Saturday, 21 February 2015

lay lady lay

This week has been mega busy! And I'm blogging on a Saturday because tomorrow (Sunday) I'm on a mammoth 12 hour shift!

Monday started with playscheme, Miss Boo and I went bowling with the playscheme children who are deaf, Boo had a great time meeting new people.

Tuesday I spent on the plot

First things first on the plot make a brew and as I'm there Martha and Dolly caused a door blockage and mugged me for ginger biscuits!

An old farmer once told me if you crush ginger biscuits up and put it into the hens food, it encourages them to lay.... I  know how true that is but they do enjoy a ginger biscuit! (Not so much a brew though)

One of hens has started laying again!!

There is nothing more exciting for a hen parent to find an egg in the coop, it literally makes your soul giddy, well it does me!! And what better way to enjoy said treat:

Look at the colour of that yolk!!!

I think it's the clever lady Poppy who laid this, the white Sussex but Penny and Martha aren't far behind, I'm not sure if you can see because I couldn't get a good picture but when they are coming into lay their 'cheeks' and combs and wattles (the bit under their chins) become really red, like redder than red, you can just see on Marthas face the red bits.

As well as this, if you walk upto a layer from behind, they will crouch and stop dead (think for cockerel purposes - hussies!). These two things Martha, poppy and penny have (redness) and are doing.  However, I think its poppy on this occasion because she's been loitering in the hen house and spent a good 10 minutes telling me off on Tuesday because she wanted to go in and I was cleaning the house out!!!

On Tuesday, I also put wire around the border of another bed

The weather was glorious, the ex batts spent some well deserved time sunning themselves

Honestly, if these two never laid again, that'd be on with me, they have such a happy life now.

And then I went home - and ate far too many pancakes!!

Now, I'm not sure how other M.E/CFS sufferers cope with white flour, but for me a complete overload (from pancakes) put me in what I can only describe as an achey, comatosed, brain fogged state all of of Wednesday, I wouldn't mind I know it has that affect but yet I do it anyway!

Oh......I found out on Thursday I passed my sign language exam *insert big smiley face here*!!!!!!

Finally, I went to Crosby today with mum and miss boo and muttmutt, the tide was in, it was choppy and freezing and raining intermittently and absolutely beautiful.

Enjoy the rest your weekend, I how you manage to make it to your plots.

Bye for now & happy planting!


Sunday, 15 February 2015

garlics, beets and caulis

My week has been so busy! Monday, i nipped to the plot to top up food and water for the hens knowing that  Tuesday and Wednesday I was training for my new job. I travelled over to my brothers Monday night and came back Wednesday night. Thursday and Friday I was on catch up and meeting up with friends, so it was nice to go and potter on the allotment on Saturday for a couple hours, even though I was absolutely exhausted (1\2 a day of being man handled in physical intervention training and a 2 mile run on friday will do that to a girl)!

After consulting the growing wheel I decided planted up the garlic.

I never have any luck with garlic, I don't know why, but this year I have a new tactic, I'm growing it in trugs as opposed to the ground, maybe I'll have better luck this year!

So armed with dibber and ruler I set to work planting the cloves 4 inches apart 3 inches deep.

I've then given them a little water and put them outside under a piece of greenhouse plastic. They might not need it over read they like the frost but...

After that, I've planted up some caulis and beets in the propagators, as an experiment really. It said on the packets plant early spring outdoors. I've never grown beets ever and never cauli from seed so I thought I'd see how they get on and I've got more seeds if needed. I've weeded half a bed, the other half has leeks in and then picked some leeks for tea. Though still at time of blogging on Sunday night I've not used them! I'm thinking leek and potato soup!

Today I've made some headway on the greenhouse. By that I mean I've taken down the majority of the wire that was on there used for the rabbit run.  I'm going to use the wire to put around the rest of the beds on the plot.

This weeks jobs:

Play scheme!
Frame the raised beds with wire
Weed the rest of the beds
Get past a one and a half mile run without getting a new blister!! ( any tips?)

Bye for now & happy planting! Xx

Sunday, 8 February 2015

The last week

A whole week off work!! It has gone rather fast, and has been rather busy, consisting of the gym, the plot, the car in the garage and school family bingo (two hours of my life I'm never going to get back!)

I went to the plot on Tuesday even with the sun out and it being 9:30 in the morning the car temperature said it was -2 (I'm not sure how much I believe that car temperature gauge),  I had to put the car in the garage so I walked to the plot from there, it's only about a mile.  I walked through the lodge local to there, even though it was cold, it was beautiful.

