Saturday, 19 January 2013

A bacon and egg sandwich day

On days like today, after a long morning at the stables, I’m more than grateful for bacon and egg sandwiches.  It's the kind of food that warms you up, fills that gap and screams sunshine and comfort on a plate with those deep orange, glowing yolks laid by my little flock of hens.  It's possibly my favourite lunch after a hard days gardening or morning spent at the plot but as no gardening was on the cards today it certainly came in handy after a long and cold morning.

The girls are now obliging but they are still a little hit and miss with the old egg laying business.  They have come through the moult and after looking like battered old feather dusters for a little while they’re in tip-top condition and demonstrating that they’re hardy little things.  Unperturbed by rain, wind and snow, they just carry on about their business focussed solely on food and looking pretty.  Today, as a reward for their hard work, they’ve been treated to an extra special hot breakfast with porridge oats, rice and raisins and as always it was gone in minutes.

The two girls at the forefront of the picture above are still going strong and can be seen in my original post: 'A warm breakfast for cold chickens'.  They are endlessly entertaining and wonderfully productive as ever with McGee, the brown hen, having very few days off in the years that I've had her.

Here's hoping for a productive 2013!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Welcoming the New Year

Welcoming the New Year has started with a cold, a heavily moulting Golden Retriever and a hell of a lot of cleaning. Not the most exciting way to begin a brand New Year but it would be hard for it to get worse than that.  On the plus side, I guess it’s semi-proactive, bar the coughing and spluttering of course.

Over the past year I feel as though I’ve neglected the garden and the blog somewhat, although starting a new business and a brand new career has eaten up a lot of my time.  In some strange way I seem to have engineered a very busy existence of late that revolves around work and animals, which leaves little time for anything else.  This will need further adjustment over the coming year although changes are already afoot.  As a start, I’ve resigned from my post as Allotment Secretary and adjusted various other things that will mean come sunnier times I’ll be able to garden care free, write more and finally get back to riding.  I seriously need to invest in lessons; perhaps this should be a resolution of mine?

Along with a lack of time, the weather has influenced my absence heavily and I can only pray that this changes in 2013.  Is it just me or does it feel as though the rain hasn’t really stopped since Spring?  The past month especially I’ve found that my allotment and garden has been largely submerged and much like Anne Wareham’s Yew hedges, I fear that I too will see losses come the Spring.  One benefit is that I still have a variety of bulbs that remain unplanted.  I say that its a benefit as if planted I fear they may have simply rotted in the waterlogged clay ground.  As soon as the soil drains a bit I’ll plant them up or save them for containers.  I do worry though that without a good cold spell we may also have a battle of epic proportions with marauding molluscs and other undesirables on our hands.  Failing a late Winter cold spell, perhaps an early Spring offensive would help?

The chickens have faired better than the plants and haven’t struggled too much.  Their badly timed moult has left them looking worse for wear although their desire to stand out in the rain when they have a perfectly good shelter baffles me.  The old girls have also decided that egg laying is “so last year” and I’m having to do with shop bought, which is not a patch on what the girls provide.

Overall 2012 has been a mixed bag.  A lot has been achieved and much has gone undone. Highlights have included attending the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and writing for some great blogs and publications.  2013 will be much the same I expect and I’m excited, as this may be the year that leads on to bigger and brighter things, or so I hope!

Happy New Year all!
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