After being away for a week, I discovered that the weeds had made good inroads into colonising the plot. It’s incredible how fast they grow especially with rain and sunshine. Despite it being a busy day at work, I dashed down to the allotment as soon as I could to try and clear some of the jungle. I have to admit, it was a bit overwhelming and I spent several minutes walking up and down the plot trying to figure out where to start.
In the end, I walked across to check on Gordon and his girls. Spotting something a bit strange with his rear end, I caught him. There is something so hilarious about his indignation when being held which is compounded by him being so small. Careful inspection revealed he has managed to collect a surprising amount of dried poo stuck in his feathers. What was worse is that some had been in contact with his skin, which looked very sore. Trying to cut poo off a cockerel’s rear end is not something to be attempted lightly or singlehandedly. However, with no one around to help, I had to try by myself. My main concern was fly strike and having lost one of our rescue Warrens, Georgie, to it, I wasn’t going to lose another! Wedging Gordon between my left hand and knee, I managed to manoeuvre the scissors into the right place and slowly began cutting away the poo. In some places, I had to be very careful as the poo was so close to his skin. Once the worst of it was cut away, I checked him over. No signs of anything sinister but he would probably benefit from a bath over the weekend!l. He might also have to suffer a few sniggers from the girls as he walks past them!
With Gordon deposited back into the coop, I headed back to the plot, ignoring Tommy who rushed at the coop door as I passed, clearly trying to show how well he guards his girls. I reminded him that he was all front and he rather shamefacedly retreated. Rolling my eyes and muttering about idiotic cockerels, I went to water the plants in the greenhouse. Despite being massively overdue for replanting, they were still alive and the main job this weekend will be to plant them all out.
Noticing the secateurs in the shed, I decided to trim the willow. Now although this wasn’t technically weeding, it is essential to keep it under control. Several times a year I hack swathes off the willow only for it to regrow at twice the speed. An hour of hacking at it and the willow screen and the path side of the willow arch were done. I decided to leave the plot side of the willow arch for another day.
Moving on, I tackled the weeds on the bottom bed by the wildflower garden. There’s something very satisfying about weeding once you get going, seeing the ground clear and the pile of offending flora piling up beside you. Several piles of weed later, it was done. Checking the time, I half-heartedly pulled a few more weeds as I walked back up to the shed.
Turning to survey the plot, I realised I had forgotten to unwrap the tree fern. As per last year, it had burst out of its cover, proudly announcing its arrival by throwing out three massive green fronds. Mere minutes later, it was unwrapped and I stood back to admire the stumpery. After two years, it definitely could do with some more logs and ferns. But I was amazed to discover that the Japanese fern I thought had drowned over the last two winters had one large frond visible. Maybe this year will be the year it establishes properly. Ideally, it would be great to get some smaller ferns and plant them in the larger logs. But that’s a project for another time!
One last look around and it was time to head home for dinner. Head full of plans and with a handful of eggs, I ambled home satisfied at this evening’s work.