Hester Winterbourne

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since Feb 12, 2014
Joined site because whilst browsing for permaculture ideas for my new allotment (it's too wet to garden) I couldn't resist the plant ID challenge...
West Midlands UK (zone 8b) Rainfall 26"
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Recent posts by Hester Winterbourne

Steve Farmer wrote:I was talking to someone who worked in a chicken processing place, she said the industry standard method is to stun them with electricity then take the head off. Sounds like the most "humane" way but is it possible at the homestead scale? Taser?

I would say stun them by hitting the back of the skull with a short hard stick, then decapitate to make sure.  I'm uneasy about decapitating as a primary slaughter method having read theories about the head remaining conscious afterwards.  
3 weeks ago
My "must grow" list is very much slanted to what will grow with minimum fuss...

Cratageus schraderiana
Field beans
Any sort of squash/courgettes
Salads - corn salad, mallow, rocket, land cress, sorrel, loose-leaf lettuces
Bay tree

things I am still persevering with...
french and borlotti beans
globe artichoke - well I'm not sure I could physically uproot the thing now, I just haven't quite decided whether I like eating them or not...
3 weeks ago
It could be that one of your female ducks actually IS a male!
4 weeks ago
I think the flies might be fungus gnats rather than fruit flies, based on what I experienced.  In my case I think it was due to using cheap general purpose potting compost instead of a houseplant mix which would have been steam-sterilised.  I bought two carnivorous plants but despite watering them with rainwater they died on me, and I got a yellow sticky fly trap which worked quite well.  I also let the compost surface dry out between waterings and had little killing sprees with an electric fly-swat...  I wasn't convinced that I could create a dense enough mulch with pebbles to stop them getting to the surface of the compost.
4 weeks ago
52°43'04.7 2°06'13.2

I don't mind at all sharing the co-ordinates of the allotment site where I have my little 8m by 16m plot!  Welcome to Penkridge, UK!
1 month ago
Also with the yellow ones the leaves are pretty palatable in a salad or if you leave one until it's too woody to eat the roots.  I also bake mine in their skins in a covered casserole dish or wrapped in foil.
1 month ago

Kate Downham wrote:

I haven't noticed the taste change when we've had a buck around our does.

Well no, you wouldn't!  You've got a buck around your does, the whole place stinks of him, you're not going to notice the milk tasting of it too!  Hasten to add I rather like the smell of a handsome male goat at this time of year...  
I think the OP is worrying that planting wildlfowers near a road has hastened the death of so many insects.  But still, if the flowers weren't there at all, there wouldn't be any insects to start with.  It would be more of a worry if lots of birds were being killed whilst feeding on the insects next to the road.

There has been a trend here for large municipal wildflower plantings on roundabouts etc as they are lower maintenance than mown grass or conventional annual bedding schemes.  There is also a tiny scurvy grass which has colonised our road edges from the coast because of the salt applied, which is a good thing because it covers the otherwise bare soil early in the year and holds back a bit more dirt from getting on the roads.  And this year, we had such a drought that the council didn't bother mowing a lot of verges round the town, and the yarrow being more drought tolerant got away like mad and flowered as it usually can't.  
1 month ago
So what would happen if you let them carry on and aimed for a longer kidding interval?  Do you want the kids for meat or does it need to be one year for another reason?
Finally, just as my youngest child decides he's grown out of Halloween (and we didn't even do it with the eldest as I was not allowed to as a child), I found the best thing for hollowing out the pumpkin.  It's a fairly robust metal cookie cutter which is a heart shape and happens to fit over my hand (along one of the straight sides) like a knuckleduster.  Sooo much quicker and easier than using a spoon or ice-cream scoop!  The flesh comes out kind of ready-grated like short noodles.
1 month ago