New arrivals <3

Welcome to The Roost little ones!!

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We had a naming session at a family barbecue over the weekend – the only stipulation being that they had to fit in with my ‘famous’ theme.

Meet (Left to Right);
Morgan Freenhen
Jimmy Hendrix
Cluck Noris
MariHen Monroe
and
Jeremy Cluckson

My current girls are Rita, Sue and Bob2, as well as Rhihenna, Henifer Lopez and Henny Kravitz so the names will work well.

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They are fitting in well and have already escaped their chick-pen 3 times in 24 hours. Unfortunately I don’t think they realise that the big chickens will be mean to them until they grow up a little!

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They are Pekins and have beautiful fluffy feet… they’re gorgeous and make the cutest little tweet noise.

Hopefully the integration in to the flock will go well in a few weeks time!

 

Someone has Bean and Pea’ed on my plot!

This week we desperately needed to get our beans and peas in or else we would have nothing to munch on when summer comes… Not ideal!

So I carried on digging up nettles, bindweed and brambles and hoped to high heaven that it was making this better.

Next year I am trying no-dig.
My back hurts.

Last year MrFlatcap showed me how to make a bean tipi, so this year I decided that 3 towers of green beans might just keep MrT happy for a week or two!

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Mid-build!

The hardest part of this whole day was stringing the poles together without letting go of one and smacking myself in the nose. That happened a lot.

I deliberately put them up by my new lawn area because there is a dipped area by the slabs which will be easy to get through to weed. It also means we can have a bit of shade for the dogs when the sun finally comes back again.

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Please excuse the mess!

Beans will curl around and grow up one single pole, whereas the peas are a little more fussy.

For these we decided to build a wall. It needs a little more support when I manage to dig out the last of the bamboo canes, but until they grow and get heavy this will be ok.

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Pea Wall 

The wall consists of three canes at either end in a pyramid, with two canes set a regular intervals down the row to hold the strings taught.

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Pea wall!

The you just get to go crazy with the ball of string. MrT cannot abide the feel of twine. It sends him all squiffy and his face makes an odd expression… he’s like a little kid sucking on a lemon!

That meant that the stringing up was left to me so that’s why it isn’t as beautiful as it could have been.

I cant wait for my little seeds to start growing and the beautiful flowers to appear. I often think that peas and beans are at their most beautiful when those pretty flowers are out. As much as I love eating the peas as I wander around the plot, I do wish that the flowers would last a little bit longer!

Now it is just a case of nicking one of MrT’s beers to stop those slugs from munching my shoots… little slimy buggars…

Busy Week, With Not Enough Time!

I’ve been neglecting my allotment these last few days/week… poor thing!

My onions desperately need hoeing which will be tonight job, and I still need to get all of the weeds removed from my final bed to get some peas, beans and pumpkins in!

So this week will be a manic one I am sure – it’s all made better when I found this though;

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They are going red!!

So I only managed to get down there for a few hours on Saturday.

I pulled up a few weeds, but because the ground was so dry it was like stone!

So instead I decided to make my mini flower bed for Rachel’s Sunflowers. It is right in front of my greenhouse annex so will be a lovely view when they grow!

I used some of the old roof tiles we dug up from around the plot to edge it. The edge is pretty tall, but that means that i can strim the grass without murdering the sunflowers in high season.

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All in!

The grass still needs another layer of seeds adding as the birds have had a field day, but since I have now stopped them getting to the chicken food and its been a long winter, I thought I would be kind to them.

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Sunflowers in!

I used the tops of the milk bottles from MrT’s strawberry wall as name plates for the different sunflower types. Recycling at its best!

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Give them all a good water

These will all get some sticks put in over the weekend, but for now I am letting them recover a bit.

It does look like the slugs are out in force though so a beer trap will soon be installed… bloody things. I picked a pot full later in the evening and the chickens thought it was Christmas!

Now just to try and keep on top of everything…

 

Sunday Sunshine

Morning!

We have had a lovely but very busy weekend organising wedding stuff the past few days, including spending a few hours having a fabulous drive down to the wedding venue in Shrewsbury. I can’t wait, it all seems very real!

