Thursday, April 06, 2006

I need an injection of energy from somewhere today! Hours up the allotment 3.5

Norfolk Lasses Eggs Total to Date: 356 Day:155

KoKKo 119 Personal best egg weight 86grms 29.11.2005
Adelaide 119 Personal best egg weight 80grms 26.02.2006
Ginger 118 Personal best egg weight 80grms 27.03.2006

London Ladies Bantam Eggs Total to date: 34 Day:23

Dilly 12 Personal best egg weight 36grm 27.03.2006
Freckles 13 Personal best egg weight 37grms 28.03.2006
Pumpkin 9 Personal best egg weight 35 grms 01.04.06

An early morning, and very very warm egg was awaiting me at 7.30am a gift from Freckles, almost white and slightly pointed. Still getting a buzz when that happens.

All six chickens made a dash for their grass cuttings as soon as I let them out. No shrieking from Freckles at the moment - she is busily doing what the others are - head down,petticoats up and scratching around in the grass for goodies. All of them having had their breakfast when they got up and went out in their runs. I put it in last night for them as usual, and as the runs are covered and locked, nothing can get in to nibble it!

It was a dark grey cold day when I let the chickens out first thing, but after having breakfast as usual in the conservatory, the sun is promising to break through, so as Pat is off to play golf, I will probably go up the allotment.

I am all behind with my seed sowing as there was not point in starting them off in the cold weather we have had, as I do not have a greenhouse - let alone a heated one which I would have needed. It was my intention to sow seeds as rain was forecast first thing today - but if it stays dry I had better make the most of it and do a bit more up there.

No sign of the chap that was coming to deep rotorvate it for me with his big machine - he will come when he is ready, you can't rush people where I live.

So I will get my big 5hp machine out and get it right down the bottom of the lottie to go over the long bed where the sweet williams were and where the rest of the chrysanthemums are going.

Best get things sorted, although I haven't get the energy at the moment but no doubt I will get a surge once I am on the move.

3.30pm Update

I got a number of phone calls so got delayed a bit, but by 10.15am I was on my way to my allotment. Boot full of grass cuttings and twigs and chicken stuff all destined for the compost bin.

It was still grey when I pushed open the farmyard gate, but I felt a stirring of energy as I looked at the line of daffodil's along the track where the trees have recently been cut done.

Yanking open the next heavy metal gate, my spirits soared and the familiar sight of the allotments and fields beyond.

After driving through and closing the gate behind me, I realised that I had left my camera at home - what a blow - but there is always another day to catch up with the photos.

As usual not a soul was around. Most of the puddles in the ruts of the track had soak away, so I did not slither and slide and drive up the bank to get to my plot.

Joy oh joy. Lush green grass, sun peeping through the clouds what is that saying about the sun shining on the righteous - just joking!

Despite freezing winds - sunshine appearing is like someone flicking on a spotlight as it catches the fresh leaves, the daffs and narcissi, and the lots of foliage on my plot.

The energy was now coursing through my body, as I donned heavy walking boots, knee pads, wooly hat, and gardening gloves. The usual tug of war with the old shed door, but jubilation as I won and gained access to my big rotorvator.

But first some of the boring things had to be done. The dumping of waste into appropriate bins, the digging up of dock plants before I rotorvate - no point in chopping them up into tiny bits or burying them only for them to reappear in a few weeks time is there.

That done, and weeds dumped in bottom weed dumping giant compost 'bin' that I created especially for the purpose, then up t'end to yank the heavy rotorvator out of the shed.

Just go it out and ready to push the 330 feet to the bottom when Geoff called out. 'Can you get it started?' 'I hope so' I called back. 'But thank you - I will give you a shout if I can't.' I didn't see him again until almost 2pm when I was going and he was coming back! He often just pops up there for 10 minutes for a look see then off he goes and comes back again for a little while then off he goes again.

So there was just me. Firstly I rotorvated between the strawberry rows, only three long rows now since the first got buried by Pat when he helped shape the edges of the path. Still they might grow through. I have my work cut out weeding the clods of grass that the threw over the bed though. Grrrrrrrrrr.

