Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hello - long time no post huh?

Well we have had a very tough year this year - hence my lack of any posting of depth - but things are on the up.  Normal service will resume next year - fingers crossed.

Despite not being able to grow many vegetables up the allotment, I did manage a very good fruit harvest - and have a freezer full of bags of fruit - mixes and individual varieties. It was my best year ever for blackcurrants, redcurrants, and I had 47 lb of rhubarb!!  10lbs of strawberries and 13lb of gooseberries - quite a haul!  Plus a bumper harvest of potatoes - all of which are hanging in sacks in the roof of my garage - looking rather gruesome at night like dead men!  Plus lots of veggies from my garden - but not enough to last until next year!

 I decided I needed a 'Pick me up' - so treated myself to a makeover!
 It's been years since it was last done - and I am really pleased
with how it looks.  It makes me smile every time I look at it.
I think that I have managed to spend time in it every single day since it has been re-painted!
We are having a lot of rain lately so I have invested in a new rain cover for Peckingham Palace.
The girls are not too impressed as this one isn't the 'clear glass' look like the old one.
After the deep snow of this past winter, I decided on a really strong reinforced cover
in case we get the same conditions this winter - they'll thank me for it then - or not!
They are getting really old now - so not many eggs this year.  I really should 'do the deed' and get some new stock - but when they all have names, and are just so sweet, and come when they are called - except sometimes at bed time when they have to be bribed - they'll just carry on until nature takes its course.  

After spending this morning packing and freezing the cauldron of  thick vegetable soup I made yesterday, and making another big batch of a different mix of veggies, pulses, beans and added thick bacon 'ends' (no fat) from our butcher and Herbes de Provence - after lunch    I decided that an afternoon crafting and just chilling out my studio was my reward.
So with CD's for me to singalong with, views to look at..

 It rained and rained and rained
The garden is looking a bit bare now that I have picked all the veggies which I grew at home, but most of the weeding has been done, the lawn mowed - probably for the last time this year - but it's still a nice view from my crafty cabin.

Thanks for paying me a visit 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Busy bee in the garden

I have been beavering  away in the garden this week  - most days.  Doing lots of weeding and pruning shrubs that did survive the harsh winter - and of course lots of digging.  (Click on the photos to enlarge)

 Tackling the long raised bed was a real effort and took me three hours over two days
 Forget me nots, snuggled between arum metallicum pictum and lupins
 But snuggled underneath were lots and lots of dandelions, their runners having taken root everywhere
 More 'Lords and Ladies' great for flower arrangements, needing very few flowers to go with them
 Cranesbill - perennial hardy geraniums and delphiniums are hidden in this bunch
 At last, a nice clump of alliums - grown from a few seeds years ago
 The promise of lovely clematis and hardy fuschias
This end was just a carpet of dandelions - and took an hour to dig out but I am sure there are more lurking under the miniature rose bush!
 My top priority was to freshen up Kath's Garden which is around my garden room
The ground was rock hard after the harsh winter and some of the perennials had perished.

So I spent happy hours on my hands and knees with a trowel and fork digging it over and weeding.
New fresh growth is now emerging and it's going to be absolutely glorious again this year.
I added lots of compost and dug it in - and handsful of those 'Chicken Pellets' - being very generous with them so I am expecting a very colourful reward this summer
The first blossom flowers ever on this little apple tree bought very cheaply in a bargain store a few years ago,  I had almost given up on it and was very tempted to dig it up over the winter - glad I didn't
The usual view down the garden with my dearest Aussie friend Maxine's garden in the foreground
All the forget me knots came from seeds from her garden before she died and they have now spread all around my gardens at the back and the front - a wonderful reminder of her in the early spring.

I bought some rather expensive Alstromeria roots a number of years ago - in glorious hot colours - to remind me of hot sunny days spent with her in years past - they absolutely fill her garden now

 The hostas have survived the 4ft of snow they had in the winter
 and are thrusting through eagerly with an explosion of life.

All my plants in the beds and pots got a reward of lots of Rooster Booster pellets as a for coming back to life after the dreadful winter we had
Yet another crop of rhubarb - this will be my third picking this year from this plant and Mary's been tucking into the leaves again too!

