A Day of Two Halves

This morning I walked down to the allotment to find the place a hive of activity! Steve and Andy were busy assembling Steve’s new polytunnel, closely supervised by Mick the Greek, Ken and Will. When it’s finished, it will be massive! A fee years ago I did wonder about getting one myself but I decided that needing to replace the plastic cover every few years would end up being quite expensive. What I have found instead is something rather more spectacular but requires significant planning and a half plot that doesn’t flood!

Grabbing my hoe, I made a start on getting rid of the weeds. The weeds this year have been spectacular. It’s never been so bad! The bind weed, mare’s tail and one that has reddish flowers have taken over the site. Now that the weather seems to be cooling, hopefully the weeds will slow down. But I suspect that’s wishful thinking! By the time I had done four of the beds, I took a break and went to have a chat with Geoff, Phil and Cliff. Phil is particularly proud of his new Solway chicken coop which arrived a couple of days ago. It’s huge, made from recycled plastic and is easy to clean. Once installed on Phil’s plot, some of this year’s breeding chickens will live in it.

After chatting with everyone, I checked the time. Sprinting to the shed, I closed it up and ran home, late for meeting friends for lunch. As we closed the front door, meaning to immediately jump into the car and profusely apologise for our tardiness when we arrived, we discovered an issue with the front door. It wouldn’t lock! Queue half an hour wrestling with an array of tools before conceding defeat and calling the locksmith.

Now stuck at home, I pottered outside to check on the home chickens. I was greeted by five curious feathery faces in the broody coop and on impulse, I let them out to explore. My husband got ready to mow the lawn in preparation for moving the red Omlet with the silkies. Our pottered the silkies who eyed the new chicks suspiciously from a safe distance. Neither set of chickens seemed particularly interested or curious about the other which I found interesting. Previous experience with chickens have seen rival groups fight or at the very least, swear loudly at each other from opposing corners of the coop.

Between us, we moved the red Omlet aside and my husband started mowing one side of the lawn. The effect of the lawn mower was to terrorise all the animals we own! The chicks and silkies scattered, hiding under a bush or sitting just inside the back door. One side mowed, the coop moved and the other side of the lawn cut, we set up the red Omlet and tried to encourage the silkies back in. They didn’t want to go. Hopeless! I turned my attention to the chicks who were busy scratching happily on the path. With the weather clouding over, I quickly decided to clean out the old bedding in the broody coop.

I love these Omlet coops. Cleaning them out is so quick and easy in comparison to our main coops which have wooden nest boxes. Fifteen minutes later, it was all clean and filled with fresh bedding. For good measure, I threw in several handfuls of grass cuttings for them to scratch around in. Corralling the chicks back to the run was hilarious. The little cockerel stood between me and the girls the whole way. He already has more understanding of his job than Tommy. When they were back in, he looked relieved and shouted his approval of the new floor in the run with a small cockle doodle doo!

By the end of the evening, the front door had been fixed, the home chickens fed, watered with clean coops and lunch with friends rearranged for tomorrow. Before our friends arrive tomorrow, I will finish hoeing the plot, harvest tomatoes for lunch and sweep out the shed. And who knows, if there is a spare moment, I might even start planning for next year!


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