Already one month into the new year and still so much to do before we can plant out the vegetables. We still have terraces to build and 2 of the back beds still need sorting. I have been watching the weather report closely and after this month there should be no more frosts. This means that next month will be planting out what we have grown on, so we really should try to find the time to finish off the beds.
Last week wasn't as productive as the last few weeks. The weather has been chilly, with a cold north wind...gale force at times! So work out in the garden was very sporadic. The mound has had the sheep dung put on top of it and the water pipe has been started to be laid. We are hoping that it will get finished this coming week ready for planting. 
I have been trying to develop the area around the compost bin and along the fence so that we can grow corn and sunflowers for shade. The trouble is we have 2 Houdini hens, that have had their wing clipped but still get out and scratch up all my hard work. I have repaired this area 3 times this week!!!!!
We have way too many hens at the minute. We had decided that we want to keep 6 little banties for sitting and the other seven are going to have to go. We need to find a clear day to do this, when all our time can be given to sorting them out. 
At the beginning of the week we lost a little banty. We naturally assumed that she had managed to get over the fence and something had taken her. By Tuesday night we resigned ourselves to having lost her!  On Wednesday she reappeared at the fence waiting to be fed on the land. I started to search the garden and sure enough found a well hidden nest. She had about 25 eggs under her so I took the cold ones away and left the warm ones.

Here she is sitting. She seems to be a good mum but it is her first time so we may not get any chicks this time around.

We also had our first chicks of 2014 hatch this week. The little brown hen has been sitting and hatched 9 little chicks. This is the most that any hen has hatched naturally for us and to say we were thrilled is a bit of an understatement. The joy did not last long, however! The morning after the chicks had hatched we noticed mum out in the run. I looked in the nest box and there were 5 little chicks looking about dead. She had left them and they had got really cold. For the next hour I sat with them next to my skin and luckily all 5 pulled through. They are now in the brooder box  keeping warm. Mum still has 4 chicks with her but we will be keeping a close eye on her now to make sure they are ok.

This was taken just after they had hatched...they are so cute!

In the week our friend the shepherd turned up with this for us!

It is a set of nesting boxes for the banty hens and as you can see they took to it straight away and there are eggs laid every day!
The wheel barrow it there to give shade and also help them get into it as it is quite high off of the floor.