The weather conditions in the early part of last week were perfect for getting on with some field work, as the soil had dried out nicely since the thaw two weeks ago. I did a good lot of cultivating of the beds in preparation for planting out and seed sowing later in the month. I also hoed the garlic – just before the annoying rain started on Wednesday afternoon. However, I was pleased to have been able to make such good progress after such a wet winter. I also took advantage of the dry conditions to have a big old environmentally unfriendly bonfire – naughty but very satisfying.

The benches in the propagating greenhouse are filling up quickly now, with space already becoming a bit of an issue. Some of the more hardy seedlings will need to be transferred into the main glasshouse to make way for the tender plants as they are removed from the heated propagator. The vacated space is immediately filled by trays of freshly sown seeds – a cycle that will continue until early summer.

On Thursday I took delivery of my latest toy…..I mean vital piece of equipment. It’s a lovely blue tipping trailer for towing behind my tractor. Not new of course, but it’s in very good condition and it’s the ideal size for my operation. I hitched it up yesterday afternoon for the first time, and I must admit to raising and lowering it rather more than was absolutely necessary, but I had to make sure that the hydraulics were working properly. It will be great for hauling muck, woodchip, straw and countless other cargos. I’m as happy as a pig in…

The veg list is very nearly unchanged from last week, the only difference that I can think of is that I will be picking cavolo nero from the polytunnel rather than curly kale from the greenhouse – but availability is very limited. There will be cauliflowers and broccoli again, and courgettes. They weren’t as large last week as the previous ones were so I have reduced the price, I just hope that they aren’t whoppers when they arrive. Another difference is that the ‘guest’ potatoes are ‘Estima’, replacing ‘Desiree’. There will be beetroot, carrots, parsnips (mostly small, but that means all you have to do is scrub them and chuck them in a roasting tin), swede, red cabbage, onions, red onions, garlic and ginger. The fruit offering is the same again this week – blood oranges, kiwi fruit, lemons and Gala apples.

There is a change on the apple juice front; the medium/sweet is just about gone, so you now have a choice of sweet or dry. The dry juice was pressed from mostly cooking apples, plus some of the late varieties. It is a lip smacking tart juice, one for the grown ups.

I’ve got my third ENT appointment tomorrow afternoon, the consultant called me on Thursday to tell me that the results of a swab taken at an earlier appointment showed that there are some nasty bugs in my ear that will not be touched by the medication I am currently on, so I will be prescribed something different tomorrow. I think that progress is being made though, it’s not as uncomfortable as it was, and my hearing is improving.

The squirrel is getting nasty! He can’t get at the bird seed thanks to the squirrel-proof cage around the feeder, so he has learned how to knock the feeder off its hook. However it still can’t really get at the food, so in an act of spite it has pulled off the plastic perches that the birds use to access the seed, but they use the inside of the cage to alight on to peck at the food, so all is well.

The ‘shop’ is more or less behaving itself, but I have asked if a ‘continue shopping’ button could be added to the ‘basket’ page that enables the shopper to go directly back to add items overlooked. I am hoping that will be in place in the next day or two. Some of you have not been receiving an order acknowledgement, but it may be going into your spam/junk folder, so please take a look there.

Right I’m off. I just need to check that the trailer will tip up one more time. Have a good week.

Phil

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