Christmas is Coming!

It’s been a busy old day here. The doorbell went first thing and it was our Christmas turkey, courtesy of Grannie Annie. We don’t like to think too much about where the meat on our plate comes from. Half the population think it magically arrives ready shrink wrapped onto the supermarket shelf and pay no thought to the animal that has gone so that we can eat.

Well, having read how they’ve been reared, we can enjoy Christmas lunch knowing they had a decent life and buying from Ann or other producers like her keeps the real countryside going rather than the whole thing becoming a mass of concrete sheds and huge agribusiness machines thundering across the land.

Being an absolute love, she also popped a chicken in for us. That went down well but we had a fight on our hands to eat it, the cats were determined it was theirs. Our darling daughter volunteers for Cats Protection and somehow we acquired another two youngsters last week. Rowan has had a sad time. She was allowed to get pregnant and dumped. Despite having to cope with feeding herself and living off the land she managed to bring one kitten up. As if that wasn’t enough, some swine shot her in the neck with an air rifle.

After all this, she’s still a lovely trusting cat who purrs if you just look at her. Having said that, she’s a bit cheeky. We now keep the milk jug in the fridge since she was helping herself and, much as I love my cats, I draw the line at sharing the same bowl!

The other new member of the family is Pixie. She’s older than she looks, being tiny albeit with big ears. She’s decided Rowan is her mum, and Rowan has decided she must be and looks after her. Dexter, our young tom, is really happy to have some pals his own age around. Aphy at 15 isn’t the liveliest of cats although she still has her moments and sometimes a 5 minute mad spell like any kitten.

Mr Squeak has been a bit shocked by all these youngsters. He’s about my age (9 cat years is about 50 human) and temperament, so spends his time in the garden grumbling at the younger generation. Still, he’ll get over it. When the turkey arrived I put the box down in the kitchen and the entire pack surrounded it. With their incredible sense of smell, they knew there was something special in there.

I had a phone call from my publisher yesterday warning me the book was going to be out of stock for a week or two. One of the big chains had placed a large order and they’d ordered a reprint but it was going to be delayed. I quickly ordered some more for myself and they arrived next. It’s like Clapham Junction here! And not even 10 o’clock.

Val picked up some reduced whipping cream from Morrisons so we thought we’d have another go at making a video of her making butter. It seems we’re cursed, this time the batteries died and the spare set weren’t charged. Next time.

I did turn about half the carrots I came home with yesterday into carrot and parsnip mash. The carrots taste fine, even if there’s a bit of damage to cut off. The parsnips, well maybe not show bench quality but Val was impressed when one wouldn’t fit into the washing up bowl!

So to tea (or dinner if tha’s a posh southerner). Chicken, pyramid cabbage, stuffing with onion, Valor roasted potatoes and carrot and parsnip mash. Life’s great! If the turkey tastes half as good as the chicken, it’s going to be a great Christmas dinner. 9 good portions of the mash went into the freezer.

By popular demand.. and because I’m crackers – our family of cats.

First up is Rowan, she’s in the front window with the Christmas cacti that she likes removing the flowers from. As you can see on her side, she’s been spayed.

Rowan Cat

Next is Pixie on the hearth investigating Val’s collection of wooden cats. You’ll notice the fireguard, which we decided to get after Dexter nearly set his tail on fire. Expensive creatures! The tatty tennis ball is Dexter’s toy. He captured it from somewhere and trotted in with it proudly in his mouth!Pixie Belle Cat

Finally, if I seem tired at times, this is why. Dexter at the front, Aphy to the right and Mr Squeak with his back to camera. I need a bigger bed.Cats at bedtime

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
5 comments on “Christmas is Coming!
  1. Dawn says:

    Hello there

    What lovely pussycats! I just cannot imagine how people could be so cruel, luckily they have a loving permanent home now. My 7 cats do not know how good they have got it!

    Well, although this is our first year on the allotment we have been so lucky with our produce, I wish I had more time in the winter to be down there. Our brussels are fabulous and have been eating them now for around 4 weeks (still have about another 60 plants to go, good job we love them!) Could you please advise when I could sow Curly Kale (though I think I may be too late now).

    Thanks for a great website.

    Hugs and purrs to the kitties



  2. jim jackson ( mereway allotments- northampton) says:

    Hi John ,
    The 10 pole plot which i have been cultivating this year had previously been covered over with black polythene for approximately four years. this obviously to supress any weed activity. However, i eventually managed to dig the area and started to grow the standard crops of a new allotmenteer.
    This ground is of a rather heavy clay like structure and i feel that it had become rather sterile and seem to produce low yields which do not as green or healthy as the neibouring established plots.
    I have made a big effort to dig as much as possible to open up & breathe life into the soil .as well as manure & apply compost .
    Are there any more procedures that you could suggest to inject a little bit more life into the ground for next years growing season.

    many thanks

    jim jackson ( Northampton)

  3. John says:

    Soil left covered for 4 years is going to be sterile, the entire eco-system will have been destroyed. The only answer is to dig over to allow air in and add lots of humus to encourage the worms, bacteria etc to re-colonise the plot.
    Check the pH level as well, bet it’s gone acid.

    Kale – too late by far, I’m afraid.

  4. Toby Trotter says:

    Love the cats!!
    Just a few years ago, our ‘mother’ cat died leaving us with three almost fully grown kittens. We found homes close by for two and kept the last one which we called Jess. (Yes it was a black and white cat but didn’t like postmen!!)
    To cut a long story short, Jess came home one day with a paw smashed to pieces and bone sticking out of her leg. Thanks to our local vet she saved Jess’s life by taking off the injured front leg. But after I wanted to change jess’s name but the kids and wife wouldn’t let me !!!
    NO IT WASN’T GOI TO BE ‘LUCKY’ OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT BUT i WANTED TO CALL HER RELIANT ROBIN – AFTER THE THREE WHEEL CAR. With one front ‘wheel’ missing I thought it was a good idea and novel to call her by that name. My kids did a bit or PR and called to almost every house on our small estate -asking what they thought of the name.
    I was totally dumbfounded when only one other person thought it a good name or a cat with three legs!!!!
    I did partially lost and won as we called her ‘Trio’ !!!much to the delight of everyone!!I can’t tell you how many kids we had round wanting to look after her. I would never have thought a cat with three wheels (sorry legs) could have given so much enjoyment to so many people – both young and old alike. LOng live your kitties!!!

  5. John says:

    Oh Toby, how awful for poor Jess / Trio. At least she made it home and you saved her.

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