Thursday, 30 April 2015

How to spot a dead hen

It all started with such promise. Vita (White) Vera had been lying on eggs for a few days, minding her own surly business in one of the nests. So far, so good. Apparently this kind of cluck-cluck behaviour can trigger more of the same in the other hens of the flock, so Cat wasn't too surprised when Greta occupied the other nest next to Vera. When I got back from town, Cat mentioned that we were lucky to have two broody hens and we all started planning for how to deal with the news.

Imagine my horror when I found that Greta wasn't just lying on eggs (ok, ok, they were golfballs in this particular case), she had decided to seek out the nest to die. I wanted to cry! Not because I view the hens as beloved pets, because I don’t. But I felt like I had failed her, I hadn't fulfilled my end of the deal. Here she goes, giving us eggs every other day and in return, she dies after just a few weeks. Silly, I know, how am I supposed to protect her from sudden death, but that’s how my irrational self reacted. Damnit.

Anyways, Cat and I freaked out and started cleaning out the henhouse like mad, scrubbing Greta’s nest and throwing out all sand, poop, food, plates and bowls. We calmed down a bit after I had a long chat with the lady who heads up the gene bank for Hedemora chickens. “Chill. Chickens die. Unless the rest of the flock look a little worse for wear, just let them get on with it.”

Easy for her to say! But it did calm us down a bit.

Until the next day, when Ray the Rooster started looking considerably less cocky, with runny eyes and a bad posture. In addition, his already less than ideal behaviour got worse: he started to act like one of the hens.

How does a rooster act like a hen, you ask. He starts minding his own business ahead of that of his flock. Head down in the manure heap, pecking for food, fighting off the hens for any scraps. Along with ZERO focus on ensuring that the coast is clear for his hens. What the heck!! I wanted to send him to chicken heaven right there. And that is likely where he will end up if it turns out that we get some male chicks from Vera. We can’t have an egomaniac for a rooster prancing around the grounds.

The guy in the middle is not in my good books
So now we're desperately hoping for Ray to recuperate (for the time being), the remaining hens to remain healthy and Vera to stay on top of her eggs. Meanwhile, Greta has found a final resting place in the prettiest as well as most useful place we could find: under a raspberry bush next to our vegetable patch.

I won't tell you which berry bush

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Potty Talk

I'm feeling like a local celebrity today! I got recognised in the local shop as I picked up the newspaper to read what Hallandsposten had written about our baby pottying event yesterday.

We - my new friends in Simlångsdalen and I - talked about early pottying at the church stay and play. And we had amazing media coverage of the event: Hallandsposten's first page (and the below two-page spread) and Jennie was interviewed on SVT. So exciting that local media is up for covering the benefits of early pottying!

Little H and her dad deservedly got a bigger photo than me.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Friday, 17 April 2015

Self-Sufficiency in Kannesten

Little T helping me sow a flower meadow to keep the bees happy
I quite often get the question about what I do now that we have moved to Kannesten. I gave up my accountancy job in London and now I am seemingly doing nothing. I am certainly not taking a long vacation; we are laying the groundwork for our self-sufficiency.

This is a long-term project, as we won't be self-sufficient for a long time to come. However, I do hope that we can become self-sufficient with some of our vegetables this year. We already support some of our egg consumption through our own hens and we have collected a shedload of wood, which at least will support our kitchen stove through next winter. Yesterday, we set up our first water butt and we are collecting chicken poop, so we are self-sufficient on water and feed for our vegetables. More food and energy supply will come over the next few years.

Cabbage growing in the stables
The list of vegetables that we are growing this year is long and we are using this growing season to figure out what works in our soil and weather. Beetroot, all kinds of cabbage, lettuce, cucumber, pumpkin, tomato, pepper and onion to name but a few. Needless to say, we have seedlings pretty much everywhere - we have even set up a room in the stables with lights to create the perfect growing conditions for the little ones.
Jerusalem artichokes will provide a hedge on the south border of our vegetable patch
Watch this space for updates on our self-sufficiency!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

First Guests at Paulsson Paleo HQ

We recently had our first guests staying at Paulsson Paleo HQ; my parents made their first visit and stayed over the Easter break. It was very exciting for me, as I wanted to show them what we had been up to and for them to experience our new and very different lives. 

As you would expect at the beginning of April, the weather was a bit mixed, we pretty much had everything and sometimes all in one day. This did not stop us from getting tasks done and we were grateful for the two extra pairs of hands. The week mainly consisted of digging, turning over the vegetable beds, clearing branches, burning branches, erecting a safety net for the chickens and a lot of trail walking. Pretty hectic and tiring, but satisfying. 

On Påskafton we had our first campfire, burning some of the branches we had cleared and grilling sausages on sticks, very tasty and the break was very welcome. The grill area is turning into one of our favourite spots, surrounded by forest, sheltered from the wind and a sun trap. We will be eating down there quite often this summer.

Mum and Dad giving a helping hand during the Easter Week
It wasn't all work and Mum and Dad managed to get out and explore some of the beautiful trails that surround us, taking in the lakes Brearedssjön and Simlången and seeing Danska Fall. I think they had an enjoyable week, we certainly did and we hope that they will be the first of many guests coming to stay at Paulsson Paleo HQ.

Surrogate eggs. Let's see if our hens buy it... #paulssonpaleo

via Instagram

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Sleeping on the Floor

...sounds like a Roxette soundtrack, but that's what I've been doing for the last three nights.

Yoga mat. Mattress deluxe. Actually, I've got blanket and a sheet on there too when I sleep. 
First night, I lasted four hours.

Second night, six.

Last night, all 8.

Why? Oh, just because I needed a new experiment. :-) I figure I'd give it a go to realign a few imbalances in my body. I haven't used a pillow for a few years and my neck has thanked me for it (business trips are a bit easier that way, we all know the horrors of hotel pillows...). So far, I'm pretty impressed by how my body has adapted to the lack of "support" by a mattress. No neck pain, no back pain. As soon as you let go of the expectation of strain, your body kind of just relaxes into whichever pose you lie in. Interesting!

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

That yolk... #paulssonpaleo

via Instagram

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Possibly the Best Burger I Ever Made

It may not look like much, but this may be the best burger I ever made (and I have made a few). This baby was juicy and flavoursome. And very moorish. This is what I used:

Serves 8-10
2kg lamb mince
4 medium sized onions, chopped and fried
4 cloves of garlic
Peel and juice of 1 lemon
Peel of 1 orange
Handful of dried mint, crumbled into bits (fresh is probably just as good)
2 grated yellow beetroot
Chunk of swede, grated (approximately fist sized)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, then form into 20-22 burgers. Place on oven trays and roast in oven for 20 minutes at 200 degrees C.

Enjoy with garlic butter and/or a wedge of blue cheese.