buy chickens
Garden Progress

Where can I buy chickens?

First of all you need to rethink this idea. Rather than buy chickens why not think, instead about rehoming an ex battery hen through British Hen Welfare Trust? They are not just ex-battery hens, some are ex caged hens. The difference being very subtle compared to how they will be living in your backyard!

buy chickens from a known charity
This is Esme a few days after we bought her from BHWT. She was missing a lot of feathers, but not as badly as one of her sisters, but they are now full on fluff butts

Reasons to buy chickens from a rehoming charity

  1. expert help and advice on hand all the time
  2. they are known to be daily layers of wonderful eggs, once they are fully free range eggs they will rock your socks off
  3. they are super confident and nosy confident ex battery hens
  4. our girls are fearless and very gentle with smaller children, this is also good for the kids as they want to rescue more chickens!
  5. hens bred for the mass market tend towards hardiness, they are the perfect ‘first’ chicken.
  6. our girls have grown feathers and become true garden divas!
to buy chickens or not to buy chickens?
we love the company of our girls in the garden.

Are you ready to buy chickens?

You need to get prepared for your chickens or ex-battery hens and then you can start to look at re homing dates.

Basic kits you will need in your backyard includes ;

a large chicken coop like this one should happily house 4-6 hens.

We then made the decision to get a chicken run like this one if you do decide to buy chickens, keep them safe as we wanted to have a secure enclosure for them during the day when we were at work. Urban foxes are absolute swines for taking any opportunity to eat your girls. So weld mesh dug around the perimeter has helped us a lot too.
These are essential as you can hang them up and get them away from muddy chicken feet.

Are ex-battery hens for you?

As a family we decided we wanted to move away from intensive farming. One way we thought we could do that was with growing our own food and this seemed like the next step. You can stock up on and still have plenty of fresh food for every day. So if you are at all worried about self sufficiency backyard chickens are the ultimate solution. Ex-battery hens live a long time and will be around 14 months when they come to stay with you. Although they are retired ours have been daily egg producers and we have really made our initial investment back in terms of money. However you will love to spend hours watching them mooch around the garden.

You can also buy chickens that are ex-battery hens from another great charity.

Other areas of self sufficiency you may like..

cold smoke generator

runner beans seeds for next year
Garden Progress

Harvesting Runner Beans Seeds for Next Year

We have had a bumper crop of runner beans this year and want to carry it on for the next year with no additional cost. As you know we are trying out techniques which will be useful when we move to our Smallholding. So this fits in very well with our No Spend Year and should be adopted by any aspiring gardener. Why pay for your seeds each year?

Here is our quick how to guide for you as well. dried runner beans

  1. Wait until the beans themselves have dried on the plant. We were hit hard by a massive storm and the beans we had were uprooted. This meant that I had a large crop which needed to be harvested to eat slightly prematurely, but I also made the decision to leave a few on the vine. Future planning is key to success in the garden, but so is flexibility to the British Summertime.
  2.  All you need to do then is gently press along the side to pop them out. Clear off the chaff and pieces of pod that may be stuck to them. runner beans ready to store Each one of these beans can produce a plant with dozens of runner beans, so make sure you don’t get carried away storing for next year and not eating this year!
  3.  Make sure that the beans you take are dry to the touch. This will ensure that no mould is introduced. You will need to store them for around nine months until they are ready to plant out again.

Storing Runner Beans Seeds for Next Year

We keep all of our old plastic containers from things like butter. They are relatively air tight and can be stored in a cool place. Make sure to write on the tub what the seeds are! This year I mixed my giant runners with a normal sized variety and it did me no favours when it came to harvesting. shiny beans

Once your crop has finished for the year, make sure to clean down your canes and bring in any Cane toppers that you may have used. We are then turning the area over to our ex-battery hens to clear the area.

You may also like:

galric spray alternative natural pesticide


upcycling ideas, easy for your garden
Why not try a few no or low cost ideas for your garden?



zero waste snacks include drinks!
Garden Progress

February is shaping up nicely

February has been a month of mixed weather. We are getting ready for the planting season. We have installed a new water butt, which I will include in a new page about saving water all year round. february jobs in the garden I have even been able to convince Paddy to let me record him doing it to show everyone how easily they can be installed. We have been looking at the frozen ground. Patiently waiting. Then pouncing the moment it got above zero, and planted some apple trees. They had arrived as bare root and I potted them up temporarily in loose soil. I have my fears that the roots may have dried too much whilst waiting for the weather. We have bought a

Braeburn bare root treeplanting in February as well as a Bramley Apple bare root tree. They are both from the same pollinator group. This should mean we are able to get maximum apple hoards!

I do have plans to put some climbers around them if they are a success am also keen on having some bulbs which can naturalise in the lawn. Ideal candidates in the UK are crocus, narcissus, or snowdrops. I wouldn’t say we are any further ahead with planning the garden’s layout. However I am getting into the swing of seed buying ready for a Wildflower garden.

February storms

We remember living in a rural area with some seasonal power cuts. So earlier this week I asked a group of preppers how they would feel about an article on a Black Box for a Power Outage and it has turned out to be very popular. Personally I have found it is the one subject that people can discuss without getting political. We may have more use for it during the Brexit negotiations. However this tends to get temperatures raised quite quickly.

February = Six Nations

Obviously Paddy is a keen rugby fan. SO I have also managed last weekend to make the never ending rolled paper photo frame

but this weekend I have finished a blanket. Febraury is the month to crochet So our house has the perfect balance.

I have also put a page together for a non-traditional valentines day. Perfect for any long-term couple, trust me when I say we are not the norm. But here is the secret, you don’t have ot be either. So have a look at alternative ways to show you care this year.

My seeds have been getting on very well and my lovely niece’s have been coming round to learn maths. But then have taught me a thing or two for my youtube channel including editing!

A big thank you to Olivia and Toni for your help! I think you will agree this has a bit more of a sense of drama than my normal craft videos! Let me know your thoughts!! This is what I have been up to this week. When you write it down it does go some way to explaining why I am always so tired.

Summing up

Please check out the Valentine’s Day article

If you want to start prepping have a look at the survivors guide to power outage.

And if you want a craft that never ends have a look at the effective but frustrating paper upcycling article.


Now the next steps for me are to work out what to do with all of these…

So be sure to subscribe to my site to keep up to date with what next….





easy to grow all year round potato planter
Garden Progress

Potato Tower Update, Getting Ready For Christmas

Potato Tower – Why build up?
Well for me it is as simple as wanting to have an easy harvest. It is far less painful on my back and means I can get a greater yield from the space I have available. It is also a great way to grow potatoes throughout Autumn and in to Winter, as it allows a really good irrigation.
You Will Need;
Seed Potatoes
Chicken Wire,

STEP ONE Simply create a cone using the chicken wire, when cutting it be careful not to catch yourself as it will be sharp.
STEP TWO find a sunny spot in the garden and set up your tower, line it with straw and ensure it wont fall over in the Autumn winds.
STEP THREE Fill to around a quarter with soil and it will sit just inside the straw lining.
STEP FOUR place three to four seed potatoes on the soil, look for ideal seed potatoes with lots of eyes all over.
STEP FIVE Cover the potatoes over and your tower will be around a third filled.

Wait a few weeks and there will be green leaves showing through, cover these up with more straw around the outside then soil. Repeat until you have filled the tower almost to the top.
Then the plant will produce flowers and the leaves will begin to fail. This is the right time to empty the tower into the compost and take all of the potatoes out for your dinner.