Back from the Wilds

Something of a break from the blog over the past week – I was away bushcrafting with the local BCUK group over a long weekend, then got back only for my ferrets to escape when their cage was blown open in a night of gales. One ferret, Loony, turned up the following day in the shed by the chicken run (thankfully, not in the chicken run!) but the other, my little blonde jill Fursty, is still missing and, sadly, probably gone for ever. Stray ferrets don’t survive well in the wild – they try to play with strange dogs and cats, or stand in the road wondering what the funny lights are until too late.

As if that wasn’t enough to be getting on with, my daughter’s flitting about the country looking at universities ready for the coming autumn term. Today she was in Dundee.

Getting back to some sanity and sense, I spent some time on the allotment today sowing alfalfa and white clover – both are good for the soil, with nitrogen-fixing bacteria living amongst their roots, and both will also make very nutritious hay for the bunnies in due course. They’ll help to provide ground cover to smother out weeds and reduce evaporation from the soil, acting as a living mulch.

The dwarf peas I sowed a while back are now up and ready to plant out; half of them will be going into the deep beds in the garden to use as mange tout, the other half will go to the allotment and grow on a little further as early podding peas. The maincrop peas, a tall variety called Lord Leicester, aren’t as far forward so they’ll be staying in the potting shed a little longer.

It’s still quite early in the year here and we had a frost just the other night so, when the peas go out, each will get its own personal cloche. My daughter drinks a lot of fruit squash so we save up the empty plastic bottles, then cut off the bottoms and push them into the soil over seedlings, providing each one with its own miniature greenhouse which helps to retain moisture, catch heat and ward off any frost.

I’ll post a picture once they’re all in and “bottled”, which should be Friday. Tomorrow’s another hectic day……

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