Of Jam and Jerusalem

Well… mostly jam.

A few months ago a friend of mine asked me to join the WI with her. Obviously I said yes. The prospect of belting out Jerusalem at the top of my lungs was a massive draw, but too old to be a girl guide, and never really having got into rangers, I was really looking forward to joining what to me, looked like girl guides for grownups.

Thankfully, turns out I was bang on the money. Except for the Jerusalem bit, apparently nobody does that anymore. (boo)

The CamCityWI (as we have recently named ourselves) are a pretty exciting bunch – set up to be a bit less formal, a bit more creative, the group certainly has a less traditional mindset than you might expect. By the very nature of the beast it has attracted a large number of women who crochet, knit, bake, and do other ‘traditional’ WI activities – but it’s also attracted a different age group, and with it, a very lively attitude. The age range is surprisingly big – 20 somethings through 50 somethings on the whole – but where most groups tailor themselves towards retired members in what they do, where they meet, and the time of day they meet, this group is most certainly aimed at a younger demographic.

Me and the mother in law have joined, and will be paying our subs at next month’s meeting, and the mother is also seriously considering making an appearance – consider the WI the next adventure in Bruntonia!

So is there going to be any actual content in this post Amanda?

Well jam is kind of in the title, so it would seem a bit disingenuous not to talk about jam. Remember that massive glut of strawberries I mentioned we had earlier this year? Well Brunton number one and I froze plenty of them, as there were simply basketfuls that we couldn’t eat. Literally several kilos of strawberries. Now, wet fruit like strawberries don’t love being frozen – the liquid expands as it freezes, breaks down the fruit, and then when it defrosts, leaves a limp, juicy lump that is nothing like the delicious plump fruit you froze three months before.

We discovered that these make the best ice cubes in Pimm’s – keeping the drink cool and pouring out delicious strawberry juice as they melt. We also experimented with strawberry wine (a great success) but still have well over a kilo left. The raspberries are also going great guns right now, as is the rhubard plant.

Jam simply had to happen.

So this is a full on make it up as you go along recipe, but is as good a place to start as any, and nothing like as difficult as I thought it would be.

Mixed fruit jam

You will need:

  • Sterilised jam jars – you can sterilise them but putting them in a cold oven and gradually heating up to 100*, turning the oven off, and leaving it to cool down. By the time your jam’s done, they’ll be both cool and sterile. Alternatively, if you’re worried about the structural integrity of your jars, use a sterilising fluid, such as Milton.
  • A big ol’ pan
  • A long handled spoon
  • Patience

The actual ingredients:

  • A couple of sticks of rhubard, chopped up
  • About 150g of apple peel and core
  • The rind of two lemons
  • 1 kilo strawberries
  • 500g raspberries
  • 750 jam sugar (it has added pectin)

Method:

  • Sterilise your jars first, as described above. You all know about my thing with the zombie virus. Don’t question me, just do it.
  • Put the apple bits and the lemon rind in a saucepan and cover with boiling water – use just enough to cover. Simmer for at least 40 mins. This is basically a jam stock, and will add flavour and pectin later.
  • Put the raspberries in a pan and heat them up. The juice will start to come out and they will go to mush. Once it’s started to reduce, add the strawberries, and the chopped up rhubarb.
  • Actually pay attention to it a while – you risk burning if you don’t. Keep stirring until you genuinely have fruit pulp and nothing more. Throw in the sugar!
  • Keep simmering. You want that stuff to start reducing into a jammy gunk. This is going to want at least 20-30 mins so turn the heat down and make yourself a cup of tea.
  • Hopefully your tea was delish and you haven’t forgotten about your jam. It should be good and sticky, and nicely reduced. Hopefully your jam stock has also been sitting there simmering away for a good while, so strain the liquid, and chuck it into your jam (no need to keep the boiled apple and lemon, bleugh)
  • Guess what? Keep simmering! To test if your jam is done, put a plate in the fridge and let it get super cold. Drip some jam onto the plate and blow on it. If it starts setting on the plate, and when you push at the blob the surface wrinkles a bit, your jam is ready to rumble!
  • Get your jars out of the oven (with a bit of luck they’re cool by now) and tip in the jam while still hot, and seal straight away – this will make a good vacuum seal.

Once your jam is cool – chow down on it with all that lovely fresh bread you’ve been making since my bread posts. Obviously.

