Thursday, June 15, 2006

I am fed up - fed, fed, fed, fed, UP!

It takes quite a bit to make me feel fed up - and it was quite a bit that finally did it!

You will remember when I first got shingles and was in such a lot of pain, that it took me an hour to sow each row of carrot, and parsnip seeds.

All four rows I have lovingly tended and hand weeded, for weeks now. Only to discover that today a rabbit/s have somehow managed to breach my 'inner sanctum'.

I thought that it was the one safe place that they could not enter. -It has been for the past two years - but no longer.

Today I discovered to my horror, that the little blighters have eaten all my carrots and parsnips. Four 30 feet rows, and I was only away one full day!

It must have been the tiny baby rabbits that can squeeze in anywhere - but for the life of me I can not find a gap or hole in the middle area, and we dug down a foot and sank the wire in so they are not tunnelling under it.

I was so fed up that if I wasn't a grown up I would have cried - or yelled. But I didn't!

I picked myself after being on my hands and knees, brushed myself off, and started all over again.

It took me almost four hours.

I had to hand weed all the rows and between the rows, dig it over - again with the hand trowel, rake it, pull out trenches with the hoe, and sow two more rows of carrots - then devise a way of proctecting them.

I took the plastic off all my cloches, so that I just had the skeleton metal frames, then luckily I had some fleece in the shed. So my mission was to make a 30ft tunnel over two rows of carrot seeds, and try and make it rabbit proof, wind proof, - lets hope that it is successful.

I rescued about half a dozen parsnip seedlings, and had to repeat the process above.
The frame to this tunnel I covered with some plastic netting that I found rolled up at the back of the shed and had to untangle it, which took an age.

I have to admit that whilst doing this in the heat of the day, I wondered if all this effort was worth it! That I must be mad, and why don't I do like most people do and simply go to a supermarket and buy them! I wish I knew the answer to that.

In between all this work, and walking backwards and forwards to my shed umpteen times, I found a bird caught up in some netting. I heard some chirping, but I thought it was a bird just sitting in the long grass so never took any notice. But as it was there for a while I decided to have a look in case it was a deserted baby.
The poor thing was an adult black bird that had somehow flown into some black netting and had it on its body and one leg. I ran to get some scissors and picked it up, whilst it pecked my hands frantically, and carefully cut it off bit by bit, all while being pecked by the poor bird. I had to gently fluff up its feathers to find the various bits and cut through them, and untangle its foot.

When I had done so, it gave me one last peck as I put it gently down in the shade, and it flew off and hid.

The time really flew by today and I achieved none of the things that I had intended too.

I wanted to harvest the broad beans, the gooseberries, rhubarb, and some red currants that are ripe. All of which will have to wait another day - tomorrow weather permitting.

The chickens litter tray will need emptying too, and the meadow needs mowing yet again, so too some of the paths.

The little bit of rain that fell Tuesday evening whilst we were away, was enough to get the weeds going, but not enough for the courgettes, pumpkins and tomatoes.

I also wanted to tie up the tomato plants and pinch out any side shoots, sow some more salads and celeriac, and some climbing and French beans.

There are just not enough hours in the day!

On a brighter note, the delphiniums are looking wonderful and I think that I might pick some from up the allotment for indoors. The damage the rabbits did to the rudbeckia, whilst making them look a funny 'clump' seems to be tailing off now, as in inner stems of the clump are now getting tall and the rabbits can't reach any leaves, so they are surrounded by short stems that reach as high as a rabbit can! The remainder should now grow their full height and flower in a month and keep flowering all the rest of the summer. Same too with the achillea - that has been pruned by the rabbits but now that it is getting taller, I think that the leaves and stems must be tougher or not so palatable, and there are flower buds forming.

On the downside, all those chrysanthemums that I planted so carefully, seem to have failed. There is one or two that might make it, but I am not optimistic. Those that I gave my friend have not grown either - so it is not my skills - or lack of them. A friend of hers that knows about chrysanthemums in particular, said that they needed to have some green growing when planted, to grow - but our didn't. So all that time and effort and muck shifting was a total waste of time too.

But nature is like that isn't it - that is what makes it so fascinating and challenging - trying to work with the elements and get results. Some are good, some are not.

My lettuces and rocket have been and are fabulous, and the lettuces huge. I took one to my son and wife, and there was so much there that it fed us all for the evening meal and the rest we had with the bbq the next day. I picked another couple today, a red frilly one with a green centre and a big crinkley one. They were from a mixed packet that it why I do not know their individual names.

I was too worn out to take photos and the 'boss' was back from golf and waiting for lunch - which we did not have until 3 o'clock!

Guess who needed to rest up for an hour this afternoon?

No.2 son arrived safely in Barcelona early this morning, the temperature was 23c and he was spending the day sightseeing and wearing shorts. The hotel that he and his friends are staying is just three minutes walk from the daytime venue of the festival they are going to see, and 8 minutes walk from the night time marquees, where the concerts are being held. So that is good.

I got a phone call tonight and when I answered it I heard a chuckle. I said, 'Hello' and I heard my baby grandson 'talking' to me. My son has it on speaker phone so that he can hear me, and the little one always wrestles the phone away. He is not yet six months old, but he repeated all the noises I made. For some reason he started doing little coughing noises yesterday. He hasn't got a cough, but just did it, I laughed then he did it again when he wanted to get my attention. So I made the same noise of the phone and he copied, as well as other ones. It was so cute.

It is gone 11pm so I had better sign off for tonight and get some rest.

Hopefully there will be some photos tomorrow


  1. Oh Lottie how disheartening about your parsnips! Glad you were able to save the blackbird though. Poppy our cat caught a blackbird and a sparrow yesterday, although I tried to save them they both died later from their injuries, I was so sad, especially the blackbird because they're such characters and so friendly when you're working in the garden or allotment.

    Can you email me Lottie (, I need to give you some forum details.

  2. with all the trouble with the rabbits you have the joy of the grandson. my father was nick named "COTTON" and when he was ill for the last time, he was bed fast for six weeks, in august 1988, any way he would lie in bed and watch the cotton tails rabbits out side his window in the early dawn. that fall when i visited his grave a cotton tail jumbed up out of the leave at the foot of his tombstone, i thought well daddy you still have cotton tail rabbits near you. anyway what i wanted to say is when i see a cotton tail rabbit i always pause and think of daddy so i would like to have the rabbits in my garden.


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