Wednesday, April 16, 2014

He:9hrs Me:9hrs

Another busy morning today up the allotment.  Shane had mowed the lawns for me so that was one less job to do.
 Our compost bins which were full of horse manure
 grew thick thatches of grass on the top of them
 Mr Lottie kindly took on the task of weeding them!
Well the first one took three hours!
This is a job for him to do next time!
Meanwhile, I was busy doing other things. Weeding the end, and planting second early potatoes, and another row of main crop.
And constructing two more paths.

If my old bones will allow me, tomorrow I want to put the last of the spuds in and take some perennial flowers up there to plant.  At the moment it is 50/50 whether my old back will recover enough to let me. I am also keen to spray some horrendous dock weeds.  It is a yearly battle to dig them out every year - but this time I am trying a different tactic.
If I ache too much to work up there, then I will be doing some seed sowing at home.

These posts are just for my benefit so that I can look back each year to see what I was doing when!

R.I.P. Gozzie

My dearest and oldest little bantam Gozzie, passed away in her sleep overnight.

It came as rather a shock - only last week she was tapping at the back door because I was a bit later than usual putting them to bed with their evening meal - only 30 minutes late - it was 6pm instead of 5.30pm

Yesterday she spent almost all day sunbathing in the brilliant spring sunshine, scratching around in the gravel paths and getting lots of insects - and she even pulled a really big worm out of the lawn at 7am!

I am not sure of her age - she was at least 12+years old as she was one of my original bantams, together with Daisy who is still alive.  I am not sure of their age when I  bought them.

She gave us lots of pleasure, captivated us with her antics, and was the tamest, funniest teeniest little bantam you could ever wish for!  She fitted in the palm of my hand!

I am sad that she has passed away, but I am absolutely joyous that she has lived to such a grand age, and packed every single day free-ranging and enjoying the very best life and living conditions, in the company of a contented flock.

Monday, April 07, 2014

We are NOT amused!

Friday I turned a weed infested flower bed at the front
Into something smarter - and it should be a riot of colour in the summer.
I will need to pressure wash the slabs again to spruce it up even more!
But today these limp looking plants are all standing proud after a weekend of rain.
The day I did this work, a dear friend of mine living in France called me and we had a lovely long chat early evening.  The time flew past!
But some ladies were not amused!
They staged a door step protest because  I had completely forgotten that it was
way past the time for their evening meal!
They went on egg laying strike the next day!

2014 Allotment update.

My goodness we have been having some bad weather !  The Sahara 'smog' was bad in our area of Norfolk which prevented me from doing any work up my allotment last week - but there  has been progress over the weekend!
 This end of the allotment is ready to continue planting.
Just a little bit of weeding along the right hand edge 
where weeds are growing through the wire!
What a difference it has made getting rid of the runner bean posts which split up the plot, and made it more difficult to work.  And I have also got rid of the grass paths which were a
pain, at it was hard mowing along them.  Now I will pull up some more of the black rubber 'tread' (from the other end of my plot which we 'inherited' many years ago on this site together with enough rubbish to fill skips!) - and recycle them as paths up this end. 
 Easier maintenance and less work for me!

 I just need the rain to stop and the soil to dry out a bit so that I can finish planting the spuds!

Thank you for visiting.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Hours - He:3 Me:3

Well at last we have kicked off a new year up the allotment.  Mr Lottie has been very ill for a couple of years so posts and activity has been minimal.  Now thanks to life-saving surgery last year, he has bounced back and is getting fitter all the time.  So today it was pure joy to have him with me, making a start on the allotment.
 This is what it looked like before I started digging it over

Three hours later it looks so much better
Mr Lottie dug out all the weeds along the fence and we moved the heavy rubber 'path' over right to the edge.  I did make sure that he didn't dig up the daffodils - they look so pretty.
Meanwhile I dug over the bed and made the troughs for the potatoes
Started weeding the rest of the patch
but my back gave up before I could finish
We covered up  the weeded area to keep it clean
over the summer as I am growing more stuff at home now.
But I still have a big area to dig over in readiness for the squash -
which is twice as big as the above!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hello - long time no post huh?

