Back with a Bang

After spending a much overdue few days away, I arrived down the allotment this morning to find major changes had occured in my absence! As I walked through the gate, I saw Dave the Plod busy fiddling with something that suddenly spat out an enormous tongue of flame. It turns out, Dave was burning weeds in an attempt to get rid of mare’s tail which has blighted all our plots this year. I am aware dragons are a myth, but Dave the Plod’s contraption, let’s loose fire like a ferocious dragon. Over the weekend, Phil and Steve had rotated their breeding flock, giving Mussolini and six girls to a relative of Jim and three to Geoff who had lost a couple of his girls over the last few months. Geoff’s new girls seem to be settling in quite well already. All this leaves them with one cockerel and their new black leghorns, white leghorns and one other breed whose name escapes me.

Whilst we were away, we got a message from Phil to say Tommy was starting to make strange noises. I have yet to hear him make anything other than a soft clucking but it’s only a matter of time now before he is crowing properly.

The war on weeds will recommence tomorrow. I made a brief start but got distracted, by chatting to Geoff. He had done a great job of looking after our chickens and said that Pop seems to have perked up a bit. I dashed down to the coop to check on her. There she was in the nest box, much more alert and compos mentis than a couple of days ago. When I moved her out of the nest box, I checked her crop which had a good amount of food in. As I put her down, I noticed another improvement – she was able to hold herself up better. Pop still struggles to stand but she is able to push herself upwards on her legs and Geoff said that one of her claws held onto him when he moved her yesterday. So at least one of Pop’s legs appears to be improving! I put her down in her favourite sunbathing spot and fed the others.

Down in the broody coop, Leia’s chicks had been busy growing feathers and, rather ominously, their combs. Looking at them, now a month old, it’s reasonably clear that four of them are cockerels. That’s rather unfortunate number considering we had five chicks hatch but these things happen. I’m just thankful we have managed to get a single pullet!

I walked up and down the plot, checking how our crops were doing. Most seem to have survived the recent wet weather and there doesn’t seem to be an excessive amount of water in the soil at the moment. The pond level had dropped significantly, so I spent a few minutes topping it back up and rearranging the pump which had fallen over. I then started to do some weeding of the top two sections of the plot. I had got about an arm’s length fully clear before I felt a few spots of rain. Deciding it would be best to find somewhere dry, I went across to Tracy’s greenhouse, picked up my loofa plants she had kindly been looking after for me, and went back to my greenhouse. Using the bag of compost from the Secret Garden we bought last week, I filled the three large pots and planted the loofas. These are vine plants which like to climb. So I dug out a ball of string and rigged up a rough climbing frame for the loofas to grow up. Two of the plants are too small to reach the string, but the tallest one was. A thorough watering and I closed up the greenhouse in order to keep as much heat in as possible.

The rain continued but it wasn’t enough to stop jobs being done. One job I have been putting off was clearing the patio area behind the shed. Slowly, I moved everything off the patio slabs and removed the every growing mare’s tail and bind weed. Next, I moved the coop to one side and swept up the old bedding and cleared the slabs. With the coop moved, it seemed a much bigger space. Carefully, I lugged the nest box into the greenhouse and moved the run to the back of the shed. All that’s left to sort out is the three bags of plant pots and take home some rubbish from the inside of the greenhouse. Tomorrow, I will move the run down to the bottom of the plot by the main coop so the entire patio is clear. I am pondering about using the patio to grow plants on pots.

By now the rain was getting more persistent, so I decided to call it a day. I walked down to the main coop and put Pop back into the nest box with fresh water and a full food bowl. I held the food bowl for her and she enthusiastically spent a few minutes eating. Pop still seems to have some issues with working out where the food bowl was but it’s a relief she is eating and drinking well again.

Providing the weather is dry tomorrow, I will do some more weeding and clean out the broody coop (always assuming Leia lets me!)

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