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.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Allotment Hours: Me: 9hrs He:1.5hrs

All work so few photos.

This afternoon I spent my time up the allotment planting out my early potatoes

 Not many photos for all the work I did, I was too busy working!
First of all I made a line.

Then I filled up a wheel barrow full of well rotted manure - it was so heavy to push!

I dug out a deep row, layered newspaper all along the trench - it holds the moisture,
and the put a whole wheel barrow full of the manure along the trench.
 I snuggled the chitted potatoes in it and covered it up, then heaped up the row.

Then repeated the whole process for the next row, it was back breaking work for me on my hands and knees for most of the time.

A few allotments along from me, a man had a big rotorvator that cut a groove in the soil - his wife walked along  behind him throwing the potatoes into the trench -  like sowing grass seed - she didn't even bend down but did it from elbow height - hmmm I wish I could do that!

I was so exhausted and aching from all my digging, manure shovelling, and on my hands and knees planting the spuds that I didn't even have the energy to take any photos of the heaped up rows.  
It was all I could do to pack up, lock up the shed and drive home!

Resting my bones today - it's a cold windy day so a good excuse.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

RIP Little Willow

My darling little Willow ( a rare breed white Barbu D'Uccle) bantam died peacefully on Friday morning.

She had suffered from a prolapsed vent for nine months - but I kept her clean and happy and healthy.  I didn't want to dispatch her at the time, and she wasn't in any pain, and full of the joys of spring.  She didn't get pecked by the other chickens as her rear end was covered with long feathers and her long wings which crossed over - and with frequent washing and 'attention' - you don't want the graphic details - she continued to have a happy and carefree life - chasing around the garden, flying  up onto the raised beds, arguing over scraps and worms, and generally living life to the full.

Then Saturday morning she got up, flew on to a perch, then sat there a while, then flew down for breakfast when the others had finished and come of the run.  She then had a drink, and just sat down watching.  So I went to see her and she looked tired - so I put her in a nice clean box, with straw, and she nestled down whilst I popped up to the shops to get a few bits.   When I came back she'd passed away peacefully.

 I'm glad that she got those extra months of the sun on her back, and got to fly, and run and play chase.
And even got to early and early strawberry this year!

Good bye Willow - it was a pleasure having you - even though you were too posh to lay and egg for two years!

Today we went up the allotment - I had sold my rotorvator and it was being collected this morning.
Whilst there the sun came out - and I just couldn't help myself - I had to make the most of the nice day, so we Spring Cleaned the shed (ex pig shed) - not it's as spotless as an old stye can be.  And we have bags of 'stuff' to dump!

Just for my records today's allotment hours tally

Allotment Hours: Me: 9hrs  He:3hrs

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Allotment Hours: Me: 6.75hrs He:1.5hrs

 Today's the big day.

 The man is coming to rotorvate my plot

And make it look better than this
The middle fence is down - gone - it will  be easier for me to manage
Yesterday's full on rain all day and through the night has magically disappeared
And 'my man' was here bright and early and ready to go
 And what a difference it's made
He went over it so many times - it's perfect.

I was working in the fruit cage area - pruning the redcurrants and loganberries and tidying up
The climbing bean frame took so long to put up last year that I couldn't bear to take it down again.
But he managed to rotorvate around it fine.

At one time the rest of the plot as far as the eye can see was all mine - but it got too much,
now I have about 150ft x 33ft which keeps me busy
 So off he goes with his machine
 (I have to have a bonfire one day soon)
Voila - all finished.

I am going to cover up some of it with plastic sheeting to help prevent the weeds growing too quickly - then remove it/fold it back as and when I get planting

So that's the next job - covering it up again!

Sunday, April 07, 2013

2013 - First allotment post of the year - I'm off - Me:4 hrs worked

I can't believe that it is April and that this is the first post of the year!   The winter here in East Anglia has been the worst in living memory.  Deep snow for weeks on end - floods - more snow - and more floods and freezing weather.

But hey - the rain stopped, the sun shone, and I managed to get some work done.  Not much though.

 The beds were not as bad as I had expected - the view from the front

 The bottom part of the allotment where the potatoes were needs a good dig
 The grassy paths needed mowing
 I had to go over them four times to get them looking decent
 The fruit cage needs some TLC and dock weeds are growing amongst the strawberry plants
 The second of the beds in the front section didn't look too bad as we covered it up for the winter
 But it took me half an hour of mowing to get the lawn at the front low and manageable again
 I have a plan - this is going to be all dug over and the fence on the left removed
 I had a go at rotorvating with my big machine - but I am an old lady and it was just too much
so I had to abandon it - but am hiring 'a man' to do it for me. Weather permitting it will be done on Saturday