I made an early start at the allotment today as the weather was dry. Even though it was overcast, it was quite humid. My first job was to clear out all the old sawdust from when the chicks were in there. We have had several leaks in the greenhouse, unsurprisingly really considering how much rain we have had, which has meant the sawdust has hardened onto the floor. Using a scraper, dust pan, brush and a broom borrowed from Andy, I swept out the floor and put the old bedding into the compost bin. Several trips down to the compost bin later and the greenhouse was clear. Although it’s clear, we will need to do some reorganising of the things inside especially as I would like to have a full length potting bench next year.
As the heat of the day rose, it was far too hot to finish off the greenhouse. I decided to move onto weeding. The plot is still saturated so I could only weed a thin section either side of the main path. By the time I finished weeding along the path, my knees and shoes were soaked through. This just confirms my decision to not grow much veg in the future as the endless flooding kills off everything. Year after year we lose our crops to the flooding. The strategic planting and addition of a veranda has helped but it hasn’t remotely solved the problem. Even trying to raise the soil level won’t change the fact that the plot is one of the lowest lying on the site. All the other plots run off into ours and there isn’t much we can do about it. We will go back to growing veg when we have an extra half plot that doesn’t flood every time it rains.
Taking a break from the weeding, I went to feed the chickens. The three chicks were hiding over in the corner until I started to throw out the sunflower seeds. I am so pleased that so many of the older girls are enjoying being hand fed their treats. Molly and Rey are still a bit too nervous to join in but all the others made sure they got their share. With the older girls busy scoffing the dropped seeds, I went over to give the chicks their share of the sunflower seeds. Aggie is so lovely and friendly, Cassie is rather timid and Tommy is still trying to find his place.
Moving onto the broody coop, I said hello to Leia and her chicks. As usual, Leia had reorganised the bedding and buried the food bowls and half the water feeder. Taking advantage of her being outside with the chicks, I spread out the sawdust, discovering the food bowls in the process. I filled up two bowls with chick crumb and the old tupperware pot with a mix of corn, layers pellets and sunflower seeds for Leia. I also cleaned out and replaced their water. She wasn’t impressed with me messing around in the nest box so I tried to mollify her by holding her food bowl within range. After several long seconds, where she started at me in a haughty manner, she started to eat. It’s hard work keeping so many chicks fed, watered and cared for!
Leaving Leia to her chicks, I went back to the plot and weeded along the edge of the plot. Somehow Phil always seems to be able to keep his side of the path completely free of weeds whilst our side is always full of grass and mare’s tail. Two buckets of weeds later and the job was done. I was quite pleased with how it looks although I do need to weed around the main coop. A job for tomorrow I think.
I spotted Sarah over on her plot and went to say hello. We had a quick chat before Steve called me to help with a job. I got rather distracted by stopping to look at Cliff’s beautiful chicks. They are only a couple of weeks older than ours but are all feathered up and so much bigger than ours. The broody is an incredible old girl who has hatched many batches of chicks over the years. As with all good broody hens, she is to be approached with caution and preferably wearing full body armour if you need to put your hands into the coop when changing food and water!
Before I left, I spent a few moments sitting on the bench outside the shed. The fountain was running, creating a trickling noise and when combined with the loud singing of a black bird, and the occasional cluck of a chicken, reminds me how lucky we are to have such a lovely place to spend time in.
On another happy note, the chicken in Phil’s coop who looked really unwell yesterday has perked up and has even laid an egg this morning