Well we have had a very tough year this year - hence my lack of any posting of depth - but things are on the up.  Normal service will resume next year - fingers crossed.

Despite not being able to grow many vegetables up the allotment, I did manage a very good fruit harvest - and have a freezer full of bags of fruit - mixes and individual varieties. It was my best year ever for blackcurrants, redcurrants, and I had 47 lb of rhubarb!!  10lbs of strawberries and 13lb of gooseberries - quite a haul!  Plus a bumper harvest of potatoes - all of which are hanging in sacks in the roof of my garage - looking rather gruesome at night like dead men!  Plus lots of veggies from my garden - but not enough to last until next year!

 I decided I needed a 'Pick me up' - so treated myself to a makeover!
 It's been years since it was last done - and I am really pleased
with how it looks.  It makes me smile every time I look at it.
I think that I have managed to spend time in it every single day since it has been re-painted!
We are having a lot of rain lately so I have invested in a new rain cover for Peckingham Palace.
The girls are not too impressed as this one isn't the 'clear glass' look like the old one.
After the deep snow of this past winter, I decided on a really strong reinforced cover
in case we get the same conditions this winter - they'll thank me for it then - or not!
They are getting really old now - so not many eggs this year.  I really should 'do the deed' and get some new stock - but when they all have names, and are just so sweet, and come when they are called - except sometimes at bed time when they have to be bribed - they'll just carry on until nature takes its course.  

After spending this morning packing and freezing the cauldron of  thick vegetable soup I made yesterday, and making another big batch of a different mix of veggies, pulses, beans and added thick bacon 'ends' (no fat) from our butcher and Herbes de Provence - after lunch    I decided that an afternoon crafting and just chilling out my studio was my reward.
So with CD's for me to singalong with, views to look at..

 It rained and rained and rained
The garden is looking a bit bare now that I have picked all the veggies which I grew at home, but most of the weeding has been done, the lawn mowed - probably for the last time this year - but it's still a nice view from my crafty cabin.

Thanks for paying me a visit 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Busy bee in the garden

I have been beavering  away in the garden this week  - most days.  Doing lots of weeding and pruning shrubs that did survive the harsh winter - and of course lots of digging.  (Click on the photos to enlarge)

 Tackling the long raised bed was a real effort and took me three hours over two days
 Forget me nots, snuggled between arum metallicum pictum and lupins
 But snuggled underneath were lots and lots of dandelions, their runners having taken root everywhere
 More 'Lords and Ladies' great for flower arrangements, needing very few flowers to go with them
 Cranesbill - perennial hardy geraniums and delphiniums are hidden in this bunch
 At last, a nice clump of alliums - grown from a few seeds years ago
 The promise of lovely clematis and hardy fuschias
This end was just a carpet of dandelions - and took an hour to dig out but I am sure there are more lurking under the miniature rose bush!
 My top priority was to freshen up Kath's Garden which is around my garden room
The ground was rock hard after the harsh winter and some of the perennials had perished.

So I spent happy hours on my hands and knees with a trowel and fork digging it over and weeding.
New fresh growth is now emerging and it's going to be absolutely glorious again this year.
I added lots of compost and dug it in - and handsful of those 'Chicken Pellets' - being very generous with them so I am expecting a very colourful reward this summer
The first blossom flowers ever on this little apple tree bought very cheaply in a bargain store a few years ago,  I had almost given up on it and was very tempted to dig it up over the winter - glad I didn't
The usual view down the garden with my dearest Aussie friend Maxine's garden in the foreground
All the forget me knots came from seeds from her garden before she died and they have now spread all around my gardens at the back and the front - a wonderful reminder of her in the early spring.

I bought some rather expensive Alstromeria roots a number of years ago - in glorious hot colours - to remind me of hot sunny days spent with her in years past - they absolutely fill her garden now

 The hostas have survived the 4ft of snow they had in the winter
 and are thrusting through eagerly with an explosion of life.

All my plants in the beds and pots got a reward of lots of Rooster Booster pellets as a for coming back to life after the dreadful winter we had
Yet another crop of rhubarb - this will be my third picking this year from this plant and Mary's been tucking into the leaves again too!

More photos tomorrow of the rest of my gardening endeavours

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.