Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Busy, busy, busy

It's that time of year again!
There are chicks in the dining room, seedlings going in and out, the garden is crawling with froglets that are being stalked by chickens and though the days are long they are never long enough!

Racey Lacey hatched her chick. Of the five eggs only one was fertile but we smuggled some chicks underneath her on day 21.
She's now proudly raising two seramas, a sebright and a pekin.
I'm a little worried about the sebright. It just isn't thriving. The others are flittering about and exploring their world but the little sebright is still tiny, seems a little wobbly on her feet and keeps getting pasted vent.
She's the dark chick at 6 o'clock in the picture.

Little flower is still blissfully in love with Teddy.
Luckily it appears the feeling is entirely mutual! 
Teddy is really enjoying all the attention. At this time of year as he's losing his winter coat he gets itchy if not groomed each day so he comes running as soon as Little flower bursts into the paddock calling his name.
Then he waits for her to fit his bridle and they skip off happily together for his hour of pampering!


The street party was a great success!
Turns out my neighbours are all bonkers!
There were plenty of games, sack races, tug-o-wars and such.
We had face painting, tombola and raffle.
The children used chalk to colour in the road, draw round each other and write messages to 'Will and Kate'
Everyone brought out mountains of food.
These cupcakes took ages to ice!
Me and Wurzel cracked open the homebrew at about 3pm.....it all got a bit hazy after that!

Together we all raised lots of money in support of  'Help 4 Heroes' a charity providing care for injured British soldiers.

Up on the plot.....
Here in the South East we have had the driest March and April on record. In fact, we have had only one brief shower in the last eight weeks! Normally we depend upon 'April showers'  to provide a large proportion of our annual rainfall so drought conditions so early in the season is proving disastrous for seed germination.

To add to our woes, high daytime temperatures are making those that do germinate bolt and go straight to seed and (adding insult to injury) we are still getting the occasional night time frost.
The potatoes in the picture have been badly frosted...I've earthed them up now and can only hope they will recover.

All is not doom and gloom though.
There is always optimism enough for gardeners in springtime! My house, so dark and cold in the winter is proving to be the perfect place to 'hatch' trays and trays of seedlings. My dear friend Dom has a large conservatory to bring them on.
Between us I think we have it covered. I care for the brassicas, fennel and salad leaves, potting on (and on and on) until conditions improve, Dom cares for the sun lovers, the chillis and squashes, melons and cape gooseberries. And there are sometimes delightful surprises at this time of year! I found this splendid purple flower at the edge of my fruit bed the other day. It's quite tall (about 18 inches) and closes quickly if you cast a shadow over it. I've no idea what it is but I'd love to find out.
Do you know?

The best thing about spring is the sudden energy boost afforded by sunny days. The children are boisterous and eager to get out there and play! Poor Wurzel is usually the climbing frame of choice giving me precious time to gaze at the chicks and marvel at seedlings emerging from the soil.

Happy growing blogland!

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