Monday, 21 June 2010

Nom, nom, nom!

Got to Holdenby yesterday to discover that spraying the lettuces and beans has not deterred the bunnies (you'd think chilli and garlic spray would be nasty, eh?). At least they didn't eat everything, and actually, were quite civilised about their noshings, taking only a few bites from each lettuce! Something's been at the peas though, and I'm not sure what. I've taken photos of some of the pods so later on when I get time, I'll do some detective work.

Actually cleared one pea bed as it was just about finished anyway, and got a few pickings which we had with our dinner last night. Harvested from the other pea bed too, so that's dinner tonight as well! Harvested a shedload of salad and am desperately hoping that the rest of the lettuces (under nets, so untouched by buns) won't bolt while we're away next week.

The runner beans have just started to flower, as has the Hungry Gap kale. To be honest, I'm surprised the kale has lasted so long - it's still producing loads of leaves! I've decided to let it get on with flowering now, as I'll need the seed for the next lot. I'll definitely grow it again, especially as this one just didn't prove appealing to critters!

The cabbages are doing brilliantly - I am so pleased with them. They are starting to heart up, so with any luck, we'll get a good autumn crop. Also found a volunteer cabbage when we cleared the peas - it must have been one of the ones we thought had been munched by pigeons just after the snow. We've now replanted it bed #1 in the hope that it will survive (it had been munched again).

Removed all the spinach from bed #1 - it didn't do well there. In fact, few of the plants I bought from Plants by Post have done very well. I'm definitely going to sow spinach seed next time. Last year's did really well (until the snow came), so I think direct sowing is the way to go.

One thing we did discover is that the pea bed we haven't staked has been pretty productive. I don't know if letting the plants do their own thing is responsible but compared to the staked ones, there is a huge difference. The plants themselves are far more healthy and robust too.

Rook Parliament

After several hours of weeding at Holdenby, we decided to call it a day. Before we left, we just sat in the sun and chilled out with a can of Pepsi.... until we heard the most incredible squawking coming from the next field. The rooks were all going rather mad! I managed to get some of it on video (my skills as a camera-person leave a lot to be desired, for which I apologise).

At the time, we had no idea what was going on - we supposed it was an interloper. However, we've now discovered it was most likely a 'rook parliament'. Legend has it that one of their number is 'put on trial' and if found guilty, put to death. In reality, it's a way of dealing with sick and ailing rooks. Whatever the reason for it, the outcome is generally the same - death to the individual. In this case, I suspect the one which I thought sounded like a younger bird, in retrospect, it was probably just weak cry of the 'victim'.

It went on for at least 10 minutes (in fact, we left before it had finished), and at one point they all chased the victim away. However, it swiftly returned, and the others then resumed the swooping and pecking.

I know it's the law of nature but I still find myself feeling rather sad about it.