Posts Tagged vegetables

Chicks everywhere!

It’s all go here at allotmore with chicks all over the place. We hatched some very sweet aracuna’s recently, we found a clutch of pheasant eggs which we popped in the incubator and we now have 3 pheasants, this years turkey chicks have arrived, we have 12 unwanted bantams arriving tomorrow to be rehomed with us. Not sure where they are all going to go in the short term but we will work it out. The geese have finally given up on trying to hatch their eggs, we have two girl geese so it was always a hopeless effort but they have been putting a lot of time into it and are looking a bit shabby now. We have lots of teenage cockerels from our previous hatch at the moment as well. Some of them are very handsome and it seems a real shame to be getting rid of them but I have tried to find them homes and no one wants them so they will have to make handsome coq-au-vin. The Rhode Island Red cockerel is growing up to be a vicious beastie so I think a few people will be glad to see him go. The kids can’t collect eggs at the moment as he won’t let them. He’s really not doing himself any favours!

Chris and I went away for a few days and have returned to the plots being in full swing. The combo of rain and beautiful sunshine has been great and there are lots of very healthy looking crops out there. The surrounding field is looking very wild and beautiful as well and our neighbouring highland cattle really add to the view on a misty morning.

We had been feeling a bit down lately, mostly because of the weather meaning that people weren’t able to get planting but the last week has seen a flurry of activity and lots of new visitors which is brilliant. The lovely Louise at Godalming Town Council suggested that we put something in Round and About which has meant lots of new people got to hear about us. Thank you Louise!

We had our annual Big Lunch pizza party which was a huge success, the sun shone, people ate and drank and made merry. It was what allotmore should be all about! Now we are planning our Midsummers Barn Dance on 21st June. It is all set to be a good night out although Chris is making the debut of the brewing clubs ales and ciders so it could mean a few bad heads the next day!


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Bird watching and snacks for pigs

Garden watch day was a beautiful sunny day and lots of intrepid twitchers came up to allotmore to spend our hour looking at the birds. Of course it had been like a disney film earlier in the day with birds everywhere, singing and pecking around, there had even been a magpie riding on Lizzie the pigs back, but at 11 when we all decided to watch there where hardly any birds to be seen. I’m guessing that the crowds of people standing around chatting and enjoying the sunshine may have been to blame but it was lovely to see everyone and have a good catch up. The birds that did show their beaks were very lucky to get a few crumbs from Trudi’s delicious rock cakes and I have to give a prize to Aidan who managed to see all the birds on the sheet 3 times and very quickly – I didn’t submit those results to the RSPB.
We might not have seen many birds on that day but I did see a barn owl in the middle of the afternoon last week. It just few over the goat shed and out over the field. Really very beautiful, I’ve never seen an owl in the day before. Chris was gutted he missed it!
The pigs have had a bit of new year good luck as well. I was in Secretts Farm Shop the other day and asked the manager Matt what they did with all the leaves they trim of the veg etc. He said that they were mine if I wanted them so now the pigs are getting a thrice weekly delivery of fresh fruit and veg ( the chickens do get to steal a bit). They have had such a horrible winter in the cold and mud so far it seems very lovely that they can have a bit of variety in their lives now.

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Jubilee Big Lunch

We decided to move the date of this year Big Lunch from the official day to 30th June, we are going to combine it with a bit of a fete and hopefully it will be good fun. We figured that lots of people would already have Jubilee plans so adding another one didn’t make sense when we can do it another day and given te Jubilee weather i’m pretty glad we did decide to move it.

It’s been a really funny growing season this year and it feels a little bit like the year is slipping away and we haven’t really got started yet. The weather is putting people off coming up as there hasn’t really been any nice weekends or evenings for ages. It’s all a bit grim really but the stuff that is in the ground does seem to be doing ok.

Last week I went to pick up this years supply of Turkey chicks from their hatching place. I’m always excited about the arrival of new animals but I do find the turkey chicks a bit stressful as they are so much more sensitive than other chicks. I will be happier once they are out from under their heat lamp and pecking around in the field. Once again i’m amazed at how such cute little chicks can grow up to be such interesting looking adult birds!

On 24th June we are having a bit of a willow hurdle workshop with our friendly neighbour Adrian showing us how to make our own hurdles. It’s a day course from 10 – 4pm and lunch will be included. It is £10 a head so if anyone fancies an alternative day out please let me know.


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Allotmore heads East

Chris was  very keen to run a series of foodie evenings at Allotmore this summer. It turns out that everyone goes on holiday in August so in the end we had two fabulous nights and now have plans for lots more.

The first evening was our Moro Night, with plot holders cooking dishes from the Moro East cookbook – a really beautiful book which my old boss gave me as a present when I first told him about Allotmore and has been a bit of an inspiration ever since.  The idea was that everyone cooked a dish and brought it along and we had a mighty feast. It worked brilliantly, the plot holders are a talented bunch of cooks and we had beautiful weather and plenty of wine. I think we all ate more than we needed and it was a really nice way for the plot holders to get to know each other. I emailed Sam and Sam from Moro and they very kindly sent us a signed copy of the new edition of the recipie book which was really nice of them. We had a vote on the best dish and Carrie and her Chocolate and Orange Torte won 🙂 It was a really nice evening and we are now planning to do something similar for harvest time.

