May 2004RSS feed

Weekend update

Sunday 2 May, 2004

by Dan at 8:57pm in Anything goes 2 comments Comments closed

It's been a busy few days, and an update here is overdue. A quick summary of activity:

Sown in the greenhouse: Catnep, sweetcorn, tarragon, more hungarian hot wax & sweet nardello (a bit late but we'll see how they do), sprouting brocolli (red spear & Spike), cabbages (vertus, savoy best of all & Holsteiner Platter), Courgette Defender.

Sown outside: Parnsip Tender & True, Carrots Parabel & Cubic, Peas (Greenshaft & Sugar Snap Norli), spuds Desiree. The early spuds are starting to show now.

Mice or weevils?

Monday 3 May, 2004

by Dan at 8:18pm in Growing Comments closed

Nibbled peasSomething has been eating our broad bean and pea seedlings. It's not a problem we've ever had before in the raised beds, and the only damage this year is happening in the new veg patch where the pigs were last year - the sugar snaps in the raised beds are unaffected.

I was convinced it was mice or some other small mammal - I've found many under stones and in overgrown areas of the garden before, and Cas certainly leaves the remains of enough around the place to know there is a fair population. But tonight Rosemary saw a bit in Scottish Farmer which says that incidence of pea and bean weevil is on the increase.

Gallery additions

Monday 3 May, 2004

by Dan at 8:20pm in TAS Website Comments closed

I've added a load of photos to the gallery - 22 in all. Should keep the wife happy for another few days...

Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been?

Saturday 8 May, 2004

by Rosemary at 5:52pm in Cats Comments closed

Not to London to look at the Queen, we assume. Cass disappeared for a couple of days this week. I was really worrie, imagining the worst. However, he's back and hungry. I suspect he got shut in somewhere. He's SO nosey.

Homer has been OUTSIDE. Not very far; only on to the doorstep. And not for very long, but out nevertheless. He's becoming much more laid back about the dogs. I think his mentor, Copper, has wised him up on how to deal with canines.

Cass and Copper seem to be getting along better. Both were curled up on our bed yesterday. That would have been unthinkable even a week ago. In fact, Copper would barely stay in the same room as Cass. Actually, she used to scarper before he chased her.

The flower garden

Saturday 8 May, 2004

by Rosemary at 6:12pm in Anything goes Comments closed

We do have a small flower garden. It's my responsibility so tends to get attention in fits and starts.

The weather has been somewhat changeable today, with sun interspersed with quite heavy showers. We're on holiday in a week, so I'm making gardening plans. I'm good at the planning.

Basically, there are two beds and a lawn and a pond. I use the term lawn loosely. It's the grass inside the fence as opposed to the grass outside the fence. We did have a wildflower meadow, but it was too scruffy even for me, so it's sort of gone.

Victorian Fair

Saturday 8 May, 2004

by Rosemary at 6:19pm in Anything goes Comments closed

There is going to be a Victorian Fair in Alloa on 22nd and 23rd May to make the 150th anniversary of the new burgh of Alloa. The event will be based around the historic Alloa Tower.

Dan will be on the Clackmannanshire Horticultural Society stand on the 23rd, dressed as a Victorian gardener. Or at least how we think a Victorian gardener should look.

I am honoured to have been invited to be one of the judges of the best stall and best child's costume. Those that know about these things say it's a poisoned chalice, but I'm looking forward to it. I shall have to get a suitable costume...

Poorly chook

Wednesday 12 May, 2004

by Dan at 1:25pm in Poultry Comments closed

One of our hens is a bit under the weather at the moment. Rosemary noticed it was a bit listless yesterday lunchtime, and said she'd be surprised if it lasted the night - it was a bit huddled and not terribly active so she isolated it in the old ark. When I got home from work it was still alive, and quite bright-eyed. Later in the evening she (the hen) produced a very large egg, and seemed to perk up, but we kept her by herself overnight.

This morning I found that she had laid a soft-shelled egg, and again seemed reasonably chipper. So we've marked her, and have left the end off of the ark so that she can rejoin the flock if she wants to. Fingers crossed she'll be okay and that it was a temporary egg problem, but if it persists we'll consider the common advice in these cases which is to cull the bird.

Then there were ten

Thursday 13 May, 2004

by Dan at 1:17pm in Poultry Comments closed

Well, our poorly hen didn't make it through last night. We think it was a physical defect that did for her rather than sickness or disease - she had no symptoms of illness, no discharge, no visible parasites.

It's always a bit sad when one of our animals dies, and even more so when it's one we planned on having into its old age (unlike the pigs for example).

Progress report

Tuesday 18 May, 2004

by Rosemary at 9:25pm in Gardening Comments closed

Well, the pond has been cleared out, filled with soil and now awaits planting as a bog garden. We bought four plants at a plant sale on Saturday - they look a bit lost so we'll get more tomorrow. I'm going for Astilbe, Hosta, Iris and Primula, with a small acer to add dappled shade. Not sure how the acer will do, but I'll move it if it isn't happy. Actually, it was abit of an impulse buy and the more I think about it, the more I regret it.