Still once I had done that it looked great, so I went on and did either side of the remaining rows of broad beans, then I had to stop and there were too many dock weeds for me to tackle in the rest of the bed which is about an area of 30 feet by 40 feet. That can be done another day.

My main task was to tackle the long bed in front of the dividing fence that runs horizontally in front of my 'meadow' area where the Norfolk lasses will go for their summer hols.

I pulled up all the membrane, dug out the dock weeds and got it ready for rotorvating. There were a few perennial plants that I had to avoid, a cranesbill geranium, a huge one with the most wonderful blue flowers - whose name I can look up, but which escapes me now in my worn out condition. There is also a lovely yellow Achillea, which I just love in country cottage flower arrangements.

I carefully rotorvated the bed, a few times, until it was soft and crumbly. Then I went up to the entrance of my allotment to shovel a barrow load of well rotted horse manure. It didn't seem very heavy as I shovelled it in with my ladies spade, but it nearly pulled my arms out of my sockets when I went to lift is and propel it all the way back over bumpy grass paths. I had to stop for a few times to give myself a rest!

I then had to go back to dig up the remaining chrysanthemum and carried them down - about 30 or so, - in evitably some of the labels got muddled up, but as I am not into showing my plants it doesn't matter. White ones, bronze ones, red ones, yellow ones, sprays or pompoms, I care not, or what order they are in. Just give me a flowers all shapes and sizes that'll do me.

My next job was to dig out a border edge along the grass path. I couldn't be doing with the long walk back to the shed to get a line and cane, so it is a bit wibbly wobbly - no not wibbly wobbly, it is artistically rustic.

On went the horse manure, raked then dug in. Then it was on hands and knees replanting the chrysanthemums - after all this work I do hope I am well rewarded.

I had several phone calls between all this. No.2. son was deciding which washing machine and fridge freezer to buy, so I was called in to explain some things - benefits of one sort to another - advantages or disadvantages. He has made do with my cast off things first, then his brothers, but now is in a position to have had a new kitchen fitted, and to get new 'white goods' which these days are aluminium or silver coloured.

After finishing the flower bed, I thought for once that I would be sensible and stop whilst I could still walk upright, so took a walk around the beds and looked at the cuttings border and delighted in see signs of life. Dumped yet more weeds, packed the barrow up and as usual got side track enroute to the top of my plot. I cut some wild ivy from the old hawthorn tree in the hedge and spotted a nest but no inhabitants, so will keep and eye on that. I then looked at each plant and noticed yet more 'friend' poking through - I will have a wonderful show of crocosmia this year, and flag irises, and those fat bulbs I photographed, turned out to be really fat headed daffs just about to burst out of their paper sheaths.

I had a peek at the rhubarb bed - 7 plants poking through and another inch or so on the forced plant under the bucket.

The 5 rescued for near death gooseberries that I have pruned, and nurtured with devoted love look really healthy, so I am hoping again for a reward.

The blackberry/boisenberry cross plant that I bought when I was on flower club outing to Cambridgeshire last year, has come alive. It was a sad little stick bought late in the summer, but having tasted boisenberry icecream in New Zealand on a wonderful tour we did staying on farms etc - I just could not resist buying this plant when I saw it. I don't think that boisenberry plants are very conducive to our climate or soils over here. My fruit bush cuttings by the asparagus bed that the gooseberries edge, are also doing well. Not sure that I will get a crop from them this year but maybe.

Through the gap with the barrow loaded up, then slide the corrugated iron across and pull up and wedge the white plastic chair to stop the wind from blowing it down.

A stop to admire Sundays labours and marvel again at the amazing spurt of growth. Then a survey of the broccoli cage - and the leaves are really turning purple and I have 25 really healthy looking bushes, if only they would come up with goods and sprout. Still lots of meals for the girls if not.

