The hens have settled into their new home and are all laying.
Happy clucks and soft singing emanates out from the hen house.
The secure enclosure promises to keep the Fox family away…for I have lost too many of my lovely hens to Mr and Mrs Fox. Inside, the house is spacious and comfortable, with an upstairs and five windows in total!
The system is similar to the one I used in London for over a decade.
It is known as a deep litter system, using lots of straw.
The dirty straw is then used in the gardens as a mega-mulch!The deep litter system allows the girls foraging in a limited space and I collect greens for them on days when they are stay at home.
Days when I am in the garden, the girls are allowed out under my watchful eye!
The mulching continues unabated, as the grass paths are mowed…grass clippings are piled onto cardboard as a weed suppressant, allowing newly planted trees to get a footing!
This is the system I have used for ten years and all the fruit trees are producing well.
Honesty is in full bloom now and being enjoyed by the bees.
Most of the early bees are bumble bees and are most prolific here at Bealtaine Cottage, where succession planting keeps all visitors fed from February through to the end of November.
The painted stone Cockerel stands guard by the front door of the cottage.
Newly mown paths allows everything alongside to look lush!
The Cherry tree, grown from seed, stands covered in blossom, with the promise of lots of Cherries, some high for the birds and some low for me!
The Bealtaine Feast has begun!
Seedlings are flourishing in the late Spring sunshine.
The growing season has begun, with Rhubarb sending forth strong pink stems despite the storms of recent weeks.
Meanwhile, down in the Fairy Wood, ferns have kept their green in the shelter of the dell. Mosses grow bright in the sunlight and ivy twists and twirls around the Goat Willow.
Lots of Goat Willow has been coppiced over recent months, and although it takes a year or so to season, it makes excellent logs for the stove, giving out masses of heat for free!
Further down the gardens, Pine, laurel and Great Western Cedar all grow happily together and appear healthy in the spring sunshine.
Daffodils are on their way to opening under the shelter of the Beech hedge. This is down beside the pond by the driveway.
And as I turn around from the Daffodils, the Ivy that hangs from some of the mature Goat Willow, swings about in the wind and sunshine…this is turning into a lovely walk around the gardens!
I amble around the lower pond, snapping as I go…Jack moves ahead of me, tugging on his lead for he has picked up the scent of a fox or badger!
I put my camera away and let Jack pull me along, hot on the scent of other life…we finally stop as we come up to the east side of the cottage.
We move around towards the polytunnel and one of the orchards. Pyracantha and Cotoneaster are now devoid of berries. This can be a hungry time for the birds as they mate and nest…there is a big bag of Oats I can scatter around in handfuls for the hungry birds and will do this later.
Back to the cottage and the shelter of the veranda…it’s very stormy, despite the sunshine!
With a full moon over Bealtaine Cottage tonight and a hard frost to come, the evening will be cold for sure.
The coppicing continues and the woodpile grows…
Fennel is beginning to send forth lots of new growth in the shelter of the veranda and the back of the cottage. These new shoots are delicious added to salad!
And just across from the Fennel…
And a reminder for anyone wanting 100% Bealtaine seeds from Bealtaine Cottage…there is a link at the top of this page where you can choose what you want.