big run.  A small part of it, at half height, will (probably) be there permanently to make it feel like the run ahas multiple "rooms".   It'll help when they are in Flockdown.

We installed the New Girls (Olga, Odette and Ophelia) into their part of the run a few hours ago, and they've been busy exploring.   I'm hoping they will put themselves to bed.

Poor little Odette did go into the Cube to explore earlier, but she had trouble with the ladder.  Serious trouble, as in, she fell in between two rungs.   I've cable tied the wooden ladder (made in a hurry for baby hens many years ago) over the top and she managed that better when I shooed her up it.

For expediency, we shuffled the Orange cube into the place previously occupied by the Purple one.  The Purple cube, when we are ready to move the Oldies into their part of the new run, will be where the orange one used to be.  

It'll be a few days before we're ready to do that. 

I'm wondering if Miss Teen will notice the position change.  Miss Tween would have noticed within seconds of walking into the kitchen and looking out of the window.

I also need to find a big enough sunshade to put over the New Girls part of the run, as there isn't enough shade.  They can sit under the Cube, which is shaded by a tree,  but it's not enough, The other section has plenty of shade. 

D H will start taking down the temporary run tomorrow, and I've asked him to also pile up any additional bits we need for the Catio. This can then all be cable tied together, and stored somewhere out of the way.

We have a lot of panels remaining,  and I've decided to sell some Extension sets.  I've already made up bags with the ancillary bits in, I just need to see how many panels and roof infil bits I've got available, to see how many complete sets I can make up.

Big clearout coming.