Painting in the Snow

This morning was cold but clear with a nearly cloudless blue sky. I ambled down to the allotment wondering whether to add the chippings into the coop or just to enjoy the day. When I arrived, I found Geoff, Phil, Steve and several others pottering about. The sunny weather is beginning to bring everyone out of their winter hibernation. It’s lovely to see people who I hadn’t seen for several months.

I fed the chickens in the main coop, carefully checking my work from yesterday. Although the ground isn’t entirely level, I fairly certain I have removed all the old soil bar a small section underneath the perches. A job for another day! The girls had refused to lay me any eggs and I left after sternly telling them to get on with it. I measured up the length of the coop ready for next week, when we will be installing a guttering system to reduce the flooding in the coop and to collect water from the roof. The wooden beam in the centre of the roof will be solid enough for guttering to be securely attached. The roof leaks at a couple of points and the interior guttering should minimise the soggiest patches in the coop. The only issue is sourcing a water butt during the current lockdown…

In the greenhouse, I discovered that Lilja and Leia had thrown all the sawdust out of the nest box. As I added fresh sawdust to the nest box, I saw Sadie standing at the back of the box. She didn’t move as I put handfuls of sawdust in which I thought was odd. However, the next moment I spotted the sudden appearance of a pale green egg! I congratulated her and made other pointed comments at Leia and Lilja about real chickens laying eggs. The other two ignored me. Typical.

With the weather continuing to looks dry, I walked up to B&Q to source some new netting for the strawberry bed. The netting and the frame have collapsed and needs replacing. It’s done well as it has survived the nearly seven years we have had the plot. The plan is to use PVC overflow pipe and joins to build a new frame with new netting on top. I found what I needed and carried on browsing, eventually ending up in the wood paint section. Upon finding a discount on a mint green wood paint, I grabbed a brush and sandpaper and went to the check out. Both benches on our plot desperately need repainting with proper wood paint and I love the mint green colour which contrasts with the seagrass of the shed.

Back at the allotment, I sanded down the bench underneath the willow arch and began to paint. The wind was rising and the clouds began to multiply. I felt some unease – was I wasting paint? If the weather turned before the paint was dry, I would have to redo it all again. Fortunately, the wind seemed to be doing a good job of drying it.

I moved onto the bench by the shed. I sanded every part of it I could get to. Will made it for us a couple of years ago and I love it – it’s a perfect size for two people and it’s entirely made from recycled wood. First coat of paint was nearly done when I realised it had started to snow. I quickly finished the coat of paint as the snow flurries get thicker. There are no instructions on the paint tin about painting in the snow but I decided it was probably time to call it a day. I closed up the shed and headed home in the snow.

Over the next few days, I plan to finish the painting of the benches, getting on a couple more coats as well as adding the chippings into the main coop. Weather permitting of course!

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