Monday, 1 February 2016

This week has seen the storm gertrude (why they give them names i don't know?!) and it saw my car give up the will to live - on the motorway - at 7:15 in the morning - on the way to work! Whilst relying on lifts from my wonderful family and friends I'm developing thighs of steel walking everywhere with storm Gertrude keeping me company, at least its not raining (at time of writing, that'll no doubt change), and sometimes its nice isn't it to get out into the fresh air, frankly, there's nothing that a pair of walking/running shoes, an ipod and a warm coat (if needed) can't cure in my opinion!

Over on the allotment it has been about getting the plot ready for the better weather and planting.

I would love to be one of those people who can offer you a lovely colourful, arty sketch of what will be planted where this year, but thats not going to happen, my creative bones will not allow me produce anything that doesn't look like its been done by a three year old who's had far too much sugar.

I do enjoy planning where things will go, but honestly, I'm always also very ambitious because, I invariable forget when I should plant things, plant too early, or just don't have time to do it. This year though it'll be different! This year I'll have to help of mr husband; who had promised me he'll come down and help on the plot more (at this point I'm sure you can here the 'yeah right, whatever').

So this weeks jobs:

I've covered a couple of beds to kill a few weeds, as well as pulled up old plants, though last years artichokes I've left for now, as I'm unsure how long they're normally in the ground for:

I've doubled up two beds and will make a start on getting it ready for (hopefully) this years carrots:

I've also asked papa o to help me prune the gooseberry bush:

It's looking rather untidy and I've never pruned it hence needing the help of papa o

I also had a go at wet felting this week (stuck in on a rainy day), I've decided to make some bunting for the shed:

I tell you what, its quite hard work!! There's a lot of rolling and turning and rolling and turning get it. But in the end I came up with this:

now its not the best felting, I need more practice because the fibres haven't been weaved together properly but then my mum had the best idea - needle felt the bunting flags as well!!!

It will look lovely in my shed!

I'm hoping this year to paint the outside of the shed, its need of some TLC:

It been on the allotment now going on 4 years and before that it wad in my father in laws garden at least 10 years! Its starting to look a bit bedraggled! The shed painting will have to wait for a longer, warmer, drier day though!

All in all progress is slowly being made, and hopefully in time for the spring.

So, bye for now and happy planting. Xx

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

January 2016

Belated Happy New Year!

The plot is what can only be described as a mud bath at the moment. The tail end of December saw the worst flooding the North has seen for a long time, the River Ribble near to where I live, burst its banks which it has not done in those parts for years due to flood defences that were put in place, but boxing day saw the roads and houses nearby flooded. The reality though, is that we didn't get it half as bad as some places such as Hebden Bridge and Clitheroe, and with the seemingly never ending rains of normal winter weather, well, there's only one thing for it on the allotment; suck it up princess and get muddy, there's chickens to feed and coops to sort out!!

Mud bathing hens!

Trying to keep the mud to a minimum in the coops - I really should go for shares in Sawdust the rate I go through it in Winter!

A couple of weekends ago we had snow. Snow that started at about 4pm on a Saturday afternoon and didn't stop until the early hours of Sunday morning, and we woke up to a blanket of white. Boo finished her breakfast in 'extra quick time', donned her waterproofs and came to the allotment (never have I seen that child so excited about going to the allotment - I haven't seen that excitement since either come to think of it!) She lasted all of half an hour before her gloves where thoroughly soaked through and she wanted to go home!

Miss Boo

The hens precociously stepped out of their coop with a look of what I can only describe as 'what in holy hell is this white stuff, its freezing' - and then went back into to the warmth - wimps.

Clearly not wanting to get their feet cold!

They were not even bothered about coming out to meet the chicken new tenants a couple of bantams - Franco and Maude, given to me by a man on the allotments who has too many hens (named by me, not him.) Franco is a lavender bantam and Maude

Franco and Maude in closed quarters.  

The new tenants are doing fine, seem quite happy and to be honest quite comical to watch ( I think I may get some more bantams). They have totally no fear, on the first day after the snow had gone, I let them out of the coop armed with a garden cane, in case I had to separate any hen fights and also slightly unnerved about how I'll catch them if needed (they are really fast, but to be fair, over the years, I've become a bit of rocky balboa when it comes to chicken catching.) but they just walked straight on in to the original set of chickens (what is a group of chickens called?) and there was not a bother from any of them - until 10 minutes later when Franco and Billy the kid got too close for comfort.

Because you see, do you remember the egg that Martha Hen hatched at home back in June well that lovely adorable chicken that was going to adorn my kitchen with more lovely eggs to eat, turned out to be a not so adorable, but extremely beautiful (and noisy) cockerel!! He seemed to discover his vocal chords about 3 weeks ago and has not shut up since, he also around the same time seemed to discover his lust for the ladies....and the ladies for him!  He struts around the plot crowing and the ladies literally swoon at his presence, hussying at any opportunistic moment.


Billy the Kid looking for the laaaadies!

Billy and Franco usually last about 15 - 20 minutes out with each other before they stumble across each other and Franco starts a scrap, invariably one of them (usually Franco) ends up locked in Borstal then the crowing starts; one, then the other and so on and so forth.  In a nutshell, they're acting like a pair of .... (you can fill in the blanks using your imaginations I'm sure!)  I have no idea how to combat this fighting problem so you know any advice would be greatfully accepted!?!  (I fear the dispatching of one of them (Franco) may have to come into play)

Billy and Franco squaring up to each other.

 So for now, its all about the hens, the weather is so cold and the soil is so wet,  I've been doing the odd bit of weeding and pulling up of old plants but to be honest most my time down there is spent sat in my shed, drinking cappuccinos and watching hen behaviour, though I'm slowly making an effort on deciding on what to plant in 2016 and where.

Until next time (and I promise to blog more often!) bye for now and happy planting. xx