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May 12 2013 1 12 /05 /May /2013 08:13

Duckling.jpg

Duck eggs have a gestation period of 28 days. As with chicken eggs it is a good idea to mark X and O turn on either side to ensure a full 180̊ turn, if hatching in an incubator.  Eggs should be turned 3 -5 times a day (ending up on opposite side than the previous side the night before). Eggs should be candled on day 10 due to longer gestation period than chickens. Look for clears, blood rings. Stop turning day 25 for lockdown and increase the humidity.

Once hatched require warmth from a brooder lamp and a quiet environment. Try not to handle the ducklings too much.

Put a drinking bowl inside the brooder. Use a very shallow bowl that enables the ducklings to dip in their beaks, but not their entire heads. Ducklings like to be able to clear their nostrils as they drink, but if you give them access to deeper water they might climb in and drown.

If you fear the bowl you have is a little too deep, line the bottom with pebbles or marbles to make it safer, or cover with wide chicken wire so that the ducklings can get their heads into the water but not their body. Change the water every day to make sure the ducklings don't get sick from drinking dirty water.

Ducklings don't eat for the first twenty-four hours after they hatch, since they're still absorbing nutrients from the yolk inside the egg they hatched from. After that, they graduate to starter crumbs, tiny pellets of duck food available at feed supply stores. Buy a plastic feeder, fill it up, and place it in the brooder. Add water to food to help them swallow it. Weak ducklings may need a little sugar in the water to give them energy.

Very weak or sick ducklings may need a little extra yolk nutrition before they're ready for starter crumbs. Feed them a bit of mashed duck egg yolk until they become more interested in the starter crumbs.

After about ten days, ducklings are ready for grower's pellets, which are the same as the starter crumbs, only bigger.

When the ducklings become adults, after about 16 weeks, they're ready for adult duck food and thinly cut fruits and vegetables as a snack.

Help the ducklings swim. Ducks love to swim, and they'll start as soon as the first day after they hatch if you let them. Do not let them swim unattended. Baby ducks are covered with down, which isn't waterproof, and their bodies are still too fragile to cope with swimming alone at this stage.

Make a little swimming pool out of a paint roller tray. The slope in the tray creates a little ramp to help the ducklings get in and out safely.

Don't let the ducklings swim too long, or they'll get chilled. When they're done swimming, dry them off gently and place them back in the brooder so they can warm up. Full feathers should be in place by 9-12 weeks of age.

Once the ducks are too big for the brooder, move them to a large pen. Feed them adult duck feed and let them spend their days swimming and splashing in a pond. Make sure to bring them back into their shelter at night to keep them safe from predators. Be aware that older adult ducks that may share the same pond or water source may try to drown or kill the younger ducks.  

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April 16 2013 3 16 /04 /April /2013 13:22

Baby-wrap.JPGEasy to fit to baby, not over the head, no fiddly buttons or complicated popper system, quick and easy knit, only 1 ball of DK required.

Cast on 110 stitches (sts). Knit (K) 35sts and place marker (PM) (right front), K 40sts PM, K 35sts PM (left front).

Continue K until work measures 11cms, create button hole, K10sts yarn over and knit 2sts together, this creates a hole and the missing stitch. K for a further 2 rows. The side that the hole is created can be changed depending on if you are knitting for a boy or girl (boys left, girl’s right).

Divide work as per markers (40sts on spare needle, 35sts on spare needle). Work right front sts by casting off 1stitch at the end of the row, this creates the arm hole openings and gusset. K to end. At the beginning of the next and following alternate rows cast off 2sts, this creates the neck opening. Continue until work measures 16cms, cast off remaining sts.

Work 40sts for back. Cast off 1 stitch at end of row for 2 rows then knit normally until work measures 16cms, cast off remaining sts.

Work remaining 35sts for left front as per right front.

Sleeves – Cast on 27sts, K until desired length or 10cms.

