Winding down for winter

At this time of year, the allotment is a hive of activity. Everyone is busy preparing their plots for winter, efficiently using the last few rainless days before the notorious British rain commences in earnest.

I have been busy hoeing the top section of the plot, trying to clear some of the ground of weeds. I have left the uprooted weeds on top of the soil to rot down. I will keep hoeing further down the plot over the next few days and remove all the remaining bean plants so the plot is clear from the shed to the fruit section.

The reason for slow progress on clearing the plot is due to my sinusitis which makes any sort of bending down excruciatingly painful. Last week I watched Steve and Phil check the hives to see how much sugar syrup the bees had eaten and to top it up if needed.

On the plus side, Fizz seems to be back to her usual feathery self although she isn’t laying eggs again yet. Holly and Molly seem to have half heartedly copying Fizz but thankfully they are keeping the majority of their feathers!

Sadly I found Daisy had passed away in the nest box this morning. I did my usual chicken roll call and kept coming up one short. She was a lovely chicken and very friendly.

Next I had to clean out the coop which took a while longer than I thought as the boards took forever to dry. The joys of coop cleaning in the winter! I put in lots of new wood shavings to make sure they are warm and comfy when laying. I really loaded the larger nest box as it catches the prevailing wind and can leak a little when the famously pervasive British rain sets in.

Whilst cleaning the main part of the coop, I disturbed three brown mice who have set up home beneath the boards in the nest box. Rather cleverly they have used the moulted chicken feathers as a bed.

I went to the clubhouse for a break and caught up with Geoff, Mick the Greek and Steve. There have been big works in the last week, led by Mick, which involve taking down a massive shed/greenhouse on Bentley Mick’s old plot. It’s always a time of year that I love as the burners come out to get rid of dry wood cuttings and these provide a very useful heat source on cold winter days. It’s especially good if you have got frozen hands after cleaning out the chickens!

Plan for the next few days includes getting rid of the remaining weeds and digging up the old plants to clear the way for next season.

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