Friday, October 31, 2014

A Chicken Post

Over a course of time Chinese Silkies have slowly crept into the position of favourite chicken breed for me. These fluffy feathered creatures really are unique as far as chickens go. No other chicken has the same kind of 'feather' as them, nor their blue skin, dark meat and black bones. They've also got feathered feet and feature five toes. And aside from appearances no other chicken breed has their lovely, docile personality.

This little chookies really do make the best Mums and great pets. They're not renowned for their laying ability, especially if you compare them to a Leghorn. They love going broody, some will only lay a dozen eggs before going clucky! We've had hens like that, and we've had over-bred show-puffs that don't really lay at all but just liked to look pretty all day. Whilst this kind of Silkies are visually stunning, they've never really appealed to me. I don't see the point in having a chicken that is only capable of collecting show ribbons. And if it that was my thing, what good is a champion show winner that you can't breed from? No, in my books a good Silkies keeps to the appearance and nature of the breed, but is also functional. Aside from that, my experience with those birds has shown me that breeding purely for looks with regard for nothing else results in poor health.

 We've bred every single one of our Silkies, aside from our foundation rooster and two hens of course. And they all love to spend their days foraging like regular chickens, scratching away for bugs and eating greens. They also lay quite well, and of course go clucky and love to raise their babies. Which is just what a couple of our girls will (hopefully!) be doing next time they go clucky. They're in their first year of laying and have been clucky once or twice by now, so they've proven they're willing to sit properly and can be trusted with a clutch of eggs.

Hopefully in a few months I'll have pictures of fluffy little chicks to share with you!

Here's to the weekend (and a new month)!

Sarah x

PS If you're as interested in Silkies as me, remember you can always read more about our Chinese Silkies over on our Farm Blog. They have their own about page and several blog posts too :-)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Our Very Own Milking Cow

These photos of 'Smokey' were taken when he was a few hours old. He's such a dear little thing! 
For almost a week now we've been enjoying our very own milk, fresh from our Jersey cross cow. It's our first time owning a milking cow, and Missy Moo's very first calf too. We raised Missy on a bottle from 3 days old, so we're quite attached to her and have been anticipating the arrival of her first baby for quite some time! It seems a little surreal that we are producing our own milk. It's something we've been discussing and dreaming about for years. And now it's finally happening! The speed at which we are able to milk is increasing every day, as Missy is getting used to the routine and we're getting used to this milking business.

We've yet to make cheese from our milk, but I am trying my hand at creme fraiche and will try yoghurt too.


What's happening in your part of the world? Are you trying your hand at anything new?
I'm off to make a batch of jam and a pizza for lunch.

I hope your weekend is wondeful

PS I've also written a milking cow post for our farm blog which is a bit different than this one if you're not too bored with this one x

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Spring Rain

I love mid-afternoon storms. The air is still and thick, and then as the rain begins to fall the most delicious cool change happens. 
We experienced our first storm of the season the other day, one that will hopefully be followed by many. We didn't actually get that much rain, but I enjoyed it all the same!

Aside from the obvious reasons of loving rain, I also love the light contrasts it produces. I took all of these photos on the same afternoon, one after another, only slightly adjusting my settings as needed. I love the moody backdrop storm clouds produce, and I especially love it when the sun shows it's face, as it's beginning to set on a rainy afternoon. That gives so many different varieties of light and I love it!

What do you love about Spring rain? 
Do you love taking photos or observing light?
Is it hot or cold, dry or wet in your part of the world at the moment? 
I hope it is good wherever you are!

Sarah x