In return for my wedding organising day, I went with MrT to a new motorbike shop so he was pretty pleased too.

When we got in it was still lovely weather so we popped down to the lottie for a bit… glad we did because look what my neighbour left me!

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So many toms!

So while MrT chopped the tops off some milk bottles for me, I dug up my over-wintered strawberry plants from the greenhouse.

He potted these up in to the new milk-bottle-homes and I started planting my toms!

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More toms, less space!

I was told last year that my planting layout wasn’t very economical, so I am following the advice in this years planting. Apparently if you place your tomatoes in a staggered formation, you can fit more in a smaller space and still get enough air circulation to avoid blight! Lets give it a go!

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So Leafy!

Now you see all those fluffy bits on the greyish area on the bottom of the stem? They turn in to roots! So I take off the seed leaves and stem (those funny shaped ones at the bottom) and the next set of leaves up.

Also, you notice those shoots appearing from the tomatoes ‘elbows’? Remove those whenever they appear, no matter how old the plant. They sap all of the nutrients away from the main stem and fruit trusses and make your crop smaller (apparently!).

 

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This is how it should now look!

Now dig a hole big enough to cover the roots and that greyish area of stem.

When plating tomatoes, its good to add a bit of fertiliser beforehand. Lots of people use eggs and banana skins, but I just put in some fungi powder and crunched up egg shells.

Now is also the time to put in your tomato collars if you use them. I haven’t invested in any yet but I have heard good things! They make watering easier and help the fruits avoid splitting.

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All in!

By the time you have finished, your plants will look about half the height that they did, but don’t worry. They will have a huge root ball now and grow much better.

Water them in really well, but don’t get it on the leaves. Water on the leaves makes them burn and go spotty. It doesn’t harm the plant in small areas, but it can wilt them quite badly!

Don’t they look fab!?

So while I was doing that MrT had watered all of my onions, garlic and spuds, replaced all of my weedguard, fed my chickens and quail and made this stunning bit of wall art

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Strawberry wall!

Isn’t he a good egg?!

We had a lot of trouble with bunnies and slugs eating my fruit last year before they were ripe, so hopefully this will help avoid that. It also helps with recycling all of that dreaded plastic! Just make sure you poke some drainage holes!

Now just to repaint the wall and it’ll look ace.

I am so proud of him
It’s still not worth a new motorbike though…
Maybe when he has built my fence!

Say hello to my little friend…!

So today my friend came to The Goose Roost to help out and get her little patch of land ready for her wedding flowers.

Meet Rachel!

We had to check the chicken run before doing anything else, as unfortunately two doors down lost 4 overnight to MrFox and had to dispatch another thanks to a bitten leg and foot. Luckily ours are safe, but i will pop back when MrT gets back tonight (11pm ish) and take the dogs up to wee everywhere…hopefully that’ll keep them at bay!

He has got babies living on the wasteland (the fox not MrT!) so i dont blame him for being hungry, but i do wish they would only take what they eat, not kill several!

But anyway…back to our wedding workout. The area was pretty clear. It wasn’t all that great to look at at first though!

Her little area!

Rach is having a beautiful cobalt blue and sunflower wedding, so we want to make sure that the flower heads are ready for the end of July!

What she doesn’t use of this plot will be grassed over to create a lovely seating area for the summer, and to also keep the weeds down for another year until we cultivate it.

Half way through

We arrived at about 3pm to gloom and grey clouds, but luckily the weather stayed dry for us.

We managed to get it all dug over in about 2.5 hours and ready to rake and sow grass seeds later in the week.

Done!

Shes a good grafter and we had a good natter while we did it! Even managed time to have a luke-warm cup of hot chocolate. I must remember to take mugs next time….

Sowing sunflowers

Next stop was to pull up the few weeds in the greenhouse and sow the seeds. While she did her sunflowers (several varieties and all gorgeous!) I sowed some marigold seeds. Its way too cold this year to sow them direct, plus it means that we will know what is a plant and what is a weed. Thats always a bonus.

Very technical

I heard that marigolds are good to distract nasty bugs from eating you veg, so hopefully they will be around every bed this season. I had awful problems with ‘friends’ last year.