More photos tomorrow of the rest of my gardening endeavours

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Allotment Hours: Me: 15hrs

Well, I have been hard at work up the allotment again this week - thank goodness for some dry weather - really cold and windy though.
 After  being beautifully rotorvated, I made the decision to cover up this end of the allotment.
I know that it looks horrible with plastic all over it - but it keeps the weeds down and I can always peel it back and plant more veggies if I get the time and energy

 The field that the allotment is on has been 'wild' for centuries and  each year the dock weeds cover the area.  It's a never ending battle as no matter how many you dig out there are millions of seeds in the ground and it is impossible to eradicate them.  So plastic better than 3ft plus tall dock weeds and the other beasts of perennial weed species

On the next visit to the plot we burned all the rubbish in the bonfire bin
It now looks so much better

As I  had another couple of rows of potatoes to plant out

I had to do some serious manure digging.

It looked dry on top, but I sank down into it - it was well rotted but wet and so heavy!  It's well worth all the hard work though, as lining the potato trenches with newspaper and deep manure has ensured us healthy crops for many years.
That the last of the potatoes in - I could only manage four rows this year doing all the work on my own, but a least we will have some.
 I covered up the patch where I want to grow my squashes and pumpkins this year - and hope to cover up a bit more too.  Then I'll be cutting holes to plant them out later on.   I dragged out the rubber 'paths' and laid all those too.
 It was such hard work and I ached for a few days afterwards but it's worth all the effort
Already it is 'dust' dry - it is such a windy field and the topsoil turns to dust in no time.
My next job will be to 'edge' all the grass paths and beds to make it look a lot neater.

I have ten rhubarb plants in my fruit area that have been in two years now, and I am hoping that this year they will be big enough to get a good crop off them.  The fruit I grow up the allotment I freeze and it lasts us a whole year.  Rhubarb, gooseberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, and hopefully some strawberries this year.
 I mowed all the paths which took almost an hour this week
 And left the plot looking neat and tidy.

The plot on the left of the photo, gets ploughed and rotorvated by a tractor each year and always looks pristine this time of year - but later on in the year the weeds tend to take over amongst the crops

The plot of the other side of mine which can see - hasn't been touched and it's full of nettles and weeds and rubbish - and there are two people working that one and it's half the size of mine - so I feel that I am doing a pretty good job on my own.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Bantams in the garden

My flock of bantams have really been enjoying the lovely sunny weather - so I took a few photos of them helping me out.  Click on the photos to enlarge.

 I was working in the fruit cage so they just had to see what I was up to.
Daisy and Dolly were the first to realise that there were delicasies to be had
 Henrientta postively squeaked with delight as she frantically scratched in the Hemcore
 But Zola Buddy Bantam is the absolute champion at finding worms!
 They spent a pleasant hour in the sunshine doing a thorough job
Freckles is like me and doesn't care much to having her photo taken
Wherever she sat, if  she saw me with the camera, she made sure that she turned her face away!
After the fruit cage was done - we all headed out to the garden
Rhubarb leaves are deadly poisonous to chickens, and must be avoided at all cost.
And all of my chickens do so with the exception  of  Daisy.  She is a nightmare.  Year in, year out, she 
eats them early in the season.  She is over 8 years old now - the oldest of the flock
so perhaps that is her secret of a long life!
It's only this one on the raised bed that she eats - none of the others dotted around the garden!
Talking of which, they spent another happy hour or so dustbathing and dozing
 Scratching about and chatting
And generally chilling out - what a life huh?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spring clean day at Peckingham Palace

 Regular readers will know that each week I clean out the chooks litter trays - just a five minute job - and as they are at waist height it doesn't hurt my back!  So today after yesterday's digging etc my back was shouting at me - but I decided to Spring Clean Peckingham Palace.

(Btw you do know that you can click on any photo for  a better look don't you)
The sun came out just when I had finished, so I sat on the edge of a flower border to just enjoy the garden, and marvel at the sudden burst of life and leaves.
From back to the front.
As usual, some of the girls who happened to spot me enjoying a rest, came over to 'talk' to me ant to see what I was doing, and if I had any treats.
 Daisy Pekin is my oldest bantam - and she is beautiful, I just love to see her petticoats getting blown about in the wind - and it was a windy day today.
who never likes to miss out on anything, so she soon comes charging up to see what is going on!
 I just love to sit and listen to them 'chattering' away to each other in lovely soft soothing tones
You can see how tiny my bantams are against the yellow daffodils.
 Dolly is huge compared to the others even though she's a bantam Silkie
 They are clucking away to each other having found some tasty morsels

She's gone  broody so hogging one of the nest boxes - but it's not a problem as I have another one in here and two more at the back of the run - and FIVE eggs today!

I have eight little bantams - all different breeds - so those not appearing on here today are all scratching around in the garden, or dust bathing, or just flying around enjoying the afternoon Spring sunshine.