The trellis for the courtyard garden is purchased, as are the fence posts. There's no further progress there, but the holidays are yet young!

Games and activities for pigs

Tuesday 18 May, 2004

by Rosemary at 9:33pm in Pigs 2 comments Comments closed

Today the pigs got a new toy! It's called a "Snak a Ball". It's actually a horse toy, but the pigs haven't read the box and seem to like it. Basically, it's a big red ball that you fill with pig nuts. As the pigs roll it around, the pig nuts fall out and get eaten.

They're really getting the hang of it. If they'd had it a couple of weeks ago they might have made Sven's squad. The dogs think it's pretty neat too. It we had a third dog, they could play three a side. They won't let Dan play because he's not good enough and eats too many of the nuts.


Tuesday 18 May, 2004

by Rosemary at 9:52pm in Equines 1 comment Comments closed

Smokey is on a diet. He and Wallace, his grazing buddy, have been moved to a "restricted intake" paddock. Calling it a "starvation paddock" is now non PC.

Horses can contract a disease called laminitis which is an inflammation of the sensitive laminae in the foot. It can be caused by a number of things including high intakes of sweet spring grass. There is no cure and in severe cases, horses may be destroyed. If a horse gets it, it recurs and has to be carefully managed for the rest of the horse's life. So prevention certainly beats cure.

Plans are nothing, planning is everything

Wednesday 19 May, 2004

by Dan at 7:15pm in Growing Comments closed

So said some famous military man, I forget who, but it's a sound observation. On Sunday we had about 2 1/2 tonne of screened soil sitting on our drive and nowhere to put it. It was the leftovers of the 3 tonne I had ordered to fill in the pond to make the bog garden - okay, so I overestimated just a tad how much we'd need!

What to do? Well, we had a quick review of what was what and decided to restrict the pig rotation to the two westerly pens (more a back-and-forth than a rotation then), and keep the third, east-most pen for a permanent vegetable garden. Going a step further we decided it would be a good use of the available space to remove the fence separating the east-most pen and the existing vegetable garden, and to extend the raised veg beds to the full length of the new-to-be-united vegetable garden. This will have a number of benefits - the pig ark never needs to be moved again, since it sits on the fence line between the two pens and has a door into each pen; I'll need to do a lot less digging each year; and we'll have a lot more space to grow vegetables, all in permanent raised beds.


Monday 24 May, 2004

by Dan at 4:17pm in Poultry Comments closed

A nice article on the BBC about the Eglu - a hen run designed for urban settings, sold complete with 2 hens. The correspondent is quite positive about the eglu and her experience with it. It looks ideal for anyone with a bit of grass and the curiousity to try hen keeping for themselves.

Holiday veg update

Wednesday 26 May, 2004

by Dan at 11:08pm in Growing 2 comments Comments closed

We've been on holiday the past 2 weeks which explains the lack of entries here (counter-intuitive I know, but we've been busy!). The veg garden has had a good bit of attention, this week I've planted out leeks, sweetcorn, beetroot, sprouting brocolli, 3 varieties of cabbage and a couple of courgette plants. The brassicas are under fleece this year for the first time. In previous years they've been ruined by aphids, so we're going for the barrier method this time around to see if we can defeat them.

Late May sowing

Thursday 27 May, 2004

by Dan at 10:30pm in Growing Comments closed

Sown today:

  • Butternut Squash
  • Sugar Snap Pea Norli
  • Pea Greenshaft
  • Runner Bean Painted Lady
  • Runner Bean Scarlet Flame
  • Carrot Autumn King
  • Carrot Parabel
  • Carrot Cubic

That's about it for this year. We've got fennel and mangels to sow tomorrow, then it'll just be salad and spring onions and some green manures once harvest starts.

Pig articles

Friday 28 May, 2004

by Dan at 8:13pm in TAS Website Comments closed

I finally got around to adding the pig articles to the site. Next up will be some more vegetable growing guides. We're going to add a book review section soon, if anyone wants to contribute please let us know.

High contrast style

Sunday 30 May, 2004

by Dan at 12:43pm in TAS Website Comments closed

This morning I got an email from a reader who was struggling with the black text of the site on the green background. I can see why - looking more closely myself it isn't the easiest combination to read.

As a temporary measure I've written a quick style switcher which provides a higher contrast background, does away with the graphical headings and the background images. Use the 'high contrast' link in the left column to turn it on, and 'normal' to turn it off. Something more elegant will follow, plus a print style to pretty up those printed pages and save on that hideously overpriced ink.

New photos

Sunday 30 May, 2004

by Dan at 2:13pm in Gardening 1 comment Comments closed

The garden is starting to come into its fullest bloom and is becoming more photogenic, so I've taken a few pictures and added them to the gallery.

Homer's Odyssey Part 3

Sunday 30 May, 2004

by Rosemary at 2:19pm in Cats 1 comment Comments closed

Homer on the doorstepOur two week holiday at home has certainly helped Homer. He's more relaxed and confident and YES! he goes outside! Not for long, mind, a few minutes is enough then he heads back indoors, exhausted.

It's been very sunny and warm while we've been off and he's been happy toasting his bones at the french doors or the front door, if it is left open.

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