Half of yesterday was a wash out in our house.I felt very unwell during the afternoon and after a hour of trying to stay upright and continue with the day, I retired to bed and spent the remainder of the day and night there. Mr J brought me tea, cold drinks and food, and sat with me for a while until I dozed off. As Mr J was closing the blind in the bedroom, he took this photo of the dramatic dusk sky.
I had managed to do a bit outside before I flumped yesterday. I cleaned and rebuilt the second-hand hen house that we picked up at the weekend and the girls were in and inspecting it before I had started putting the roof onto it. Jack decided that she liked it so much that she promptly settled down and laid an egg while I was still screwing the roof into place!
This morning I woke at 4.30am and I was delighted to find I felt much improved, so after a cuppa I continued to make the new kitchen curtains before heading outside at first light to gently get on with some more tasks in the garden. Clearing the stables to create the chicken condo is an on-going project, which I'm doing a little bit at a time. It means wearing a mask to ensure that I don't breathe in too many stinky spores from the old hay and sawdust, which I find makes me hot and unpleasantly sweaty quite quickly. The clearing out is coming along well, there are a few areas that are now cleared right down to the soil level and the heap in the garden continues to grow. Although, it's no longer as neat as it was because the chickens have discovered it and have had great fun rootling around the edges of it, scattering partially composted sawdust and hay in a circle around the heap.
I've added a couple more shrubs to the shrubbery from a collection of plants that are sitting in pots waiting to be planted in their permanent places. My friend Jane (who is brilliant at gardening) brought me some more plants last time she came to visit, so I planted a hydrangea and spiraea that came from her garden and relocated a pretty little variegated climber from the back yard to against the fence at the back of the shrubbery.
After lunch Mr J and I took a wander around the garden and looked at how it's progressed so far, deciding what we can do next and what to leave until later. These old plum trees have been here for years and continue to thrive. They would probably benefit from having their crowns thinned a little, but that's a job for another day. There are several large patches of stinging nettles, some we will cover with a thick membrane or old carpet and leave to die off and others we will fence off and allow to grow to support the wildlife that find it so appealing. If we can do our bit to support butterflies like the Peacock butterfly, we want to do so.
Having laid out the pathways between the herb beds a fortnight ago, I have started to anchor them into the ground more by pushing the edges into the ground with a spade. On the left of the photo is the elderberry tree with its trunk that grows horizontally after being confined for years in a glass house.
I've also laid some wood out to give me an idea of the length that the raised beds for vegetables will be. We planned how best to create the raised beds, we will need to join lengths of 2 by 4 to reach the length of each bed which will end up about 12 feet long and four feet wide. They can be done once we have finished taking the nails and screws out of the reclaimed wood that we have.
The girls have been great entertainment, they really enjoy the sunshine and have been busy scratching around in the fallen leaves at the back of the piggeries, all the time making their funny little chicken noises to each other and to us.
It will be interesting to see how well they behave when we section off parts of the garden and limit their access from the entire plot to only a third of it. We will still give them access to the area around the piggeries but unsurprisingly, we don't really want them munching and scratching their way through the vegetable garden.
A few weeks ago when the rain was very heavy and coming into the stable, we put up a temporary rain screen to stop the worst of it drenching the chicken house (which we'd had to move from the garden into the stable after it got blown over by the wind). Today, with the sun shining on the twin-wall plastic panel that we'd put up, it became like a mirror. Mr J noticed it first and admired what looks like the chicken's new wide screen television!
It's been a much better day today, the sunshine always helps make things seem nicer and even though it was cool outside today, after half a day in bed it was lovely to be out in the fresh air.