Band – Measure work and times by 2 (2sts = 1cm), I casted on 110sts and knitted 3 rows. Alternatively you can pick up sts along front edges and knit 3 rows.

Sew together sleeves and attach, sew along shoulders, attach band if required, secure button place.

You will need to create cords for tying. Either crochet a chain in desired length or knit a few rows.

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April 10 2013 4 10 /04 /April /2013 14:44

Norfolk-black-turkeys.png

To ensure a turkey for Christmas dinner set eggs during April. Turkey eggs take approximately 28 days to hatch (stop turning them on day 25 of incubation). When we stop turning the eggs, we increase the humidity to 60 to 70 percent. Due to longer incubation period to that of chickens, turkey eggs should be candled at 10 days. As with chicken eggs you are looking for ‘clears’ (unfertilised eggs should be discarded), ‘blood rings’ (infected eggs should be discarded), those with moving embryos. You may wish to candle again before ‘lock down’ (stop turning) to ensure your embryos are maturing.

Starving out” is a common problem with turkeys; they will literally starve to death right in front of a full feeder. Keep an eye open for the one that gets pushed away from the feed or water, or hangs back while the others are eating. Watch for any poults that are lagging behind as they start growing. I hatch some chicken eggs with the turkey eggs; the chicks will hatch about a week before the poults, this will allow for the size difference. When the poults hatch the chicks will be experienced with eating and drinking in the brooder, and the poults will follow them around and learn from the chicks. Remove the chicks as soon as the poults are eating and drinking well.

Overcrowding can also be a problem because turkey poults are twice as large as chicks and grow fast — they need plenty of room. Crowding makes it more likely for a poult to get pushed away from the feed and starve out. The smaller ones can also get trampled or smothered. Too many in a small area can make it more humid and cause respiratory problems.

After the poults are about 3 weeks old add clean, fresh sand to the brooder box. The sand is easy to clean: You can scoop it as you would cat litter, and it drains well so the area around the water will stay dry.

We also add a roost when the poults are about 3 weeks old. Getting the poults started roosting early will save you the trouble of trying to teach them later, and they will be warmer on the roost than on the ground. Don’t  be tempted to raise the perch too high as turkeys will break their legs due to their weight if raised too high.

Use hanging and waterers this allows them to be height adjusted as the poults grow.

Turkeys need high protein feed in order to thrive.

As the poults grow, raise the heat source in the brooder and move the poults to a larger brooder as necessary. Allow the poults to tell you what temperature the brooder should be, too cold huddled together, too hot panting. The aim being, getting poults accustomed to the outside temperature. The colder it is outside the longer you will need to brood them.

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April 4 2013 5 04 /04 /April /2013 10:19

Westie.JPG

White and small amount of black yarn

Abbreviations

Rnd- round ch(s)- chain(s) sc(s)- single crochet(s) st(s)-stitch(es)
sc2tog-single crochet 2 stitches together

Head
Rnd 1: Ch 1, 6 scs in circle (6scs)
Place a stitch marker in the first sc of each rnd.

Rnd 2: 2 scs in each sc (12 scs)
Rnd 3: 1 sc in sc, 2 scs in next sc (18 scs)
Rnd 4: 1 sc in next 2 scs, 2 scs in next sc (24 scs)
Rnd 5: 1 sc in next 3 scs, 2 scs in next sc (30 scs)
Rnd 6: 1 sc in next 4 scs, 2 scs in next sc (36 scs)
Rnd 7: 1 sc in next 5 scs, 2 scs in next sc (42 scs)
Rnd 8: 1 sc in each sc (42 scs)
Rnd 9: 1 sc in next 6 scs, 2 scs in next sc (48 scs)
Rnd 10-11: 1 sc in each sc (48 scs)
Rnd 12: 1 sc in next 5 scs,
sc2tog
in next sc (42 scs)
Rnd 13: 1 sc in each sc (42 scs)
Rnd 14: 1 sc in next 4 scs, sc2tog in next sc (36 scs)
Rnd 15: 1 sc in next 3 scs, sc2tog in next sc (30 scs)
Rnd 16: 1 sc in next 2 scs, sc2tog in next sc (24 scs)
Rnd 17-18: 1 sc in each sc (24 scs)

Rnd 19: 1 sc in next sc, sc2tog (12 scs)
Rnd 20: 6 sc2togs, (6 scs)
Fasten off. Stuff and shape head into an oval. Leave open and a long tail for sewing.


