Thursday, 8 February 2018

Bring On The Winter!

Sunday 4th February 2018
I am a Chair!
After putting the finishing touches to the fedge, it was off to Upwell Village Hall for the Fenland Smallholders Club Annual General Meeting.
I came back as the new Chair, not entirely unexpected but not official until properly nominated and elected at the meeting.
I have big plans for the club so it should keep me busy enough. I am very excited at the prospect at taking the club forwards into the twenty-first century!!! 😉

For a while now the committee has had a number of spare places which means that the burden of organising events falls on fewer shoulders. So I was absolutely thrilled that quite out of the blue one after another after another put themselves forward until all twelve committee positions were full.

I went into Monday and Tuesday really buoyed up.

Monday 5th February
Wrapping Up
I think I have finally adapted to winter. Having worked outside all day in the drizzle on Saturday, I worked outside all day in temperatures close to freezing with occasional flurries of snow.
I didn't even feel cold. The secret is to wear layers and to work hard. I have just discovered Aldi Special Buy fishing gear too. Does the job perfectly.

With the clear, cold weather come some stunning sunsets. I often see them as I'm walking the dogs along the river. We have to cut back across the fields and often end up crossing the dyke to get back onto our land after the sun has gone down.

Tuesday 6th February
The Gardening Gang
With temperatures still below zero I decided to heave out the rotavator and start working the bed where the broad beans will be planted. I thought I had covered this bed with cardboard, but was disappointed to find it was one which had become overrun with nasturtiums last year. The dead stems still trailed over the surface. These would need picking off, icy as they were, otherwise they just twine around the blades of the rotavator.
There were a few nettles that needed digging out too. As I sunk the fork into the ground, it clearly wasn't hard enough under the surface to be rotavated. It would just cling to the tines and coagulate to clog up the machine.
Instead I decided to do some good old fashioned digging. There were areas of couch grass too and the roots needed excavating and pulling. A rotavator would have just propagated them.
I had a bunch of willing helpers today - chickens, ducks and guinea fowl. I let them out of their pen as I would be in attendance so they were very unlikely to come into contact with any wild birds.

They appreciated the extra protein as they pecked at anything that moved as I turned the soil. Hopefully I exposed all the slug eggs and nasty bugs, though they are not fussy about who they eat. Goodies like worms and ground beetles go down well too. Of course, as they eat, they scratch and break up the soil and they fertilise as they go.

I discovered a few Romanesco cauliflowers which I had missed. The frost had got to some of them, but there was enough to salvage. These are certainly hardier and easier to grow than conventional cauliflowers. Some went to make cauliflower rice along with some pheasant curry, the rest went into the freezer.

With a whole day's hard work under the belt, I decided to take the dogs on a good long walk before dark. We crossed the fields from the back of the land, along the river and then along the road where we virtually never meet traffic or people. Boris and Arthur just love running along this road.
Coming up in next post: ELVIS LIVES (but a successor has been appointed)

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