Greengage and Christmas Jam

So my friend offered me to come collect some plums from her back garden that were just going to waste. I had plans for making these over-ripe plums into delicious plum wine (if you haven’t ever tried it, then do, it’s sickly sweet dessert wine, and frankly amazing). However, when I turned up, I found a tree full of greengages.

Jam had to happen.

Ingredients:

  • 1700g greengages (there were loads. You can of course scale this down.)
  • 850g preserving sugar (NOT the same as jam sugar – greengages don’t need as much pectin)
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Now our greengages were very over-ripe so were already very mushy – it’s easier if the fruit is nice and mushy, but it doesn’t need to be.

  • Sterilise your jars as above.
  • Get the stones out of the greengages and put them in a heavy bottomed pan to mush up.
  • Let them reduce for a bit, and then add the sugar.
  • After reducing it a bit further, add the seasoning. We wanted this really Christmassy for gifts later in the year, but use your own discretion for how much spice to add – it’s down to your own taste.
  • reduce it until it passes the cold plate test – when tipped onto a cold plate and left to cool for a second, does it wrinkle on the surface when you push it with a fingertip? If not, leave it a little longer. If yes, get it into your jars while it’s still hot. Enjoy!

Oh and one other thing.

I learned to crochet at the WI. Crochet is awesome. Especially when you can make angry birds. Ho yiss.

There’s all kind of awesomeness like this over at Ravelry, with loads of free patterns (and some awesome paid for ones at that) and you can learn to knit and crochet here (I use this constantly!). They even do videos 🙂

If you want to join in with the awesomeness that is jam and angry birds, have a look over here:

http://www.thewi.org.uk/

https://twitter.com/CambridgeCityWI

http://www.facebook.com/CambridgeCityWi

Anyone for cider?

I have been bad, and yes, the blog has been super neglected (I know, excuses, excuses) but I promise it’s because I’ve been out and about doing blog-worthy things rather than well, sitting in front of a screen and blogging about them! There is still the promised sourdough recipe to come, but it’s waiting for me to find the charger for the camera so you can have handy-dandy stage by stage photos. Same goes for the crochet Angry Birds I’m making (ho yiss they are cool!)

So, yeah, get on with the cider Amanda. It is in the title after all.

So for the last few years my friends and I have busied ourselves over the August bank holiday weekend (come rain or shine!) making cider. To start with this was a fairly amateur operation, involving all our mums’ household blenders on the picnic bench outside, and less fruitpress, more squeezing-apple-pulp-with-your-hands-until-juice-comes-out. This doesn’t come recommended, as apple juice will stain your hands nicotine yellow for weeks if you have your hands soaked in the stuff literally all day. Please just take my word for it.

However, as we’ve got older and have more disposable income to hand, and our parents have bizarrely enough, got some random and useful power tools laying about the place, we’ve got more and more pro about it, and we now produce some delicious, clear, dry cider (more on the flavour later). Initially we acquired a little two-litre fruitpress that was a day’s work pressing all the apples, and couldn’t take a great deal of pressure – we were still squeezing the pulp by hand before each press. Next came the wood chipper. Oh the wood chipper. We lovingly sterilised the whole thing and never went back to home blenders again – not when you can get roughly 25 stone of apples (roughly 159 kilos) pulped in less than half an hour. Finally, this year Brunton number one got a 25 litre behemoth of a fruit press for Christmas, which has been laying dormant in the shed waiting for apple season. It is both great and glorious.

So, in the interests of blogging, recipe sharing, and encouraging homebrew cider binging, here is how we do it. Trust me when I say it’s super easy, and none of us have lost a finger/limb to the wood shredder yet. I promise.

Making homemade cider.

Although over the course of several years we have managed to beg, borrow, and steal plenty of nice equipment, you don’t really need that much specialist stuff at all, especially if you aren’t making it on a large scale. You will need:

  • Demijohns, or similar containers for the juice to ferment in
  • Siphon tube – this is literally just a long plastic tube.
  • Bottles
  • Hydrometer – this is the most specialist piece of kit, but essential for ANY homebrewing, so a worthwhile investment.
  • Fermentation locks – not expensive, but absolutely essential. I don’t even want to tell you about the year we used bits of potato as a stopper.
  • Corks with holes in for the fermentation locks
  • Sterilising fluid – milton for example. Sterilise like it’s covered in zombie virus.
  • Something to pulp the apples with (anything from home blender to wood chipper!) and something to juice them with.
  • Muslin or similar fabric to strain the juice (no one likes chunky cider)
  • A couple of big ol’buckets.
  • Fermentation stopper – such as Campden tablets.
  • Apples!

