Another Delayed Blog Post…

As I begin to write this, it’s not even 9am on a Saturday and here I am, tip-tapping away on my keyboard, ready for a day of freelance work. I’m not in the best of moods, if I’m entirely honest. We’ve had a week of battling with a sick bunny – due to a condition she’s developed, she’s prone to attacks of ileus, a life-threatening illness bunnies can come down with for a myriad of reasons. Basically, their guts stop moving, and when their guts stop moving, it’s not. good. at. all. She was in the veterinary hospital overnight on Thursday, came home yesterday and still refuses to eat of her own accord.

We brought her home because she’s had a history of refusing to eat at the hospital, but once in familiar surroundings of her home (our living room), she eventually perks up and stuffs her face. She’d had a good run since the last attack a few months ago. In fact, she’d never been better. But this one seems to be nasty. I don’t know what’s going through her little mind – if anything at all – but she’s being so stubborn and it’s making me miserable. I don’t cope with animal illnesses very well when I’m away at work, and I dread Monday morning arriving and there being no change with her.

So let’s hope this weekend sees some improvements. We’re doing what we can and really, it’s up to her.

All this bunny related stress has seen me going to bed much earlier, and it’s actually done me a lot of good. I only half look like I’m from the Land of the Dead, and together with my new green tea drinking/greater intake of water regime, my skin is finally starting to clear up. I’ve had this funny rash of red pimples across my face for a while, and I imagine it’s probably diet related. Since my back went a bit doolally a few weeks ago, my diet has been absolutely abysmal. We’re talking bread, bread, bread, take-aways, cheese, bread, chocolate, crisps, sweeties etc. Comfort eating mode. I’ve been stressed a lot. Money. Work. Money. Money. Animals. You know how it is.

Anyway, I’m trying to get on top of it all, cutting out the crap and upping veg/fruit/wholefoods PLUS the green tea & water drinking PLUS earlier nights PLUS osteopathy and hoping that I don’t fall apart in a few weeks. I’ve got a LOT of freelance on at the moment, which is a good, great, fantastic thing, but boy could I do with a holiday. It’s looking a less and less likely prospect in the near future, thanks to vet bills, normal bills and the like. So I’m hoping that the summer will be a nice one, and that maybe we might be able to slot in some camping somewhere. Preferably away from screaming children. We have enough of those around here in suburbia, where parents don’t seem to think that allowing their children to scream for hours on end is inconsiderate. Hmm!

So what’s been keeping me busy besides a belligerent bunny and stacks of freelance? Well, I’ve actually been quite strict with myself and allowed for time in the Smallest Smallholding. In the greenhouse, the kale and leeks are doing well, but the chillies and peppers, as I predicted, are taking a while to germinate. With these cold nights we’re experiencing, I think it could be a little while until they start to shoot, but I’m going to use the opportunity to finally get my last lot of garlic in this weekend. I have a feeling some of it is going to end up in pots and troughs.

I’m holding back on the direct seed sowing for now. Apparently spring is a couple of weeks behind, which suits me fine. So I think I might give it a fortnight or so before I start putting in the parsnips, carrots and countless other seeds I’ve managed to accumulate, but not accommodate (yet). I’m going to follow Monty’s suggestion from GW last night, and start off some salad leaves in trays in my cold greenhouse. I unearthed (literally) a load of perfectly good seed trays that had been dumped in a pile in the semi-derelict corner of the Smallest Smallholding, so I’ll be putting those to good use.

Speaking of which, I’ve also made a start on what will become our Mediterranean eating area. At the moment, it’s a small square in the corner of the garden that gets sun from early-mid morning in spring/summer, right through to sundown. I think it’s probably south to south-west facing, and with poor soil and fanced on two sides should house quite a few Mediterranean plants and flowering herbs quite nicely. At the moment, it’s covered in lumpy mounds of grass, which in turn sit on top of brambles and an underground network of bindweed. It’s been a dumping ground for wood, houses my original wood pile (I started another one last year in another area, so am slowly transporting the original one over), then there’s the collapsed trellis slowly being overtaken by ivy, and remnants of a wooden arch that once supported our glorious clematis montana, honeysuckle, and rose. Those three plants are still there, somewhat overgrown and rambling, but we’re hoping to reinstate them once it’s all fixed up. On one side there was also part of a privet hedge which we’ve taken out. The birds didn’t really use it, preferring the denser hedges further up near their feeding areas, and it’s opened up the space towards the mini woodland garden under the fruit trees, my greenhouse and my veg plots. So much more light.

It’s taken me a number of hours spread over two weeks just to hack everything down to ground level. I have a feeling we’re going to have to take the top layer of soil off just to tackle the bindweed and bramble problem. Believe me, I know what I’m dealing with. Bindweed is one of the banes of my life. Once all the discarded wood and dumped fence panels are removed, the second overgrown honeysuckle is taken out (it doesn’t flower) and I’ve finally chopped down the last of the BASTARD scratchy brambles that have shredded my hands and arms for the last fortnight, then we’ll be ready to start planning and designing it all properly. My starting point is that I want to keep it looking fairly natural and wildlife friendly.

In other Smallest Smallholding news:

  • We have a pair of blackbirds bringing up a small family in our ivy. Been helping out dad by periodically digging out nettles in one area and vacating for a while whilst he goes in and collects food. This is in addition to the spring/summer mix we offer all the birds, which includes mealworms.
  • The alpine strawberries are growing well in the shingle near the house. Might transplant some into the new eating area, if we choose to gravel round the edges.
  • Hedgehog poos on the lawn confirm – the hedgehogs are awake. Extra supplemental feeds will now be available on a nightly basis at the Smallest Smallholding!
I can’t write any more now. I have to get on with a tonne of freelance. Sigh!
Edit: Since writing this post Ms. Moppy is doing much better!
Edit: You can view the evolution of the Mediterranean Eating Area here on my Smallest Smallholding Facebook page.

Comments

  1. Glad to hear she’s doing better now. You’ve been very busy and I’m sure the new seating area will be a nice little haven, somewhere to put your feet up soon!

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