I really have to get back into a routine of posting here. I miss it. I've been not quite thwarted, but discouraged, by technology. I used to take pictures on my camera, upload them to the laptop, resize them, then insert them into blog posts. My new phone takes pictures that are near enough as good as the camera (which I've now stopped carrying around) - but it uploads them to google photos, and unless I'm writing a post on my phone, I still have to download photos to the laptop, rename and then upload them back to the blog again.
All rather tedious, but I will get into a new rhythm soon enough.
Not tonight though. Having sorted through my pictures from the last two weeks I'm far too exhausted to do anything with them and am going to sleep instead.
I did mean to write another post before joining in with this week's Six on Saturday, but somehow time just slipped away. Let's begin with some harvesting this week shall we? I'm delighted to see this round courgette - I was starting to think they wouldn't appear at all.
And more harvesting in and around the greenhouse - two types of tomatoes and two types of beans.
Number three is my willow dome. It's not much of a dome at the minute, but come spring it'll grow into a beautiful, swishing, swirling space to lie in and look at the view. This willow was harvested from our old tiny city garden, where I unwisely planted a willow hedge, then spent several years cutting it incessantly. These wands spent five months living in a bucket of water, so I hope they appreciate their now unlimited space.
Number four is the chicken run, which seems to get both closer and further away from being ready with every passing day. It now has four solid walls, is entirely fox proof (I hope) round the bottom with a two foot skirt of wire dug into the ground, topped with heavy stones. It's painted on the inside, and most of the outside, and just needs a roof. We have all the materials - and we also have 'light rain and a gentle breeze' which turns our corrugated plastic sheets into sails. Sigh.
Still, let's have number five as the chickens, who seem perfectly happy in their temporary home in the stable.
And finally, number six is the teensiest butternut squash I have ever seen. I'm delighted with this too - like the round courgette, I thought it would never happen. Still, it'll have to get a bit bigger before I bother cooking it.
So there we are, a glimpse of my garden this week. Do pop over to The Propagator's blog and see who else has joined in.
This week I'm joining in with Six on Saturday, a weekly cheerful game where people post six things that are happening in their gardens that week.
So here are my six.
This is by far the most exciting thing round here this week.
I've had them six days now and we're all settling in nicely. Mildred is a bossy boots, Luna isn't far behind, Hermione is being stoic down at the bottom of the pecking order, and Maud has a sore foot. Someone keeps kicking over the feeder, and nobody's got the hang of sleeping on a perch yet (although they are now going into the house themselves which is a start).
They're temporarily living in the stable block, which leads us neatly onto...
2. A not-quite-finished chicken run
All the pieces are finished now, we just need to make a few adjustments to the levelling of the base, fit the pieces together, and put enough wire and stones round the bottom to stop the fix getting in. We'd planned to do that this weekend, but sadly it's raining so much it's like being in the shower out there.
3. My sorry looking greenhouse
Oh dear. On the left are nine cucumber plants in too-small pots, which I didn't manage to keep watered enough throughout the heatwave. They still produced plenty of cucumbers though, and we've pickled quite a few. I had to remove the mesh they were growing up to use in the chicken run, and I don't think they're going to recover.
On the right are tomatoes, four I grew from seed and the two larger were given to us by a friend. I clearly haven't got the hang of tomatoes yet, as apparently hers are prolific and glorious, and mine are few and far between. We have had a few yellow ones though. I need to start my own earlier next year.
4. Purple basil
I grew this from seed, and I love it. I like to eat basil, but it's also a beautiful plant, especially now it's flowering. I've put some of the leaves in the freezer but never got round to making pesto. Oh well. I'll definitely be growing plenty of this next year.
I'm growing two types, a red and white speckledy type given to me by my auntie, which has cheery orange and white flowers, and some climbing french beans, which have beautiful lilac flowers. I have nine of each, and they've been reasonably prolific. I've eaten them almost every day but not really had enough to give away or freeze. I'm planning a veritable bean forest next year.
6. Rainbow chard
I love rainbow chard, but mine has languished in too-small pots all summer and only got planted out a couple of weeks ago, after slugs decimated the kale. So far it's holding up.
So there we are, a swift wander round my garden on a soggy autumnal day. If you'd like to see Six on Saturday from other people, head over to The Propogator's blog.
I can't tell you how excited I am about this - we have chickens!
I've been fond of chickens for as long as I can remember, but living in a terraced house with no back garden I had to set my chicken dreams aside. We looked after a friend's chickens for a couple of weeks, and I went on a chicken keeping course, but for many years my main chicken interaction was visiting the local city farm.
When we started to think about moving house my thoughts turned to chickens again - in fact suitability for chickens became one of my requirements for our new home.
Finally, after living here for six months, my chicken dreams have come true.
We collected our girls on Sunday, from the British Hen Welfare Trust. They rehome hens who have been in commercial farms and who are about to be sent for slaughter. Our chickens haven't been in cages, but they have lived in a large barn with thousands of other chickens, and have never been outside.
We're just putting the finishing touches to our outdoor run and making it fox proof, so our ladies have taken up temporary residence in the stable block. It's big and airy, with plenty of natural light, places to hide and hay to scratch around in. It's not ideal, but it's more room than they've ever had, and it's only for a few days. They seem happy.
I've been spending quite a bit of time just sitting with them and they're slowly getting used to us. Today is their third day here, and this afternoon I had them eating out of my hand. Two of them found their way into the hen house at dusk tonight (the other two were huddling on the floor in a corner but it's early days yet).
They're establishing a pecking order - perfectly natural although it's tempting to intervene to stop Mildred going out of her way to chase Hermione (they're named after witches in kids' books...). My current pecking order prediction is Mildred, Luna, Hermione. I'm not sure about Maud, she seems to do her own thing and neither chase the others nor be chased herself. Sensible Maud.
I'm sure one day chicken ownership will become second nature but for now it's still Extremely Exciting.
Sit down and make yourself comfortable. I'm Jenni, and I write here about our new forray into country living, which includes growing food, knitting, baking, wandering around the fields, and seeing which local cafe serves the best cake.