We try to use a wide range of apples to get a good flavour. Less sweet apples will make a lovely dry cider – obviously the sugary ones will give more for the yeast to chow down on = more alcohol. Go for a mix that makes a good tasting juice and you can’t go wrong from there.

In terms of the flavour you are aiming for, in all likelihood, a dryer tasting cider will be stronger. The more sugar that yeast noms up, the more alcohol is produced. If you want to keep a sweeter cider, you’re going to have to either stop fermentation earlier, or add back in some sugar somehow. We usually do this by adding some apple juice after fermentation has been stopped – this year we’ve experimented and pasteurised some of the leftover juice we pressed ourselves to be added back into the cider later.

We normally don’t do this, because unless you can keep everything nice and sterile, leftover sugar = risk of fermentation starting again. Fermentation taking place after bottling produces gas, which in turn produces the classic exploding bottles of homebrew legend. After adding in the juice, chuck in your fermentation stopper and bottle immediately.

Ok so that’s equipment and brewing 101. What about the recipe?

Well, there isn’t really a recipe as such seeing as the only ingredient is apples, but here goes.

  • Collect and wash your apples. Bruised apples are fine – hell, you’re about to blitz them! Apples with white spots on – not fine. Leave them for the wasps. A sterilising agent like Milton can be safely used on food, so we tend to leave our apples in the big ol’ bucket, with the sterilising fluid for as long as the bottle says. They can always be rinsed off later. In the meantime, you should also sterilise/clean your equipment.
  • Next, pulp your apples ready for pressing. A home blender will do the job just fine, but bear in mind that you’ll need quite a bit of juice, so it’s going to take several rounds of blending unless you have the almighty wood chipper.
  • Squeeze those apples! You can of course do this by hand. If you put the pulp in a big colander as you go, you can have the first bit of juice just drain out into your big ol’ bucket. Then either crush the pulp by hand, or crush it in your colander. If you’ve got a fruit press… well you know what to do. Just follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • I would recommend straining your juice into another big ol’ (sterilised!) bucket. Tie your muslin across the top and pour the juice through. Ta dah! Strained juice.
  • Once you’re done pressing juice, time to get it out of that big ol’bucket and into your (sterilised) demijohns. Put in your bung and fermentation lock (don’t forget to put the water in the lock – and no, of course I’ve never done that…). Do not by any means use potato instead of a proper bung. It just doesn’t work.
    It will happy ferment itself from the natural years present in the fruit – no need to add yeast!
  • Save the last little bit and take a hydrometer reading – this will tell you the sugar concentration pre-fermentation. WRITE IT DOWN. Once fermentation has finished, the difference in sugar content will tell you roughly what the current alcohol content is by comparison.
  • Leave somewhere room temperature and dark to ferment. Feel free to taste it after a couple of weeks for sweetness – although don’t expect it to be super tasty at this stage! We tend to leave it to totally ferment – it takes a few weeks and you can tell once it’s done as the fermentation lock will have stopped bubbling. This will make dry cider, but you can sweeten it with apple juice, which makes for a very refreshing cider.
  • If you leave the demijohns to settle, you’ll notice a layer of scuzz on the bottom. This is normal. Once you’re done fermenting, you want to siphon off the good clear stuff into bottles, and leave behind the scuzz. Don’t forget to sterilise your siphon tube and bottles (zombie virus remember?)
  • Patience my friend! The longer you can leave that cider, the better it will taste. It will be drinkable by January, better by spring, and damned delicious by the time you’re busy making more cider next summer!

p.s.

You know that elderflower wine I yakked on about a few months ago? That is beautifully clear, delicious, and bottled up, along with the strawberry wine we made out of the strawberries in the garden this year. Who needs grapes anyway?

The chickens have started laying! Time to make some introductions

Beautifully coloured, but tiny eggs! The middle one is roughly medium, the rest are pretty small.

Welcome back to Bruntonia!

