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Our long weekend

Posted by on Tuesday 26 April 2011 in chickens, DIY, growing, wild food, wood stuff | 8 comments

Cor, I feel like I’ve not written here for weeks! Like Christmas, Easter doesn’t mean anything to us here – not even the consumption of chocolate – so we’ve just had four days of doing nothing. Well, not doing nothing…

On Friday, I spent a lot of time reading about Square Foot Gardening. It’s something I’d heard vaguely about before and suspected I’d borrow it’s spacing principles when sowing/planting in my various wooden planters, but Friday was the first time I sat down and read about it. Then fully converted to the idea, I built a 3ftx3ft raised bed from our old bathroom cupboard doors (4ftx4ft is more typical but my doors were 6ft tall so 3ft-square was easier and also tucked away better into a space next to the pond).

I reused the former hinge screws to mark out every foot around the frame, so I could easily divide it into those magic foot square sections with twine. I haven’t decided exactly what I’ll plant in it yet but looking at the planting guidelines, my nine squares could be a rather productive space.

We did have a rather lazy day on Saturday – mostly reading in the sun – but Sunday was productive again: we painted the bathroom. I’m holding off talking about our bathroom renovation until its finished (two long months and counting) but I will say, it’s now rather blue.

It needs some more filling/sanding then a second coat, but it’s feels like it’s finally starting to come together. Hurrah.

Yesterday, we had the bathroom flooring fitted (hence the rush to paint at least one coat on the walls on a sunny Sunday) then went for a dog walk at Shipley Glen. When we came back, I pottered in the garden – chicken chores and potting on (the third batch of tomato plants, the two types of courgette, some lollo roso lettuces). I’ve decided that I’m not allowed to sow any more stuff until I’ve dealt with the stuff currently growing – stuff that needs pricking out or potting on – so I don’t get overwhelmed and leave things in too small pots for too long, as happened at some points last year. I can’t wait until stuff can be planted out in the garden en masse though – the greenhouse is just about full of seedlings and the sun porch is pretty packed too. It would also be useful to be able to start clearing space in the salad troughs/pots – grow faster lettuces, I want to eat you!

On the chicken front, Ginger is still broody – I’m kicking her out of the nest box whenever I go down there to make sure she gets food and water regularly, and I’m getting some harsh bwarking in return. I think I managed to talk Blacks out of following her though – she was acting a little hot & bothered for a couple of days but I cooled her down a bit and she’s back to normal and laying again now.

And while we were down near the chickens yesterday, John spotted what he called “the biggest mushrooms I’ve ever seen in my life” – a slight exaggeration maybe but they are pretty sizeable:

They’re on the tree trunk marking the division between our and our neighbour’s gardens and since we walk past there at least once a day, I’m pretty surprised how they got so big without us noticing. I think they’re Dryad’s Saddle (Polyporus squamosus) – edible but only really when they’re young. These guys are probably past it now but I’ll keep an eye out for future fruiting.

So our four-day-weekend was a decent combination of laziness and productivity, how was yours?


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  1. sara

    Hey there..glad you have had a nice weekend..we had a long 2 wks..fern had easter holiday so it was being lazy and playing in the garden.We did do our seedlings but had to wait til tots were in bed..little fingers and seedlings don’t mix lol..they did help with the compost though,even though they looked like chimney sweep kids after that..how iris got compost in her nappy i will never know..our chickens are still not laying..had a friend over to look at them and she told me thay are to old to lay and any eggs i have been getting are probably the last they will do..so now have dilema..as the girls love them but they are not being productive and i want them for the eggs..so do i get rid and break their little hearts or keep them and get 2 more..decisions decisions..
    Have been busy myself..been painting the trellis fencing..god i hate that trellis..both bloody sides need doing..its almost done now that is going in the 5yr planner on to do list every other yr and then it won’t look so beat up,like it does now..
    Sounds bad but at the moment we are praying for rain..the lotties look like dust bowls..
    We did celebrate easter..had an egg hunt and big turkey with all the family here for it..love them all soo much but feel relieved when they leave lol..
    Back to normal now,baking and sewing are on my list this week and thats just to relax me..lol.
    love to you and yours

  2. Anna

    We found a Dryad Saddle like that this weekend that was two feet in diameter! Definitely the biggest mushroom I’d ever seen. This seems to be a very good year for Dryad Saddles — they keep popping up in places I hadn’t seen them before.

  3. sara

    Sorry meant to say your Square foot gardening sounds good..i bet you can grow quite a bit in a square foot.Those mushrooms look huge,can you eat them? Mushroom newbie here lol.

  4. louisa

    sara: we’d love some rain here too – I think it drizzled one evening last week but that’s been it for weeks and weeks. Not like Yorkshire at all!

    I don’t relish your chicken dilemma at all – we were adamant when we got ours that they wouldn’t be pets and once they stopped being useful, they’d be useful one last time… But Lime, little Lime, she’s going to be with us for a long time – she’s definitely in pet territory now… I’m hoping we can stick to our plan with the … well, the ones with less personality but right now I’m not convinced we will. We’ll see!

    It sounds like the small ones had fun!

    The mushrooms can be eaten – but only when they’re young and small (no more than 2inches in diameter). I’m going to keep an eye out for new fruits – apparently they taste like cucumber raw!

    Anna: cor, that’s massive! I didn’t see these mushrooms last year so I wonder if it’s the same good year for them here too. Have you tried them, is the cucumber thing true?

  5. Anna

    I haven’t tried them. I’m ashamed to say that when they popped up, we were overflowing with our homegrown oyster mushrooms and I decided the dryad saddle weren’t worth the trouble. However, one of Mark’s friends tried them this spring and described them as “awful”! :-) Not sure if he picked them at the right stage, though….

  6. sara

    Hi louisa..the dilems is solved..we are keeping maisie and daisy the chickens as pets for the tots..and getting some new ones in a few weeks..thing is we couldn’t eat them as everytime we have anything that remotely resembles chicken our tot fern who is 5 always asks”is this one of our chickens?”..lol.

  7. Su

    I worked!!! Though on Monday I did haul 45 litres of compost home, on the bus, and used every single bit to pot on my seedlings. All this before I worked a night shift!

  8. louisa

    Anna – not exactly an inspiring review though!

    sara – heh, at least she knows to make the connection though!

    Su – cor, well done – I bet you didn’t spill a crumb after that effort!

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