We deliver fresh free-range eggs to the Grindleford area every Thursday evening for £2.30 per box of six — other times by arrangement. Just drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add you to the round.
Summer may finally be here. That comes after a very cold April and an extremely wet May.
Through all that we've managed to keep the hens, bees and sheep healthy and they should all be ready for the fat of the land over the next few months (fingers crossed).
Over the winter we have made progress on a few projects. Some new gates are installed, the henhouses are on new pasture and our new hedge appears to have taken well.
As you probably all realise, it has been a cold and snowy winter so far. We've been trying to keep the sheep well fed while keeping an eye on the hens and the beehives.
We did have a couple of hives blow over in the gusty winds around Christmas. But fortunately we spotted this quickly. This winter, we had left all our hives strapped together. So even though the hives toppled, the bees were stirred up a bit, rather than exposed to the winter cold.
After re-righting the hives the bees seemed fine. And we managed the jobs sting-free — cold winter bees are relatively docile.
A hive check in the past fortnight revealed we had lost one of our weaker hives over the cold spell. We'll confirm exactly why later on, when we clean up and disassemble the hive.
We now have our second henhouse in production. So we should be more able to meet the demands for Charli's Chooks eggs over the coming months.
It has been a lot of hard work getting to this point — not least because of tortuous planning applications and one planning appeal. Then there was a henhouse to take to pieces, remove, repair and reassemble. Plus some cleaning and creosoting of the main henhouse.
At the moment we have a small second flock of white- and blue- egglayers. They are very young but should come into full lay in the next month. We'll expand this flock in the late summer to keep egg numbers up over winter.
Apologies the website has been quiet for a few months – but it certainly hasn't been quiet around Rocklands.
Our second hen-house is now in use. The other shed is currently empty while we wait for some decent weather to expand the flock.
Our eggs are now featured on the menu at the Bridge Inn, Curbar – thanks so much for this local vote of confidence.
The hay is in for 2019. Our meadows are relatively 'natural' — we don't muckspread or spray. The wildflowers are amazing with yellow rattle, birdsfoot trefoil and many others I don't know. This makes a very rich hay which the horses and sheep love. It raises a few quid but the cutting also keeps the grasses in check and allows the wildflowers to flourish.
That also helps our bees! In addition we move the hens around as they scratch up the ground and open up the sward a little.
Eggs and walls have a chequered history together (think 'Humpty Dumpty'). But sales of Charli's Chooks eggs actually help us repair the many dry stone walls around Rocklands. Defra also chip in with a Countryside Stewardship Scheme: Hedgerows and Boundaries Grant. Here is three tons of locally reclaimed stone ready for Dave at Trees and Walls to get to work.
So keep buying the eggs and we can help maintain one of the traditional features of the Peak District.
We are planning a small expansion of Charlis Chooks. We'd like to bring the henhouse pictured (5m x 2.6m x 1.7m high) down to Rocklands Farm at Curbar. Please could you spare a few words of support for our planning application with the Peak District National Park?
You can comment online.
The extra hen house will help us meet the demand for our eggs and put our business on a more sustainable footing. Other points we consider support our plans: