A beautiful summer’s day here at Lackan, and one that began with some scythe action in the front field. The new austrian scythe is incredibly sharp, and I can cut grass to literally an inch long with it if I need to – certainly its as quick as a strimmer, and great to use on a quiet day.
I was tempted to get one of Simon Fairlie’s with the proper adjustable wooden handle, but in the end settled for this basic aluminium handle (snath), that is half the price, lighter to use, and for my purposes, no harder on my spine.
This afternoon we’ve been busy readying the new veg beds for planting. That meant moving 56 wheelbarrows full of well rotted horse manure from the Epic Mountain of Shit, in readiness for the impending arrival of 4 tonnes of organic compost on wednesday. Claire has had a pile of brassicas in modules that are more than ready for planting, with more arriving in the coming days, so the beds will soon fill up. We’d had them in the ground for less than 15 minutes before cabbage white butterflies and pigeons arrived to decimate them, so the beds are now netted. On a 70cm wide bed, we’ve used hoops made of 4mm fencing wire, which are 1.5m long to support the netting.
Our onions and garlic have been drying in the small tunnel for weeks, and we’ve finally got them into nets of about ten, the theory being that not to many can go off at once. We always separate any that look like they need used quickly, as even a small blemish can develop quickly and you’ve suddenly lost a whole pile of onions.
Chicken mayhem continues – we’ve nearly thirty now, and of our original chicks hatched in the incubator, we now have 6 rather large and excitable cockerels, who have developed a nasty habit of raping and pillaging their way through the orpington hens and chicks, so I’m separating them during the day, which they really, really hate. I’ve had a couple of showdowns with one especially uppity fella, and I have to say I’m positively looking forward to the day when they all go in the freezer. On the other side of the fence, the Orpington ladies are looking especially magnificent, and we’ve a really good little flock developing.
We’ve also got the magnificent Swedish Blacks, who I’m keeping just because they are so wonderful to look at. Soon they’ll have to be given a little palace of their own so that Ms Black can lay her eggs in peace, and we can hopefully be sure that they have been fertilised by Mr Black.