Body:
Rnd 1: ch 1, 6 scs in circle (6 scs)
Rnd 2: 2 scs in each sc (12 scs)
Rnd 3: 1 sc in next sc, 2 scs in next sc (18 scs)
Rnd 4: 1 sc in next 2 scs, 2 scs in next sc (24 scs)
Rnd 5: 1 sc in next 3 scs, 2 scs in next sc (30 scs)
Rnd 6: 1 sc in next 4 scs, 2 scs in next sc (36 scs)
Rnd 7: 1 sc in each sc (36 scs)
Rnd 8: 1 sc in next 5 scs, 2 scs in next sc (42 scs)
Rnd 9: 1 sc in next 6 scs, 2 scs in next scs (48 scs)
Rnd 10-11: 1 sc in each sc (48 scs)
Rnd 12: 1 sc in next 6 scs, sc2tog (42 scs)
Rnd 13: 1 sc in each sc (42 scs)
Rnd 14: 1 sc in next 5 scs, sc2tog (36 scs)
Rnd 15: 1 sc in each sc (36 scs)
Rnd 16: 1 sc in next 4 scs, sc2tog (30 scs)
Rnd 17: 1 scs in each sc (30 scs)
Rnd 18: 1 sc in next 3 scs, sc2tog (24 scs)
Rnd 19-26: 1 sc in each sc (24 scs)
Fasten off leaving a long tail for sewing later.
Stuff, but don't sew up the hole.


Front Legs:
Make 2
Rnd 1: ch 1, 6 scs in circle (6 scs)
Rnd 2: 2 scs per sc (12 scs)
Rnd 3: 1 sc in next sc, 2 scs in next sc (18 scs)
Rnd 4-5: 1 sc in each sc (18 scs)
Rnd 6: 1 sc in next sc, sc2tog (12 scs)
Stuff foot.

Rnd 7: sc2tog, 1 sc in next 4 scs, sc2tog, 1 sc in next 4 scs (10 scs)
Rnd 8-22: 1 sc in each sc (10 scs)
Fasten off leaving a long tail for sewing in, stuff the leg near the foot, but not at the top.

Hind legs:
Make 2
Rnd 1: ch 1, 8 scs in circle (8 scs)
Rnd 2: 2 scs in each sc (16 scs)
Rnd 3: 1 sc in next sc, 2 scs in next sc (24 scs)
Rnd 4-5: 1 sc in each sc (24 scs)

Rnd 6: 1 sc in next sc, sc2tog (16 scs)
Rnd 7: sc2tog 3 times, sc in rest of scs (13 scs)
Rnd 8: sc2tog once, 1 sc in sc in rest of sts (12 scs)
Flatten right side on one leg and left side on the other leg. Partially stuff.

Rnd 9-13: 1 sc in each sc (12 scs)

Start stuffing the leg as you finish up.
Rnd 14: sc2tog, 1 sc in next sc (6 scs)
Rnd 15: sc2tog all the way around to close (3 scs)
Fasten off leaving a long tail for sewing.

 

Ears:
Make 2
Rnd 1: ch 1, 4 scs in circle (4 scs)
Rnd 2: 1 sc per sc (4 scs)
Rnd 3: 2 scs per sc (8 scs)
Rnd 4: 1 sc per sc (8 scs)
Rnd 5: 1 sc in next sc, 2 scs in next sc (12 scs)
Rnd 6: 1 sc in each sc (12 scs)
Rnd 7: 2 scs in first sc, 1 sc in rest of scs (13 scs)
Rnd 8-10: 1 sc in each sc (13 scs)
Fasten off leaving a long tail for sewing later. Fold ear, don't stuff.