Look at those strawberries though…

It was Rach’s first time planting anything really, so a good opportunity to sound like i know what I’m talking about. In actual fact i just pulled up weeds and filled up a watering can, but we wont tell her that will we?

All in!

How beautiful is this looking!

I can’t wait to see things staring to sprout. We saved some seeds to sow more in a week or two so hopefully at least something will have flowers on for The Big Day.

Ready to be raked

Productive afternoon to say the least!

Makes me want to paint over that red though…..

When it rains, it pours

Cold and wet day down the lottie today, but the hens were happy and the blossom is out!

Rosmary flowers

Apple blossom

Cherry blossom

Strawberry flowers

Pear blossom

Strawberrys

The hens were treated to another hay bale today to try and soak up some of the rain. The old stuff i dug out i put around my berry canes. Hopefully this will be a wonderful manure for them! I love raspberries and am hoping for my first home-grown crop this year.

Hopefully a bumper crop!

The rain them started belting down, but as i was already up there i wanted to finish up. I covered much of the top end of the bed in weed membrane as the same sun that has helped my plants grow has also helped the weeds, and i wont have time to get it all perfectly dug over like the spud bed.

Weed membrane, trying to battle nettles!

All home and clean now, but my boots have seen better days! Poor things have got so many holes in now, they definately arent waterproof any more!

Ready for a nap!

Back off up there tomorrow to get some sunflowers in for my friends wedding… lets hope its drier!

Wooden it be nice…?

One day he will regret setting eyes on me, if he doesn’t already.

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Today’s job

This was MrT’s chore for today. We had a break-in a few days ago and my gates were already battered and rotten so it didn’t take much for them to break completely. Luckily nothing went missing (they were disturbed) but it gave me an excuse to get a new gate sorted.

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Loaded up the car

Since we had bought a log cabin at the end of 2017, we had loads of spare tongue and groove wood. MrT found a use for it here!

His first job was to remove the old gates and save as much of the furniture as possible. We wanted to use these big hinges on the new gates. Recycle and reuse!

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Gate ‘bits’

Next up, unload all of the bits you’ll need, along with lots of things you won’t and stand looking confused for a while.

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Planning stages

The first real step in the actual construction was to build a rectangle from the thicker pieces of wood. It is really important to make sure that the corners are all square at this stage, as otherwise your gate will be squiffy! We used metal heavy duty right angles to hold it together, as the wood was too thick for screws to go through square and we didn’t want to faff about cutting angles in the rain!

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Fag break. 

Then its just a matter of screwing the tongue and groove slats on to the rectangle.

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Screw in the boards, while I clean up the hinges

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Ain’t he a cutie!?

It took three of us to lift the gate into place when the hinges were on.

One good tip is to place the top hinge bracket upside down. This will stop potential bad-guys from just lifting your gate off its hinges! It’s more of a faff but its worth it.

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Brew Break

He also boxed in the bit of wood at the top of my posts which stops them from bowing inwards over time. He is a good egg.

We decided that for extra piece of mind we would add an additional horizontal bar to attach another hinge to. Unfortunately by this point MrT was hungry and grumbly so put it level with the floor instead of gravity…

It might look odd, but never mind, i can;t complain when he has done all of this for me on his day off!

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Just cosmetics left now

I then started on the painting. Because we had used leftover wood, some were red (horrendous!) and some plain, so I had to pick a colour which would cover it.

We used Cuprinol Ducksback in Silver Copse. It took three coats to cover but it got there.

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Hmm that’s not MrT!

After he had eaten and was less Hangry, he put the lock latch on to keep the people out and chickens in. I passed the painting over to him while I supervised and ate chicken sandwiches. We are a good team… sort of!

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Painting

A neighbour bought over some barbed wire he had just put around his gate after the break-in. We decided against it though as its awful stuff for the dogs and wildlife and sods law says the only person it will keep out is me when I forget to pick up my key before locking the padlock!!

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Almost there

Hasn’t this been a great days work!? My dogs will now be safely enclosed while I’m digging away and all the snoopy people can lean over and look but not just wander up and down and terrify the life out of me!

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Job well done i think