Sunday, 28 June 2009

New chickens!

I've been a bit busy this week, what with work and sewing and new chickens, the time has flown by! But before I get to new chickens, here is my lovely rose again, with more blooms on now (hopefully as it grows it will disguise the ugly outline of the chicken run!) It's also a pity it has to be partly hidden behind the netting - that's the joys of chickens for you!

My greenhouse is doing well - it is a bit like a jungle in there now! And everything is growing bigger by the day!

Anyway, here are the new girls. I had decidedto try to keep the numbers down to 10 or 11. 14 is really too many for my garden to cope with. When we lost Florrie,Pom and Cinnamon it was a relief in a way, back to a more manageable number. Then I had a phone call. A lady I know was having trouble with her chickens - could she bring them round NOW. Well what could I say? So we are back up to 14 again.
There are 2 speckledies, Sage on the left and Poppy on the right. Poppy is a real maran throwback with lovely cuckoo colouring and magnificent feathery feet. They have both continued to lay and produce lovely dark brown eggs.
The third chicken on the far left is Anise. She is a cream legbar hybrid and had been broody. She was badly infested with red mites so had to spend the first night in isolation. She was underweight, anaemic, bald and very smelly. This was her on her first night with us.
One week later and she is no longer broody. She also has a bit of colour back in her cheeks!
Sadly these chickens have also picked up the feather pecking habit. I need to get some bumper bits for them - I hate seeing all these chickens with bare bottoms!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Extreme Eggs

We are having an extreme egg week from the hens!
First we had a dinky little blue egg from Bambi weighing in at 19g. Then today poor Pepper laid a whopping 110g egg. Here they are with a 'normal' 65g egg in between them.

I've had a painful few days - after standing on the nail on Saturday, I went to A&E on Sunday morning and got a tetanus booster. So my arm has been aching as well. But things are much better today - I can finally weight bear again!

As well as being a full time Mum, sewing and gardening, I do still do occasional 'real' work, I am an occupational health nurse in my professional life. Last night was one of those occasions when I worked - 11pm until 3am. I know what you are thinking - why is she telling us this? Well it helps to explain why I was out driving at 3.30 this morning! I just wanted to tell you how beautiful it was - and how sorry I am that I didn't have my camera with me. This is the perfect time of year to work those hours - there is still a hint of light in the sky as I go to work, and it is just getting light as I drive home. This morning, the sky was a dark, brooding lilac - it was reflecting off the mist lying on the fields either side of the road. It looked like a scene from a fantasy film, all hazy and ethereal, wonderful! And then when I got home I had to stand outside the house for a few minutes to listen to the dawn chorus. How those birds didn't wake up everyone in the street I will never know!
It almost makes me want to set the alarm for another early morning serenade tomorrow.

Almost, but not quite. xx

Saturday, 13 June 2009

My Trusty Steed ...

I have rediscovered an old pleasure these last couple of weeks. I used to do a lot of cycling, purely out of necessity (to and from work and to feed my horse), and later on to keep fit, round the country lanes. Last year oldest son wanted to start riding more to keep fit so I invested in a new bike (my 20 year old racer was on it's last legs), but son's keep fit enthusiasm waned and I didn't get much chance to ride it.

But just recently, things have changed again - smallest son has finally learnt to pedal properly and rides a small bike with stabilisers, and middle son has just disposed of his stabilisers. And they are mad keen on taking the bikes everywhere - down to nursery; to the shop; to the allotment; to the park. As well as up and down the road outside the house (we are fortunate enough to live on a fairly quiet cul de sac). And I love it! I haven't used the car all week! :0)

This is her - isn't she lovely?

Down on the plot, my purple podded peas have gorgeous, dark purple pods!
My frost eaten courgettes have been hoofed out and replaced with the squash plants. They have little flower buds on them now!
I have been hearing about bumper broad bean harvests, but no sign of any pods on mine,until I parted the leaves! And lookie here - little bitty pods! Won't be long now!
My italian neighbour is growing all manner of weird and wonderful things that I would never have thought of trying! Here are her artichokes. I've never tried them, but am determined to give them a go this year.
That's it for today - going to have an early night as I have a poorly foot. I stupidly did the old 'trod on a rusty nail' down at the allotment this evening. I can confirm that crocs are no protection at all - the darn thing went straight through. So I am bandaged up and will be off to A&E in the morning for some tetanus immunoglobulin. What a wally! xx