 

Tail:
Rnd 1: ch 1, 5 scs in magic circle (5 scs)
Rnd 2: 1 sc in each sc (5 scs)
Rnd 3: 2 scs in first sc, 1 sc in next, 2 scs in next sc, 1 sc in next 2 scs (7 scs)
Rnd 4-7: 1 sc in each sc (7 sc)
Rnd 8: *2 scs in first sc, 1 sc* 3 times, 1 sc in next 2 scs (10 scs)
Rnd 9-10: 1 sc in each sc (10 scs)
Fasten off leaving a tail for sewing in.

Muzzle:
Rnd 1: ch 1, 6 scs in circle (6 scs)
Rnd 2: 2 scs per sc (12 scs)
Rnd 3: 1 sc in each sc (12 scs)
Rnd 4: 1 sc in next sc, 2 scs in next sc (18 scs)
Rnd 5-7: 1 sc in each sc (18 scs) 5,6,
Rnd 8: *2 scs in next sc* 4 times, sc in next 14 scs (22 scs)

Fasten off leaving long tail for sewing in. Stuff muzzle.

Finishing:

Sew muzzle to the head.

Sew front legs to body.

Weave in yarn ends.
Now start to attach yarn starting at the muzzle and working up the head.
Embroider the nose.

Trim floss to make it even

Embroider the eyes or use beads if not for a small child.

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April 1 2013 2 01 /04 /April /2013 10:44

Sheep.JPG

Abbreviations

K – Knit

Inc – increase stitch

sts – Stitches

k2tog – knit two stitches together

ML – make a loop by knitting the stitch as usual but not dropping the stitch from the left hand needle, bring the yarn from the back of the knitting to the front and lay the yarn vertically  on the knitting, place you thumb onto it and bring the yarn over your thumb (so that the yarn has wrapped around your thumb), knit the same stitch again and drop the stitch from the left hand needle, with the tip of the left hand needle pass the first stitch over the second, the loop is not secured and you can remove your thumb and move onto the next stitch.

 

Large sheep left side of body

Using white yarn cast on 16sts

1st row k. 16sts

2nd row Inc, ML 13 times, inc. 18sts

3rd row k16, inc, k1. 19sts

4th row inc, ML 16 times, inc, k1. 21sts

5th row k. 21sts

6th row k1, ML 18 times, inc,k1. 22sts

7th row k. 22sts

8th row k1, ML 20 times, k1. 22sts

9th – 18throws repeat 7th and 8th rows 5 times

19th row k. 22sts

20th row k1,k2tog, ML 18 times, k1. 21sts

21st row knit. 21sts

22nd row k1, k2tog, ML 17 times, k1. 20sts

Cast off

 

Large sheep right side of body

Using white yarn cast on 16sts

1st row k. 16sts

2nd row inc, ML 13 times, inc, k1. 18sts

3rd row inc, k17. 19sts

4th row inc, ML 16times, inc, k1. 21sts

5th row k. 21sts

6th row inc, ML 19 times, k1. 22sts

7th row k. 22sts

8th row K1, ML 20 times, k1. 22sts

9th – 18throws repeat 7th and 8th rows 5 times

19th row k. 22sts

20th row k1, ML 18 times, k2tog, k1. 21sts

21st row k. 21sts

22nd row k1, ML 17 times, k2tog, k1. 20sts

Cast off

 

Large sheep gusset

Using white yarn cast on 16sts

1st row k. 16sts

2nd row inc, k13, inc, k1. 18sts

3rd row k16, inc, k1. 19sts

4th row inc, k16, inc, k1. 21sts

5th row k. 21sts

6th row k19, inc, k1. 22sts

7th row k. 22sts

8th row k19, k2tog, k1. 21sts

9th row k. 21sts

10th row k1, k2tog, k15, k2tog, k1. 19sts

11th row k16, k2tog, k1. 18sts

12th row k1, k2tog, k12, k2tog,k1. 16sts

13th row k. 16sts

Cast off

 

Large sheep legs (make 4)

Using brown yarn cast on 6sts

K 8 rows.

