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Sheep and Harvesting

Posted By: paul 24/08/2009 14:04:00

What a week it has been, busy, busy, busy. Non stop with both the garden and the animals. Firstly the broody hen was joined by another broody hen, and 24 hours later one of the eggs hatched. The chick immediately assumed the new broody hen was it's mother and she stopped being broody and got off the old eggs. So the original broody hen is still sitting on loads of eggs which haven't hatched yet, whilst the newcomer is off with one of her brood. What's worse is both broody hens are Light Sussex, and the chick is a Blue Maran. Hen's are so daft!

The Sheep had to be sprayed with a chemical to prevent 'Fly Strike', that's where they get eaten by maggots, alive! (If you get reincarnated as a sheep, don't worry you wont be around too long to not enjoy it). We adopted the subtle approach and decided to spray each Sheep as they came to eat out of our hands, which worked well apart from Stan who was more wary than the rest and has no doubt just created a sheep version of 'Beware of Greeks bearing gifts', obviously he doesn't know about Homer, Troy, or Greeks for that matter, but in sheep language 'Greeks' translates to ' Those strange pink vertical sheep who feed us and occasionally chase us around the field'. Anyway, 'Plan B' was actioned and after a quick bit of 'Slight of hand' feeding he was suitable treated. Trust us to get a 'Philosophical' Sheep now we shall always need a Plan B, just in case.

Back on the Allotment #1 harvesting is reaching a peak as all the Winter Onions have been lifted and laid out to dry. The Broad beans have all been harvested, and most of the Cabbages have been picked. The First Early Potatoes are still going strong and there are about 115 plants left to dig up. Everything is still going to plan on #1 and as the crops are harvested and the ground cleared, the Crown Prince Squashes are invading the space left, thus preventing the weeds from getting a hold.

On Allotment #2 the Courgette's are starting to crop well, and the Fennel Bulbs are starting to swell. The Artichokes have taken well and are growing nicely, as is the Woad. The Chard, Chicory and Radicchio are sprouting well. Apart from Weeding and watering #2 I am about to embark on building a new compost heap, Cold Frame and Hotbeds, and over the next couple of weeks I'lldocument the building process and add it to the site.

Back at home the raised bed is cropping well, with the Spinach and Lettuce almost over. The Spring Onions and Kohl Rabi are ready, and the new sowings of Rocket are progressing nicely.

As this is the time of excess crops you will no doubt have too much of one thing and not enough of another, so this could be a good time to 'swap' your excess with others. At the River Cottage Duck Fair earlier this year Hugh had organized a swapping table where you would drop off your swap items and then you're given a coloured raffle ticket based on the worth of your goods. You could then pick another item of the same colour ticket to take home. I took a box of six free range 'Happy Chicken' eggs and came back with a pot of Apple Chutney, and very nice it was too. I have continued this swapping idea ever since and currently I swap six eggsfor a homemade loaf of bread every week. Generally the agreed value of an item is bartered between the swappers so for example last week, and a small Cabbage was worth two large Beetroot. But I doubt if the same exchange rate would work during the winter, so you will have to re-discover your haggling genes. I have been thinking maybe a small table in themarket square every Saturday would be an excellent place to start the swapping, I'll have to see what I can come up with.

Let me know if you already swap stuff, any tips and tricks would be much appreciated.

Right, i'm off to discuss the iliad with Stan. Have a great weekend.

Happy Gardening!


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