The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Digging, planting and watering your patch. And reading if you have the time.

Photo: Poppy

Photo: Poppy

Last night we planted the seed potatoes in Danny’s new border. He wanted slightly bigger spacing than I imagined so we only needed 50 seed potatoes. The last ten were halved spuds with eyes in both sections. Then I wandered into the greenhouse and discovered that we had ten teeny seed spuds left in the original bag.
Danny sparkled, “Keep them in reserve, just in case some fail.”

We ate supper late, and when D went up to the Rat room for a couple of minutes at the end of the meal I fell asleep at the table. It was only ten o’clock and I tend to go to bed at around one. But the last week had taken its toll. I felt much fitter, my back felt like a rippling swathe of toned muscles, somehow impossible to observe in the bathroom mirror. Still more akin to Mr Blobby than Heroine of the Universe.

So I swung the Min Pins over my shoulder, heroine style, but dilly dallied to fill a plump hot water bottle and then retired to bed. The Min Pins love a hottie and so do we. When Danny found me in bed he was astonished,
“You endlessly say that you are going to bed early and then I find you snoozing on your laptop pillow at two in the morning.”

But there was a real draw. I’ve been reading a few of Elizabeth Jane Howard’s earlier novels. These were leant to me by Seraphina. I remember the covers but not the books. I’ve just finished her first novel, The Beautiful Visit – good, interesting but too much going on. I‘ve also read After Julius and The Sea Change. I thought that the latter was beautifully written – a real gem. In fact sometimes I just had to put down my brush and withdraw to Jalopy’s front seat to savour the prose and find out what happened next. I don’t charge for my breaks when I’m working. The Sea Change turned out to be quite an expensive read but well worth it. This was the true diamond.

Tonight I’m retiring to bed early again. I set up our superb drip feed water butt watering system this evening and I’m exhausted.

Growing vegetables is mainly about investment in the first few months of the year. The other factor is regular watering which can become a real chore by the end of the summer. The slow drip water butt system relieves this. It’s well worth considering and can be operated electronically if you are away on holiday. It also largely uses free water which is great if you are on a water meter.

I return home at seven p.m. and open the taps on the butts. An hour later I turn them off. Some people that I know only water every four days even in a heat wave. This method of watering encourages the establishment of very deep roots. It is used in Indonesia, India and very hot countries. If you want to save your effort and get the most out of your water check out this link.

We don’t get a cut if you click on this link just want to share the things that we have discovered that are a worthwhile investment.

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  1. Caroline

    fantastic! look forward to hearing from you x

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Caroline

    We had a long chat this evening and decided that we’d love to take up your generous offer. I will be in touch by email tomorrow.

  3. Caroline

    just spoken to my husband, we’d be happy to keep them up to 6 months old, and rehome then if that is better with your flock dynamic. happy to confirm where we are but prefer to do so via email.

    BW Caroline x

  4. Caroline

    enroute to BSE! I think we’re quite near you.

    Offer still stands though, it would be i guess 3 months before the chicks would be ready to move. would that fit in well or best to pause?

  5. Caroline

    ah! it was regarding banties, we have a broody pekin bantam who hatched 5 “ebay” eggs last year and wondered if you would like us to hatch any eggs for you since the really sad loss of MrsB x We’re in WHB.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hello Caroline

      That is such a generous offer. I must admit that I’m very tempted

      But I’d like our small flock to be more settled before we introduce new stock. At the moment it’s a bit of a war zone!

      Thank you so much for the suggestion. Perhaps if she goes broody again later this year the time might be right.

      P.S. Where is WHB?

  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Caroline

    Thanks for leaving a comment. No, your email didn’t get through.

  7. Caroline

    I love the EJH books, great reading! (p.s. did my email get through okay?)

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