We had a lovely dry day and sunny day today - so I covered myself from head to toe, slapped on factor 50+ on my face, wore a big floppy hat and off I went up the allotment with Pat.
I had a great time up there - worked my socks off. Pat had a bonfire to burn all the winter vegetation that could not be composted including the Christmas tree.
He got my rotorvator out for me whilst I rolled back the rubber path in the fenced off area and pulled up the bean strings before going over the plot. The front bed I can dig over next time I am up there as it is nice and soft with all the well rotted manure from last year's pumpkin patch.
The wind didn't manage to lift the weighted covered bed - so although unsightly perhaps, it is better than a bed full of dock weeds - the seeds of which germinate round about now - and there must be millions of seeds in these beds due to all the surrounding plots which had the weeds and seeds blow over
I think you will agree that this is quite a transformation since those Saturday photos. I got Pat to take down the netting protecting the brassicas, and to pull them all up - and he pulled up the canes too. We removed the rubber paths, and then I went over it several times with the rotorvator - and put the mats back - voila!
This next bed got the same treatment - Pat pulled up the dead sweetcorn plants, and we weeded around the gooseberry bushes - and I rotorvated it a couple of times.
I think it's looking pretty good for an OAP not in the best of health! The 'sticks' in the foreground are Jostaberry bushes, which I grew from 2 inch cuttings. I stood behind the bed to get the photo
Here is the view from the other direction. The Jostaberry bed at the bottom which looks lovely in the summer, behind that is the row of a water butt, and the compost bins and to the right is the enclosed bonfire area with an incinerator inside it. We can only have a bonfire under certain conditions. The wind has to be blowing away from the houses (which are to the left of the field, and others at the bottom of the fields. It also has to blowing away from the pig farm behind me - as the smell of smoke would panic the pigs. The ideal conditions are if the wind is blowing to the right and at an angle away from us. Which doesn't happen very often -hence the build up of bonfire material - but today it was perfect!
As you can see though, there is still a pile to burn!
Now those with keen eyes might have noticed the sudden leap in my egg total - and wondered how that occurred with only 8 hens and two of which do not lay any more - and those that do, do not lay every day!
Well, on Tuesday, I did a lot of work in the garden, after which I decided to sit and just relax, admire my handiwork and listen to the birds.
The place I chose to sit was on the chair beside the gazebo -notice the roof - another job that needs doing after the winter storms damage. Whilst sitting there in the shade, I became away of a rustling noise coming from under the floor boards of the gazebo - at least that's where I thought it was coming from. I sat quietly and listened and watched - expecting to see a rabbit or evidence of one - when out popped a bantam - Twiggy - and off she ran up the garden. On closer inspection I saw an egg amongst the leaves. You would have laughed to see me - lying on my tummy - my legs sticking out of the gazebo, my head to one side, with my arm stretched out scrabbling about in the leaves. In the end I retrieved eight eggs.
Yes EIGHT from under here! They were not only Twiggy's either, but the Poppy's and Snowy's too! I took them in and did the float test and they were all fine! So I used them to make a lovely big tray bake sponge cake with Morello cherries - and it's yummy and will last us a week! What a bonus! They haven't laid any more there since - but I got three today in the nest box where they should be!