Taming the Willow

With the weather still dry, despite the promised torrential rain, I ambled down to the allotment with no particular plan. Upon arrival, I sat with Geoff and Mick the Greek and we put the world to rights. This is an absolutely essential part of allotment life – so many world issues could be solved if everyone just sat down and pondered the problem over a cuppa and admired the world around them. With the shed open, I looked around the plot. It has got rather weedy. Ever the procrastinator, I decided it could be left until later.

Instead, I began to work on the willow screen behind the pond. Suddenly, the willow seems to have gone beserk and was doing its best to block the path to the shed. A mixture of plaiting the willow and trimming off the longer branches at the top. A quick and simple task for most people however, being the height of the average adolescent hobbit, trimming the top was rather more difficult. Fortunately, I could stand on my toes and pull the tallest branches down to cut them. If I had left it another week, there would be no way I could’ve reached!

Now on a roll, I made a start on the willow arch. The arch is more complex to keep in shape. It has a tendency to lean over the path. Not a problem for myself, but more of an issue for anyone much over five foot tall. Another hour whizzed by and I stood back to view my progress. It did seem like the wildness was slowly being tamed. Looking down, I realised I was more willow than the arch! Happily, the job was done although it will need to be done again in a few weeks.

Up in the new coop, Leia was out and about. Clearly purloining her ten hoarded eggs yesterday evening has stopped her being broody. She was busily shoving Lilja out of the way to get to the sunflower seeds first. Nearly ten days of sitting on stolen eggs, she had worked up an appetite! The others didn’t get much of a look in!

As I finished, I realised I was being watched closely by two pairs of bantam eyes. Opening up the Omlet, Roxy jumped straight out and ran to her favourite digging spot. Foxy seemed quite content in the run, foraging through some weeds I had thrown in earlier. Watching Roxy decimate some weeds, I joined her, armed with my trusty Wolf Garten hoe. It didn’t take long to hoe five of the beds. Of all the tools I have at the allotment, this has to be my favourite. The remaining beds need more thorough weeding by hand before hoeing. A job for another day. Gently catching Roxy, I deposited her back into the Omlet and headed off home.

Back at home, I checked on Trixy. The past two days she has been very keen to get off the nest several times a day. Any noise or movement in the kitchen and she would be off the eggs to see what was happening. Fortunately, she did go back to her eggs after shouting for a couple of minutes. She was so close to getting to Day 21 that we didn’t want her to get off at the last moment. In desperation, I put a towel over the cage in the hope the darkness would keep her on the eggs. It seems to have worked as she has spent the entire day on the eggs! I keep checking for any signs of chicks but Trixy is not allowing me anywhere near her. I guess the waiting continues!

So the plan for tomorrow is to weed the plot and clear some of the rubbish that has built up over the past few months. Whilst I am at it, I might even do some weeding…


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