Cast off

 

Large sheep head

Using brown yarn cast on 12sts

1st – 3rdrows k. 12sts

4th row k1, k2tog, k6, k2tog, k1. 10sts

5th row k. 10sts

6th row k1, k2tog, k4, k2tog, k1. 8sts

7th row k. 8sts

8th row k1, k2tog, k2, k2tog, k1. 6sts

9th row k. 6sts

10th row break yarn and thread through all remaining stitches and gather.

 

Sew the sides to the gusset leaving a small gap to stuff and then sow on the head. Embroider eyes to the head. Stuff the legs and attach to the gusset.

 

 

 

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March 29 2013 6 29 /03 /March /2013 16:42

Curly scarf crop

Using 5mm knitting needles and 4ply or double knitting yarn

Cast on 15 stitches

Knit 2, turn and knit back 2

Knit 4, turn and knit back 4

Knit 6, turn and knit back 6

Knit all the way across the row

Repeat these rows until the scarf is the desired length

The scarf will start to curl after the first few inches.

 

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January 18 2013 6 18 /01 /January /2013 15:55

waterlily-kew.pngThe Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew covers 132 acres on the river Thames in London. The grounds once belonged to the Royal family but in 1840 it was handed over to the state. Today it houses 1 in 8 of all flowering plant species in the world as well as endangered and the Millennium seed bank.

The Herbarium contains 7 million dried plant specimens.

Kew has one of the extensive botanical libraries in the world containing over 120,000 books, journals and papers.

The Jodrell Laboratory researches plant structure, biochemistry and molecular characteristics.

The Palm house is Victorian in construction and was built between 1844 and 1848 and is a Grade I listed building. The Palm house contains rainforest palms, trees and climbers from Africa, Asia, Australia and America.

The Temperate house was constructed in 1859 and house sub tropical plants such as camellias, rhododendrons, and jojoba and citrus trees.

The Princess of Wales conservatory commemorates Princess Augusta, the mother of George III who founded the gardens at Kew in 1759. The Conservatory was officially opened by the late Diana, Princess of Wales in 1987. Within the conservatory there are 10 different environmental zones including wet and dry tropics. Heating, misting and lighting are adjusted by computer to achieve the best possible growing environment and cost efficiency. One of the most popular attractions is the giant waterlily, with its leaves reaching 2 meters in diameter. Carnivorous plants, ferns and orchids are also housed in the conservatory.

There have been alpines at Kew since 1887. The first house was enlarged in 1891 and again in 1938. The Davies Alpine House, with cutting edge technology is the latest addition at Kew to house their collection of Alpine plants.

By the middle of the 18th century it had become fashionable to have decorative buildings or follies on their land. The Pagoda completed in 1762 is a 10 storey octagonal structure reaching 50 meters of Chinese design.

The Japanese Gateway is a replica of Karamon of Nishi Hongon-ji in Kyoto. The building is situated amongst 3 garden areas, Garden of Peace, Garden of Activity and Garden of Harmony. These gardens contain water, gravel and rocks as well as a range of plants of Japanese origin.

The Sackler Crossing was opened in 2006 and an elegant crossing over the lake.

Visitors enter the Rhizotron through a crack in the ground explores tree roots. The Xstrata treetop walkway explores allows visitors to wander through the canopy of trees.

The Marianne North Gallery was opened in 1882 exhibiting Miss North’s paintings of plants from her travels.

The Shirley Sherwood Gallery was opened in 2008 and is dedicated to botanical art.

The Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst Place was opened in November 2000 by HRH Prince Charles. The seed bank is the largest conservation initiative, aiming to store rare and threatened seeds from a quarter of the world’s flora in specialist conditions. The seed bank was built to last 500 years and is set in 200 hectares of gardens.

