Friday 29 May 2015

A Rather Sad Spring Break

The new cat, Soldier, is well settled in at this stage and
exploring the garden. 
It has been a miserable cold wet May and in any other circumstances, a Spring break in the Greek Islands would seem like a brilliant idea. The Med, sun, warmth, café life, ouzo, seafood, maybe a swim, what could be better? For poor Lizzie, though, these are not "any other circumstances" and she must head for the Island of Poros on an altogether sadder mission, to settle the affairs of our late friend Diamond (whom I should probably now call by her real name Diane). More on this mission in a future post.

Local beekeepers say that a good horse
chestnut tree is worth an acre of clover.
This fine example grows right opposite
JD Bob's place.

Heads down feeding frenzy for the Hubbards at 4 weeks+

Release day for the Hubbard poults.

A well stained thumb attests to the fact
that we have been 'shepherding' again. 

Park life?
Meanwhile, after a fortnight of reasonable weather (OK, a tad chilly and prone to showers) we have been hard at it catching up on the garden. I have weeded through the veg patch (which sometimes seems like the Forth Road Bridge; by the time you finish, you have to start again at the start) and we have blitzed the big raised-bed garden and mulched it down with well rotted chicken/goose muck. With the new mower, I have been able to buzz off the pond-garden and the orchard, nicely topping off the plantain and dock flower shoots coming in the latter. It all looks very neat and Liz paid it the delighted compliment that "It looks really neat - like a bit of parkland!" We don't normally aspire to a site too 'manicured' but we both love the current 'deliberate' look, the 'lawn grass' is mowed and the shaggy meadow bits look like they have been left deliberately. Planned!

Plums (Victoria)
Some good fruit-set, especially on the plums which were worst affected by that late frost in April, tell us that we might have got away with it. Obviously, it is only May and no-one is counting any chickens. June-drop is still a way off, but those frosts struck just as these plums were coming to the end of the blossom season and in my memory, that should mean that fruit would fail to set. Here we are, though, with the withered remants of flowers now washed off by the showers and with tiny plums revealed in clusters. Who knows, but we might get some decent crops of fruit this year. It's a promising start anyway.

Baby (Conference) pears forming
Other than that, Soldier the cat is now well settled in and loving it here, the 'Hen with One Chick' fusses on doing a good job of protecting the little one. She even had a go at Liz this morning as Liz tried to nip from kitchen to utility room to retrieve some underwear for the Greek trip. In the goose dept a fair amount of chaos. We had no intention of allowing any geese to go broody this year - we do not want any more geese and I hate having to 'off' them but one out-voted us and yesterday morning she appeared to have been joined by 2 more on the same nest. 2 of these hopped back off mid-morning. It could all end in tears and smashed eggs.

3 broodies?
The bees seem to have given up notions of swarming for the moment, probably due to the cold weather but we will stay vigilant and if the weather warms up, we know what to expect. The pigs thrive on and one of the lambs is coming up to needing his final journey. That will be Feste, our first-born, January 6th baby, ear tag 00001F. He's booked in with Ignatius G Victualler on June 9th after Liz is back from Greece. He will be smaller and younger than lambs we have sent to slaughter in the past, but he is entire, and we dare not allow him to 'get at' Mum Lily as happened last year, but the butchers love that and assure us he will be like a tender New Season Easter lamb in the size of joints and the eating.

We take one final cut from the purple
 sprouting broccoli which has done so
well. The bees can have it now as it
blows away to flower. 
So, fare well then Lizzie and good luck on your rather sad trip to Poros. I know that you will do Diane proud.


mazylou said...

She will. Should couldn't do anything else.

Matt Care said...

Thanks Mazy, and thanks for your ongoing support, battling through some tech issues to get messages to the lady while she's "in the foreign".