Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sea bass or pigeon pie - now which shall I have today?

I’m feeling a tad bit self conscious now – with so many people visiting my site! I wonder what everyone thinks of me?

Still as I am Allotment Lady in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere – I guess that is doesn’t really matter!

So – what have I been up to today then?

Up the allotment earlier than usual – I wanted to check up on the chickens, and to let them free range earlier – and longer.

So, there I was, walking down my well worn path to the top end by the field and I had to stop and take a second look when I saw this…………………..

I ran back to my car to get my camera – yes, here you see a bird in flight – there were two actually, but I could only capture one as they were so quick.

Nowt unusual about seeing a couple of pigeons flying around the allotment? – (They are often sitting in a row on the electricity wire that goes across our
field, just waiting for me to go, so that they can fly down and eat the seeds or plants that I have been working on.)

But these two pigeons are different – they were both flying in my netted tent area where I am growing the peas and tomatoes. Actually they were both noshing on my pea rows, and only took flight when I walked past.

So after letting out the chooks, and throwing away the empty egg shell that was in the chicken run – I went back to sort out the pigeons.

How they got in is a mystery, but I had to catch them to get them out.

Daft birds do not go out a wide open exit that you make for them – instead they fly down to the ground and head butt the net!

Old Geoff had turned up and was on his plot so I called across to see if he wanted a pigeon pie!

I caught this one first – I gently picked it up and untangled it from the net. I decided to take its photo – a bit difficult getting a camera out of its case with one hand and trying to aim it in the direction of the pigeon in the other – hence the not perfect photos!

I then released it to live another day.

The next one had got wedged in the corner of the net, so I had more of a job to untangle it.

I took its mug shot too, then let if free.

Geoff said he was surprised that I didn’t wring their necks! But I told him that I had their mug shots on file – and two strikes and they are out!

I then set too, repairing the damage they had caused and put into place extra protection around one side of the tent near the bottom – I think that a rabbit might have got itself caught up a bit in the netting where the parsnips are, so I have covered it with wind protector fabric so that it won’t happen again hopefully. I shudder to think what would have happened if I had not visited today. I think that I would have found to very very fat, but dead pigeons tomorrow!

I then got side tracked and spent over and hour in the netted area checking every tomato plant. Pricking off the side shoots that had grown since last week, and tying up each one, as they had all grown a few inches.

"Ground control to Major Tom"

I know that it is absolutley silly, but when I was on my knees tending to each tomato plant (71) and weeding, the silly songs that went through my head were -

'You say tomato and I say tomarto, you say potato, and I say potarto.......' It is way before my time and I only know the chorus. It drove me mad.

Then when I found my first tomatoes on a plant, I thought 'Houston - we have a tomato!' Then David Bowie's - Ground control to Major Tom was the next song that went around my brain. LOL At least I own up to silly thoughts, I bet some of you have them too.

I am really pleased with the tomato plants progress. They have developed thick strong stems and a number of them have flowers on them already. Tough love out in the wide world having to fend for themselves, seems to have worked better than being pampered and watered at home. My ones in the lean-to, and in the garden are real weedy compared to those up the allotment which really surprised me.

Next there were the ones outside to do – then I got side tracked and started inspecting the squash.

Here is my 'Black Beauty' - not very black, but is going to definitely be a beauty, look at all those baby ones on the way. That was a great surprise.

Another - unamed bush variety - I must check that label today - I never noticed it when I was on my knees but just did when I looked at the photo.

I saw the weeds amongst the shallots next to the squash and wondered if the little shower we had had loosened the ground enough for me to dig them out with a trowel – and it had mainly, so I did those rows.

Then wheeling the barrow back with the weeds in, I decided to have a go at weeding between each onion in the rows – which I did on hands and knees. I was only going to do one double row, then go home. But you know how it is, I was at the opposite end to the wheelbarrow, so thought that I might as well do the next double row, then I could tip the trug of weeds into it instead of walking there.

Once there, I was thinking of other things and found myself half way up the next row, then, despite my knees, and back screaming at me, I thought that I might as well go back again – along the next double row to be back at the wheel barrow.

I don't weed to make the plot look pretty - it is an absolute necessity as I have found in the past that you can only grow a good crop - either of weeds or food. The weeds really take all the moisture out of the ground, and as we get so little rain, I need it to nourish my food for the next year. I invest so much time in things like these onions, as they are going to last us through to next spring or even next years crop with a bit of luck.

It was a slow walk down to the bottom with the barrow now full of weeds to be dumped in the compost bin behind the meadow. I called the girls and filled up their hopper and in they ran – happily. I collected Adelaide’s lovely dark brown, and intact egg, locked them up, and headed back to my shed, collecting fork, spade, hoe and trowel en route.

