Sunday, 11 January 2015

"Do you even know how to dig........ feckin' gobshite?"

The above question (insult) is just one of the many I've had to endure from Papa O on the allotment today.  To be fair the answer was no (the best bit was when I spent ages getting soil on my spade so proud of myself, went to throw it in the wheelbarrow, hit a piece of wood and it all fell off back to where I'd got it from).

Give me a track to run round any day or a rowing machine in the comfort of an indoor gym and I'm away, but actual full blown hard labour - its not for me (and for a further excuse, it was weights day at the gym yesterday!)

Honest to good god hard graft was performed today  (as well as some serious swearing from an Irish man!), in a stinking, wet, muddy chicken pen.

The rat has been getting in to the back pen and not only eating all the food but because its been burrowing, it's caused uneven muddy ground.

So myself and Papa O have been down today trying to stop it from getting in.  We've firstly had to take everything out, which in itself is hard because the top only comes off on one side as you can see. Then the other side you only have 3ft of height to work with:

We had to take everything out though to see the extent of the burrows:

These two picture were taken from right at the back normally not accessible when everything else in there. The top picture, you can see there looks like there's a little nest been made and you can see just how much soil its kicked to the back.

So, we've had to mesh the entire floor of the pen.  Now personally, I don't like the idea of hens on mesh,  but the mesh is well covered with earth and to be honest I'm at a loss as to what else to do.  (other than rat poison and that's not really a route I want to go down. 

We've overlapped panels to create smaller holes, nailed them to the wood on the bottom, added more mesh and tiles and anything really that will stop the rat getting through.  I asked Papa O to get a picture of me grafting - he got one of the phone case (he couldn't figure out where the lens was) and one of my bum (- I wont put you through that!)

So three muddy, cold hours later, there's no after picture I'm afraid because well it would just be mesh covered by mud, but - I did pick these to make some leek & potato soup later

A note from Papa O (in an Irish accent):

 "..and you can tell whoever reads yer blog,  If I find out that the little bastard rat is back in 'ere, I'll come down 'ere and damage the little fecker.  I don't give a shite about animal rights and all that malarkey"

Bye for now & Happy planting xx


  1. Haha! Bless ya Papa O!
    Good job done in the end! Hope it keeps out Mr Rat. The leeks look great so I'm going to assume the soup was great too! X

    1. Oh I've not made the soup yet! But I'm sure it will be xx I hope for Mr rats sake he stays out!

  2. We get rats on our allotment. We sometimes find dead bodies and thank Ziggy the allotment cat for that. I've picked leeks this week and made leek and potato soup. It was delicious and there was enough left to freeze some for another day :)

    1. They're a pain aren't they Margaret!! I don't want to put poison down because I don't want they hens to get it. It'd have to be around the outside where the hens cant get it x