After sorting out the bantams first thing, I just couldn’t sit still for long and did my usual trip to see the Norfolk lasses and collect the eggs.
Today there was just one – and a half eaten egg.
The picture is a bit blurred I am afraid. I put it outside their area to photo it and it was raining and my hand was shaking - in temper? No!
I just don’t know why this is happening. They free range when I am up there, and you know how many hours I spend up there each day. They have plenty of room in their extended run, have the best layers mash ‘on tap’ every day and I always make sure that they have enough for six rather than three hens. They have oyster shell mixed in with it too, and are on a grassy meadow, so can scratch for more grit in the soil. Not very grateful are they for all the care and attention I lavish on them.
I thought that I would move their run again. It gets moved every other day, but it has never been facing the way it is, so perhaps they do not like the view. (Joke).
As the rain had stopped I decided to take some photos first and walk around my little ‘estate’.
The view that greets me when I open my car door - my neighbours plot - and his dog had left a visiting card on my lawn - even I can tell the difference between rabbit dropping and a dog's LOL
Still it is better than last year at the moment - live and let live hey?
I took a few photos of the track end of the allotment so that you could see my tidy and nettle free shed end. This is after four hours work - if you had see it before!
We have a permanent fight with nettles and allsorts of weeds encroaching our plot, but I just have to get on with it - and cut and chop - it is a never ending battle.
I will no longer get stung when I go to get water from my tank at the side of it. One of the water butts on top of the pallets has water in, and with a tap on the bottom it is just the right height for me to fill up the buckets and watering cans. (I wonder if Pat can be persuaded to refill it for me next time he is up there). No chance I reckon.
The butts will be repositioned over the winter and next spring I will put a couple of cold frames on the pallets so that I have a 'green house' to grow things in.
The rain has certainly freshened up the plot, and it smelt wonderful.
This is my last ditch effort to protect my squashes and climbing beans from rabbits, and pests, and a terrier who will not name and shame as it isn't her fault that she is a tearaway!
Hopefully squashes will be racing away after this.
Here are ones further down the plot.
They have been somewhat distressed in the hot arid weather, and my pathetic watering is not a patch on a good downpour.
The plastic bell is there for protection – the Atlantic Giant, got chewed by the rabbits and now has a lot to do to live up to it’s name.
Within minutes of taking off the bell, a bee appeared and pollinated the single flower – which means that I should at least get one pumpkin – with luck.
After almost three years in the waiting, here is a photo of my first crop of Jostaberries. I have three bushes all from cuttings, and they are just about to ripen by the look of them.
They look like a gooseberry when they are green and like a blackcurrant now they are ripening. I tasted one and it is too early as they are still hard. I would dearly love to make Jostaberry jam!
Another little marvel in the tiny blackberry I bought in the autumn. There was only a couple of inches of stalk on it in spring, so I protected it with a wooden bottomless pot, and it has grown.
It is thornless, but the label does not have the named variety – just says Blackberry £5.
I am taking a chance now that it is bigger and removing the protection so that it can ‘go mad’ if it wishes. I never watered it once, since the initial one when planted, but it had a very good helping of rotted manure around it so that seems to have done the trick.
It too has some flowers on it, so I may get some berries – about 10 – but with all the birds about they might get this years ones before me – but not next year – it will be netted!
Looking into the net tent, I spied some lovely mange tout ready to be picked, and once inside I discovered there were lots.
So I picked 1 ¼lb and we had them steamed for 6 minutes and they were fantastic. You really should grow them if you haven’t done so before. I also gathered up some sorrel and steamed that for two minutes and they looked really pretty on the plate. There were a few new potatoes left from yesterday, so I dry roasted them with a sprinkle of garlic and chives on top, and added some of last years tomatoes that I froze whole. I popped them in the same dish and the potatoes and cooked them from frozen – and it worked a treat. They were not all water and no taste – but were as if I had just picked them and roasted them – a real surprise that! The meal was completed with a breast of chicken baked in a parcel with fresh tarragon and oregano from the garden – a pretty little feast!
But I have leaped forward quite a few hours!
I took a walk up the track to look at the other plots, from afar, not walking on them you understand – it wouldn’t seem right to do that if the person wasn’t there.
The other two new comers whose plots were ploughed, and then later deep cultivated looked a real treat and without a weed in sight a couple of months ago. I had high hopes when a new shed appeared on one of them too – very posh.
The one next to the ‘posh shed’ who was named ‘The Scientist’ not in jest but because the person who called him that thinks that he really is, has been a bit of a let down. I was so looking forward to seeing all the plans that he had come to fruition – but it hasn’t happened yet. His plot and ‘posh shed’s, looked like they had been sown with the ‘clover’ that he mentioned using, that would ‘suppress all the weeds, and you just plant through it’. I really looked forward to seeing it happen, and the beds ‘like mine’ with grassed paths, and different fruits and vegetables.
There was a sea of white, which only I noticed, as no-one else has, they just think it has been left and is full of weeds! Whilst the clover if that what it is, is now going to seed, the usual red seeded stems of dock weed rise above it, so too some parsnip seed heads that appear every year, and others are appearing too. I really and truly hoped it would be wonderful and that I could learn a lot and put it into practice. So I am feeling a bit disappointed.
‘The Scientist’ and his wife, haven’t even cleared out the debris in the shed, nor the brambles and weeds at the track end of the plot. In winter, it was bare, with just a hint of brambles, but now they have gone rampant. They will have a nice crop of berries on them, for the birds though, as they will be the only ones able to reach them without being stung by nettles.
‘Posh Shed’ which is shared by two brothers and their wives. (I have only seen them a couple of times a while ago, and no one knows their names, so I will have to call them ‘Posh Shed’.
They didn’t appear until late spring, and did a lot of looking and talking one day – I waved – but didn’t get a wave back at the time, they were deep in conversation over a roll up. The weeds were starting to appear at the time. They made a start and put down slabs for the shed. Banged in bits of wood and put lines along for the rows of potatoes, which they duly planted. Then no-one saw them again. Someone erected the gorgeous shed – but no-one saw it happen. I did see them putting up some canes for runner beans – and Mike, next to me saw one of the chaps a couple of weeks ago, who said that the rabbits had eaten his runner beans – and they haven’t been back since. And the weeds are growing, and it will soon be hard to find the crops!
I hope that the people are all right – it has a bit of a ‘Marie Celeste’ feeling about it at times. I had visions of people up there at weekends or evenings – all working companionably alongside in their own allotments. Perhaps a cheery wave and a greeting and maybe a bit of a chat and encouragement etc.
If this is the first time you have seem my blog - perhaps at this stage I had better tell you that it is 330 feet long and 33 feet wide - in the middle of nowhere with not facilities!
But I do love it so - even though I sometimes feel that I am the only one on the planet!