By the time I got home – rather worn out (understatement) it was 2pm! How I found the energy to cook lunch of sea bass cooked in one of last summer’s tomato sauces, steamed mange tout, and newly dug potatoes with mint, I do not know. But it looked good and fresh, went down a treat, and after a shower, and back into feminine lady mode, with blow dried hair, smelling of Chanel and not pig farm, I rewarded myself with a choc ice on a stick.

What a good life I am so lucky to have!


  1. Wish I could catch my mole like that. And now you have pictures in case you need to do WANTED: Dead or Alive posters for those pigeons. Nice visiting and seeing the garden progress.

  2. Hi AL,
    You've been a busy Gal!
    Was one of the tunes,'Catch that pigeon'? LOL! Or ,'Run rabbit, run rabbit, run, run, run'? (You must know that one, from 'Dad's Army'?)

    Well, I'm trying to not get stressed out, but what with the house selling/buying thing, now got problems at work! My sister was just the same, apart from the work thing, and on her last move only had to buy, but you would not beleive the problems, staring off small and grouping together!! LOL!

    Th David Austin Roses photos came out all blurred! Forgot to move the lever on the camera from portrait to landscape, what a silly woman!
    I'll download some to my blog, at least folk will get the 'gist' of the pics!

  3. fried green tomatoes was a movie, guess it was a book. tomatoes fried taste like squash except they have a bite to the taste. sound like you have been busy as usual. the piegons are pretty. i tried to keep piegons once didn't work , they went to my neighbors and took up house keeping in his barn.

  4. Anonymous4:39 pm

    My first time writing to you. To introduce myself, I live in New York City. Just visiting your blog gives me a few minutes of vacation time from the every day goings-on here. I so enjoy your stories and pictures of your garden and animals. My own little garden will give me some tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplant, but nothing like yours. Thank you for keeping up with it -- it is truly delightful!

  5. denise t.-usa6:50 pm

    you gave me a laugh with the pigeon mugshots lottie, thank you! they look rather innocent creatures don't they? lil sneaky things though...

    i admire your weeding abilities! your rows are gorgeously clean!

    i went out and did weeding by hand and scuffle hoe, and found my rototilled areas easy to weed, and the areas i left this year as untilled paths, hard as rock. very hard to hoe and pull weeds from. even with lots of rain! so next year i will till it all again...this was an experiment. so now i know...till all!

    how is the soap doing? =oD

  6. Petunias Garden - thanks for that - now there's a thought - but Not Wanted posters might be better.

    Just got to take a photo of the pesky rabbits to add to it!

    Sandie - glad you are back - daft aren't I with those soppy songs going around in my brain - though it might make a few people laugh.

    Moveing is really stressfull - I know, I have lived in 21 different places since I was tiny, that I can remember. I hope to stay here for the duration though - which, I hasten to add, - I sincerly hope that it will be a long time!

    Patsy - I will be giving some green tomatoes a try at then end of the season, so will let you know what I think.

    Pigeons are such beautiful birds, but they are real pests over here - not just up my allotment, but in the garden and almost all over.

    Just provide the means, and I am sure that we can ship our millions of them. LOL

    Anonymous - how nice to meet you. (You needn't worry if you is you use a pretend name - much nicer than anon, but great to hear from you).

    I just love to hear from visitors overseas - as I visit blogs over there. I find it so interesting how 'ordinary' people go about their daily lives and live - don't you?

    How nice to have a garden living in the city - your little piece of tranquility huh? Growing one tomato plant, and a few veggie and flowers is just as thrilling don't you think. I know that I used too. You really savour your first bite of that first veggie that you have grown. Do you have tomatoes on your plant yet. I should think that maybe you are ahead of us.

    Hello Denise

    I thought that people would think I was mad taking the mug shots, but had hoped to bring a smile and a second look to some faces too. Glad it worked. I try out experiments too - like you - and it is amazing what you learn when you try it yourself isn't it. I must try and mention one thing that has really had an impact on my reason for doing some things.

    Haven't yet had a rainy whole day or even morning so that I can make some more soap. The St Clements I am using and it smells lovely of the oranges and lemons. The oat bran soap is still curing - I will have a peek one day soon and maybe take a photo.

    There is so much to do, and so little time. Great though being busy isn't it. And so nice to be out of the rat trap at last - I do not miss working one little bit - and have done my years - so now is play time. (Goodness that last sentence made me sound like an ex con! LOL

    I meant that I spent my life working so have 'earned' a 'rest' in my Autumn years. Did I say rest??? Hmmmmm

  7. Anonymous10:13 pm


    I don't think the two chaps on the linked site would me amused, but the have a good link on their site for ***PIGEON PIE*** recepie.





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