The Autumn Wind Down

With the weather dry, the sun out and a day off, I dashed down to the allotment. Work has been so busy the last few weeks that aside from feeding the chickens, I have barely done anything on the plot. But today was the day to do jobs!

When I arrived, I was happy to find Cliff, Geoff and Dolly enjoying the sunshine together. Dolly was very excited and ran around in a circle, jumping up onto the bench next to me, attempted to lick me then jumped back around and started it all over again! Cliff definitely has his hands full with her – she’s a bundle of energy!

I made a start on the back beds first. The marrows, that should have been courgettes, were huge! I laid them all out on the ground, marvelling at how many have survived considering the heatwaves and benign neglect. It didn’t take long to clear the weeds and pull up the courgette plants. With the bed clear, I laid out the mutant courgettes while I tried to work out the best place to store them. The next two beds were quick to clear and I carried on up to the Omlet. Maude and Mavis were loitering, watching my progress closely, hoping for treats.

I threw them in some kale and decided to tackle the willow. The willow is great for absorbing flood water but it’s an ongoing battle to keep it under control. The willow screen was fairly straightforward although I left trimming the top for another day. The willow arch will need a proper prune on the plot side over the next couple of days. But the path side only needed a little work, mainly weaving in the longer branches. There are a couple of areas in the arch which are a bit thin so I tried to train the branches to cover it up. For good measure, I also excavated the crazy paving which has been buried under willow cuttings and weeds. It definitely needs some more work but for now, it’s clear.

My next job was to feed the chickens. Flora ran to the door, clucking at me demanding treats. I threw out some sunflower seeds which bought me a few moments of peace. I refilled the food and water before heading across to the New Coop. Elsie, Gertie and Foxy greeted me grumpily but quickly changed their minds as I topped up their food. The fastest way to make friends with a chicken is food. Although the friendship is limited. As soon as the food or treats are gone, your friendship will be at an end!

Pondering on what to tackle next, I decided to clear the fruit section. The fruit trees are absolutely heaving with fruit despite several collections of apples which don’t appear to have lessened the load on the trees. The blackberries and tayberry have overgrown the path so I hacked them back and in doing so rediscovered the raspberries. Happily, these were ripe and I spent several minutes scoffing them – utterly delicious! For some reason, raspberries never seem to make it back home…

My last job on the plot was to clear the paths around the raised beds on Geoff’s plot. I managed to get around two before realising how hungry I was. The beds themselves need weeding but clearing the paths was a good start. If I had been more organised I would have got some plants in for winter crops. As it is, I might try and put some things in so they can be ready to go as soon as the weather warms up in the spring.

Before I left, I grabbed a handful of tomatoes from the greenhouse to take home for a late lunch. One of them was the biggest tomato I have ever grown – it’s a whopper! I can’t quite remember the exact variety of beefsteak tomato it is, but it looks amazing! The top still needs to ripen a little so it will spend the next couple of days next to our banana laiden fruit bowl.

I’m still waiting to hear back about the roof for the main coop which hopefully will be arriving in the next couple of weeks. Ideally, it’ll be in place before the next Flockdown which I suspect will happen shortly. Here’s hoping I can install it in time!

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