Friday, 12 June 2009

Zephirine Drouhin

My lovely rose has flowered! I've not grown roses for a long time, but someone recently asked if I could recommend a scented climber. I remembered that many years ago I had a cottage with this rose climbing around the front porch, and realised that I had the perfect spot for one now. So when I spotted it in the garden centre last year, I treated myself.
It is planted by the chicken run and is already nearly at roof level. We only have 3 flowers at the moment, but there are loads more buds - I'll show you the whole thing once the rest of the flowers are out. This is just a taster - isn't she beautiful? Only a simple rose, in a fabulous bubble gum/barbie doll pink with a yellow centre. But the scent is stunning - already I can catch drifts of it as I walk by. It's a really deep and heavy rose scent - nothing wishy washy or delicate about this flower!

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Allotment Update

Thursday was lovely, sunny weather and both children at school or nursery all day. What luxury! I decided to make the most of it and do some digging! Took some water down to the allotment - we still have no water there, although we have been told it will happen in June. In the meantime we are all having to find inventive ways of keeping our crops going.
I had a lovely surprise when I got there - water pipes being laid! Hurray! (We are to have a self filling trough or something like that!)
I haven't managed to clear all my plot yet, and the grass was getting a bit long. I took the hand shears down and gave it all a good haircut. At least it won't be reseeding itself everywhere. Unlike my neighbours plot (you can just see all the grass seedheads next to my compost bin above). They have only cultivated half of their plot, the rest is just growing unchecked.
I managed to dig over a bit more of the large bed and planted some brassica seedlings (not sure what they are, I was told cabbages,broccoli and sprouts), and sowed some yellow podded dwarf french beans. My runner beans are just poking through under the canes at the far end. I just have this corner of the bed to sift through and a few more brassicas to plant in it. I did wonder if they would take as they had got rather limp, but I nipped back yesterday with some more water and they had perked up and were looking good!

Sadly my courgettes didn't fair so well. I mulched them with the grass cuttings last week, but it obviously wasn't enough with the lack of water and they had all shrivelled up. I gave them a good water, but next day they weren't looking any better so they will have to come out. Luckily I have 4 squash plants in the greenhouse that need some space, and some more yellow courgette seeds, so I will put them in there. The potatoes are suffering on some of the plots - leaves are looking dry and curling, but so far mine are doing well - considering I haven't watered them. Must be all that manure I put in with them! I've also had some peas - the dwarf Kelvedon wonders have all podded, they just need to plump up a bit more. The rain has finally happened today so that will do them good!
Finally in this pic you can see the carrot and parsnip bed in the foreground, with carrotfly deterrant marigolds planted around the edge. All the parsnips seem to have germinated!
The green bed on the left has sweetcorn in it. I have some more to plant in there.
My onions have started to produce flower heads. I think in response to lack of water. I've nipped them all off so hopefully I will still get some useable onions from them. Looks like I have a little lawn at the front of my plot now!
Finally, I like to walk around the other plots on my way home. Look at these runner beans in their pretty willow obelisks.
And look what I spotted nestling on the ground on this plot! I hope he picks it soon or the slugs will beat him too it!
I love this salad bed - what lush lollo rosso!
And finally back to my bike, parked by the school plot - how lucky are we to have a school gardening club? Doesn't it look fab?
As I'm writing this now, the rain has set in, so no more trips with the aquaroll for a few days at least! And hopefully that digger will have done it's job and the waterboard connected us up. I can't wait to see the plot again in a couple of days - there is nothing like a bit of rain to really get things growing!
Oh yes - if any of you are wondering about the fate of Sugar the naughty chicken, she has been sorted. But don't worry, she is still alive and kicking - I managed to grab her and Al clipped her other wing. She had already had one wing clipped but it obviously wasn't enough. I wasn't sure whether or not clipping both wings would work but it's done, and so far it seems to be working. Either that, or I shrieked at her so loudly the other day that she has learnt her lesson! I've seen her pacing the perimeter, but so far she has kept out of the veg patch. Phew!

Wednesday, 3 June 2009


Beaten by a bloomin' chicken! I am so hopping mad!!!
Sugar has defeated my anti chicken defences and got into the veg garden - the children's sunflower seedling, and all my radish and lettuce seedlings have been scratched up. If she weren't so scrawny she would be seriously considered for the pot - I am that cross with her :0(