Thursday, March 24, 2016

Maundy Thursday at the Allotment

Got there early-ish, before 10am. All set to finish digging over the tattie patch, when I noticed (couldn't miss her) a blackbird with a beak full of mossy stuff. Aha. This was the nest builder in the shed, not Mrs Robinson. It turned out she was getting into the shed by a circuitous route I'd never have thought of: into the adjoining potting shed, and then through a gap in the dividing 'wall'. Which I blocked up. She must've thought it was a brilliant nest site, twice removed from the outside world. Last year by the shed there was a tarpaulin fallen from the southern fence, and a large-ish nest in it's fold, right by the rhubarb. I suspect the same bird, God bless her, she'll have to wait a blackbird lifetime for the hedge to be big enough for her nest.

But, anyway, the site of the blackbird with the beak full of mossy stuff - on woodpile, made me think, oh shit, what if a bird, maybe a wren, wants to make its nest in the woodpile? See, it's all kind of loose branches and twigs piled up. Mrs Robinson is often in there, prospecting. So I set about leveling the ground in the far SW corner. Here it is before I started, with the woodpile in its temporary position:


And here it is after levelling the corner out:


Well, I say levelling, it doesn't come across well in the photo, but that's a long low mound of earth between the wood pile and the fence, grubbed out, most of the nettle roots pulled out.

And, voila, here it is much later when I've not only put the woodpile into the corner, but also heaped up the oomska (it was formerly just where it had been tipped by any one of the 7 of us oomska barrow men on the day it was delivered and we divvied it up):

I include the barrow because, frankly, it's become a woodpile motif. And anyway it gives the scene some scale.  Couple of things about this photo: I don't think the oomska pile is high enough, it needs to be narrower at its base and piled up; so that's another job, but I was flagging this afternoon. You might also notice the water all around. That was the oil barrel which had been stood next to the potting shed. It has only a tiny opening in the top, but I'd accidentally placed it at a point where, all winter, rain has dropped off the potting shed roof, onto the buckled top of the barrel, down into that one hole, and... the barrel was full of water. So, to get it move I had to tip it over, and roll it to let the water run out where it would. (Incidentally, the water that came out was pretty rusty, with only a slight rainbow sheen in parts, so when I get the top off the barrel it should be good-to-go as a good big water butt.)