Sunday, February 26, 2012

February 2012 - Livestock update

As predicted, our brood has grown over the winter. Just before Christmas, we finally gave in to the kids and they both received a rabbit, 2 little fellas, patchy and cute. Daughters is called Flumps and the boys is called Floppy. First check up visit to the vets revealed that they were not 2 boys, but boy and girl. We weren't terribly suprised as they had been playing mummies and daddies at every opportunity since arriving home. One new hutch later, we await the arrival of babies. Tuesday Febuary 21st, Shrove Tuesday, 7 little bunny babies arrived in this world. It appear we have 4 brown, 2 black and white patch and 1 little black baby. Here they are at 5 days old.

We plan to keep one and hope to find good homes for the rest....fingers crossed.

The guinea pig, pebbles, is still going strong and is into his 4th year of life. They can live to 7 or 8 years, so he still have plenty of time yet. He has spent the winter in his hutch in the quailarium, out of the horrid weather. He returned to the garden this weekend and had a lovely day playing in the grass and munching his way through a cabbage on Saturday.

The quail all look stunning in their winter plumage. Although the fox has been around, along with the new neighbourhood moggies, the reinforcements are doing their job and the birdies are all safe and sound. We do have an old rabbit run in with them so that should anything get in, they can hide inside, not that I believe for one moment they are that bright. We have been rewarded with an egg or 2 over the last few weeks and now that the days are lengthening, I will expect them to start laying more regularly soon.

The tortoises, Tom and Bertha, are still hibernating. I am not keen on this, the uncertainty of them waking. Hubby has check on them from time to time, and they are alive, but still sound asleep. Travis, our Herman torty, doesn't hibernate and he is relieved the weather has warmed up as he has spent the last few days out in the garden enjoying the warm sun on his shell. I wish the other 2 would hurry and wake up so the family can be reunited.

The lizard and snake are lizardy and snakey. The seasonal change doesn't really bother them. The fish also couldn't careless what time of year it is, apart from those in the pond who are also enjoying the balmy spring sunshine as they are eating again. The frogs in the pond are being very vocal, and appear to be giving eachother piggy backs around the edges. I guess it saves energy. :)

That is it on the animal front for now. Rumour has it that we might turn the now defunct playhouse at the back end of the garden into a chicken house over the spring, so perhaps some new feathered friends might make an appearance in our lives. I have my heart set on some kune kune pigs but alas that fantasy will have to wait until we sell up and move somewhere with a paddock or 2 for me to fill with bleating, oinking, mooing critters.

Sunday 26th February 2012 - weather: spring like and beautiful

Forgive me readers for I have sinned. It has been 138 days since my last confession.

So, what news beloved readers. October half term was spent with mum, hub and the kids in Portugal, not the Algarve but just down the coast from Lisbon. October ended with me trapsing the streets with number one son and his zombie girlfriend and they 'tricked and treated' on suitably bedecked houses around the village. Buckets full of sugar and additives were brought home to be consumed over the coming days. November arrived with it's usual 'oooos' and 'aaaahhhs' as Guy Fawke's night was upon us. We celebrated with friends in the village. November 22nd, my 41st birthday. I know, I know, I don't look a day over 31, I blame the fresh air and allotment veggies. Then before you can say 'Holidays are coming, Holidays are coming', Christmas was upon us. I did scoot to the allotment for the Chrissy dinner veggies, sprouts, cabbage, leeks and carrots. What did January bring? I detest January. It didn't bring a thing. February saw snow, a whole week of the white stuff. It engulfed us on Sunday 12th and was almost all gone by Sunday 19th. And now, now we are in the throws of balmy mild weather. Temperatures up in double figures, unseasonably mild, temperatures not seen in February since 1998.

So now, now that it is warm, now that the days are noticeably longer, I have resurfaced, out of hibernation, and have re-embraced the garden and the allotment. (To be fair, I hadn't really hibernated terribly well as I have been working in other peoples gardens whenever the weather has permitted.)

I had been to the allotment during January and spent a day completely clearing the top of plot number one where my strawberries, garlics, shallots and Japanese onions are planted. Once they were cleaned, the strawbs received a good dressing of my well rotted manure and the alliums received a dressing of special allium fertiliser that I purchased using some vouchers I had received. Today I didn't intend on digging, today I thought I would just have a potter and a tidy, but I had four hours to play, so digging I did. The bottom of plot number one, from the apple trees to the shed was clear, but compacted so I dug and dug (and boy am I paying for it now). The ground is so soft, it turned easily and the weeds came out with ease.

I have new neighbours at the top end of this plot, Barry and Tracy, who are very enthusiastic and spent the afternoon laying a sleeper base for their new shed. I wish all new Allotmenteers were as enthusiastic as there are several plots, all paid for, thick with grass and weeds. After a nice 'getting to know you' chat, I left them in peace and went over to plot number two. After a good pick up of plant labels and bamboos, I started digging again and cleared half way towards the tomato house.

I fear I have been lulled into a false sense of weather security as I sowed a row of radish and a row of mixed salad leaves. Well, the rhubarb is poking it's nose out of the soil so it must be spring.... right?

I am back on the plot tomorrow, our 13th wedding anniversary, hence I have the day off. Apparently, this one is lace and the flower associated is Hollyhocks. I shall make sure I wear lacey knickers and I have some hollyhocks in a pot to go out, so I may well plant them on the plot tomorrow.

p.s. I promise not to leave you so long in future, loyal readers.