Browsing Posts tagged cats

We can relax now. 31/01/13

Yesterday, the weather really was truly awful.

It was cold, wet (obviously), and worst of all was the wind.  Just walking over to The Plots, I was nearly blown horizontal, and my snug, woollen hat was nearly blown off more than once.

Extra exciting was the way the wind caught the sharp hail and then threw it upwards into your face and eyes.

The polite word for it?  …Hmmm…  “Exhilarating.”  Yes, that’s polite enough, I feel, and kind of gives you a taste for those ice crystal in your eyes.

When I finally made it down there, there really wasn’t much happening, or even much we could usefully do.

It was far too windy to even put a tethered-down gazebo up, so myself, Matt, Jon and Gary huddled in the metal shed.

Of course, drinking tea!

We shut up shop early: there were obviously no more volunteers to be had -it was far too miserable.

On getting home last night, I quickly took a shower -mainly to warm up!- then checked the weather for today.  And it looked much better.

And it was!

I arrived just before 10.00, opened up and got the kettle on.  PXI Nick then arrived just as I was deep into a phone call with Diane.

Diane has been “skating on the ice”, and broken something major in her left leg.  Major enough to keep her from The Plots.

So, I’ve been drafted in to handle the allotment side of things while she recovers.  That doesn’t mean she’s being idle, though!  She’ll be doing much-needed paperwork while her leg heals fully.

After the phone call, Nick and I got on with the Morrisons Project up on our banking below the road. We’d been instructed to carry on with the top path, made using long branches, wooden stakes, and all other manner of stuff found around our site.The New Path

Here it is just after we’d started on the right.

Previously, Diane and volunteers had done the far end of it, but we had to do this end, putting the new stakes in, then ‘back filling’ with long lengths of wood, then smaller stuff.

P1000974And we made great progress!  Here you can see Nick carefully tamping down the sticks and twigs to provide a suitable base for the top layers.

Pretty soon, Jon, Matt and Gary arrived, then Sara, so after a quick cup of tea, we carried on, and with the five of us ‘lads’, work progressed at an astonishing rate of knots.

While Matt and Jon got smaller branches to put in the bottom, Gary and I barrowed partially rotted privet clippings from various builders’ bags scattered around the site.

Nick had to go soon after midday, so the four of us carried on, until there was a plaintive ‘Miaooooow!’

It was little Mitzi-Moos, bless her!

While the lads carried on, I went to feed her -obviously, you’ve got to get your priorities right!

She had a little food, but then was much more interested in ‘having a chat’ with me.  We’ll, she had lots to tell me, for I haven’t seen her in literally months!Mitzi-Moos!

I managed to get my camera out without her literally knocking it out of my hands.

And to the right here is the result.

Whilst I was making a huge fuss of her, I surreptitiously checked her over, and she appears to be in fine condition.  Glossy coat, bright eyes, and look rather portly, even when you consider she’s wearing her ‘winter coat’ (…’Fur is soooo ‘in’ this season, Daahhling’…). so we can relax.  Mitzi, our beloved Honorary Vice-ChairCat is safe and well.  Phew!

Anyway, soon after this, long-time LEAF friend and helper, Carol came down to help Sara in the greenhouse, clearing out the old chili plants, so for today at least, we were a big happy family.

The next session is not while Saturday, and once again, I’ve checked the weather, and it’s set to be sunny & bright, but a little on the chilly side.

So, we’ll just have to keep busy!

More soon!

A quiet and gentle day…

…Made even better by the fact that there was no hedge to cut!

Ian had already put the kettle on as I arrived -this time lighting a small fire in the barbeque that The Old Fella had left us.  And a fine cup of tea it made, too!

The weather today was forecast to be very rainy, but as it hadn’t started by mid-morning, we decided to light the ‘Big Boys Burning Fire’ in the old oil drum and see if we could get rid of some of the privet cuttings.Two red cabbages make a showing.

After a couple of false starts, we finally got it going, and were merrily burning at a great rate of knots when there was a loud cry from over the bottom fence; “Aaaargh!  I’ve got my washing out!!!”


Still, as soon as the lady asked us, we put it out very quickly -we had water on standby in case of; ‘Fire In The Hold!!’ (…Which when you really get it going, happens surprisingly often -and surprisingly quickly!..)