With mine and Brunton number one’s holiday in Cornwall, a graduation, and the husband moving house, it’s been a bit busy for blog posts. There are plenty more in the pipeline – an update on the elderflower wine, sourdough, strawberry wine and cake are all being drafted up, as well as the delicious veg we’ve started to get coming out of Pa’s allotment. However, for now, it is time for an update on the Brunton chicks.

Long time no see, huh?

So the last time we saw the chickens they’d just moved to their outside run… learned how to escape from their outside run, and couldn’t even cluck yet. We now have four fully clucking, clipped winged, egg laying hens.

The wing clipping became something of a necessity – they were finding more and more inventive ways to escape, and we couldn’t guarantee their safety. In terms of wing clipping, there’s plenty of advice out there on how to do it. Done wrong, you can seriously harm your birds – when feathers first come through they still have a blood supply (flagged up by the pinkness in the base of the feather usually) and cutting a feather at this stage can cause you bird a great deal of distress and bleeding. Don’t do this if you don’t know what you are doing. I would emphasise that Pa Brunton grew up on a chicken farm and has at least a little bit of a clue, (although don’t tell him I said that) so we did it ourselves at home. Otherwise, get a vet to come out.

They soon settled down to life inside the run, and have even settled enough to start laying delicious, but ping pong ball sized eggs! Now that all four are laying and definitely not roosters (and therefore definitely not for dinner) they get individual mugshots. Aristotle is the big grey lady – she is what you would politely call a bit dim. More accurately you would say she is the retard of the flock. This bird still cannot get her head around why she can see things on the other side of the chicken wire and still not walk through it. Ginger Frank is by far the most inquisitive, and despite being a bit of a runt, (and ginger) she holds her own with the others, and lays pretty well. Black and White Frank (so named because as chicks one was pure black, one had white markings, although not so now!) are the bigger of the copper marans. White Frank started laying ridiculously early and is the most consistent layer of the lot. Black Frank started a little later but has really got into her stride now, and suffice to say that retard chicken Aristotle is still way behind and occasionally lays soft eggs with no shells. It’s as weird as it sounds and apparently totally normal. Go figure.

So that’s the latest on our feathered ladies – the eggs are delicious – richer and better in consistency than shop-bought and have already contributed towards plenty of cake. They are also surprisingly different coloured – to do with being a hybrid breed I think, but it means that we know roughly which ones are laying, and which are having a bit of time off 😉 More updates to come when I have time to post on all the delicious things we’re making with the eggs!

An adventure in Anglesey Abbey / Baking brown bread / The elderflower wine

So. Brown bread. This was a nemesis of mine for a while in as far as it can be a little trickier to pull off than a white loaf, but still very achievable for a beginner. Brown flour contains less gluten and so is less stretchy and therefore a bit different to knead, and will rise a lot less. You can of course add gluten, but I personally feel as though this rather defeats the object of making it for yourself.

Getting the flour

On this occasion the baking represents an actual adventure in Bruntonia. The husband was back from university for the bank holiday weekend, and I felt like getting out and doing something, so we cycled to Anglesey Abbey. This is something like 6 miles outside of Cambridge, and a marvellous example of an English stately home. The house there is beautiful, but the real triumph is the grounds and gardens. Having risked the hayfever long enough, we also went to visit the Lode Mill.

There has been a mill on the site for around 1000 years, the current mill is around 300 years old and a masterpiece of restorative work. Most of the workings of the mill are still original, and still being used. You can buy freshly ground flour from there, which I was of course, super excited about. I talked off the ear of the poor guy in the mill about the absorbency of the flour (makes a huge difference to the amount of liquid you need to add!) as well as the fineness of the flour, which was very impressive. The other important aspect is the ratio of white to brown flour – as I have mentioned, brown flour isn’t as gluten-y, so a good way to compromise delicious wholegrain goodness and a loaf that doesn’t resemble a rock is to mix it with a bit of white flour. In this case, I recommend about 1:2 white to brown flour, but it is of course down to personal taste.

Anyhoo, having been escorted away from the mill (you have honestly never seen someone so excited about a bag of flour…) we went to the cafe and tried some cream tea and scones baked with lode mill flour (it was the jubilee weekend after all!). I was suitably impressed, and have made a couple of loaves of bread with my flour since. It is mega delicious, but I have to make it last until I feel ready to take a 12 mile round trip on the pushbike to get some more!

We also signed up to the National Trust as members while we were there, cementing the idea that Chris and I are basically old people already. All the same, their membership is bargainously discounted, especially for young people.

