Monthly Archives: March 2011

Allotment and garden – March 2011

I haven’t manage to spend as much time on the allotment or garden as I’d have wanted this month but things have been happening slowly.

There are beetroot, peas and half the potatoes (International Kidney) in at the allotment, and lots of tidying, measuring up and marking out that needs doing.

Allotment; taken from the 'plot' end - 28th March 2011

Allotment; taken from the 'plot' end - 28th March 2011

In my garden I have lavender and strawberries, more strawberries in a strawberry planter, a herb window box with chives, mint and parsley and black currant and raspberries in pots. I need about a day to tackle the back garden and get rid of the brambles and ivy that are covering most of it but I have found a massive rhubarb plant – it’s such a shame I haven’t found a way of cooking rhubarb that I like!

Lots of time has been spent on seed sowing, mostly as it is a ‘gardening’ job I can do indoors after work when it is dark so I have lots of salad, kale, cabbage, sweet-peas, leeks, cauliflowers, purple sprouting and sunflowers (just) popping their heads above the compost and am waiting for dwarf peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, chillies, dwarf beans, parsnips, hollyhocks, basil, mint (several kinds) coriander, parsley and spinach to show signs of life.

Today it rained for the first time in a few weeks; the warm weather has been very welcome but a bit of rain with hopefully set everything off growing again and put some shape in this year.

Hidden treasure

Lost seeds - 23rd March 2011

Lost seeds - 23rd March 2011

I buy too many seeds, or have done. Only buying what I need or will use is something that I am working on and getting good at. This has meant that this year I am concentrating on using up the seeds I already have up and of most things I have more than enough to last a few years.

This morning I found a nice little surprise when I was unpacking a draw unit that hasn’t been used for a few year – a whole draw full of seeds that I completely lost track of!

Red hollyhocks, sunflowers and PSB - 23rd March 2011

Red hollyhocks, sunflowers and PSB - 23rd March 2011

After sorting through them and dusting off the packets I started on using them up and have sown some red Hollyhocks, sunflower seeds and some Purple Sprouting Broccoli. Most of the seeds are herbs which I haven’t really grown many of before so I’m looking forward to try them out and seeing how I get on.

The weather this weekend was beautiful; sunny and warm.

I was at a conference on Saturday but on Sunday I managed to get lots done even though I was on the ‘4am shift’. We finished sorting and burning the pile of hawthorn that was cut down at the end of last year as it was shading to much of the vegetable patch – all before 11.30am.

Then in the afternoon I finally got to spend some time at the allotment, mostly tidying and moving manure but also sowed the first beetroot. MYS has moved into a house with a much bigger garden and an old vegetable patch so I am taking on her plot on the understanding that if her house doesn’t work out she can have it back so I have so rethinking to do. I did start turning over a bed to sow so carrots but then couldn’t decide if I should use it for carrots or garlic…

At home I have sown salad, cabbage, leeks, parsnips, sweetpeas and cauliflowers although the chicks have learned how to get out of their brooder and may have eaten the sweetpeas and caulies, Grr… I still have plenty more seeds that need using up.

I am still trying to work out when to start things like beans and tomatoes lots of people of forums seem to have already started or be starting theres off but I have very limited indoor space and there are still a fair few cold or frosty nights happening. I have exactly the right amount of bobby bean (otherwise known as French beans) seed and so don’t want to risk any of them. I have some dwarf bean seeds though so I may start those off and see what happens

And the sowing begins…

Kestrel seed potatoes chitting - 15th March 2011

Kestrel seed potatoes chitting - 15th March 2011

I made it all the way to my March the 1st starting line for sowing seeds and celebrated by sowing leeks and sweetpeas, finishing planting the last of the garlic, I know it was very late, and planting the first seed potatoes and buying and setting the allotment ones to chit. That was all on the 1st of this month and hasn’t time started to fly…

Since then I have sown lots of sweetpeas, cauliflowers, leeks, started parsnip seed chitting and am doing a germination test on some old carrot seeds that I have.

I can’t wait for the lighter evenings when I’ll maybe get some time to spend on the allotment after work but in the meantime I seem to have replaced facebook with gardening forums


Freshly delivered milk - 11th March 2011

Freshly delivered milk - 11th March 2011

Since we moved we have had a milkman; I’ve never had one before and I love it. It is like knowing you are going to get a parcel with something extra nice in.

Whole milk is different when it comes in a glass bottle too, the top is creamy just like on fresh milk from our own cows or goats.


Hatching has been and happened; even though I had the date written down and knew full well when it was going to happen it still seems to catch me out, for a started it happened a whole day earlier than it should have!

Hatching out - 4th March 2011

Hatching out - 4th March 2011

This was the first time I have used my new incubator (I have had it for over a year now though) and it has done pretty well. Seven out of twelve Silver Dorking eggs hatched, which possible doesn’t sound like the greatest hatch rate but it is still early in the year and I haven’t checked the others to see what was in them.

