Friday, 30 April 2010

Springing up

The much needed dose of spring rain has come late to Banceithin, but that made it all the more welcome when it finally arrived, which isn’t something I ever thought I’d find myself saying. The newly laid turf was starting to curl up at the edges like a patchwork of expensive day old slices of bread. I was on the cusp of placing an ad in the Cambrian Trader seeking a watering slave as tending to a polytunnel, veg plot, fruit patch, rockery, three gardens and two lawns was becoming a full time job.

The rain has brought a burst of colour to the front garden, with the vibrant yellow-green marjoram fighting for centre stage with the approaching tide of forget-me-nots.


The showery weather was the boost our purple sprouting broccoli needed too. This plant wins the prize for longest journey from plot to plate. Seeds sown on 14th June 2009, transplanted into raised bed on 11th July 2009, lost a few to cabbage root fly, decimated by slug attacks, weathered the autumn storms, survived the big freeze and being buried under a foot of snow, first harvest on 29th April 2010 – steamed, sprinkled with vinaigrette & freshly grated parmesan, yummy.

The cuckoos are singing, the pheasants are courting, the rhubarb is rampant, the cats are torturing the baby mice …. spring is well and truly sprung.

Alas the rain also means the return of my nemesis. Yes, the slugs are back.Much to my disappointment the chickens are fussy eaters and turn their beaks up at slugs in favour of worms. I toss the slugs into the run thinking the tasty morsels are a ready meal for chooks, but Aphrodite and Co. prefer to slurp up worms like spaghetti. We’ve taken to letting them spend a few hours a day roaming free out of their run, which seems to have given the girls a bit of an attitude. They cluster at the gate like prisoners on day release. At first they were timid, sticking together without straying too far from the run, and even allowed Stevie “I think I may be a dog not a cat but I’m not quite sure” Pickworth to round them up and send them home. Now they’re far too self-assured, wandering off to scratch and poop on the new turf, strutting along the stone wall, heading off into the orchard. By next week Athena will be running a table tennis tournament in the Games Room, while Hera heads off in the truck to get some beers from the shop!

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