The ingredients

  • 300g strong brown flour
  • 150g strong white bread flour
  • 30g cake yeast / 1 tbsp dried active yeast / 2 7g sachets ready yeast
  • 150 ml warm milk
  • 150 ml warm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • seeds (optional)
p.s. for something more like Hovis best of both (in colour, not in additives!) do 125 brown flour, 375 white.)

The recipe

If using dried active or cake yeast, you should start with this first. Cake yeast will need to be mixed with 1 tsp sugar. It starts life as a block, but as you mash in the sugar, it will go to a runny liquid. Add the warm milk and whisk together, then give 15-20 mins to wake it up. For dried active yeast, add 1 tsp sugar and the warm milk, and do the same.

Mix together your dry ingredients, then add the yeast mix and the water. Then it’s time to knead baby! Kneading is stretching out the dough – stretch but don’t break it. My fresh flour had an almost sandy texture, but absorbed liquid well to make a beautifully smooth dough. You can read my original bread-baking post here (includes guide to kneading) or watch this video here. It will take a good ten minutes.

Roll the dough up to a ball and lightly oil it. Put it in a bowl covered in a damp cloth for about an hour and a half, or until double the size. Then knock the air out of it, and lightly knead again. At this stage I like to knead in 2tbsp each of sesame, poppy, and sunflower seeds, leaving a few to scatter on top once it’s in the tin. Put into a lightly oiled tin and leave for a further 45 mins to 1 hour.

Bake at 220*c for 10 minutes, then bake at 180*c for a further 15. I then take it out of the tin and bake for another 5 mins to get a good crispy crust.

Leave it to cool and then chow down!

Finally… the wine

The wine has been a bit of an adventure in as far as it got a little mould on the surface. Not the end of the world, provided it hasn’t taken hold too much. It’s normally a natural yeast, which normally has poor attenuation and will die off as soon as it gets alcoholic, so I’ve given it two chances. Anyway, I sterilised a bucket, cloth and a demijohn, and strained off the flowers, raisins and citrus through the muslin. I then siphoned it off into the demijohn, by far the easiest way is with a siphon tube. Just sterilise it first! It will now sit there with a fermentation lock on top and bubble about for another 3 weeks, or until fermentation finishes. I’ll update you then!

p.s. I’ve made more cordial

I thought I had way too much, but it turns out I don’t. There;s still loads of elderflowers, so I’m making a top up!

Elderflower wine

So this recipe is shamelessly poached from my brewing guru, Basil. He is a medical herbalist, and knows pretty much everything worth knowing about making your own booze at home. More than once I’ve left his house far too wobbly to ride my bike after far too much (just enough?) elderflower wine, so I’ve decided to try the recipe for myself.

A note on brewing…

Now normally I’m keen on writing up recipes that require no specialist ingredients or equipment. It’s all very well saying that ‘this random ingredient you’ve never heard of and can’t buy ANYWHERE’ is the best thing ever, but well… you can’t buy it anywhere. However, brewing is different and does require some reasonably specialist equipment and ingredients.

You will need:

  • A fermentation bin – the best ones have a small hole in the lid for a fermentation lock
  • Fermentation lock – basically a little water chamber that lets gas escape, but doesn’t let anything get back in
  • A demijohn – a glass or heavy duty plastic jar to ferment it in
  • A hydrometer – basically a thermometer without the mercury. It measures the alcoholic potential, and then the actual alcohol produced.
  • LOADSA sterilising stuff. Sterilise everything like it’s covered in zombie virus during an outbreak of the undead.

The recipe

  • 1/2 pint of elderflowers.
  • 3 1/2lb white sugar, a little less if you don’t want it too sweet. This is like a dessert wine.
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons.
  • A strong cup of tea (no milk!)
  • 1lb sultanas, rinsed under a kettle full of boiling water, chopped
  • Yeast nutrients are a good idea, follow the instructions on the box – usually 1 tsp per gallon
  • Wine yeast (don’t use your bread yeast… it will die off way too soon!) again usually 1 heaped tsp per gallon
  • Water to 1 gallon.

Mix all together in a fermenting bucket and add yeast. This is often referred to as ‘pitching’ the yeast.

Check with your hydrometer the alcohol potential. Bear in mind most yeast will die by 16%, super yeast may live to 18%, so you want a reading of around 1130 – 1140 for the sugar.

