Home Grown - A Project by Carl

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All my home made foods and drinks are now bottled and in the cupboard to have over the winter :)

I took a few photos of the sloe gin at various points as part of this project. Looking at them afterwards I thought, "hey, these would be good for a 'how to' guide". So I made one :D - http://www.carlhall.co.uk/entries/20181221-sloe-gin

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Cider. It's really tricky to make sparkling sweet cider without using artificial sweeteners. To make sparkling cider you add sugar to the cider when bottling, so the yeast eats it and produces carbon dioxide to carbonate the cider. However, this means that the yeast will eat ALL of the sugar, giving you a fully dry cider. If you want sweet cider then you need to kill the yeast, meaning you can't carbonate it. In the end I went with a medium sweetness flat cider because I'm from Somerset and sparkling cider is a crime :D I made about ten litres of cider and it's delicious :beer:

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Tomato soup. Managed to get over twenty pounds of tomatoes this year, so a big chunk of them ended up as jarred soup, totalling 7 litres.

I used a 23 litre pressure canner to preserve it in Kilner jars with two part lids that are made specially for pressure canning. Canning isn't very popular in the UK so I had to import my pressure canner from the USA! They should last a year or so in the cupboard if I've canned them properly!

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And finally the delicious blackberry jam. About half of our blackberries went in to make blackberry and elderberry wine, and the rest were used to make six jars of jam.

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There is a beautiful and engaging simplicity to these image, very inspiring work in multiple ways!
 
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Carl Hall
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@Carl Hall Thank you so much for the little surprise! :)

We weren't expecting a parcel so were a bit surprised to find a missed delivery card yesterday.

Merry Christmas to you and Angie. We'll raise a glass to you both!


2018-12-23_02-47-47 by Janet

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No problem Janet, I hope you both like it :D ...or “liked it”, depending if there’s any left :LOL:

There is a beautiful and engaging simplicity to these image, very inspiring work in multiple ways!
Thank you Adrian :)
 

Andysnap

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All gone.... I believe it was lovely :D:thinking:
 
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Carl Hall
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So this thread was originally meant to be a short term project to get my photo mojo back, but it ended up growing into something a bit bigger that I really enjoyed, so I'm thinking that I might carry it on through 2019 as well.

There are a few changes coming to the garden this winter/spring. Stage one has begun and I spent the afternoon in the garden yesterday hand sawing timber in the rain. I want to keep it a bit of a surprise so I won't say more, but I'll probably get my first photo for 2019 up in early March. At the moment all I've got is a muddy bit of grass with some posts sticking out of it, which isn't very exciting!
 
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Looking forward to your update next month!

I'm about 3 weeks away from being able to bottle my tiny test batch of sloe gin :woot:
 
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So this thread was originally meant to be a short term project to get my photo mojo back, but it ended up growing into something a bit bigger that I really enjoyed, so I'm thinking that I might carry it on through 2019 as well.

There are a few changes coming to the garden this winter/spring. Stage one has begun and I spent the afternoon in the garden yesterday hand sawing timber in the rain. I want to keep it a bit of a surprise so I won't say more, but I'll probably get my first photo for 2019 up in early March. At the moment all I've got is a muddy bit of grass with some posts sticking out of it, which isn't very exciting!
Abstract or odd? ;)
 

excalibur2

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Don't forget folks you can start sowing tomatoes seed (inside) from Feb onwards......cheapest place seems to be the bay as I bought e.g. 120 seeds (Ailsa craig) for 99p with free delivery and should last me for a few years.....h'mm have to look up whether it's best to store them in the freezer or whatever
 
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I bought some tomato plants from them last year when they had a similar offer. Took months for them to arrive and they looked a bit sorry for themselves, but they perked up pretty quickly and gave me a lot of little tomatoes. Was great having so many different types to eat.

Looking forward to your update next month!

I'm about 3 weeks away from being able to bottle my tiny test batch of sloe gin :woot:
Bottling your gin today Janet? :D :beer:
 
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I bought some tomato plants from them last year when they had a similar offer. Took months for them to arrive and they looked a bit sorry for themselves, but they perked up pretty quickly and gave me a lot of little tomatoes. Was great having so many different types to eat.



Bottling your gin today Janet? :D :beer:
We bottled it on Friday. It tastes pretty darn good but won't last long! @Andysnap took a few pics on his Mamiya that he developed over the weekend so one or two may appear on here shortly.....
 

StephenM

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Well, you weren't sloe getting those photos posted!

Really enjoying this thread, even though I'm not a gardener.
 
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Carl Hall
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I'm posting a roll of film off to Filmdev this afternoon so it shouldn't be too long before I can post up what we've been up to the last couple weeks.

Next job on the list is to move my raised beds to the other side of the garden and possibly add a third bed. Going to be fun laying all the slabs between them again! Their current position is visible from the kitchen window, so when we've moved them we're going to turn the area into a nice flower bed that we can see when we're inside. Hopefully it'll attract some more insects to pollinate my vegetables and attract more garden birds too
 

excalibur2

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Germinating tomato seeds indoors is a PITA...I could take an amusing shot of just one coming up after 3 weeks......apparently they like very warm temps to start off and would think all the hot air in the bedroom should have worked o_O :D erm now thinking of making a wooden box with a low wattage bulb to heat the soil.
 

