Busy, busy, busy!

What a day! I can’t remember the last time I spent a full day at the allotment, work has been so busy! I arrived down on site at about half nine, determined to finish hoeing the plot. A mere fifteen minutes later and the job was done! I love my WolfGarten tiller, it makes life so much easier!

With the plot hoed successfully, I wandered across to Plot 35 with a spade to try and excavate the path. It was hard work as the grass was deeply rooted and hasn’t been removed in over two years. As I worked, the heavens opened. It wasn’t enough to be rained off, but just enough to make the spade handle slippery to hold onto to. By the time I had got two thirds of the way across the width of the plot, I gave up. The rest can be done another day!

Looking to do something inside should the ominous clouds open again, I went across to the greenhouse. Carefully, I picked the remaining lemon cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. Then, bit by bit, I removed the plants, leaving the bed bare except for some half squashed tomatoes.

On a roll with clearing, I began to sort out some of the rubbish on the patio. I rediscovered my glass containers for my cactus terrariums. Most of them were filled with green water and slime so I spent several minutes washing them before putting them on the potting bench to dry. Next I bagged up the rubbish that had collected around the base of the Plymouth Pear tree pot and put it on the front next to the gate to remove later.

The patio and greenhouse looked better and although they needed some more work, they were good enough for today. Pondering what to do next, I walked around the site to the car park. Cliff has his trailer there with builder’s bags. Stopping to grab one, I ambled back to Plot 35 and began to load it with the weeds I removed yesterday. It didn’t take long to fill! There are many more bags to come I suspect before the plot is up to standard.

Briefly, I stopped to chat with Steve, Will and Geoff. It’s been a while since I last saw them and it was nice to catch up. When Geoff pottered off home, I dug out my little hoe, WolfGarten multi-tool, my gloves and a large plant pot which was to double up as a bucket and headed to Geoff’s raised beds. Clearing these beds was quite enjoyable – it’s good to see how your hard work makes a massive difference to the bed. By the time I had finished the last bed, I was covered in dirt and had filled at least 8 bucket loads of weeds. Worth it for four weed-free beds though!

Stopping for a lunch break, I headed to the shop to pick up a sandwich. As I wrestled to light the stove (the lighter wasn’t cooperating!), I spotted Alan. Shouting hello, I went to have a chat with him. He was working hard on digging over his plot and I showed him the work I had been doing on Plot 35 to stop the weeds going onto his plot. When I returned to my plot, I gave up trying to light the stove and instead scoffed the rest of my lunch.

After lunch, I let out the little weed destroyers who spent a happy couple of hours digging on the plot. They haven’t had much time to roam over the past few weeks. In the shed, I began to move a few bits around as a precursor to tidying it. I knew the mice were getting in somewhere but I wasn’t quite sure where. Upon removing the table cloth on one side of the table, I spotted movement. I froze, trying to spot where the movement came from. To my horror, a small furry face with bright beady eyes was looking at me through the handle hole of the drawer in the side of the table! I confess to taking a few deep breaths before cautiously opening the drawer. A flurry of movement revealed my worst fear. There were half a dozen mice living in my table! Several pairs of beady eyes looked at me and I stared in amazement at them. What an ingenious place to hide I begrudgingly thought.

Fully opening the drawer, two scurried out and disappeared behind the cupboard. I left the drawer open, hoping to dissuade them from returning. I doubt this will be enough, but I did catch Bertie loitering in the shed twice today. Hopefully Bertie’s smell will make the mice think twice about returning!

Just before I left, I went to say hello to Cliff who was busy cleaning out his girls. He pointed out one of his black leghorn girls was unwell. I picked her up and she was worringly light. She kept making a strange crowing noise and kept opening and closing her beak. It might be gape worm but it didn’t look quite like it normally does. I took her to our greenhouse and got a syringe of cider vinegar down her as well as couple of syringes of water. Then I remembered what we had used for Nimbus when she was unwell – a mixture of apple sauce and dried oregano. Leaving her in Cliff’s capable hands, I ran home to get the ingredients. Back in the greenhouse, Cliff held her whilst I put small chunks of apple smothered in oregano into her beak. Although she didn’t want to open her beak, once the food was in, she ate it hungrily. To finish, we gave her another three syringes of water. Leaving the apple sauce mix, a kale leaf and some water, we let her settle in the greenhouse. By the time I had shut up the shed, she had moved from the nest box onto the bottom shelf of my potting bench to roost. Hopefully, she will make it through the night and be a bit brighter in the morning.

So the plan for tomorrow is to do a bit more on Plot 35 and to finish tidying the patio. If the weather holds off, I might even make a start on the fruit section!

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