I am an early bird this morning! I have had my medication upped for Thyroid and finally feel ‘normal’ again, consequently I have been very busy this week able to do jobs that should have already been done.
I made a huge list of jobs that I would normally look at and think ‘when am I going to get all this done’ but gradually through the week the jobs have been crossed off and that has given me a great sense of achievement. One of the first on the list was to cut back all the foliage at the front of the building, weed the bed and order a few tons of shingle to put down in the areas that were becoming muddy. Luckily the lorry driver did a good job of spreading most of it for me but there were still a few piles to rake out a fair distance. My hands and arms hurt for a day after but it was worth it as it is now all ready for Spring to blossom. The nut trees also needed a bit of a prune to get rid of any whips that had shot up in the last year, to me the condition of the front of the farm is important because not only is it first impressions for any new customers but it lifts my mood when I return home and it is all looking nice and tidy. Soon it will be time to decide what to plant in the boxes by the front gate, I am not a lover of bedding plants as they are not good pollinators for the insects so after watching the Sarah Raven programme it might be a mix of wild flowers and ‘ modern’ meadow planting. These are only small areas so I am in the middle of identifying larger areas that I can also broadcast a wildflower mix, it is difficult as the horses need the grass areas but I am sure I will find space somewhere.
The chickens, ducks and rabbits have all had a good Spring clean this weekend, I tend to deep litter them over the Winter, which means they don’t get a full clean, just partial, and more bedding added. Unfortunately the small chicken houses are infested with Red Mite this is a small blood sucking insect that comes out at night to feed on my chickens! They are very common and an infestation is difficult to get rid of completely, there are mite powders on the market and these houses and chickens will have to be regularly dusted to try to eradicate it. The problem lies with modern methods and thinking, in the old days, coops would have been soaked in old engine oil to protect them from the elements which was very good at deterring any mites, in fact our big sheds which are about 100 years old never get infested, unfortunately it’s not very environmentally friendly, so we are trying creosote on the new houses to see if that will deter them 🙂
The weather this weekend has been glorious and yesterday we decided to dig over the area that will have potato’s, last year it was where we planted the swede, parsnip and carrots, there were a few parsnips left to dig up and plenty of weeds! Hubby kept complaining that he hates digging so eventually it was left to me while he rotavated a different area. We have already bought the seed potato’s and this year are trying Pentland Javelin and Rocket as our first earlies, these will go in next weekend and in about 7 weeks we will be eating new potato’s, providing we get a bit of rain! As a gardener I find this is the best time of year, planning what to grow, where to grow it and getting started, it will only be a few weeks now before we are able to eat fresh veg again, although we still have a fair amount in the freezer to use up beforehand.
If, as the Met Office is suggesting, we go into drought conditions, the subject of watering will be a major concern, although being a commercial property we wont be included in any hosepipe ban because of the animals, having said that I still feel a responsibility to conserve and reuse as much rainwater and grey water as possible, so we will do whatever is possible to do just that. We have a huge rainwater collection tank, and providing we have rain we should be ok during any dry periods, we generally use it to fill up the duck pond and last time Hubby forgot to turn the tap off again and so at the moment it is bone dry! I will have to put a big notice on it reminding him to turn it off after use 😉
Well having got an early start, I had a little Skype session with my brother in Australia halfway through and now am a bit behind letting out the animals and they will be wondering where breakfast has got too, so I had better go and sort them all out, ta ta for now 🙂