Thought I would just stop and remove the fleece tunnel in readiness for and in the hope of Richard coming with his machine one day soon. A tug of war ensued with locating and pulling up the tent pegs that held it down together with the filled water and milk containers. Pulled out the blue water pipe that I had used to make the tunnel cloche with, to reveal three more lovely cabbages, and lots chickweed looking fresh and green and in flower. Normally it would have got rotorvated in, but now I just had to harvest the 30 foot row of it and half filled the huge green bag that came up with the composting rubbish. - The chickens will be overjoyed.

Another phone call from Pat his time asking me if I was at home - he had finished his round of golf and it was 1.45pm heavens how the time had flown.

I had to get my skates on and couldn't dally daydreaming and examining every last inch of land.

Just time to pack up, tidy up and head off home. Bumped into Geoff just coming back as the sun was just going in. Has a bit of a yarn then Pat turned up - he was worried that I might have had yet another flat battery or something as I wasn't at home when I said that I was on my way!

Back home, we pulled in simultaneously into the driveway, and a neighbour had taken delivery of parcel for me - my new chicken fencing from Omlet - I only ordered it yesterday. 25 metres so that they can do some digging for me up the lottie on the veggie beds - and not escape across the fields or other allotments. I don't know who is going to enjoy that the most - them having a scratch about for worms or me watching them.

I asked the neighbour if she liked cabbage or parsnips - and she said that she just loved cabbage so I let her choose one of the ones I had just dug up. No slugs, lovely and green with a red edge to the leaves, and perfectly clean where they had spent their entire life under cover of fleece, and the few old leaves around the edge are in the compost bin up there.

I just had to fill up the little cage feeders with the chick weed for both sets of chooks, and they dived on it with excited shrieks. Then silence as they tucked in.

Two more eggs in the nest from Ginger and KoKKo and one from Freckles this morning, and Dilly got off hers when she heard the commotion. By which time I was starving. So as today is Thursday, you will now what we had for lunch won't you. This time we had 2 bantie eggs each with the wedges and Gloucester Old Spot bacon, and were surprised yet again how filling they were - the yolks being virtually the same size as the large eggs - will just a little white.

Off for a rest now - I think that I have earned it.


  1. Have a good day when I don't want to get started doing something, which is almost everday now, I say my get up and go got up and went.

  2. denise t3:07 pm

    i havent read about what chickens feel when an egg is about to be laid...i wonder if it sometimes hurts on its way down...maybe pumpkin had some discomfort with yesterdays egg? i havent read a thing about that part of it...hmmmmmmm.
    we had 3 fast inches of snow yesterday, but then the sun came out and melted all but bits here and there...Spring is a fickle season here in NJ.;oD
    have u ever used for recipe searches? its rather fun!

  3. Mine too Patsy - really hard to get going sometimes.

    Denise t - I reckon it can be painful judging by all the noise they make when and egg is laid, and all the time concentrating in the nest.

    NJ - New Jersey?

    Gosh your spring sounds worse than ours.

    Thank you for that link - I am off to cut and paste and look.

    Best wishes.

  4. talking about chickens laying eggs when my niece cherly was 4 years old her mother had hens .one day cherly came in and her eyes were big and she told her mother she had been out under the hen nest when the hen layed her egg she said "you know mama that egg came out the hens butt hole !"

  5. You got my taste buds agoing with your talk of bacon, so had to have a bacon sandwich and several mugs of tea!
    The perennial Geranium you speak of on the lottie, could it be 'Johnsons' Blue'? It keeps its' blooms longer,once cut and the foliage is so nice, makes a useful flower for a early summer arrangement! I do one with Alchemilla Mollis (Ladys' Mantle is much easier to spell!), perennial cornflowers and Marguerite daisies with the geranium and if the aspargus fern makes good growth, pop some of that in too. The only problem with the geranium is it has to be placed out of heat or it stinks a bit of dog poo! LOL!

    The house is going on the market as I type, on t'nternet and in the shop window and all branches of the Halifax. I'm ashamed of the way I've let the gardens go, BIG tidy up! Starting today while it's light and so far not raining!

    Will email re the 'pinnies probably later tonight.
    bye for now,


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