The Photo Gallery: Week 133

This week’s theme for the Photo Gallery, kindly hosted by Tara Cain over at her blog Sticky Fingers, is the letter C.  Well now, this could be a veritable Pandora’s box… Chocolate, of course being the first thing that comes into my head, children which, I’m sure will be very popular, cooking, cakes, cookies… the world is our oyster.

So, what have I chosen? Well, I’m a bit predictable I suppose and I’m going for chickens. Until you keep them you cannot appreciate what interesting, busy little creatures they are. Every single one of them with their own little foibles, habits and quirks. All so different.

But in one thing they are all of the same mind – FOOD. With Polly, the Light Sussex (white one to the uninitiated), the alpha hen since Hetty died and queen greedy of the flock. It’s so funny to watch her when you put out three containers of corn in the afternoon. She runs around like a demented whatever, pushing in, eating some from this container, then rushing over to another eating some pushing fellow hens out of the way and then rushing off to another one and so on.

Chickens on a mission to find food!

Chickens on a mission to find food!

When I’m at home, and in the summer when it’s lighter later, they are let out of their run. Off they roar, making a bee line for…. the bird feeders, knowing there are always easy pickings under the containers. The wheat that the finches and tits have discarded is what they’re after! It’s so funny watching them loitering around waiting for the grains to fall to the ground, at which time they all plunge in head first to get to them first.

If you value your life, you don’t go and sit in the garden with a cuppa  and a packet of Garibaldi biscuits. If you do, you get mobbed. I’ve had my biscuit snatched out of my fingers on it’s way to my mouth. They have no manners when it comes to food !

Getting stuck in

Last weekend was was truly glorious and perfect weather for getting out into the garden. But where to start?

As I had mistakenly started off my tomato seeds indoors a month too early (beginning of February instead of March) I felt that I should finish cleaning and sorting out the greenhouse ready to house the tiny seedlings.

Cluttered greenhouse

I had removed all my overwintering geraniums and put them in the spare stable the week before and had washed down half of the glass. All that remained was to wash down the rest of the glass and metal  work brush and wash down the two stagings, dig out of the worst of the weeds and to lay the weed control fabric. Last year I was in too much of a hurry to lay this, to my cost, as the weeds grew happily in the balmy climate. Maybe one day I will be able to afford to lay paving.

I have to say I am really pleased with the greenhouse  purchased three or four years ago. It was to have been a present to myself on retirement, but I thought why wait until then, when I could put it to good use before? When researching what to buy, a colleague gave me some very good advice. She said think of the size you want and then buy the next size up. When you start using it you will inevitably want more space, and once purchased it’s too late. She was absolutely right, I was looking at  6’x8′ ones but bought an 8’x10′ and was very glad I did. It’s just perfect!

P1000785

Once cleaned and sorted I moved all my little tiny Ailsa Craig and Gardeners’ Delight tomatoes and my marigold seedlings into the greenhouse. They were potted up three weeks ago and have been sitting in my cold porch since then. They’re little toughies as they didn’t perish in the freezing conditions, they just didn’t grow. The remaining seedlings, still in the propagator trays, in the kitchen, have grown really leggy and aleady have their third leaves.  I  potted these up tonight (Thursday) and they will spend a few days in the porch before they go out into the greenhouse. Tomato seedlings won’t grow below 10 degrees, but under the cloches in the greenhouse during the day the temperature is up to 18 degrees.

On Sunday, because the ground had dried out so much, I cut the grass on a high setting, leaving the cut grass on the ground. Glad I got that done because I didn’t get a late final cut last autumn and it was bordering on 9 inches in places!

Hens enjoying scratching around in the cut grass

Hens enjoying scratching around in the cut grass

With still time before I had to go and bring Max back from his field, I decided to attack the overgrown veg patch.

My overgrown veg patch

My overgrown veg patch

Managed to tidy it up and put some manure on, but didn’t have time to start digging. Hopefully that will happen next weekend, if it’s not raining!

Feb 2013 (3)