Archive for June, 2010

Christmas Dinner

Chris and I picked up the turkey chicks on friday. We got them home safely and they are tucked up under their heat lamp and seem to be doing fine. I was totally amazed at how grown up they seemed for just a week old. Chicken chicks seem to sleep a lot and often fall asleep in a standing position. The turkeys seem way more alert and have already got grown up wing feathers and do a lot of pecking. They are starting to take running jumps now and climb on top of their water tower. I have a feeling they are going to be trouble!  Stan and Maisie seem to have got used to random small birds living in the house with them and haven’t tried to eat them at all. In fact they seem highly uninterested. I’m clearly feeding them too much!

The pumpkin competition is hotting up. Some what annoyingly the seedlings still haven’t arrived but the plot holders are starting to take things very seriously and covert reading of the pumpkin sections of the books in the clubhouse has been noted. Internet research has been taking place and someone (mentioning no names Terry!) even brought his own special mixture compost to prepare his planting area. Its all just for fun honest!

Last weeks Making Waves article about us has brought some lovely new people to visit us and we have two new members. It is the perfect time to get started. The weather the last couple of days has been so nice. Its been great just to sit up at Wood Farm in the evening and enjoy the view (and try not to panic about the amount of jobs to do!).

The article also prompted a few people to contact me to voice their disgust about the idea of allotmore and the price of a membership. I’d like to invite these people to come and have a cup of tea and a look round and let us explain what we are doing and how it differs to a traditional allotmore. I hope they would be pleasantly surprised.

Chris and Edd have got started on building the allotmore pizza oven which should be in working order for our Big Lunch on 18th July – if anyone wants to take part please let me know.

This weekend we will be seperating Lizzie from her babies to give her a rest. They are really big now and keep climbing all over her, she is being very tolerant but occasionally she throws one of them across the field. I think it is time for her to have a break and be able to sunbath in peace.

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Fabulous flags, Transition and goats!

This week was Ella and Zoe’s moment of stardom. The girls have made BBC Surrey some beautiful flags to fly on their runner bean wigwam ( I think they might start a trend!) Nick was very pleased with the flags and as it was an inset day he was able to interview the ladies in question and take some pictures of them and the masterpieces.   Lots of lovely pictures can be seen on Nick’s blog http://bbcsurreybreakfastblog.blogspot.com/ and you can listen on iplayer (for the next 7 days) http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p0084l9w/Surrey_Breakfast_with_Nick_Wallis_08_06_2010/.

Yesterday afternoon we had a visit from Rob Hoskins of the Transition network ( http://www.transitionnetwork.org/).  He was in town giving a talk and found the time for a cup of tea and a chat. We showed him around allotmore and hope he liked what he saw. He said he loved the logo so credit again to Tim for his creative genius.

Team allotmore has two new members – after much debate from Chris and Helga’s grandchildren they will be known as Emily and Chloe and are Sannen cross goats. Emily is mum and Chloe is her daughter. We are hoping to be able to milk them and have a go at making cheese. My first attempt at making friends with Emily resulted in a light head butt though so maybe it will take a little while. Helga seems to be doing much better though so maybe she has special goat wrangling powers.  It will be fun to learn though and they have got plenty of working to be getting on with keeping the brambles under control.

Today the 5 girl pigs from the last litter went off to the abbatoir. These ones tricked me a little bit as they were different colours it was too easy to tell them apart and though we hadn’t named them I had got attached to them, particularly the ginger one who would roll over if you tickled her tummy 😦 At least I know they had a happy life and if the response to the meat from their brothers is anything to go by they should be happy eating.

This weekend I am picking up my 10 Turkey chicks and any allotmore members that wants to are going to have a go at growing our own Christmas dinner, the spuds and the sprouts are in so now it is time for the main course.  That has to be potentially the best christmas dinner ever!

