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.