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Showing posts from May, 2008

Hatchings and musings

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One of the hens has gone broody. About ten days ago I went to let them out and found Edith the Welsummer sitting determinedly in the nesting box. I thought she was laying and left her alone. The next day there she was again and sitting in a curious way, her feathers held out so that she looked like a great feathery flatfish. I rang my friend Penny who hatched the hens for us last year. "Lift her out and see if she goes back in. If you lift her two or three times today and she always goes back then she probably is broody. If she's not serious about it she will get distracted when you lift her and wander off." So I lifted her and every time she had a quick drink, a couple of peckfuls of corn and beetled determinedly back into the hen house again and settled down. While she was feeding I checked to find she was sitting on four eggs, one of her own and three bantams. So out came the books and I was on the phone to Penny again. Apparently she needed a broody coop, a qui

May in the kitchen garden

I love May. I love its greenness, vivid and enchanting, and I love the way things are growing practically as you watch them. The force of new life is fountaining up in fronds of fennel and lovage climbing to the sky in the herb garden. In two or three days both are putting on inches, the fennel all feather and frond, the lovage deeply cut and sculptural. All the trees but the walnut are in leaf. The framework of the big oaks in the field below the kitchen garden is disappearing now into the blur of new green and the finely cut foliage of the ashes bursts out of the dark and stumpy buds, unexpectedly delicate. In the garden it is impossible to keep up. In winter the city lures with its lighted streets and coffee shops. Then the view from the window is of relentless rain and going for wood for the fire requires a fleece, a waterproof and a pair of rigger boots. In spring and summer I can hardly bear to go. I got up early this morning to have an hour or so in the greenhouse, pott

Tulips and a greenhouse

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It is such a glorious day here that I thought I would share a few pictures with you. This is a tulip called Angelique. I tried several new ones in small quantities and this one is certain to be reordered in the autumn. This one is Flamingo. It may be an utter show off but I like this one too in small quantities. These are in pots overlooking the valley, somewhat windblown and battered throughout April but shining in the sun today. They are Pimpernel. And this is the view from my greenhouse (liberally sprinkled with dandelions). Thank you Ian for spending all day yesterday assembling it, one of the best presents I have ever had.

Friendships real and virtual

The 1st of May was a very suitable day for the third meeting up of the Shropshire/Wales bloggers. I rushed around filling bird feeders and seeing to chickens before bodran arrived. I'm driving today and we are going down to Welshpool to meet up at the Dingle nursery. I have spent weeks with my plant books (mainly Beth Chatto) trying to establish what else will grow up here at about 700 feet in our stony soil which drains like a colander so I now have a list of things to look for. When bodran arrives she brings me a couple of pieces of Inula, a good start to what promises to be a good day. We bowl down through the borders in the sunshine and catch up madly. Bodran is opening a clothes shop and I marvel as I often do when I talk to her at the different ways there are of knowing things. By education and training I am a theoretical person but bodran knows from experience and trial and error. She is very patient with all my raw prawn questions: "How do you decide how much