Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bouncing Baby Bunnies

After a miserable Friday spent drowning under paperwork and endless calls back and forth to the UK, I was very pleased to see Saturday dawn with some bright sunshine.

With Brendan safetl ensconsed in the pantry and under strict instructions to not come out until the walls had been patched up, Thea and I set to with the rabbits. We currently have 5 babies, one mummy who has just given birth but we don't know to how many babies as they are still buried under straw in her hutch and one pregnant female. A bit of a hutch reshuffle was required to make sure everyone that needed extra room got it and to separate the males out for a bit of a rest so they could recoupe their engergies.

This is Crumble Stud Muffin - so named under the misapprehension it was a male - who later turned out to be a very good mummy indeed, it is her daughters that are pregnant and have given birth recently.

Underneath her is our current stud - Brian Big Nose (from Monty Python's Life of Brian).  They all needed a good clean out and fresh straw so we got started early and soon had a great pile of poo ready to become compost.

As I was so impressed with how well the seedling compost came out, I decided to make some more ready for next year but this time instead of leaving it sitting idle on one side of the garden, I thought I would put the old pantry shelves to better use by making a designated raised composting bed.  These are just some pine floorboards that fit together tongue and groove, to which I screwed a reinforcing bit of off-cut pine  to stop the two planks springing apart, then dug into the ground about a third of the width.  To this pile of rabbit poo will go some fresh Milla manure and some mole cast, and so that it is working for a living - I intend to use it for my pumpkins this year.

I was pleased to see the first cucumber seedlings poking through yesterday.  Every morning now starts with a watering can in the greenhouse and one for the poly tunnel.  With the snow melt still affecting our water table, we have a very full duck pond and an instantly replenishing well, so I have been pumping the well water into all the garden water butts - whilst it has been raining recently, there has not been that much, and I am standing by my conviction that this year will be a drought year. 

Finally with friends coming to dine, I thought I should do a pudding for a change.   I am not a great baker nor pudding maker and all too often I cop out by buying some choccie biccies or asking a neighbour to provide the cake.  This time, inspired by Come Dine With Me, I thought I would have a go at Eton Mess, after all if those guys can whip one up in no time why shouldn't I.  I had bought a crate of strawberries the other day as a family treat at a good reduced price for our tiny budget and with these and the eggs from our chickens whipped up into a meringue with some caster sugar and a bit of double cream - my own Eton Mess. 

Just a quick swirl of a syrup made with the strawberries and a fresh berry to finish.

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