January 2008

Kept company at the beginning of the month by a little robin, pictured here (click to enlarge). While doing a bit of composting I caught sight of a movement, which usually means a field mouse flitting about. But this little bird didn’t show any fear & later that visit hopped around my legs as I put the finishing touches to the chicken coop.

Brought some porridge oats & shredded cheese up the following day which he tucked into (see this month’s ‘photos at foot of page). Tried to get him to feed from my hand, & he got as close as a few inches away during consecutive visits on a batch of my non working days. After a few days at work when I returned there was no sign of him, & that’s been it for the rest of January. I’d love to get him feeding from my hand.

Fortunately his appearance coincided with a visit from my grandson Connor, who was able to watch the robin feeding at close hand. Picture on the right shows Connor (with a full set of teeth at this stage… a couple of weeks later his first tooth came out) having discovered emerging rhubarb shoots under an upturned bucket, pleading to dig them up to take home to his mum & dad.

He’d already been in the shed, insisting on shutting the door with me on the outside so he could have a good nose around & examine everything. We then finished the visit with a tramp through the nearby woods & arrival back home with a rhubarb plant in a pot.

My other grandson, Sammy, had also visited a few days earlier. He majored on the chicken coop, sitting inside it in semi-darkness with a small watering can to hand just in case. In & out of the entrance he went testing various bits out. Didn’t exactly endear himself when he said it seemed small!

We then went to examine the holes his dad had dug in readiness for delivery of vines in spring. The holes were filled with water (still are, it’s been so wet) so of course we had to plop a few stones in… seemed a shame given the effort his dad had expended digging the holes in the first place, but essential in Sammy’s eyes!

It’s been so muddy, wet & slippery we were lucky to fit those visits in. Just too wet for the girls (in the form of my daughters & granddaughters) to make an appearance.

Project Cluck reached its first major milestone with completion of the chicken coop mid month. I was keen to maintain the allotment tradition & recycle the old shed’s roofing felt. Having fitted it, calculated how many patches were needed to make it waterproof, & then realising new felt would only cost £7 with some to spare it was a no-brainer & the new felt went over the top of the old. Also fitted handles & retaining clips to the removable wall. Really works well & should be a wheeze to keep clean since the roosting bar (from where about 50% of the chicken’s droppings are made) is right by the removable wall. Added bonus is chicken poo is great for compost heaps.

So here’s the finished article above, with more pictures at the foot of this page. Note as an afterthought I’ve also fitted a small entry porch to cut down wind & rain entry… hope the chickens appreciate the effort! Entry drawbridge also completed. If you’re reading this blog with similar intentions & would like the plan just leave a comment by clicking ‘Comment’ at the foot of this page.

Started using my new wheelbarrow (Christmas present from Beck & Barry)… I’d spotted an interesting looking tree branch, one that would be a useful perch for the chickens. On the way to rescuing it from the road verge I noticed some very nice soil piled up at the far end of rough ground next to the allotments. Perfect timing, since Barry had been considering where he’d get suitable soil for the vines. Ten backbreaking, mud smearing barrow loads later I’d got a nice pile of earth on my plot. It had started drizzling heavily soon after the first load so I was a proper sight by the end, & no doubt had been hauling 50% water with each haul!

Towards the end of the month I started work on the extra plot I’ve acquired at the back of my current one, putting in fence posts. Above is shown progress so far, still quite a bit of work to do. While working away on the posts I noticed what I count as the first sign of progress towards summer… still light in the sky at 5pm.

Many thanks to my mum for the hat & fingerless gloves… perfect!

And finally, here’s a photo of my son John. Appears I’d left my camera lying in the kitchen unattended & he thought my ‘photo collection needed enhancing. This is one of his saner looking moments.

More photos below. Please feel free to leave a comment by clicking ‘Comment’ at the bottom of the page.

Thanks for reading my blog. John


This month's photos (click to enlarge)
Robin eyeing up oats & cheese
Other side of chicken coop
And front of coop with removable wall off
Another view of the new plot at the back, with piles of horse manure & soil for vines in the foreground
New shed will come into its own as seeds start getting raised next month... already the temperature is up to 60f on some days & the overwintering garden geraniums are still flowering
Started a new salad veg bed, with the garlic going well at the far end
And here's a picture of how the plot looks at the end of the month... a mild January means the grass is growing well!

5 comments:

  1. Hello dad, me and Chris just having a nose - he is very impressed with your chicken house - you should take that as a compliment considering he's a carpenter!!!x

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous10:11 pm

    John, Interesting blog - enjoyed reading it.
    Perhaps you could put a link to the Hill Rise Allotment Association web site (www.hraa.org.uk).
    I also wouldn't mind talking to you about trying to reinstate the 'path which turned into a ditch' (one of your earlier blogs). This needs to be taken up with the County Council before it gets forgotten.
    Cheers..... Richard - plot 50/51

    ReplyDelete
  3. iv looked at ur chicken coop,with glass front,and a little run down to the manicured garden. oh to be a free range chicken!!. uv aquired more land will we be seeing turkeys ducks and geese or are we looking at a fur coat for christmas.Carryy on the good work all the best hissing sid from Perth.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous8:24 pm

    iv looked at ur chicken coop,with glass front,and a little run down to the manicured garden. oh to be a free range chicken!!. uv aquired more land will we be seeing turkeys ducks and geese or are we looking at a fur coat for christmas.Carryy on the good work all the best hissing sid from Perth.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous8:24 pm

    iv looked at ur chicken coop,with glass front,and a little run down to the manicured garden. oh to be a free range chicken!!. uv aquired more land will we be seeing turkeys ducks and geese or are we looking at a fur coat for christmas.Carryy on the good work all the best hissing sid from Perth.

    ReplyDelete

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