So, at a bit of a loss for jobs, we decided to properly stake the pear tree to stop it swaying alarmingly even in the slightest breeze.

Now, Diane has said that we probably shouldn’t stake this tree -she’s all for ‘letting it naturally be’, but I’ve thought long and hard about this, and I’m afraid I must disagree slightly.  The way it swayed in even the slightest breeze can’t have been good for the roots.

Ian had found a three foot metal spike some time ago, so I very carefully positioned it as close to the trunk as possible, then very gentle tapped it in using a lump hammer.  I’m sure I didn’t hit any roots as it went in.

When there was only about a foot of the rod sticking up out of the ground, Ian and I very carefully put some plastic sacking round the delicate trunk, then bound it securely to the stake with some of that blue rope there seems to be so much of.

Of course, in all the excitement, I didn’t get a photo of it, but promise to tomorrow!

We then went to ‘play’ in the greenhouse.  We planted some more peas, and I went around taking photos of stuff.  That shot up to the right is one of the pots of red cabbage that Ian planted a while ago, and if you look carefully, you can just see the two young seedlings showing themselves.The early peas are making a go of it.

This shot to the left here are the first early peas that Ian put in, already making a go of it.  In a week or so, these will be ready to go out, and we’d better get some proper netting up to try to combat the ever-greedy pigeons.

After we’d done all this, we just sat on the patio, idly chatting; planning where stuff is going to go.

All great fun!

Tomorrow is a LEAF afternoon, but I’ll be down first thing to carry on pottering in the greenhouse.  Ian will be down later, so we’ll have to see what trouble we can get in before heading up the lane to LEAF!

And yes, I’ll get the photo of the pear tree!



Fleabane.We’re pretty sure this is ‘fleabane’.

Its sat at the top of the rose bed on the Top Plot above the roses, next to the horseradish.

So, you may ask just why fleabane is called fleabane.

Apparently, it was used in medieval times to control… You guessed it: Fleas!

It was spread on the flooring of cattle sheds and kitchens in homes (…often the same room…) amongst the straw to control the pesky little mites.

Nowadays, we have ‘flea spray’ for cats.  In expensive aerosol cans, this stuff is absolutely guaranteed to have your cat running up the curtains to get away from you as you come at it wearing elbow-length leather gauntlets with a determined look in your eye wielding the dreaded orange and white can.

Well, Dear Reader, I have the answer!

A few months ago my cat, Alfie started scratching and fussing, and sure enough, he’d caught a good dose of fleas -probably from ‘Big Orange’, a particularly large and evil, smelly tabby who lives a few doors down.  Obviously, he’s Alfie’s best mate.

Remembering an old trick a friend told me many years go, I took a bottle of ‘lazy garlic’ (…pre-chopped…) from the ‘fridge and while Alfie was sat on my knee, I simply took a half-teaspoon or so of the stuff and carefully smeared it on his back by the base of his tail, making sure I got it well down in his fur towards his skin.

Now, unlike Big Orange, Alfie is particularly fastidious when it comes to his personal grooming, so he meticulously cleaned his back, consuming quite a bit of the garlic in the process.


Well, he probably wasn’t that popular with the ladies for a night or two, but the garlic got into his bloodstream, and fleas hate garlic!

Result?  A week or so later, his fur was back to its original black and silky gloss!  There was no sign of him scratching, and his skin was back its usual smoothness.

Now, every month or so, I repeat this treatment, and it seems to work brilliantly.

Okay, its not the ‘instant’ cure of the dreaded flea spray, but it doesn’t send your cat into paroxysms of fear and loathing, it saves your precious furniture and curtains, and more importantly: Its cheap and organic!

This also proves that despite other overwhelming evidence to the contrary, my cat isn’t an Evil Vampire Cat.

That’s just a story he puts out to impress his mates.



Of course, I could say you’d have to turn up to find out, but that’d be pretty mean, so here’s a quick ‘taster’…

Seed planting on the new worktop by the greenhouse.We’ve been working pretty hard over the last few months to get our plots ‘up to scratch’ and ready for visitors to see, but because it is a ‘working allotment’, as you walk round, you will see areas that look untended and unloved.

Well, let us tell you, they aren’t!

They’re work in progress.

