Welcome to our allotment blog. We've got a plot, now we're trying to figure out what we're doing! So please join us - put the kettle on, sit back, and dream about Living The Good Life...

Friday, 26 June 2009

Pretty pretty...

The new hen has been named Peggy Sue. Not just 'the little one' which Adam may have preferred. But Lola has turned out to be a bit of a bully - after a couple of days of chicken harmony she started pecking and being very possesive of the nesting/laying box. So now they have separate sleeping areas and all seems well. We'll re-introduce them slowly and see what happens.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Anyone for tennis...?

Yum yum yum. The strawberries are ripe.

And we've got a decent selection of food from the plot today. Alongside the strawberries we got a couple of bunches of shallots, potatoes (the very first crop of potatoes!) and peas. Sounds like there's a good dinner on the way!

There's nothing quite as exciting as digging up potatoes. It's a bit of a lucky dip 'cos you never know if you're going to get a couple of big'uns or a load of little'uns. We seem to have a better yield from a couple of plants this year compared with last year, so hopefully this variety won't be another explode-in-the-pan-when-you-boil-'em sort, and we can have some nice new 'taters for tea.

Today we did quite a bit of weeding and strimming, which tidied the place up a lot. The weeds weren't as bad as I'd expected which was great! I planted out four brussels sprouts plants which a friend from work gave me, and we also transplanted some squash plants as two had germinated in some places and none in others. The carrots are doing ok (miracle!) and the swedes have also germinated so we'll have to keep an eye on them and see how they get on.

But we've had a bit of a sweetcorn disaster - only 8 out of about 35! AND we put at least two kernels in each spot! So we may have make a trip to the garden centre to fill in the many, many gaps.

Oh, and although hen #4 doesn't have a name yet, she's already provided some comedy moments. Lola's a bit broody, and keeps hunkering down in the nest box. So what's a new little chicken to do, but copy her? And if there's no room left? Then just sit on top! Looks pretty comfy to me!

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Chicken little

We now have a new chicken. She's only 15 weeks, so she isn't laying yet. And compared to Lola, who's about one year old, she's tiny. She's a different breed too, a Lohmann cross (brown/ginger and white). And because she's so young she doesn't yet have much of a comb so she looks a little bit like a golden eagle gone wrong.

No name yet either.

Pics will follow!

Sunday, 14 June 2009

The worst end to a fab weekend

Angie just died. Literally. In the last hour or so. She was crop-bound before we went away for the weekend (when food gets stuck in the crop, often from eating long grass or similar), but we'd massaged her crop and got some olive oil down her and she'd started pecking about again and eating her food. She wasn't laying, but she was drinking like normal, which was a good sign. And then this afternoon she pooed a big mass of compacted straw, but she seemed fine, rootling around, having a dust bath and generally being chicken-y. Then she went in the nest box a bit early this evening and when Adam went out to check on them half an hour ago she was dead. Just like that.

And Lola - typical Lola - was standing on Angie's head.

Now I feel like crap. I feel incredibly guilty. Especially after Ruby. I thought Rubes would be our one bad luck hen and from here on in it'd be plain sailing. Adam says we haven't done anything wrong, but I feel awful. I guess Lola's good health and constant egg-laying counts for something. And we did say that they were outdoor creatures, just here for their eggs. But it's hard not to get a little attached.

How come no ones else seems to have bad luck with their chickens? On other blogs I read they're always laughing at the chickens' antics and counting their many, many eggs.

But now? Jeez, I don't know. Do we get another one? I think we have to. We can't have Lola on her own, they're sociable creatures. Or maybe we should call a halt to the whole chicken thing, and take Lola back to the chicken farm.

Weedings and weddings

Ok, let me bring you up to speed. We've had two weddings in as many weekends, so haven't been to the plot as much as maybe we should at this time of year. We did make a visit last Sunday, with our friend Erica, who was fantastically helpful with pulling up weeds and picking elderflowers from the back of the allotments. We now have four bottles... hang on, no, three - we've already finished one - of elderflower cordial. Mmm. I'll have to make some more before the elderflowers have gone, it's just too delicious.

While me and Erica weeded, Adam sowed leeks, swedes, more parsnips and more carrots. (Yeah, we know it's maybe the wrong time of year for sowing some of these, but we figured we'd give them a chance. You never know.)

The strawberries are ripening. Sorting out the strawberry bed is, once again, getting near the top of the To Do list, as it's completely overrun with weeds. We'll create a brand new strawberry bed somewhere else, I think, and transplant the best plants once they've finished fruiting.

This weekend, we haven't been to the plot At All. We intended on popping down this evening to water things and do a bit of a check-up, but honestly, after
driving to the Cotswolds and all the wedding excitement and camping as well, we're just pooped. Camping was great fun, but at this time of year the birds wake everyone up at some ungodly hour, so there's no chance of a lie in. Luckily we had a spot in the shade so we didn't get boiled in our tent. But what fantastic weather for a wedding/camping weekend. We were so lucky.

And, in other news, my camera's broken. It still takes pictures, but the screen is just kaput so I have no idea what I actually taking a picture of. So the next few posts will either be blank or have some random point-and-click experimental images... Here's one of the allotment from last weekend.