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A trip to the County Show

Ages ago we thought it would be a good idea to have a stall at the County Show. We kind of forgot about it but it crept up on us and we spent Bank Holiday monday manning our stall in Guildford.  We were a little bit overwhelmed as it seemed that everyone had professional displays while we had our basic gazebo and chalk board. We did have our lovely shiny new Allotmore sign though and some more beautiful cakes from Debs. We weren’t really sure what to expect as the show is massive and people come from quite far around and allotmore is very much only in Godalming (for now!) but we decided that it was better to have the experience than stay home and wonder about it.

It was a really long day  but we spoke to lots of lovely people and have signed up some great new growers. I’m really excited to get them started. I think they are going to have lots of fun.

Chris has also been hard at work creating “the milford reservoir”  or a big hole for storing water for irrigation. He has been out on his digger for days and has finally got all the pipes in right place – its huge! My task now is to find the right kind of liner at the right price – I promise I haven’t been distracted by the thought of ducks and geese and I certainly don’t have any duck eggs in the incubator 😉

We spent friday night putting up a more sturdy pig fence so we could let the piglets out of their small pen into a larger one. Its great watching them run about and really get stuck into some serious hole digging.  A couple of them seem to have got the runs a bit but the vet has been to have  a look at them and says they are all doing fine. It certainly doesn’t seem to have affected their engery levels or appetites. Perhaps its just the slight change in their diet – they are eating way more mud!

The plots are starting to look like proper vegetable gardens now, our soil seems to be really good for potatoes – everyones are doing really well. The rain yesterday was most welcome but the forecast sun sounds good too!

This weekend is going to be the great allotmore pumpkin planting – we are having a competition to see who can grow the biggest for halloween.  I must do my research and make sure mine does the best 🙂

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Blooming marvellous

Stuff is really starting to grow  now,  it’s really great to see all the little plants coming up. We had a bit of a set back last week  – who thought there would be a week of frost in May – and a few of the more delicate things people had planted look a bit worse for wear. My potatoes had a few black leaves but tucking them up in a nice straw bed seems to have done the trick.

The strawberries in the fruit cage seem to be doing well and the raspberries are looking nice and neat now I have tied them all up, normally I am quite messy but it is strangely good to see them all regimented.

Last sunday the sun shone,all the plot holders were at work for a while  and then we all had tea and chat and set the world to rights. It was exactly as allotmore is supposed to be. Now we just need to get the pizza oven built and some crops grown so we can happily while away the summer. Wood Farm really is a lovely place to be in the sunshine.

While we were relaxing the pigs had been scheming,  Lizzie and the piglets have a trough of food that gets topped up more regularly than the big pigs as Lizzie needs her energy to feed all the little ones (they help themselves to the trough as well though!). The others decided this wasn’t fair and launched an attack on Lizzies pen, the electric fence that normally keeps them seperate sudddenly held no fear for them and they bust in. Lizzie was very cross about this and we had to rush to get everyone back in the right places without any of the piglets getting hurt.  A slight upgrade to the fence seems to have done the trick so all is peaceful again.

On tuesday we took the 5 boy pigs off to the abbatoir, as always it’s not the funnest task in the world and they don’t make it easy but it is important that they don’t get stressed and that their last journey is as calm as possible. Chris, Tony, Pete and I managed to get them into the trailer relatively easily this time and I spent yesterday with Pete the butcher preparing the meat.  The pigs don’t look like the porcine friends you have been feeding any more and it is actually really interesting. We did the butchering at the Milford Meat and Fish market this time which was great of them to let us use their facilities and I am getting pretty good at recognising the cuts now. 5 pigs take a long time to butcher and both Pete and I were knackered by the end of it and poor Pete still has loads of sausages to make today.  Hopefully we will have some happy customers though and they will enjoy our happy pigs.

Helga and I have been discussing getting a couple of goats so watch this space for goat news 🙂 My 10 turkeys should be hatching at the start of June and i can’t wait to get them. If you are interested in raising your own Christmas dinner give me a shout – they will be available for adoption and then eating.

Allotmore also seems to have got a resident phesant couple, they seem very at ease with us all, strolling about, shouting to each other and generally strutting their stuff.  They are great to watch but if they peck anyones plants – it’s war!

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