Beavering Away

I arrived down on site at midday today, determined to do some more weeding and cleaning out the greenhouse. When I arrived, I spent a few minutes sitting in the shed, looking at the plot. I am so pleased with how it has transformed this season. The new sections have made my life much easier when it comes to weeding and also for crop rotation. I have a few big plans for next season and I enjoyed a few minutes daydreaming about it.

The rain over the last week has been torrential and I walked around my plot to check on the water level. The main path is completely sodden and the soil is very wet. The bark is clearly working quite well as I spotted only one puddle at the back of the plot. I imagine the plot will flood fairly significantly over winter but I am hoping it will dry faster.

Upon stepping into the coop, I was greeted by the usual flurry of feathers and a now familiar peck on the foot. Reaching down, I grabbed Aggie by her legs and held her upsidedown like Geoff had told me. Aggie soon gave up shouting and trying to peck me. I put her down and she walked away from me with a stroppy expression. I suspected it would give me a few minutes peace to sort out their food and clean out the nest box. As it turned out, I only managed to top up the feeder before I got pecked again. I repeated the entire rigmarole. All she did ruffled her feathers and kept her distance as I cleaned out the nest box.

Up in the greenhouse, I put the shade back up and placed Pop into the plant pot. I arranged the run next to the back door of the greenhouse so Leia could spend the day outside. Pop immediately started to scoff the green shoots she found in the pot and Leia walked about in the run. I wedged the pet carrier in the doorway to stop her being able to get out by jumping into the top of the run. Seeing them settled, I grabbed a bucket and made a start on the weeding.

The soil was sodden in places and I was soon covered in mud. Despite this, I managed to clear two sections and tidy up a third. The last section that needs a full weed is currently a quagmire so it can wait for another day.

I spent a few minutes checking on my tree fern which is beginning to open up the fronds at the top which shows it is doing well. There have been many weeds growing in the stumpery which may be due to it being shaded by the willow arch. Another few logs to fill in the back corner near the willow arch and it will be perfect.

By now, I wanted a break so I headed up to the greenhouse to check on Pop. As I arrived, I found Cliff and Koko relaxing on a bench enjoying the sunshine. We sat and chatted whilst Koko slept in the sun. She really is such a beautiful dog!

When Cliff and Koko left, I went back to the greenhouse. Pop was happily dozing in the pot and Leia was busy laying in the nest box. I shut Leia in and began to clean out the old bedding. Leia has this obsession with throwing the bedding out of the nest box and all over the floor. I filled up a large rubbish bag full of old bedding and put out fresh shavings. When let Leia out of the nest box, she leapt down and started nosing about in the food bowl.

I heard a noise behind me and turned around to find Pop sitting on the floor. Ninja chicken strikes again! I can only assume she uses her wings to get around but I never seem to be able to catch her at it!

Next, I moved Pop into the greenhouse and arranged the deckchair and set it up in the doorway so I could keep an eye on Leia and Pop. After a few minutes, I saw someone walking down the main path. I said hello and asked him if he was looking for someone. It turns out he had a problem with red mite and wondered whether anyone was around who knew what to do about it. I offered to help and went over to his plot.

We had a check inside the shed he uses as a nest box and I explained how we treat mites in the coop and recommended he treat his chickens with diatumous earth. I dashed back and grabbed a pot of DE and helped Derek catch and treat his beautiful white leghorns. It’s turns out he managed to hatch these from Phil and Steve’s hatching eggs using an incubator. It took a while, but we treated all nine girls and I left Derek with the DE and the ends of my red mite concentrate. He plans to use a combination of smoke bombs and red mite fluid to get rid of them. I told him he will probably have to treat the coop several times over the next month in an effort to get on top of it. It’s lovely to meet new people on site especially when they are happy to while away time chatting about allotments.

Tomorrow, Cliff and I have planned to work in the Community Garden which needs a bit of love. The pond is being choked by weed and the bark area needs weeding. With two of us, we should be able to make a difference over a couple of sessions.

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