Sunday, 30 March 2008

Those darstedly meeces !

Trying to make a little space in brick greenhouse this morning, I moved some clutter, err, stuff out of the way and saw that last years seeds and packets have been raided by the dratted meeces. They've picked over each packet and helped themselves to some tasty treats. A clearout has been long overdue, so I've spent the best part of the day finally clearing the brick greenhouse and potting shed out. I'm ashamed to say that not only were most of the ring cultures and boxes still in place, but they were also complete with crispy plants !

brickgreenhouse copy

A new family appeared in Joe's lottie, the next but one to me. The lady was very sniffy and complained very loudly at the top of her voice about the state of the lottie, her kids, husband etc. It is pratically weed free, due to Joe's love of spraying anything that moves with weedkiller, but he has a greenhouse frame (needs glazing), a tool store, a sitting shed, fruit cage, paths, waterbutts etc and over the years has really looked after his lottie - it will only take a couple of months of digging to get the whole lottie functional again. Joe was ill last season and is getting on a bit and I think it has just become too much for him. It also turns out that some vandals have kicked in his gate, forced open his shed and then been into each of the lotties on the row - so it seems that my innocent wind damage isn't mother nature at all (it does also explain why my radio was part way down the lottie, when nothing else was - at least they didn't seem to take anything or damage any of the plants). If I'd been offered it I would have been skipping with joy - perhaps she'd expected the council to plant it up for her. I really hope they don't take it.

Sadly old Ken has also given up his lottie, next but one the other way. He suffered from a heart attack last year and was reduced to very light duties, so more changes - again whoever gets it will be very lucky as it will need minimal work to turn it around - not like the jungle next door. I've not met them yet and they've done a lot of work, but it will be a long haul similar to mine to turn it around.

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I've set the potting shed up with its temporary seedling station (wallpaper pasting table) and even managed to sow my first seeds of 2008 - some marigolds. I stuffed loads of seeds into an old tub, as I seem to remember that the meeces ate three trays of them last year. I think I'll sow most of my seeds next weekend, I know I'm behind lots of people, but I don't think it will be long before I catch up - especially as I'm not going to grow aubergines or okra this year. I said I'm not going to grow them .. I will not sow them ...

Even though I haven't yet lifted last seasons potatoes that did not deter me from planting my first of this season - 10 x Vales Emerald. OH thought I'd started a pet cemetary. It does look a little creepy.

ValesEmeraldPotatoes copy

I was midway through planting them when I heard a loud rustle between mine and Ken's lotties. I glanced up and saw a very striking cat, it had such a beautifiul coloured coat that I stopped to watch it slinking between the fence panels, just catching glimpses of it. I made a kissey noise and it stopped and turned to look at me - then I realised it wasn't a cat at all, but a young fox. He was beautiful, with a lovely bushy tail. I realise now that perhaps if it had been a cat, maybe I should have been running, vs sending it kisses as it would probably have wanted to eat me for dinner :)

The parsnips were looking decidedly healthy, with lots of green leaves, but I wanted to dig the bed over, so it was time for them to come out. Lookey at the size of them !!! I was screeching with excitment as I wrestled them from the ground. They're my biggest ever - I have about four monster sized ones ... probably normal size to you :)

parsnips copy

I've started to lift the Cara (potatoes) and am very pleased with what I've dug up so far - miminal critter damage and no shoots. Not tried them yet, but OH loves them as chips, so I'm guessing they'll be making an appearance on the dinner table this week sometime. I'm hoping that he is going to make some leek & potato soup too ... she said loudly.

Mint copy

I came across this little plant yesterday and decided that it was a flower, vs a weed. It has a very strong smell, almost herbal, however when I got home and checked my weed book I couldn't decide whether it was feverfew or ragwort. Fortunately next door confirmed it is feverfew - I think it has arrived on my lottie via the wind or our feathered visitors.

Feverfew copy

Mr Froggie has been staring up at me from the bottom of the pond today, lurking in the weed. I've spent ages starting back into the water (its a real distraction LOL) and nearly fell in when the hugest tadpole nonchalently swam in front of me. I didn't think anyone would believe me, so I hunted down a clear container and eventually managed to catch him - unbelievely he has legs developing. I wondered whether he could possibly be left over from last season, but OH thinks that he is from the warm weather we had in February (not that I remember any warm weather).

Its not a great photo, I'm afraid my camera was about to die, so it was snapped in a hurry, but it proves he is definitely a tadpole:

First taddy2 copy

It has been a beautifully sunny day here in Sheffield and the wildlife could be forgiven for thinking summer has arrived. I'm really glad now that I haven't pulled up the flowering salad just yet:

bee on salad flowers copy