Friday, May 19, 2006

Thursday's toil

Thursday, 18 May 2006

Under gardener came with me up the allotment – so we went later than usual. It was extremely windy but the rain kept away apart from a little shower, and we got a lot done.

Firstly we moved the chicken house and run across to another piece of meadow as after a couple of days the ground was almost bare again in their run. They certainly have a healthy appetite for all things green. It takes quite a time to do, as you have to take all the food and drink attachments off the run first, and remove all the pegs on the wire skirt – the pegs are a fox deterrent as a fox tunnelled under a run that was on a veggie patch – so do not want to risk my ‘girls’.

This is where I intended to insert a photo of three gorgeous chickens running around a lush organic meadow which I sowed last year especially for them! Why is it, that having removed all the chicken fencing and left them to free range in the meadow for nearly four hours whilst we did other things - they chose to spend their time in the 'junk corner' the scruffiest part of the allotment!

All three of them thought it very exciting to scratch up where the nettles were, and explore under the old bench.

KoKKo got a bit bored with that and thought being a lumberjack might be a good game and started excavating around the willow tree.

Adelaide joined in and exposed the elbow bit just below the surface.

An hour later all three were at it - but eventually gave up and went off to dig up the flower beds where there were more chances of getting worms.

I planted some Cherokee Trial of Tears plants that I have been growing under the lean to. They are not very big – just a couple of leaves on them, but I figure they will be better planted out up there in that lovely manured ground with the sun and rain on them, than in plastic pots at home.

That took me quite a while as I have to fence off the area to keep the birds and rabbits out and cover each plant with a plastic milk bottle secured with a piece of cane.

I also planted out four butternut squash plants that I have grown at home – these too had to be protected with a milk bottle until they are big enough and prickly enough not to attract the attention of the rabbits.

The main man was cutting down the purple sprouting broccoli – now yellow flowering broccoli where I have not picked any in a couple of days, and I transported some to the big bottom compost bin next to the back field and hedge. There were 47 plants in all, so I let my man do the rest as it was heavy work.

Here he is doing his impression of a tent post!
He dug up the stems which were really hard even for him to get out of the hard ground – the rain had had little impact on that area as the ground was so compacted there.

What's the photo of a bare bit of soil all about? Well I am so proud of it. A week ago it was a cage crammed full of tall purple sprouting broccoli plants as tall as me and now it looks like this............

I went over it with my rotorvator three times. I know – yes I do know, but some things you just have to do. I will suffer for it for sure, but it will be worth it, it just had to be done. I knew that after the treatment I would have on Friday (now today) I would not be able to do a thing. Heavy rain was forecast, and it was the ideal time - I couldn't resist it - and I felt an amazing rush of pride and acheivement having done it.

OK so I had to lay on my back for 10 minutes before I could get up with the boss pulling me to my feet. LOL But boy was it worth it!

The girls laid three eggs for me whilst I was up there, and happily went back into their run when I called them.

Meanwhile, at home, Dilly was out in the pen, so fingers crossed that she has stopped being broody. I cleaned them out first thing this morning and had to lift her off the nest – to reveal one egg. She couldn’t stay in there whilst I was cleaning it all out and putting fresh nesting material in. She soon ran helter skelter back in once I had finished it though.

They all tucked into their daily treat of freshly picked salad greens from up the allotment so I left contentedly eating and shut them in for the night.


  1. The OH doesn't exactly look too happy in his run does he? ....Mind you, imprisonment AND hard labour....the things we do for love eh!

  2. You are quite right Greenmantle - he would have much preferred to have been on the golf course - but it was booked up! And imprisonment - but with the promise of early release for good behaviour is just about bearable now and again.

    Besides - he does eat all the lovely food that I grow - and the old wives tale 'The way to a man's heart is through his stomach' has certainly been proved true.

    Such is love - of food or me? A bit of both I hope. LOL.

  3. Came by to answer you question, no the mother hen will not take any babies but her own. Last year i had 2 hatches from incbator and 6 hens with babies so tried to put the chicks with the mothers. the hens would not except any chick except their own and her chicks were all that came when she called.remined me of the Bible were Jesus was talking about Jersalem and said how many times did I try to gather your under my wing like a mother hen, but you would not. when i sat my own eggs in the incabator it was such a mess trying to clean it after the hatch and I thought it was full of germes that I wont use one again.this year I have bought from the hatchery to get new blood. The best way is to set the hens. People might be interested in the fact that hens that are feed good healthy food will lay eggs that produce females and poor fed chickens produces males. I have been doing research since my sister says when she sets a hen she gets mostly roosters.She need to feed better.The interesting thing about birds is the female determined the sex of the chick and in the animal kingdom the male determined the sex of the off spring.

  4. I have heard of people catching birds and butterflys in a net but you are this first to catch a man in one. The hens look great and I love the pictures as usual.

  5. Well I never Patsy - that chicken info was really intersting. So you should get more pullets than roosters now.

    I knew that the males in the human and animal world determined the offspring sex but didn't know that it was the other way around with birds.

    As for catching my man in a net - that made me really laugh - he chased me and it took ages before he managed to 'catch' me. Glad he did though, in the end.


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