Tuesday 11 April 2017

Discovering the Queen's Hoard

It has been an exciting week here at Parsonage Cottage.   Our vegetable garden was sadly neglected last year, because we were so busy helping to renovate our son's cottage.     Now that those cottage renovations are almost complete we have been able to turn our attention to our vegetable garden.


This has involved lots of digging, plenty of soil shifting, hoeing and raking because we have decided to remove three of the growing beds, leaving us just four large beds, the greenhouse and the polytunnel - more than enough work for us, especially given the size of the other gardens and Owl Wood.

The low brick wall will sweep around and enclose the vegetable garden with a lavender hedge.

We do ok for a couple of oldies, but we just don't have the same energy levels as we had 11 years ago when we established the original vegetable garden.  

Not much baking has taken place this week, though, due to a lack of eggs.    Our girls seemed to have stopped laying.    After five or six days, and still no eggs, we decided that we needed to investigate further.    Could someone be 'borrowing' the eggs, or perhaps the rats were eating them...

No, Queen Mab, leader of the flock, had taken up part time broodiness and had somehow managed to get the other two to lay their eggs in the same place as her - under a mountain of sticks and fallen branches which will soon be used for making chippings.   She was well hidden but young Eagle Eye found her.

Last year she went broody a couple of times, but on those occasions she simply hid herself away with her own eggs, not turning up for food  or bedtime.    The other hens continued to lay as normal.

Poor Queen Mab, she was a tad grumpy when we took the eggs away.


  1. Poor old Hen. I commend you for having a vegitable garden, I grassed the one we had in our garden when we moved in over 30 years ago, then I was looking after my mums and got fed up with doing it. Now I like pottering around my wifes Roses

    1. Hello Bill, I felt sorry for her too, but it had to be done, the eggs would never hatch so she would have been there a long time!
      I'm no gardener, I help out with the donkey-work, but Max enjoys growing the vegetables and the grandchildren and I enjoy eating them! It can become something of a chore though.
      Pottering around the roses sounds and seeking out wonderful churches to photograph sounds perfect!

  2. I love your name for the leader... Queen Mab. ,-)

    I'll bet she _was_ a mite-bit-grumpy!!!!! -grin-

    Also love your Subject Line.

    Love your whole blog, actually! Your "...ramblings and mutterings...", your "aide memoire", are those of a true writer.

    I think I've said Thank You! before. But it needs saying again...

    Thank you for this Blog!

    Luna Crone

    1. Hello Luna, Remember I told you that all names on this blog are fictitious? Not quite true, Queen Mab really is called that. I once found an old recipe for Queen Mab Pudding which required eggs... Of course I had to make it and take it into the wood for a picnic down by the fairy door, just in case they wanted to share it..

      Parsonage Cottage blog is my escape from all the awful things which go on this world. I'm not blind to them, lacking in opinion or feelings, but I regard the blog as a form of relaxation. A chance to remember that dull and ordinary have a charm of their own, it all depends on how we look at them. I'm pleased and delighted that you enjoy it. Thank you!

  3. We've been working on turning our soil and making the garden a bit bigger this year. We have so many rocks around the yard that my two sons added a low rock wall around it this year. Looks very pretty as does yours. : ) xo

    ~ Wendy

    1. Hello Wendy, The wall building will take some effort, the bricks are just laid on the ground to check that we have enough and to see the effect, but I hope we'll be as happy with the result as you are with yours!
      I am way behind on my blog reading, but I'm looking forward to catching up on how your second photography session went.

  4. You still have a lot of well as Owl Wood. I presume your garden efforts bring results and many fresh vegetables. I'm only planting green peppers and aubergines this year...maybe.....oh and pumpkins. The market vegetables work out cheaper and I don't have too much for that endless watering. Planted my first basil and the mint is galloping through the clover. I love mint

    1. Hello Linda, I do hope the effort will be rewarded and these bad backs have not been in vain! I love being able to browse the vegetable beds and choose what to have for lunch/supper. The grandchildren also eat lots more vegetables when they can simply run there and pick peas, mange tout, tomatoes, etc and nibble away on them.
      I have our mint planted in two huge containers so it can only canter around in circles.
      Luckily, our water is not metered, otherwise I don't think we would be able to grow the things we do. We save rainwater in barrels, but it is never enough for the whole season.

  5. A vegetable garden that sweeps around (surely all gardens should do that, don't you think?) and is enclosed by a lovely lavender us more! I so enjoy a garden that combines vegetable with flowering plants.

    I am so missing our chickens, and don't trust myself to go to the feed store now that it is baby chick time!

    1. Hello Chip, I'm so glad you agree! It has taken years for me to get my husband to see it that way. It is still a work in progress and very raw but there will be more photographs.

      I fear we are about to lose one of our friendliest chickens, leaving us with just two. Queen Mab, who is feisty, and Dusty who wanders around in a world of her own. They do have a way of working themselves into our hearts.

  6. I love your blog with all the lovely countryside photos! But poor Queen Mab, poor old hen.
    I love the idea of growing flowers and food together, a potager in fact. Our son planted a lavender hedge last year and already it has thickened out and looks wonderful.
    Margaret P

    1. Hello Margaret, Lavender hedges can look superb and, of course, they provide food for the bees. I understand that there has been a big increase in the number of moths and these days they recommend the use of the good old-fashioned lavender bag! Old wisdom.
      Don't worry about Queen Mab, she is absolutely fine now and back to enjoying life in the woods.


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