Friday, May 31, 2013

Joining the Flat Earth Society with a lawn

Progress with the new lawn over the winter has been slow but at last the hard graft is done.

The walls are built and the ground levelled to back-fill them where needed. And in answer to that famous question "did the earth move for you?" No, I had to shift most of it myself.

After the digger driver's departure I was left to shape and level the ground properly. It took me around 30 hours - and that was just the lawn area.

The spring was too cold to sow grass seed until the second week in May, so it is just starting to grow now.

I used a lawn seed mixture designed to be hard-wearing for family use. That's aimed mainly to combat my eight-year-old daughter and the dog running, jumping, chasing, wrestling and scuffing up my turf!

So far, however, it looks a bit patchy so I think I need to add a bit of top soil or some nitrogen-rich manure to the bare bits. That'll be where the impoverished sub-soil, compacted, dry and seriously lacking organic matter, is still on the surface.

I'll wait for the grass to establish so I can see it clearly and then add pelleted chicken manure. Then, when the coast is clear and dog and daughter are otherwise engaged, I'll add a 50:50 mixture of top soil and sand to create a more permanent, water-retentive and life-giving layer. The hard sub-soil beneath it will need breaking up a bit too, but not until the turf is more robust.

From now on, we'll be able to play football without the ball ending up in the same corner all the time, ride bikes without running out of steam within two yards and go camping in the garden without the whole family waking up on top of me in the morning.

Looking forward to it.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Eggs aplenty but from which birds?

At least three hens are now laying - obviously, since after couple of weeks of one or two eggs a day, we had three layed in one morning.

However, they were all the same size and colour - medium to large and mid-brown. I'd previously thought this was from a Maran as the Light Sussex eggs I used to get were much lighter. Now I'll have to scrap that theory.

Among the eggs layed in the first few weeks were one tiny egg, slightly darker in colour and about the size of a wood pigeon egg, and one huge egg - similar in every way to the others except that it was half as big again, weighing in at 96g (the others are around 60 - 65g).

Sunday, May 5, 2013

First egg

Our hens layed their first egg today. I'm guessing it's from one of the Marans as it is a mid-brown, medium to large egg and much browner than the pale eggs we were used to getting from the previous Light Sussex hens.