 

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January 16 2013 4 16 /01 /January /2013 14:29

5426587493_e9a66baa4a.jpgHybrid chickens will come into lay between 18 - 22 weeks of age. This is called POL, Point of Lay. Pure breed chickens may start a little later that this. An easy way to identify that a chicken is at or reaching this stage is that she has a good sized, red comb which is soft and warm to the touch. Laying hens will also have erect tails. A more technical way is to pick her up and feel for pelvic bones which should be about 5cms or the width of three fingers apart. Her vent should be soft and moist and her abdomen soft and pliable. You can also test the distance from the breast bone and the pelvic bones, which should be four fingers.

Hens may take a day or so searching out a suitable nesting spot. She may visit several sites before choosing one. If a cockerel is present he may suggest and prepare sites himself. The hen may prepare her nest be moving hay or straw with her beak and hollow out the spot. She may sit for a while and then announce that she has laid when infact she hasn’t.

An eggs is formed in about 25 hours. The yolk of the egg is formed in the ovary and when released travels down the oviduct where albumin is added. The eggs is moved down by peristalsis where is receives the shell membrane. It stays in the uterus for about 20 hours where more albumin and calcium is added. The eggs is laid with the small end coming out first. The hen will do this whist standing. The eggshell is porous (perforated with tiny holes) therefore handling eggs with unwashed hands may transmit bacteria into the egg.

A pure breed hen will lay 20 or so eggs, this is called a clutch and then she will stop laying for several days. Available daylight plays an important role in egg production. In January and February a hen will lay every two or three days. In April and May they will lay every day, with one day off a week…her day of rest!!!. In August and September, as the days become shorter and she comes into moult she will lay less and less.

 

 

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December 21 2012 6 21 /12 /December /2012 13:39

cut down tree

Cutting down a Christmas tree to bring into your house is probably not the most ecological thing you could do. Every year numerous trees are hacked down, brought into our warm homes and we spend the next few months hovering pine needles from the carpet.

I have yet to see a convincing fake Christmas tree; however a good plastic tree and a ‘woodland pine’ air freshener may be an alternative. Although they are usually made from non-biodegradable PVC, use fossil fuels and release harmful gases into the environment in their production, transportation and disposal. At least real trees absorb carbon dioxide during growth rather than giving it off. And, of course, they are biodegradable, so recycle your tree.

Christmas trees grown on tree farms, rather than forests are replaced as harvested, and create domestic jobs in both production and distribution.

It is also possible to buy ‘living Christmas trees’, sold in pots with roots and soil. These trees are usually small and expensive which is due to the fact that Christmas trees take up to ten years to fully mature. A living Christmas tree will not appreciate being brought indoors, the warm indoor climate may bring the tree out of its winter dormancy, leaving it no protection once back outside.  

You could decorate a tree that is growing outside, and can remain growing long after the Christmas period has passed. Pick a tree, or bush close to the house so you can admire the twinkling lights through the lounge window.

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December 1 2012 7 01 /12 /December /2012 15:01

5209898419_093ae6bb43.jpgThe flower garden

Give hippeastrum bulbs as gifts which are forced to be in flower at this time.

Give poinsettia plants.  

Plant out new rose bushes.

Plant hellebores for winter colour.

The kitchen garden

Cut down Jerusalem artichokes.

Prune side shoots on gooseberries.

Earth up brussel sprouts to protect them from wind damage. Harvest as required.  

Harvest celery, beetroot and turnips.

Place forcing jars over seakale.

The greenhouse

Start to heat the greenhouse and remember to provide ventilation if using paraffin

General

Create a Christmas wreath using foliage, berries and seed heads from the garden.

Brush off snow from plants and structures before the weight damages it.

Grit paths.

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  • : Poddington and P
  • Poddington and P
  • : Poddington and P is about life in the country. It includes their creations, the animals they raise, and the plants and produce that they grow in the kitchen garden.
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