The second of our evenings was the curry and meteor night. Chris has always been interested in space and eating curry so the timing of the Persid Metor shower was perfect.  We tried to build a tandoor oven for the evening but we didn’t really have enough time to let it dryout so when we tried to fire it it exploded a little bit 🙂 Luckily the pizza oven can cook a good naan bread. We took a trip to Tooting and bought lots of lovely fresh ingredients and then I did lots of chopping and Chris cooked up a feast. He was cooking for pretty much two days but I think it was worth it. He made loads of different dishes and I think everyone enjoyed eating it. The plan was to camp out and watch the meteors are eating but unfortunatley the weather was conspiring against us and the clouds and full moon combo mean’t that we didn’t get to see any. Chris did dress up as Carl Sagan and do a talk on meteors though which was very funny and quite informative too 🙂

We are now planning a wine tasting and italian meal for some time in september and perhaps a trip out foraging if we can find someone who knows what to look for. Should be fun!


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Biggest Lunch

Last year we got involved in the Eden Project’s Big Lunch. It was a beautiful day, the pizza oven had just been built and fun was had by all. It was so lovely that we decided to do it again this year.

The weather gods were not smiling on us so favourably this year and after Friday and Saturday being glorious days ( when I was cleaning and tidying and preparing) Sunday dawned an all together more grey and damp day. Every optomistic we put up the gazebo’s and prepared the dough not really knowing if anyone would venture out. Chris fired up the oven and we waited to see if anyone would turn up.

To our surprise loads of people turned up, so many people in fact that we didn’t have enough gazebo coverage or seats for everyone. Luckily allotmoreers are a helpful bunch and soon their was a frenzy of activity creating seating and cover from some former gazebo’s that had suffered from windy days and gaffer tape and staples.  Trudi and Brian even brought a gazebo with them so we were able to give some cover to the ever growing queue for pizzas.

There was a pretty solid queue for pizza making and cooking from about 12.30 to 5.30 and I really hope that everyone got fed and didn’t mind the wait too much. Pete and Edd were absolute stars helping people get their pizza’s in and out of the oven without losing them to the fire. I hope Pete isn’t put off pizza for ever now.  We reckon that a couple of hundred pizzas got made and eaten – I know I certainly made more dough than ever before!

It was a crazy day and it flew by in a whirlwind, I saw loads of people but didn’t really get a chance to have a proper chat with anyone so I hope they all had fun!

It was great to see everyone and we hope you’ll all come back again, next time we will work out a ticketing system so you won’t have to queue 🙂







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Mr Rotavator

Well Mrs actually, I hired a monster rotavator and spent the weekend preparing the field for growing. Luckily the swamp we have had for the last couple of weeks has dried out a bit and the sun was shining all weekend. The field looks pretty good although the farthest brambly bit beat the rotavator which started to pop and smoke and then decided to go on strike so that bit still remains a bit wild. I think the rotavator has beaten me though. I’ve got blisters on my hands,bruises on my legs and my back is killing me, Still I won’t need to go to the gym for a couple of days! The land is ready to be marked out into plots now ready for the grand opening on 5th April.

Lizzies  piglets are due on 16th March so this weekend we also moved her into her maternity quarters, the corral we made to take the pigs to the abbatoir has been ammended and now she has a lovely wood chipped, heat lamp luxury suite. We even got her a new trough for the occasion which she pushed onto the electric fence and then gave herself a nasty shock when she ate her tea. Today though she has mostly beeen sun bathing and looking fed up, she is pretty big now so I guess it’s to be expected. The other piglets have been taking advantage of her being away to run about like fools, fighting each other and generally having fun (well it looked like fun to me!)

Chris has been hard at work doing his favourite job – the plumbing. After many hours of staring at small plumbing bits in a range of plumbing shops we now have running water in the shed, we have a toilet, two sinks and even a little water heater, its proper stuff! Just need to finish off the septic tank now so we can use it. Next weekend hopefully.

This week we are going to be working on flyers, posters and the website ready for launch but now I must go and rest my weary self. Back to the day job tomorrow…

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All settled in.

Thanks to the valiant efforts of Dan, Justin, Tony, Pete, Rik, Lou, Chris and Carrie the chickens are all cosy in their new home and the pigs now have 3 times the space to roam about and graze on.

The day of Operation Hen/ Pig Pen was hetic but great fun and unexpectedly sunny. I had to pick the hens up at midday from a secret location so we had to sort them out a house and run before that. I also had only managed to recruit the pig fence putting up team for a day so we had to be doing that at the same time.

Dan and I managed to get the chickens house up and ready for their arrival but the run took a little while longer. It wasn’t a problem though as they needed to stay in their house to relax before taking their first foray into the outside world. It was all a bit much for them bless em. They just looked a bit shell shocked for a couple of days. They are so quiet compared to other chicks I have had but it has been great watching them discover their inner chickens and start scratching about. They have started sorting out their pecking order now so they must be doing ok. I’ve started trying them on some new foods and so far corn and courgettes have proved to be crowd pleasers.

We are getting on average 5 eggs a day which is plenty to be going on with. Now I;m looking forward to the girls getting their feathers back, at the moment some of them look a lot like bald old ladies which isn’t that attractive but not as bad as I had expected.

The pig pen was a little more tricky – the random hot weather made it hard for the work force to work – well that was their excuse! They did get quite a sweat on banging in the posts though. Chris tried to knock himself out with the post rammer and had to have a bit of a lie down and both Tony and I got some nice cuts when a strained piece of barbed wire pinged out of its staples. That stuff is evil.

It’s all done now though so now my thoughts are turning to the shed. Allegedly it will be arriving this week. It’s been promised since May though so I’ll believe it when I see it!

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