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Germinating tomato seeds indoors is a PITA...I could take an amusing shot of just one coming up after 3 weeks......apparently they like very warm temps to start off and would think all the hot air in the bedroom should have worked o_O :D erm now thinking of making a wooden box with a low wattage bulb to heat the soil.
Well I knew my dev trays would be useful so I'm going to make this
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wGShgYOsFw
heating pad are £3.99 from the bay
 
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Germinating tomato seeds indoors is a PITA...I could take an amusing shot of just one coming up after 3 weeks......apparently they like very warm temps to start off and would think all the hot air in the bedroom should have worked o_O :D erm now thinking of making a wooden box with a low wattage bulb to heat the soil.
You used to be able to buy a heating pad that fitted into a seed tray, which what I use. There are heated propagators.
 

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You used to be able to buy a heating pad that fitted into a seed tray, which what I use. There are heated propagators.
Well I'm always looking for the cheapest way of doing things... the airing cupboard is full up and reckon my old dev trays plus £3.99 heating pad is the next cheapest (y)
 
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Carl Hall
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I'd like to introduce you all to Kip, Mabel, and O.P.


Hens
by Carl Hall, on Flickr

They are our new ex-battery hens that we've had for a week and a half now. Ex-bats are commercially farmed hens that are basically just caged egg machines for farmers. When these hens reach 17 months old, their egg output drops a little and they are no longer productive enough to pay their keep. They are slaughtered and replaced with new hens which will lay more eggs. The British Hen Welfare Trust rescues these hens and works to rehome them all over the UK. These hens have never stepped on grass or seen the sun, and by rehoming them you basically give them a garden home for them to happily live out their retirement.


Mabel 2
by Carl Hall, on Flickr


Mabel
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O.P
by Carl Hall, on Flickr


O.P
by Carl Hall, on Flickr


Kip
by Carl Hall, on Flickr

When we collected them last weekend, they were very shy and did not like human contact. We actually had to teach them to go into their coop at night. Just a week later and they're much happier, and will run up to you when you enter the coop. They happily eat corn out of your hands and even put themselves to bed at night. Really happy with their progress over such a short time!
 
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The new coop and run that I've been working on for freaking ages! A 3x2 metre run with heavy gauge wire mesh to keep them safe. The mesh is buried a foot into the ground to keep any foxes out, and the coop sits a metre off the ground between the fence posts. I decided to carry the shiplap down to the floor under the coop so that the hens would have somewhere to take cover from wind etc, which I was glad of over the weekend when it was blowing a hooley! Also decided to add a roof of corrugated bitumen sheets to keep them dry.

There is a small door on the side of the coop to access the small next box, and a large door for cleaning out. At the bottom by the ground there is an additional door so that the hens can eventually free range in the garden when we are home.


Chicken Run
by Carl Hall, on Flickr



Coop Door
by Carl Hall, on Flickr



Coop Ramp
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Feeder
by Carl Hall, on Flickr

Some of our eggs so far!


Eggs
by Carl Hall, on Flickr
 
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The new coop and run that I've been working on for freaking ages! A 3x2 metre run with heavy gauge wire mesh to keep them safe. The mesh is buried a foot into the ground to keep any foxes out, and the coop sits a metre off the ground between the fence posts. I decided to carry the shiplap down to the floor under the coop so that the hens would have somewhere to take cover from wind etc, which I was glad of over the weekend when it was blowing a hooley! Also decided to add a roof of corrugated bitumen sheets to keep them dry.

There is a small door on the side of the coop to access the small next box, and a large door for cleaning out. At the bottom by the ground there is an additional door so that the hens can eventually free range in the garden when we are home.


Chicken Run
by Carl Hall, on Flickr



Coop Door
by Carl Hall, on Flickr



Coop Ramp
by Carl Hall, on Flickr



Feeder
by Carl Hall, on Flickr

Some of our eggs so far!


Eggs
by Carl Hall, on Flickr
Neither wonder you've only just got round to your Onich shots! Brilliant job by the looks of these photos. :clap:
 
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Chooks are very rewarding. I was down to one last home bred cockerel until a week ago when a cat killed him (broke his neck I think) and attempted to carry him over a 6’ fence but failed. He’d survived being caught twice by my terrier but still pushed his luck by coming over the fence that kept the terrier out of his part of the garden — he roosted in a sycamore tree at night so was entirely free living, as all my banties have been.
 
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Carl Hall
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@Carl Hall That's fabulous!! :D

When I read your previous post, I predicted a beehive rather than chickens.
Ha no not yet, I'd love to keep bees but it's probably going on the "one day" list. I am currently on a beekeeping course though (lesson 7 tomorrow!) so you never know what'll happen!