What you will see are many more beds than last year with crops growing.  There are many different varieties of onions, garlic, shallots, spring onions, radishes, potatoes, leeks, oca, sweetcorn, courgettes, tomatoes, cucumbers…  The list goes on!  But how could we forget the now-famous ‘LEAF Strawberries’!  This year you’ll be encouraged to go and ‘Pick Your Own’.  Not merely strawberries, but actual strawberry plants! We’ll lend you a hand fork, and point you in the right direction, and you’ll be free to dig up as many as you want to take home and plant in your garden or even in a pot on your balcony!

On other ‘fronts’, we have a newly-and-greatly-expanded seating area up by the metal shed for many more volunteers and visitors to relax under a couple of our gazebos.  The 'Zen' seating area.We also have a new ‘Zen’ seating area on the patio you can relax in.

More ‘hardware’ to show off this year is our now fully glazed, fully functional, and ‘fully full’ of young plants greenhouse!

A gentle wander up to our ‘Orchard Plot’ and you’ll be able to see our five, fully functional beehives kindly supplied by ‘Groundwork Sheffield’ and the ‘Bee Buddies’ project last year.

Further up The Plots, up by the wooden shed, there’ll be a new area for our new ‘electric bicycles’ and you can try for yourself and see just how much fun it can be to generate your own electricity, and as the evening light draws in, you’ll be able to see the power generated earlier in the day actually lighting up the gazebo under which the bikes will be sat!

Then, there’ll be a selection of young, ready-potted plants in exchange for a donation for your own garden; you’ll be able to drink the now world-famous (…well, nearly…) Plot Tea we rave about so often on our Website; you’ll be offered a taste of ‘proper’ home-cooked food, and if the weather’s fine, we may have a fire lit so you can taste for yourself the awesome baked potatoes we often cook on a Saturday evening after a hard day’s work.Mitzi, shouting at us!

Finally, there’s ‘our’ allotment cat, Mitzi, who may well make an appearance.  From this photo, she may look fierce, but she really is just a Big Softie, unless you try and tickle her tummy!

Who could want for more!

So, get out your diary, make a date and we’ll see you then!

More painting and artwork. 25/09/10

Tomorrow marks the annual ‘Allotment Soup’ open day, this year held down in Rivelin Valley on the allotments there.

There’ll be loads going on, and we decided to take our growing scarecrow ‘family’, and a load of painted cardboard ‘gardening paraphenalia’, so artfully painted by our ‘Plot Kids’.

The owl and the butterfly.

The owl and the butterfly.

Here, you can see an owl and a beautifully painted butterfly.

A beetle and a ladybird.

A beetle and a ladybird.

To the left here are more painted cardboard cut-outs.  This time a beetle and a ladybird.  These are ‘sat’ on the fence leading into the childrens’ plot by the main entrance.

Soon, yet more artwork seemed to ‘magically’ appear in the shape of gardening tools, a spade and a couple of forks, a watering can, and here’s Jo holding the butterfly from the photo above.

Jo and the gardening tools.

Jo and the gardening tools.

Of course, I couldn’t finish this entry without reference to a cat!

The black cat.

The black cat.

Here is today’s splendid effort:-

Now Mitzi, our Plot Cat is a grey tabby, and yet this one is black.

My cat is black.

Are people trying to say that I should bring Young Alfie down with me one Saturday?

Are they ready for the kind of chaos this would cause?  I think probably not, so for the time being, he’ll continue to be the ‘Local Terror’ round here, thankyou very much!

A few days sick-leave.

I’m sorry, but I’m getting over a mild case of ‘Cat ‘Flu’, so I’m not currently up to my best.

Alfie's poorly.

Alfie's poorly.

Don’t worry, though.

Just a couple of days after this shot of me on my dad’s bed was taken, I was up and ready for action again.

Of course, it helped that I’d really ‘played it up’ with him; so much so that he fed me loads of good stuff like tinned tuna and salmon.

Hee hee.  I really must remember to sneeze more.  It always gets him going!

Odin training in Water

We have numerous baths at LEAF

This is our Aqua Special Training.  As you may see Odin is sat in a cold water bath, and I think his extremities are getting a little cold, but he is holding up, though looking a little startled.

Strange Sights at LEAF

"Jonny Darko"

Whats all this then ?

Mitsy can ordinarily take things in her stride, but on this day she wasn’t please with the “Jonny Darko”  or Wier Cat that had come to join us, however after a time she realised that it was not a threat.

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