‘Digging for victory’-Update

Well, again its been a while. The weather here is incredibly frustrating – sun and showers – everything is too wet to dig/hoe/weed/plant or cut – but its growing like anything. If I go out on the allotment field my boots weigh a stone after 5 minutes due to the mud – this is high summer remember!!!

So what’s been happening?

I managed to finally dig out the broken gate post to the orchard field – this was blown down by the storm Doris in February. As you can see the post has broken at ground level, although this post was supposed to be tannalised.

This is the new post, again supposed to be tannalised – but I am taking no chances and it is getting a covering of thick creosote.

We lost our great cockerel Nelson a couple of months ago – and this young thin whippersnapper is his replacement. When we went to buy him, we were shown a full grown cockerel, when I went to pick him up I got given this young man. He is barely 2 months old – indeed he was still cheeping. Anyway he has settled down and grown a little – and clucks now so we will have to see how he goes – his name? Admiral Villeneuve (the French Admiral who lost to Nelson at Trafalgar). Its a pain having such a young cockerel, as I hoped his authority would stop bullying amongst the old and new chooks when they are merged together.

And these are three of the new girls, investigating the herb beds. There is another one that was laying at the time.

In the polytunnel, the peas were all picked and frozen, and here you can see the second sowing. I was disappointed to only get about 6lbs of peas, I reckoned it was because the peas were too close to each other – so only one row this time.

One success I will be repeating – potatoes in the poly – I planted them in a mixture of earth, sawdust and goose poo – and they came up trumps!! Lovely Ratte spuds – with a great nutty flavour. Next year I am going to do more, and more varied varieties – they grew really quickly.

And a million and one cucumbers – there is only so much pickle and salads you can eat………. The chickens are now eating them (its good to be able to convert unwanted stuff into eggs).

The old cut and come again salad went to seed (it’s basically too hot in the poly), so the next wave is sown and awaiting planting – I am hoping I can keep this going up to and through the winter.

Outside the unseasonable weather and wind have really wreaked havoc with the tomatoes – they are sad and sorry things now – however there is a lot of fruit coming, and we have begun to eat them. As you can see, the wet weather has really benefited the sweetcorn – I put about 120+ in – and each have 2-3 cobs coming – I cannot wait for the first time picking, cooking and eating them!!

Then potatoes have started to deliver – Red Dukes of York – earlies that if you leave them become mains. This weather has at least not been humid enough to start the blight – so I am sure we will get a potato crop to last the winter – a first here.

Onions, not growing so big, they don’t like too much moisture, I am thinking we will not have enough for the year now as they are very under par.

The pond has bedded in quite well. I fixed all the spots where it was leaking out, I’ve weighted the plants down and the water has cleared. Sadly the duck weed and algae has moved in. So far we have Dragonfly nymphs, diving beetles, waterboatmen, pond skaters, great pond snails, whirligig beetles, frogs, and a few other things I can’t name. Not bad for only 2 months – build it they will come!!

The clear water and the encroaching algae – I have put an organic blocker in to knock the algae and duckweed back. We shall see.

And of course these little chaps – the Great Pond Snail  – they should eat their way through anything that’s green on their way to greatness!!

Way back before shearing in May we were worried about Madra and how she was quite thin coming out of winter. The vet came , thought it was worms and gave some meds – and told us to do a poo test a fortnight later. We did that – giving the poo sample to the vets to test. From that point we heard nothing…….except repeated invoices to pay the bill. we kept replying that we are happy to pay the bill when we get the results of the test. More snotty requests for payment were received. Last week they sent us a final demand, so we sent them a final letter back. Lo and behold the vet phoned us, he had forgotten to action the results of the test, she still had worms and her and the rest of the herd needed further meds. In the post followed an apology from the vets and in a gesture of goodwill they cancelled the bill.

From my working experience, a medical professional who fails to act on the results of a test result is negligent……and that’s exactly what they were. We have lost nearly three months of the best grass for Madra to put on weight if these results had been actioned. I am quite angry. I am also worried about all the other times tests were done – how do we know no action was required from them?

We have the new meds and they will be administered tomorrow. I hope this means she will be clear and can put on some weight for the winter – we will be giving her more supplement as well.


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