I had a couple of hours last week - between rainstorms that is - and weeded the new potato patch. This is going to be an arduous exercise through the coming months as we didn't really clear the area of weeds very well and then we put the rotavator over it. Still, potatoes are a good veg to start with as all the earthing up helps with the weed clearing - sort of.
I got into a rhythm of weeding a line and earthing up as I went along. All was going well, Radio 4 was keeping me company and the rain held off. Then the chickens arrived just as I finished. Previously I've not minded. They clear the grubs and leave manure at the same time. But as I watched I realised they were getting their richest pickings by unearthing all my hard work. This was not good! I gave chase and they went elsewhere. I redid the job and went in just as the rain started.
The following morning I went out and once again a whole line of potato plants had been uncovered and some stems broken. The chickens were still locked up; this time it was rabbits! That was it. The electric fence which had been in our minds as a job to be done was bought to the front of the queue. The conversation was along the lines of:
"OK, I'll do it next week."
"No, today. Else I'm not planting another single vegetable and you can say goodbye to the French beans."
That was sufficient! We had a lovely afternoon which we thought of as "family time" and the two boys concerned thought of as "another chore". There were also a lot of laughs about not needing to fence the vegetables. "Why on earth are you fencing the vegetables Mum? They can't get out you know." But I was determined.
We now have two strands at tripping up height going all the way around the new veg patch and so far it's worked. Not a rabbit in sight and although the cockerel did get in, he didn't try a second time! Result!