Of chickens, weaving and weeding

This morning, free from the shackles of work, I walked happily down to the allotment. There were several people down at the clubhouse already so I joined Cliff, Coco, Steve, Chris and Mick the Greek for a while.

I topped up Leia and Rey’s food and water before hitting on a temporary solution to the high temperature in the greenhouse. Using the run I had stored by the back of the shed, I lined it up with the greenhouse before opening the door. I managed to tempt them into the run with weeds and closed the greenhouse door so they couldn’t escape. They spent several happy hours busy demolishing the weeds growing between the patio slabs whilst I started to clear out the old bedding. I swept it up, washed out the nest box and left it all to dry.

Next I started to clear the back of the plot near the chicken coop. It’s got rather overgrown in the last few weeks. I cleared away all the fallen pears and the grass which seems determined to grow everywhere. I stuffed the weeds into my compost bin at the back of the plot before heading off to sort out the willow.

The willow arch is growing well and it’s almost grown enough to be a full arch. I spent a while plaiting the branches together to keep it in the right shape. If it grows half an inch more, both sides will finally join at the top. I then moved onto my willow screen in front of the shed. The idea for this screen is that it will cover the compost bins beside the shed. It still needs to thicken out but it is now woven into the right shape.

Later, I added another box frame to one of the compost boxes and filled it with the old bedding from the greenhouse. The additional layer mean we can compost more garden waste. I am also planning on making another compost pile further down the plot.

Upon hearing the tea bell, I walked up to the clubhouse to join Cliff, Coco, Michael and Jim. We sat enjoying the sunshine together, Coco regularly reminding us of how well trained she is by demanding we shake paws repeatedly. Eventually I decided I really must make a start on cleaning out the main coop. It’s a job that usually takes a few hours and time was ticking by.

All of our girls were waiting for me by the coop door when I arrived. I put out their treats hoping this would distract them as I cleaned the nest box out. It took a good while to remove all the old bedding and sweep out the middle area. I filled a bucket with water and added a generous amount of anti-mite fluid. I had noticed a few mites recently and it was time to get rid of them. The perches were left to soak for a couple of hours to kill off the small population of mites living at the ends of the perch. I sprayed the inside of the whole nest box with anti-mite fluid and left it to dry. At this point, both the greenhouse and the nest box in the main coop were drying so I had to find something else to do.

In the end I decided to start clearing parts of the plot that have been slowly taken over by weeds. I filled several buckets full of weeds, dumping them into the coop to keep the chickens busy and out of nest box. Afterwards, I hoed the two sections I had cleared and it was definitely worth the effort. The majority of the plot still requires a thorough weeding.

I checked on the greenhouse and found the floor dry. I lugged the sawdust bale up to the greenhouse and set about adding a thick layer of fresh saw dust. I topped up the food bowl and water before letting Leia and Rey back into the greenhouse. They seemed quite pleased with it after a thorough inspection of the entire greenhouse. I left the run in place so they can spend some time outside tomorrow.

I was joined by my husband as I finished off putting in the new bedding in the main coop and replacing the inner boards. We went for a walk around and quickly ran into Dave the Plod and his wife, Darren and Andrea. We had a chat before putting the perches back into the nest box. As we left we saw Katie pecking the saw dust bag. Repeatedly. Incessantly. Idiot bird!

Before we left, we walked around the site as it’s been a while since we saw how other people have been getting on. Alan dropped by some sunflower heads for the chickens which was generous – I traded them for my last two sunflowers. Phil’s uncanny ability to grow everything continues, this year his hops have gone beserk and he has the shiniest and biggest pumpkin on site (again!). I don’t know how he does it!

Tomorrow’s plan is to carry on weeding and hoeing the remaining part of the plot. Also, to feed up the wormery towers which I have neglected a bit in the last couple of weeks.

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