Mulch and a new friend

This afternoon I walked down to the allotment ready to sort out the enormous builder’s bag of mulch my husband dropped off outside our greenhouse last night. There was far too much for me to use but I took the opportunity to finish off the fruit section. Each time we get chippings, I always forget to cover the last of the weed fabric in that section. Three wheelbarrows later and it was done – it only took two years to finish!

As I walked down to the main coop for a third time, I spotted something white and fluffy on top of the broody box. Slowly, I crept forward and found a familiar face fast asleep. We have lots of cats who visit on site and this one is a regular on our plot. I was tempted to stroke it but Aggie let out a loud cluck at just the wrong moment, and it woke up and legged it. Rolling my eyes, I told Aggie off and went back up to the greenhouse, collected the wheelbarrow and began to fork chippings into it.

I deposited two enormous wheelbarrows of chippings into the main coop. Although we put in lots of chippings last week, there were a few patches which could benefit with a little more. Rather than risk any escapees, I lugged the wheelbarrow into the coop and closed the door before I tipped the chippings out. There was no way I wanted to run around the site after a startled runaway! I nearly turned my ankle over as I manhandled the barrow into the coop for the second time, putting my foot into an enormous crater. I know chickens like to dig but this was not a hole, more a chasm. Cassie was clearly intent on visiting Australia and had cleverly discovered a way of going which avoided flying and quarantine restrictions.

As I finished the last load of chippings, I got a call from Geoff who asked where I got the chippings from because Steve and Phil needed some for their leghorns. It was great to be able to offer the remaining ton of chippings to them as they have always helped me out with different projects and my chickens over the years. It’s part of what makes our allotment community so special.

Up in the greenhouse, Pop is increasing in confidence with her walking although she is a little lazy when there is someone nearby. After weeks of having food put in front of her beak, she has come to expect it. Sadly Beak Service is no longer available especially when she has been walking for nearly a week! This was greeted with no small amount of disapprobation. Leia enjoyed some time outside whilst Pop stuck her beak into the food bowl as a consolation prize.

Pondering what to do next, I spotted a white furry face peering at me through the foliage on Phil’s plot. Trying not to startle the cat, I managed to kneel down and coax it out. It’s stunning and has absolutely enormous paws. Despite not having a collar, it clearly is domesticated. As with all cats, it loved being scratched behind the ears and on the top of the head. I decided to call him Bertram as there was something about him that reminded me of Bertie Wooster of P. G Wodehouse fame.

After my husband finished work, we dashed off to pick up chicken food and the elusive antimite fluid. I know there is a pandemic on but raising the cost of a bottle by nearly a quarter is ridiculously unfair. But desperate times call for desperate measures! I promised myself I would order it online next time because even with postage, it would work out cheaper! We also picked up some chicken supplies for Geoff and dropped them off with him when we came back. It was lovely to have a catch up with him as it’s been a while since I saw him last. I always leave with a smile on my face when I have finished chatting with Geoff – it’s a special gift.

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