Ferment for 5 days then strain into a demijohn. Keep it in the demijohn until there are no more bubbles in the fermentation lock.

Have a taste, and test with the hydrometer for alcohol content, then start bottling!

Make sure that your bottles and siphon tube are fully sterilised and then begin siphoning. I tend to do this with a partner – you don’t want to drag up the sediment at the bottom, so do it slowly and carefully. Once bottled, stopper up or cork your bottles (screwtop is fine if you have them) and don’t forget to label them. It should be fairly drinkable pretty much straight away, though I would recommend keeping it for a few months, or even a year or so.

EDIT: I drank a good proportion of my elderflower wine the following New Year’s eve. The wine was delicious, I drank plenty, had a great time… and had a dreadful hangover to prove it. ‘Nuff said!

Keeping Chickens – Updated

Since they even turn up in the tagline of this blog, it’s probably about time to mention the chickens! We have four hybrid chickens in the back garden – all Rhode Island Red / Maran crosses. The light grey one is known as a ‘Bluebell’ hybrid, the others ‘Copper Maran’. They aren’t any particular poultry-fancier pedigree chickens, but we have at least an approximate idea of their breed!

The chickens made their first appearance at Bruntonia HQ about 3 months ago. Pa Brunton grew up on a chicken farm in Canada, and I think he thought that the children might like to have some chicks about the place. As it turns out, I was probably more excited than my three year old nephew was. He had been told we were picking up the chicks, and knew he was excited, but I don’t think he actually knew what the chicks were. The very nice breeders made a big show of opening up the hen house (met by sheer excitement from me of course…) to which Arti exclaimed ‘But Papa, they’re just BIRDS!’. In spite of this, once we got them into the car, we were both pretty excited about peeking into the box and listening to the little cheeping noises.

On getting home, Arti picked up the largest bird, and promptly declared that it was called Aristotle like him. We have pointed out that Aristotle the chicken is a girl, but I don’t think three year olds fuss about small details like that! In any case, the three marans have also been rather dubiously dubbed ‘the Franks’. Initially, when a chick was picked up, the others would cheep loudly – causing my husband to comment that it was like they were called ‘OMG WHERE’S FRANK??’ This appealed to the biggest kid of them all (me) and so the chicks became known as Frank. Initially at least, they either had black, white or ginger markings (and so were Black Frank, White Frank, and Ginger Frank). Only Ginger Frank has retained her original colour sadly – being the runt of the chickens and firmly at the bottom of the pecking order the poor gal has had a hard little life!

For the first few weeks while they feathered up, they lived in a box in our conservatory. They then moved out to the cabin as a sort of intermediate measure, and eventually the garden proper. They have a fairly substantial bit of space to run around in day to day – several square metres for four chickens (the RSPCA recommends at least 1.6 square metres for four birds). They have a little indoor run, perching space, and a nesting box for when they do start laying. We are pretty certain now that they are all ladies, so hopefully we should start getting some eggs over the next couple of months!

For now, they essentially eat little pellets, as well as anything they scratch around for, and get fresh water out of a little drinker from our rain water butt. They are still babies really even if fully feathered – the biggest one, Aristotle is as tall as she is going to get, but will still gain weight to get to adult size. The Franks have got some catching up to do size wise, and none of them can really cluck yet. They’re a bit like adolescent boys – they run around making high pitched little cheeping noises, and then occasionally let out a loud ‘honk’, before looking around like ‘who did that?!’

If you’re considering keeping chickens the best recommendation is to make sure they have plenty of space, somewhere safe to roost at night where you can close them in, away from predators. We got our chicks very young, because Pa knows what he’s doing with the birds – it may be easier to get them a little older. Speak to the breeder first, and choose a breed carefully – some are more docile than others! As I am new to this chicken malarkey, I am also pretty surprised at how high the things can jump! They have already worked out how to escape their run (will have to do some further chickenproofing…) so there needs to be somewhere safe for them to run around. The RSPCA is the best authority on good practices with keeping chickens in your own garden.

More posts will follow once the ladies start laying, or do something more interesting… like learn to cluck properly!

 

p.s. Yeah so the chickens have learned how to escape. Our very kind neighbours have put them back and shut them in for the night while we were at the cinema, but fortifications will have to be made tomorrow! More to follow…