It does have one big design floor though as once the chicks have hatched and started to move around they can fall into the water pot which means I can’t leave them in there for the first twenty hours so as they absorb the goodness and anti-bodies from the yoke sack before feeding them chick crumbs and I lost one chick because it drowned itself before I realised the danger.

Silver Dorking chicks; 5 days old - 9th March 2011

Silver Dorking chicks; 5 days old - 9th March 2011

Sadly none of the Maran eggs hatched.

Lent 2011

Tomorrow is the start of Lent and even though I wouldn’t say that I follow the Christian festivals, I do unwittingly follow them and if I didn’t use Lent as a time to give up things I am not happy with for a short time then I’m not sure I would ever get around to it.

Last year was the first time I gave something up for Lent and I gave up wheat as a main ingredient which I found interesting and rewarding, I would have never have thought that wheat saps your energy levels so much and don’t know when else I would have made the time to say “I’m doing this” if Lent wasn’t handerly marked on the calendar with a start and finish date.

This year I am going for it again and giving up or changing;  

Facebook – When everything is said and done I just don’t trust facebook or the way it collects information or continually trys to trick you into passing it on and have often found myself sitting staring at the computer screen thinking “this is boring” and still not switching it off. I can see how it could be used for good but it can also be used for boring mindlessness and an excuse not to live in the real world. I would love to say I was leaving forever but I do use it for keeping in contact with people, many of whom I would have lost contact with completely if it weren’t for facebook, and I even enjoy some aspects of it but I do want to remind myself that there was life before facebook and that the world won’t end if I don’t log in…

Keeping to my hours at work – I love my job and want to be as good as I possibly can be at it but I also know that if I didn’t have to work I would be happy enough without it and that I am only doing so to support my ‘real life’. Being good at my job doesn’t mean working all hours and fitting in my ‘life’ around that, there is a balance that can be had. So I am giving up that extra hour/few hours work each week that belongs to my ‘real life’ and maybe even doing nothing with it… I do understand that there will be some flexibility in it as both my work and ‘real life’ are unpredictable but somewhere in the middle I will be making the two meet… Somehow.

Shampoo – When I first moved I vowed to only keep bicarb, oats and vinegar in my bathroom cabinet but then found that I just had half a bottle of this or half a bottle of that to use up and then Rhys’s father and step-mother gave us a bag of half bottles of shampoo from the B&B they run and since the New Year this has been all I have been using and the bicarb, oats and vinegar haven’t even made it through the door out of the kitchen. My hair has gone a little bit funny since moving into a house with central heating so I shall carry on with my six-week conditioner treatment but WILL be giving up bottled shampoo and going back to using my homemade mixture of bicarb, cider vinegar and old tea. I so much want to understand what and how the things that I buy are made of and feel like I have control over what I am really bringing into my house but when it comes to things like shampoo I have no idea what the list of ingredients are and I’m not completely sure I can be bothered to find it out but I can choose the limit what I don’t understand and try to find alternatives that I have a grasp of. And that is the reasoning behind shampoo


After a few weeks of waiting for lambing to start it finally has and few the last few days they have been arriving thick and fast and the count now stands at two singles and four sets of twins.

Ivy and her newly born twins - 4th March 2011

Ivy and her newly born twins - 4th March 2011

I haven’t had much of a chance to take many photos of them but below are the lambs I am most pleased with as about a month we had to take Cotswold to the vets with a miscarriage and we were very worried we would lose her with toxic shock (she smelt really bad which meant that the infection must have been bad) and didn’t think she would lamb at all this year but she did and they are MASSIVE lambs

Cotswold cleaning up her new born lambs - 3rd March 2011

Cotswold cleaning up her new-born lambs - 3rd March 2011

Getting ready to come home - 3rd March 2011

Getting ready to come home - 3rd March 2011

A Day in the Month – March 2011


Outside… It is dark and there are lots of pots of things, the start of my fruit garden and my first seed potatoes started off in potato sacks

I am thinking or plotting… I am very cross; lambing started this morning and this evening a neighbour found one of our ewes killed by a dog, why the f*ck do people allow their dogs to roam around and chase sheep!! It is not ok because ‘it’s just a sheep’, it’s not just a sheep it is a living creature that feels fear and pain and has a story and a life of its own even if no one knows what it is.

From the kitchen… I am eating omelette and chips, we had to use some eggs up

I am wearing… Muddy jeans and a fleecy jumper

I am thankful for… Cloffuem (not sure that is how you spell it) which is a homeopathic remedy that safely delivered the set of twins born this evening

I am creating… Nothing really, just lots of ideas and no time

I am going… on a bus ride in the morning

I am reading… The same as in January, but I have been and sorted out my library membership

I am hoping… That tomorrow will not be the only dry day this week, and that Rhys gets Friday off and maybe the promotion that is was interviewed for today, very odd seeing him come home in a suit

I am hearing… Whatever Rhys is watching

Here is a picture I want to sharing and why… I wish I could live in a house like this in the middle of no where (although this house is not in the middle of no where but one of the domes at the Eden Project)

The Eden Project - September 2010

The Eden Project - September 2010