Dry days are gold!

Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week have been reasonably dry and mild. Today, there was practically no wind.

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So, to celebrate that fact, I did some chores.

Firstly, I have a rat problem to deal with. Rats are in the wee outhouse and have been making inroads into the hen house. I know they are everywhere, but these are the two areas which are giving me a problem. Of course, hens and ducks, and their feed will attract rats. And with all the stone walls around the place, I kow there are plenty out there. I don’t enjoy the process, but for me it is a matter of necessity. I have taken on the duty of care to my poultry, so I must keep them safe. That requires pest control.

This past couple of weeks, I have been conducting a rat removal exercise. Because of my other animals, I refuse to use poison, so I’ve been trapping them. In the past seven days, I have caught 5. Well, I actually caught 6, but one escaped… I squeaked as loudly as it did, but my language was worse.

This weekend, my neighbour and I (we co-own the hens and ducks) dug a trench round the hen house and filled it with broken glass. We went through the entire contents of a glass recycling bin, in fact I had to go and scrounge more glass from other neighbours! We covered the glass with soil, and added wooden boards to cover it all – just in case cats go sniffing around. I don’t want them getting cut.

The idea is that rats will try and dig down, but as long as the glass is deep enough, they shouldn’t make it under the wall.

I applied the same theory to the two holes I found in the outhouse walls.

The traps remain, and I have caught one rat since I filled in the holes. Time will tell. Peanut butter is a very effective bait. They love it.

My second major task was to turn the heap of sods, and other garden detritius, which lived in the bottom corner of the plot, into a viable compost area. I scrounged (I know, there’s a theme!) 4 pallets and 3 fence posts, gathered some random wood and screws, and set to work. I was pleasantly surprised both by the quality of the soil I dug out, and by the size of the potatoes which emerged. (I am fully aware that the quantity of compost I am trying to produce is probably in direct proportion to my rat problem, give or take some hen feed… Such is life.)

I’m pretty pleased with it. It’s no architectural work of art, but it is ready for a delivery of seaweed sometime soon. Functional, I guess.

The leeks are still growing well. I pulled the first one this weekend. And, in exciting news, the onions and garlic have arrived, ready for over-wintering. If the weather holds, they will go in tomorrow. No time like the present!

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