Chris's Weblog – City Chickens

Monthly Archive: August 2009

Frank The Duck

Frank The DuckThe Runner Ducks hatched this weekend. Out of six eggs we got three beautiful ducklings. It looks like two girls and a boy, Libbie named the two girls Honey and Treacle and we decided on Francis Drake for the boy, Frank for short, in honour of our good friend and neighbour at the allotment.

We spent a good two hours at the plots on Sunday and came home with a good harvest of potatoes, beans, cucumbers, cauliflowers, cabbages, courgette and tomatoes.  An enormous amount of weeds were pulled but we still came away having run out of time and knowing we had much more weeding to do. Everything was very dry and this afternoon we are having a welcome shower of rain. I am sure the plants will be getting a much needed drink.


Pumpkin Pie

Made my first ever pumpkin pies this morning using just a quarter of a largish pumpkin. I did a search for a recipe as I had no idea what went into it apart from pumpkin and pastry. I used a block of frozen shortcrust pastry and lined two tart dishes. I pureed the pumpkin and added ginger and brown sugar. When the mixture was cooled I added four small beaten eggs and half a tin of condensed milk and poured the mixture into the pastry case. They took 50 minutes to cook and do look like they should. I will report on taste later. Update – add a lemon or more spices next time as it was quite bland.

Signs of Autumn

We spent a couple of hours at the plots this afternoon. The weather was warm and sunny and the ground was workable so we did a lot of weeding. Still back breaking work but easier than when the ground is dry or heavy with rain. Rob dug up a few rows of potatoes and we emptied three bags too so we came back with quite a haul. They seem ok as far as the Blight is concerned so lets hope they store ok. This evening I cooked some Charlotte and they were very good.

cucumber carmen

We cut another cucumber from the Carmen plant and though they are few and far between the quality of them is brilliant. We also cut one of the Butterhead lettuce. Pity the tomatoes are still not big or red enough to eat. The outdoor tomatoes seem to be getting the first signs of Blight with the young fruit turning black. Very sad. The runner beans were loaded and I picked a large box full as well as giving Frank and his wife quite a few as his were a bit late going in and are only just starting to produce. I pulled a few of the Rainbow carrots too. There seem to be plenty of snails, earwigs and wood lice having a go at everything, especially the brassicas and the white fly is starting to show itself again. We brought home a couple of cabbages and found one that was so nibbled we had to throw it on to the compost heap. The pumpkin plants are rampant and covered in yellow globes of varying sizes and are a reminder that Autumn will soon be here.


Blight Warning Blues 2009

Today we have received a warning of Blight in our area. As Rob is working all day today we wont be able to get down to the plots to rescue the potatoes and tomatoes. The weather today is dry and sunny for a change. The past few weeks have been miserable with loads of torrential rain which is not too bad for the allotment but terrible for the back garden as it sits on clay and the water just collects and takes ages to dry out so keeping the chickens and ducks clean has been an ongoing slog. After Saturday Rob has two weeks off work so we shall be able to catch up on jobs at home and at the plots. It will be mostly harvesting and weeding and getting the beds ready for the Winter. We have quite a few brassicas coming along nicely to harvest now and hopefully over the Winter. The runner beans are producing like mad and we have beetroot and carrots to harvest too. The last time we were down there we saw a row of lettuce which will probably be ready by the weekend.


There is a lot of Rhubarb ready to pull and I think we shall be giving some away as I am running out of freezer space. I have made Rhubarb jam and a couple of crumbles already. However it is very tasty and I think another crumble is on the cards for tonight.

I think we have come to the conclusion that working the allotments is hard work and that everything seems to come at once. Whether an extra freezer is the answer or getting rid of one of the plots next year. It is probably just bad organisation on our part. At the moment it seems like its all or nothing as far as produce goes. Oh dear I think this Blight warning as put me into a negative mood.