Sunday, 19 December 2010

End of the year ....again

Wow - I can hardly believe that almost another year over and I'm still a bloody awful and inconsistent blogger!

So what a year really. Little did I realise that shortly after my last blog my darling Mum would become ill and our time now together is both short and precious. It has also precluded somewhat "normal" life and the latter half of the year seems to have been spent travelling up and down motorways and dealing with the NHS. Now being cared for at home I just hope Mum's remaining time is spent in warmth and comfort with no pain and surrounded with the love of the family.

The downside of all this time away has been minimal input into the allotment, poor old chickens get a clean out, fed and watered with the occasional egg collected and that's been about it and I have had the dogs with me in Cheshire. 2011 is definitely going to be catch-up time that's for sure.

This time last year the allotment had been cleared and I had already got broad beans, red and white onions, shallots and garlic planted. To my own shame I still have potatoes in the ground which will of course now be ruined and a bed of brassicas including calvo nero that I am sure are in need of a good harvest. I would say that with the early arrival of winter it really has stopped anything happening now as if there is a spare weekend day the ground is so frozen you can't do anything anyway!

The chickens have been somewhat eclipsed as well by the arrival this year of Max and Millie in that the dogs do take up time that I had previously spent with the chooks. Not that it means that the girls are being ignored, just time and organisation and its still a pleasure to watch them scratching around in the garden. Since the last blog the only real changes have been poor Ruby plagued with scaly leg on two occasions. I had used proprietary creams to clear it up but for some reason they made Ruby's lags very raw and sore and she was in some discomfort. I then resorted to Ivomectin which very quickly cleared up the problem. She does seem to be prone to it after she finishes a broody session and is starting to moult. It also takes her such a long time to get over her moult, bless her. Egg production was great until end of October when Harriet decided to go broody and everybody else decided to stop laying so even now, some 8 weeks on only Tallulah is laying the occasional egg. With all the cold weather the girls are getting far too many treats and I can't help myself buying the occasional corn on the cobs for them if there is a special offer on!

So what else of 2010? With no chicks being reared this year it was a little quiet in truth. Depending on time constraints it would be really good to hatch a few off in 2011. There is a good chance that we will be getting a Silkie cock sometime in the spring so hopefully chicks from Harriet and Tallulah. Then see if we can get some fertile eggs for Ruby and Nigella - lets see what happens. After our adventures last year I really do think that even bantam Orpingtons are to large for the garden so will probably stick with more bantam Sussex. Shame really as I love the chocolate Orpingtons however this year I saw for the first time Coronation Sussex and they really are very high on my "I want" list, lovely, lovely birds.

So that's it really - a cold and snowy end to 2010 and although still a fortnight away my resolution for 2011 is more frequent updates so for now have a very happy Christmas.