Neither wonder you've only just got round to your Onich shots! Brilliant job by the looks of these photos. :clap:
Thanks Peter! It took ages to build as the early sunsets in Feb mean you can only really make decent progress at the weekends. Took us 18 days in total and it was right down to the wire, as we were still putting the hinges on the door when we were meant to be leaving to pick them up! Not quite finished yet, as you can see from the photo I still need to treat quite a lot of the external timber.

Chooks are very rewarding. I was down to one last home bred cockerel until a week ago when a cat killed him (broke his neck I think) and attempted to carry him over a 6’ fence but failed. He’d survived being caught twice by my terrier but still pushed his luck by coming over the fence that kept the terrier out of his part of the garden — he roosted in a sycamore tree at night so was entirely free living, as all my banties have been.
Yeah I'm loving them already after a week and a half!

I'm sorry to hear about your cockerel :(
 
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That looks a very nicely built and robust coop, should keep the hens safe. I bet your pancakes tasted even better this year with those nice fresh eggs? Cheese omelette again tonight by any chance? :)
 
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Two things about chickens - they are very keen hunters and a lot more “intelligent” than they seem. They can recognise different people and react to strangers and so on.
 
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That looks a very nicely built and robust coop, should keep the hens safe. I bet your pancakes tasted even better this year with those nice fresh eggs? Cheese omelette again tonight by any chance? :)
I think it's going to be omelettes for tea every night at this rate :LOL: Got a dozen eggs in the kitchen at the moment, plus whatever they lay this morning. I tried to fry one the other day but they're so thick that they kind of just sit in the pan as a blob, which makes cooking them properly quite hard! Makes them very easy to poach in water though :D

Thankfully I'll have no problems offloading extra eggs, as I've got a long list of people who have kindly offered to have any spares :LOL:
 
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Two things about chickens - they are very keen hunters and a lot more “intelligent” than they seem. They can recognise different people and react to strangers and so on.
They're starting to become quite friendly now :) When I go into their run they are around my feet before I can even shut the door behind me. They do seem disappointed if I don't have any corn though, so I think they just like me for my food :LOL:

A couple of times I've given them a worm that I've found in the garden, and they go bananas over them. They'll run over and snatch it out of your hand and then run around trying to swallow it before the other hens can catch her and grab a bit. So much fun to watch them.
 
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I think it's going to be omelettes for tea every night at this rate :LOL: Got a dozen eggs in the kitchen at the moment, plus whatever they lay this morning. I tried to fry one the other day but they're so thick that they kind of just sit in the pan as a blob, which makes cooking them properly quite hard! Makes them very easy to poach in water though :D

Thankfully I'll have no problems offloading extra eggs, as I've got a long list of people who have kindly offered to have any spares :LOL:
I'll pop down and get a few later! ;):LOL:
 

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They're starting to become quite friendly now :) When I go into their run they are around my feet before I can even shut the door behind me. They do seem disappointed if I don't have any corn though, so I think they just like me for my food :LOL:

A couple of times I've given them a worm that I've found in the garden, and they go bananas over them. They'll run over and snatch it out of your hand and then run around trying to swallow it before the other hens can catch her and grab a bit. So much fun to watch them.
You could let them loose in your garden and they should return at night......mind you it would be amusing in my garden as with holes in hedges they could wander over many houses and wonder if they are too big for Kites or buzzards to snatch them as I see them now and again sweeping over the area.
https://www.wikihow.com/Train-Chickens-to-Return-to-Their-Coop
 
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You could let them loose in your garden and they should return at night......mind you it would be amusing in my garden as with holes in hedges they could wander over many houses and wonder if they are too big for Kites or buzzards to snatch them as I see them now and again sweeping over the area.
https://www.wikihow.com/Train-Chickens-to-Return-to-Their-Coop
We don't want to let them into the whole garden as they'll destroy my veg patches and scratch up all the flowers (that we haven't even planted yet!). We're going to build an additional fenced area for them to run about in during the day when we're home. Nothing fancy, just a 1m high wire fence with a gate. Will probably be about 15 square metres in addition to the 6 they have in their secure run. Need to wait for this damned rain to stop for a couple of days first though :rolleyes:
 
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We don't want to let them into the whole garden as they'll destroy my veg patches and scratch up all the flowers (that we haven't even planted yet!). We're going to build an additional fenced area for them to run about in during the day when we're home. Nothing fancy, just a 1m high wire fence with a gate. Will probably be about 15 square metres in addition to the 6 they have in their secure run. Need to wait for this damned rain to stop for a couple of days first though :rolleyes:
Yes, they’ll destroy flower beds etc with scratching and, particularly dust bathing. If your digging in the vegetable garden you may find it difficult to keep them out of way of your fork as they get very excited by the prospect of worms. Grass is good for them and will improve the colour of the yolks (though that is partly breed dependant). Because mine were always free range in the day time I never fed them pellets because they just ignored them, I only provided wheat and whatever they could catch — mine didn’t lay through the winter of course.
 

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No Brian, they are a fake and a scam.
 

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