                                                      Tiny little waterfalls on the brook.

This old house (Arrowsmith House) is at one of the entrances to the lodge 

Blue frosty skies

Once I got to the plot after letting the hens out and putting the kettle on, the realisation set in, that actually there was not much I can do (other than take selfies with Martha Hen).

The ground was rock hard with the frost, great for walking on in trainers, but not for anything else!  I couldn't even do any weeding, but the girls had a good couple of hours out and I tided the shed a little bit.

Yesterday (Saturday) it was chilly but quite warm (if that makes sense?), the sun was shining and due to the plot being south facing it warmed up quite quickly, and the ground was cold but easier to work with.

I've planted some peas (variety: misty), they grow to a height of about 24" and I've planted them in the box that the carrots have been in the last couple of years.

I've planted 10 of this variety.  Allotment Nigel was on his plot too, and turned up with a plastic bag for me to cover my peas.  I'm sure he watches from afar wondering 'what is she doing now?' and then comes over with various bits of advice, he's great and really helpful, I've learnt a fair bit from him (and he's also given me lots of polythene for my greenhouse project).

Once the peas get going I'll make a frame for them.  I might also plant another variety of peas maybe one that grows higher, I'm not sure yet.....

I also did some work on one of the beds.  The beds have weed membrane on the bottom and have had for the last two years, it's been great to stop any weeds coming through but because the beds are only 6 inches high there's not much room for root growth.  So yesterday I started on the mammoth task of getting the weed membrane out from underneath the soil.  It was hard work! Shifting bits of soil each time and then dragging out the membrane.  I eventually did it and put it on top of the soil to warm it up a bit ready for planting.

The soil underneath is in really good condition and what with that and mixing in the surplus soil from the chicken coop (from a couple of weeks ago) I should get a good crop off this bed this year.

The ladies enjoyed a good dustbath in one of the empty beds.

I also noticed yesterday, the rhubarb is starting to make an appearance as well.

Today (Sunday) I've spent a couple of hours on the plot in the cold.  It was really foggy and nippy, to the point where I've been home for a couple of hours (at time of writing) and my hands are still freezing, and my fingers are hitting the wrong keys on the keyboard!  Even the hens weren't for staying out opting for being in the coop most of my couple hours there.

The unruly gooseberry bush has been tied back to the fence allowing better access down the path (up until now, it's been happily trying to tear the skin off your leg when you walk by)  it really does need pruning...

Now, last night about 1 o'clock in the morning I remembered, last year when I was moving things around on the plot I needed to move a compost bin and its contents.  I had nowhere to put said contents so I just shoved it into a bed threw lots of stuff on the top to make sure the wind couldn't blow off the sheeting and left it - and forgot about it, until last night.

TA-DA!!! Lovely jubbly compost!! I'm going to take half of (possibly even two thirds) this out put it into another bed and replace it with just top soil, I don't want the soil to be to rich.  But for now, I've just recovered it, again to keep it warm.

I've weeded and covered a second small bed too 

All these smaller beds are down the right hand side of the plot as you look at it. There are about 5 in total down the side and they're a great use of the space down the side.  I'm hoping to get all of these side beds up and running this year.


There's Papa O on the plot frankly driving me mad with his new found growing knowledge thanks to the Grow your Own Magazine subscription I got him for Christmas!  
It's like spending an hour with an amateur Monty Don!

I've set one bed aside and put it in the middle of the plot just to trial it being there, ideally  I want to make a small arch over it and try and vertically grow squash this year in this little bed.  (Papa O/Monty Don is not impressed by this idea, there is no mention of it in GYO so it can't be done!)

I've also started on chicken proofing the beds.  I found some wire on the plot that I'd taken down there a couple of weeks ago, and to be honest I think this works a treat, good old garden canes and chicken wire around the beds will keep the hens out and is low enough for me to step in.  I have more wire at home on the rabbit run that will be the greenhouse so I'll be tearing it all down and bringing it to the plot.

Finally,  I've brought all the panels from the old greenhouse home to make a start on the 'new' greenhouse!

A busy weekend all in all!!

This weeks plans;

  • Start new job 
  • Make a start on the greenhouse
  • Plant up some seeds in the propagators
  • Buy some bloomin potatoes to chit!!! 
  • More training for The Great Manchester Run in May!
      (You can read all about that here: )

Bye for now & Happy Planting!!