The oppressive heat continues, more like mid July than early September. With the week looking increasingly busy, I bribed my long suffering husband to come down and help out. An offer of sausages for lunch, cooked outside the shed definitely helped!
As the door of the shed opened, we were hit by a wave of heat. Today was a scorcher! We worked out that my husband would dig over the main coop whilst I cleaned out the nest house. It seems ridiculous to call it a nest box as it’s a converted Wendy house which is tall enough for me to stand up in. Sweeping out the old bedding was interrupted by Rey who fought her way past the blockade my husband had set up. The only downside to having the nest house outside the run is that you have to be very careful wily hens don’t make a mockery of you by escaping as you clean the nest box! Having been out smarted by Dora a few weeks ago, I made sure my husband barricaded the entrance. Or at least he thought he had. He rebuilt the barricade twice more as Rey succeeded a second time followed by Alba. There is almost nothing you can do to persuade a determined hen to think or do something else!
Emboldened by Rey’s attitude, Alba took it into her fluffy head to cause trouble. For reasons known only to her, she decided to climb into an empty food bag and hide in there. My husband moved the bag and nearly dropped it in surprise when he saw Alba’s disgruntled face peering at him from inside the bag. Calling me over, we both stared at her in disbelief. On what planet does it seem like a good idea to climb into a large plastic bag if you are a chicken?! She’s clearly got a few screws loose! Gently, my husband tipped the bag to try and encourage her to come out. She dug in and refused to cooperate. Eventually, my husband had to resort to shaking the bag slightly to get her to move.
Once the inside of the nest house had been sprayed with anti-mite fluid, I stopped to chat to Cliff, Darren and Andrea. Cliff was checking on the pond and was worried about the water level. We decided to fill it a little to help the wildlife in it. As we watched the water level rise ever so slowly, we spotted a red dragonfly! Mere moments later, two more appeared! It really shows how important these small wildlife ponds are. Hopefully over the next few weeks we will be able to get the new liner in and some other improvements to being it back to its former glory.
We decided to break for lunch after I had swept out and sprayed the nest box on Liz and Sarah’s plot. The stove lit quickly and before long sausages were sizzling away. I took the opportunity to water in the greenhouse whilst my husband kept an eye on lunch. The tomatoes and cucumbers have gone absolutely beserk and we will be feasting on them for weeks at this rate! Fried tomatoes with oregano and basil on toast has become a lunchtime favourite in our house. It means we can demolish half a dozen tomatoes on one sitting.
It was hard to garner any enthusiasm to carry on working after lunch, especially as it was cool in the shade. But the chickens needed their nest boxes back and the new coop needed digging over. My husband worked hard digging over the soil in the new coop, I threw in new bedding in the nest house, mixed as always with diatomaceous earth. The addition of diatomaceous earth helps the chickens keep themselves free of the dreaded red mite. By the time my husband had finished digging the second coop, I had put the remaining fresh bedding into the nest box and collected a protest egg from the ground outside the nest box. Some people think that chickens don’t have big personalities, but they should meet Leia. Stubborn and royally spoilt, this hen rules her coop with an iron beak and claw.
My husband conceded defeat after digging both coops over and he went home for a well deserved break. I closed up the shed and topped up our pond. During the last few weeks the blanket weed has made a come back. There is something oddly satisfying about pulling out blanket weed and seeing how much better the pond looks afterwards. With the weather now unbearably hot, it was nice to have both hands elbow deep in the water!
By the time I got home and checked my phone, I discovered a very exciting message waiting for me. A few days ago, Walton’s got in touch asking if they could feature this blog on their website! There must be something in the air because the unexpected message this evening was from Sutton’s informing me that they were writing a piece on their website and wished to tag my blog into it! Of course I have said yes to both! Keep your eyes posted for the links in the coming days!
The final part of today which was extra special was hearing back from pondkeeper.co.uk who had generously offered to provide a new liner, a solar fountain pump, stone liner and even some lily bulbs to help improve the pond in our community garden. I can’t wait to see how beautiful our pond will be with their help! I can’t wait to see how amazing the pond will look once it’s all been redone!
Tomorrow’s plan is to collect eggs, feed the feathery army and see if I can find any volunteers to help with the pond!