23 May 2009

Notes to self...

Dry again, this month. 11mm to date. May is really too late to be planting things, but then earlier would just have been a waste of time and effort, this year.

Gave-up on the Brassicas that were sitting in trays -- they'd been there too long. Instead I direct-sowed some CopenhagenMarketCabbage inGardenBed1 and it is just starting to come-up. Carrots still have made no showing. RedMustard sowed last week in GardenBed8 for seed, along withEarlyPurpleKohlrabi. Must still sow more Brassicas.

Have been struggling to buy (any) grain in small quantities for covering a bed or two (and to gain experience with grains.) Might just have to go with the Buckwheat I've got.

Transplanted the (few) Winter-experiment Chillies that have come-up into tubes; I must move them somewhere warmer for Winter. From memory:JalapeƱoPurpleAjiDulceAjiAmarilloTabascoTschanad and a single (green) JalapeƱo.


22 May 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different

Jason returned from a short business trip to Sweden, and brought back something special: A copy of the (Limited Edition) new album by Folk/Pagan/Melodic Black Metal band Eluveitie, Evocation 1 - The Arcane Dominion.

All I can say is...

Don't be put off by the "Metal" tag... the album has not an electronic instrument in sight, yet still manages to pull of this weird fusion of Celtic folk, metal, prog-rock and even a bit of rap on one track! Almost all the lyrics are in the ancient and extinct Helvetii Gaulish language, giving a very Pagan, spiritual feel that haunts and teases some memory deep in the DNA.

I cannot praise this album highly enough. This is a work of genius.

18 May 2009

Winter Legumes

Just dug over Garden Bed 10 in preparation for Winter Legumes. Soil seems in pretty good condition -- still quite a bit of old compost, which is something of a surprise. I don't expect it to contribute much in the way of nutrition, but at least the soil condition is reasonable.

Plan to plant a few short rows each of MungBean, SoyBean and BrownLentil -- all very old seed, so not holding my breath much. Then I want some more Snow, Snap and Shelling peas, and maybe some BroadBeans if there seems to be enough room.

I know its late to be planting them, and there's still no rain forecast for the coming week or so, but it's a risk we'll have to take!

14 May 2009

Outcast, Desert Island

Old Rocky Rooster, once Leader of the Pack, King of the Heap is now merely Rooster Emeritus. He's been cast out by one young lad who is now the Royal Highness. Not to mention Twice the Wideness. In plain English, Rocky has been ousted by one of the younger roosters -- one of the Giants that Jayne has bred over the years. (It's reached the point where we think we've bred them just a bit too large, as the Hens definitely take some strain from the Giants, and we'll be backing off to something a bit more reasonable in size. Some of them are larger than shop-bought Turkeys!)

Rocky's has a good innings, though. He's been Leader of the Flock for about 7 years, now. Who knew that chickens could live so long! Now he spends his days all alone, far from the flock, with not a single Hen for companionship or comfort.

I wonder, though, whether he would have lived so long had we not interfered... As the years have gone by we've always culled the younger roosters. The theory goes that, once they're past their fast-growth stage, they're just eating a lot of food, so unless we particularly want to keep them for breeding, or for the sake of Flock Dynamics, into the pot with them! And, because Rocky has been such a good Marshal Of The Hens, we've always hung on to him. Is it our interference that's kept him on for so long? By removing the younger (and larger) roosters, we've been removing his competitors. Perhaps he would have been cast out much earlier in his life, but for our meddling.

And that thought leads me to another: I wonder how much is known about Chicken Flock Dynamics in nature? After all, the chicken factories have no interest in such knowledge, and how many All Natural Chicken Flocks are there left in the world?

Who says you can't teach an Old Chook new tricks, though? At about 5 every afternoon I go to the feed bin to collect chookfood for the evening and morning feeds. Rocky has learned to hang around there at the right time, and persuades me to give him a private feed, away from the beedy eye of the new Flock Leader who would otherwise chase him off.

The real reason I see that he gets a good feeding is that I don't want him totally shrunken and starving when it comes time to put him in the pot; something I must attend to very soon.

Update: Forgot to mention: The "Desert Island" reference is to the ongoing rain shortage. After a decent amount of rain in April, May looks like the drought is not quite ready to let go of us yet... :-(

Update 2:Jayne believes that Rocky is more like 9 or 10 years old, rather than the 7 (or 8) that I thumb-sucked in the post above. Most likely she's right!

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