Saturday, 22 February 2014

Bantams, Bees and a New Pair of Mitts

The weather has been delightfully spring-ish and I'd earmarked today for going to buy some new chickens. My flock at the moment is a rather motley collection of hybrids and others that I've inherited or reared, so much as I love them all, I thought I might get some new ones of a specific breed. The coop I have (which was too small for Emu) is the perfect size for little bantams, so I procured myself a trio of Buff Sussex from Over the Stile in Broad Oak, about 20 minutes up the road from me.

They are very sweet! I've not yet named them as I can't tell the difference between the hens and you sort of need to get to know their characters before naming them. Yes, you really do.

Apparently they lay a good sized egg for a bantam so I'm looking forward to seeing how they get on. I'm hoping to sell some as hatching eggs (fertile eggs that people buy to incubate) as they are pure bred so will produce Buff Sussex chicks. Ooh how sweet would they don't start on that train of thought :-/

My bees have been making the most of this warm calm spell and I was watching them visit all the crocuses in my garden. I can't stress how important it is to plant these easy bulbs wherever you can - pots, window boxes, lawns, borders - as they are so very valuable to pollinators early in the season. They are inexpensive, easy to plant and sink gracefully back in to the earth when they're done. Queen bumblebees were out too, and I saw one shivering to warm up her muscles in the bowl of a crocus having probably just had her first drink of nectar since the autumn:

I saw a small solitary bee and a variety of bee-fly enjoying the nectar too, so please put a note in your diaries to double your quantity of crocuses when planting time arrives in the autumn!

The new season brings some warmth but it's still quite nippy out despite the temperatures nudging in to double figures if you stand in the right spot. So, I was pleased to have my Peerie Flooers mittens (pattern: Kate Davies, yarn: 2ply jumper weigh by Smith & Jamieson) which I've just finished and have been blocked. I'm absolutely thrilled with them and they're just perfect; bright and cheerful whilst being really warm:

Aren't they fab?


  1. It's really good to know that about the crocuses - can you put out a reminder again in the autumn, please?! And the mittens look beautiful.

    1. Will do! They're a lovely thing to have in the garden anyway at this time of year :-)