Friday, 24 October 2008

Leghorn Cockerel - 26 weeks

Ok. The plan was to put up a photo of the leghorns every week until they were grown.

Then the season started, and the B & B takes up nearly all our time during the summer - certainly not leaving time for frivolous things like photographing chickens.

But the little chick that hatched way back on 12th May has grown into such an impressive bird that I had to post a photo.

Egg production has dropped right off for the moment, but when it picks up again in the New Year we'll put this chap (we haven't worked out a name for him yet) in a run with some unrelated Leghorn hens, put 2 or 3 dozen of their eggs in one of the incubators.

We also have a Maran cockerel ( I'll have to do an item on him soon), and we'll do a similar exersise with him and the maran hens. That way we keep up the laying flock as the older birds' production falls away.

The plan is that we'll hatch out the new chicks before we need the incubators for the geese and ducks. Ideally the geese will hatch ot their own eggs.

We'll see.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Hello Rangemaster

We decided some time ago that we wanted to do something to make Welle House greener and more fuel efficient in some way. I thought of solar panels, wind turbines etc, but nothing really seemed to fit the bill (and the available funds).

I spoke to Devon Council, who are really into this stuff, and they told me that basically none of the new technology is cost effective yet and the best thing we could do (given its age) would be to change our boiler.

We then spoke to our friendly, and utterly reliable, plumber. He checked out our boiler and basically said it wasn't worth changing it. It's a very good one and has been well maintained.

What we needed to do was change the Aga. Shortly after that our oil tank went dry and we contacted our usual suppliers (and some others) who told us that it would cost about £1600 to fill it.

We went for a half tank and started using the Aga only when absolutely necessary; switching on last thing at night and switching off after breakfasts.

I became really adept at cooking eleven full englishes on two electric hobs!! Yes really! I am amazing!

Anyway, we then did the research. Logically speaking, all fuel is going to go up, but the fuel that comes from non-renewable resources has to go up more as it runs out. We don't have natural gas here anyway (which was always my favourite, but the same reasoning applies) so that basically left electricity.

We then read about "induction". Brilliant we thought! Less consumption. More efficiency. More control. And electricity can always be generated using green methods as well as fossil fuels.

So I've got a new cooker!!! A Truly Super Duper job. It's an Induction Range cooker. Rangemaster Classic 110. It's only the second time Andy and I have ever bought exactly what we wanted (on electrical type stuff) instead of going for the cheaper option - the first being our lovely big TV (which I talked him into buying), and which is still going after almost 20 years - and STILL looks good.

We've had the new cooker 1 day so far, and so far it's better than expectations.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Bye Bye Aga

When we first bought Welle House, we were thrilled to have a kitchen with a real Aga cooker. It was an old, probably 1940s solid fuel Aga, converted to oil.

We moved in just before Christmas, and coming into the kitcken with the all pervading warmth was a rreal treat.
Then we ran out of oil.

We called in the oil men, who filled our 2500 litre tank for about £700. We soon found that running our particular Aga as it was meant to be run meant about 3 tank refills a year, even when we switched it off during the quiet times.

Then came the massive rise in oil prices this spring. The tank needed filling, so I phoned our supplier. To fill the tank would have cost £1600. Three times a year, that comes to nearly £5000! Totally unsustainable.

So we made the decision - the Aga had to go. And 3 days ago, it went. It took the best part of a morning to dismantle and remove it, and for this coming weekend, when we are full up for The Animals gig at the Pig's Nose, Mo has a a two ring work top unit to work with.

But on Monday, we get a Rangemaster induction cooker. Not cheap, but the saving in oil, even with reducing oil prices, will pay for it within a year.

Photo to follow!