Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Clean slate of mind

Every year I like to start with a clean slate. Now everything is behind me.

I try to forget the disasters, the near misses, the disappointments, the might have beans (see what I did there).

I smile fondly at the lucky avoidance, the might have done betters, the dumb luck, the don't even think about its and the this is so wrongs.

I remember warmly and devotedly the planned and cultivated successes and the long term projects finally starting to bare fruit.

I take only experience and leave only memories. It was an interesting year.

I know that went on a bit, but sometimes I'm not always talking about vegetables here.

2011 Kicks off. I feel dumpy and saggy and several yards off the pace after an autumn confined to quarters by the weather. Luckily for me, so does everyone else.

The business of starting over

First, a quick apology. For those of you who care and check in regularly I've been absent for much of the season. This is largely due to PC and unreliable camera issues.

A quick re cap for history's sake. When we last met, our hero was....

By the time I was back on track in October there was very little left to do on the plot and all the fun stuff had finished so I bailed on the remainder of the year. Which as it turns out was just in time really, as the frosts and snows hit the UK in mid November. We had a good four weeks where you could not get a fork in the ground and then in Early December the snows came. We had about a foot of snow all over the plot and it was out of bounds pretty much until new year.

Caught up? Good.

There is still a lot to be done. Having cleaned out the shed last week, this week I have to disinfect all the pots from last year, that will be the first job. Then I'll empty the greenhouse and hose that down with Jeyes Fluid. It's all very dull, boring, cold wet, stinky but highly necessary work.

I know. It will get better.

(pics to follow)

Friday, 3 September 2010

Chicken top trumps would never work

Visitor: What are their names?
Me: Sorry?
Visitor: The Chickens. What are their names?
Me: Chicken. They're all called chicken.
Visitor: Really?
Me: Oh apart from the cockerels. They're called lunch.
Visitor: What?
Me: Lunch.
Visitor: You’ve called all the boy chickens “lunch”. Isn't that confusing?
Me: Not for the chickens. If they did ever say something I imagine it would be in chicken. Not English.

Visitor: So you're planning on eating them?
Me: Not all of them. Just the cockerels.
Visitor: Why only the cockerels?
Me: They don't lay eggs.
Visitor: So if they laid eggs they'd be safe?
Me: No if they laid eggs they’d be hens. The hens are for eggs we don't want to eat them yet.

Visitor: Can I name the chickens?
Me: Knock yourself out.
Visitor: How will everyone know the names I've given to each bird?
Me: Have you thought about making badges?
Visitor: Where would I pin them on?
Me: What about collars or little medallions on a tape?
Visitor: I could put up a notice with a picture of each chicken and his or her name and their characteristics.
Me: Huh. I think you've just invented chicken top trumps.

That Pinter-esque exchange is why we don't have names for our chickens.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Hollyhocks? Not on my watch

So it's been a funny old growing season. With both parents fully retired I've been somewhat relegated to weekend duties. Most of my time is spent weeding, making coffee and running the group of Community Payback workers that help us out with general site works on Sundays. Occasionally I get to play with the chickens.

Despite my initial misgivings about flowers on the plot we seem to have ended up with a few garden areas and I'm not totally adverse to them. Some of the flowers Coryn has chosen are nice enough. The Spurs fan in me hates the colour red but she's managed to get some deep pinks in and I'm too soft to dig them up but I guarantee that they will not make selection next year.

There is also the Hollyhock. If you have never come across this plant before your life is better for it.

This ghastly plant grows six feet tall and has big blousy pink blooms that flower directly off the plant stems. It's horrible chintzy cottage garden fuzz and I have begun a hate campaign against it.

I'm going KGB on this monstrosity. It's an affront to all things smart and slinky.
My plan is old school cold war tactics. Take down and misdirection. First inject it with undiluted Jeyes Fluid in the Autumn and deny all knowledge of a Hollyhock ever being in the plot.

"You are mistaken Mrs Coryn." "We have no records of a Hollyhock with growing privileges in that area."

Later I'll admit to a humour of Hollyhocks in the general area but I'll blame a mysterious, well meaning but misguided member using weed killer on the nearby path for killing the plant.
I know I’m an Evil genius. I am also available for children’s parties.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

just about back in the game

This is really just a sign post to all of the other posts that are about to be added.

Problems with PCs and cameras have recently abounded. Throw in a couple of birthdays, a world cup game or two and some chickens and all of a sudden I've got a bit of a backlog.

Well the Camera is back in action.

The PC died and it will not be mourned. Hateful pile of leaky transisters. Fortunately I back up pics and docs ( but not Cds) so I didn't lose anything.

I've managed to knock off a couple of posts for May, June and July at work and these will go up as I can add some pictures.

Yes I said chickens.

Don't forget to scroll down to pick up the missing blogs soon.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Chicken update

So the chicken coup is finally constructed. A few glitches along the way like the door getting in the way of the roof but I'm happy that it is not completely horrible and it should be safe from the local fox and rat community.

(pics to follow)

We've got a few cockerels in the coup at the moment. They are still quite young so it's difficult to be sure. A "girls only" ruling in the Allotment Society bylaws means all those noisy and tasty little fellows will be destined for the pot. The remaining chickens will be left to get on with it. We recon we might get a few more hens in a few weeks time to bolster the numbers. The egg laying will begin in earnest in August from the girls. We hope.

(pics to follow)

Pictures of the coup. (pics to follow)

More pics of our chickens (pics to follow)

You know what? They are really, really dumb. Honestly It takes a special kind of stupid to be a chicken in this coup.

In addition they are beginning to show some very human character traits. They are mean and spiteful and self-serving. They will step over their own Grandmother to get what they want and squawk and fuss if they think they are missing out on anything. Yet for all these character traits I don't hate them. (You reading this Bobbi?)

In time, I think that I may grow completely ambivalent towards these Chickens.

Aaww. They're great. Stupid, but great.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Asparagus update

So here we have the Asparagus fern in all its glory. Those pesky north westerly winds have provided a jaunty angle to my ferns at present.

(pics to follow)
I'm updating now so that you can see how huge these things get.

(pics to follow)

Hand weeding continues a pace. It's boring and difficult but at least it takes a really long time. Last weekend I was in the middle of those ferns it started to drizzle. I didn't realise it was raining until after I'd come back out!

(pics to follow)

It's about time to mulch and feed the plants. By the time they get to this size they have taken a lot of food from the soil. Now is the time to replace that in regular increments throughout the summer. It also keeps weeds down.

(pics to follow)

Just weeding, feeding and waiting now.

(pics to follow)

More mulch required later in the autumn to keep the worst of the cold weather off them.
(pics to follow)