So today was a day of starting many different jobs and not quite finishing any. When I arrived, I opened up the shed and let Roxy and Trixy out. The weather was perfect – clear skies with some sunshine but not too hot. I went to say hello to Koko who was in her favourite spot on the bench outside Cliff’s shed. A few minutes later, Cliff appeared and we headed off to collect eight breeze blocks for the new chicken run. All the blocks had been left out for us which meant we could just put them into the car and go. The weight at the back of Cliff’s car was pretty heavy so he suggested going back to the allotment to drop them off. I agreed!
It only took a few minutes to drop them off by the gate. The blocks are not the light ones but concrete and were really heavy to carry. Back in the car, we drove to Lea’s to pick up some chicken supplies for Cliff. Remembering we were getting low on corn, I bought a bag. Grabbing a communal wheelbarrow apiece, we lugged our chicken food to the coops. Next, I took the wheelbarrow to the gate and heaved in two of the breeze blocks. By the time I had shoved the reluctant wheelbarrow to the greenhouse, I gave up. The front wheel was completely flat. I seriously doubted there was a single molecule of air in that wheel and I wasn’t going to wrestle with it anymore.
Sitting down in the shed, I wondered what else I should do. Obviously, the new run needed work but after three days working on it non-stop, I wanted a break from it. My mind wandered to the greenhouse. The weather was beginning to close in and with the greenhouse clear, I could put in the new potting bench to keep it dry. I managed to haul it halfway to the greenhouse before it got stuck on the side of the strawberry bed. Phil was passing and kindly helped me get it untangled and into the greenhouse safely. We fell to chatting about my hopes of removing some of the slabs so I could build a raised bed on one side. Ever the man of action, Phil disappeared off to get his shovel.
The first slab was incredibly difficult to get out, even with two spades, it wasn’t enough. Undeterred, Phil found a pickaxe and together we levered it up. Once it was up it was easy to see why we had struggled with the spades – these slabs were incredibly thick!
Phil walked the slab to the door of the greenhouse whilst I ran for a piece of wood to protect the door frame of the greenhouse. He got the first slab out and laid it down outside. The next two slabs were almost double the length and at least double the weight. Cliff appeared as Phil was wrestling the first of the large slabs and helped him get it over the threshold safely. The following large slab was removed in the same way. The last slab was smaller but wedged under the back of the greenhouse. There was almost no wriggle room between the side of the greenhouse and the remaining slabs. Using the pickaxe and brute force, Phil managed to get it out. As Phil caught his breath, we surveyed the soil. It was covered with bind weed roots. Well, at least this is an opportunity to get rid of it!
As Phil disappeared off to chat with the bee man who helped us last year, Cliff took me to see some wood that would work brilliantly for the outside of the main coop. The back of the coop has been an ideal place for rat runs and Cliff reckoned that these planks would help discourage them. Three planks later and it did look much better. There were two more thick planks which would be perfect to make the raised bed in the greenhouse.
I used one plank at its full length and cut a short section of the second to create the front section of the bed. Phil dropped by to see the progress and recommended digging over the soil, adding some chicken manure and topping it off with some compost. This sounded like a good idea so I set to. Digging over the soil wasn’t too hard considering how long it had had slabs on it. Down on the plot, I grabbed the wheelbarrow and piled on shovelfuls of chicken manure. With the wheelbarrow full to overflowing, I dragged it back to the front of the greenhouse and began to fill in the bed. By now, it was getting late and I decided to call it a day. The compost could be added another time.
With my husband on the way home, I ran around the coops, making sure everyone had food and water. I collected five eggs and even managed to shut in Roxy and Trixy without any issues. The plan for the next few days is to finish sourcing breeze blocks and make the base of the run. Also moving the nest box and finishing off the raised bed in the greenhouse. Happily, the new bed means I can start to order some exciting plants for it!