Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Animal Farm

 Monday 5th March 2012 and Tuesday 6th March 2012
Yet to see the sun at sunrise in March!
There is something mildly exciting in Tuesday's picture, but it'll take some spotting.
(Clue: you're looking for a bird, not a small one and not far away)

An update on a few farm affairs I've not blogged.

The pigs have been separated successfully for about a week now. Daisy seems happy in her new quarters and is nearing the end of her pregnancy. Meanwhile, Gerald has learned to stand up and peer over his stable door, like Napoleon in Animal Farm. While checking that  I got this name right, I found out that Napoleon Pig was based on Joseph Stalin and was, in the first French versions, named after Julius Caesar. He was a Berkshire, which is Daisy's breed. The real Gerald is a Gloucester Old Spot. I have not read this book for a long time, but I think it may be time to re-read it. I won't let the farm animals know what happens, in case they start getting any revolutionary ideas!

The potatoes are chitting nicely in their egg boxes. Now, for obvious reasons, you place the seed potatoes "eyes up", so that the new shoots grow from the top of the spud. What nobody mentions is that for some potatoes it is almost impossible to tell which end is which! However, I have found that if you make sure to check them after a couple of weeks, it is much easier to find the ones which have been placed head down and rectify the situation. The potatoes won't go out until at least the end of March - it's hard enough earthing up the ridges, but as the shoots emerge through the soil they need to be covered up until there is no longer any risk of frost . Potatoes are not hardy and will be set right back if caught by frost. I can't see much point pushing my luck with the weather, though I will risk a few first early Swifts, which I will pamper to produce a very early, premium crop.

The rabbits have clearly been at it again! For today, Gerry proudly brought in his first young rabbit of the year. It was very cute, but these grow into pesky devourers of cherished plants, so Gerry was welcome to his first rabbit meal of the year. He was clearly very excited about it.

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