Some part of Tracey's brain must have noticed the big hole in the fence as she arrived at Windmill on Monday morning, because she reports thinking, "Sod it, we've been broken into," but doesn't remember noticing the gap until she had opened the gate and discovered that the shed had been ransacked. We don't think she's got paranormal powers!
Fortunately for us, the delightful night visitors hadn't left any calling cards or broken much, but they did steal some stuff that we really need on site. They also cut the fence into little bits. Andrea and Hassan did a great job fixing this and adding some useful spiky cuttings behind it which we hope may be enough of a deterrent for the time being.
Tracey meanwhile was ringing round to do the necessary, and was soon giving a guided tour to a police officer. Then we were delighted to get a visit from a CSI, who dusted for prints and blood (our "visitors" had taken all the plasters and wipes from the first aid kit), and also used his height to help us re-connect the door defences. On tidying up, we found some things missing, but lots of stuff just chucked about - partly because the thief seems to have a liking for clip-top boxes and emptied the contents on the floor to just take the container. Annoyingly, it's not that long since we sorted our extensive collection of cutlery into separate labelled boxes!
|The scene we met in the shed on Monday|
By Thursday, we had our fingers crossed as we arrived, but all was ok. Tracey, Chris, Hassan and Mark spent the morning taking out the tomatoes from the polytunnel, and potting up the peppers and aubergine to see if we can get them to overwinter. Then we were joined by Joyce, Brian and new volunteer Ellie, for another pumpkin risotto (nobody complained!) and a spot of potato harvesting.
|Mark pots up a pepper to over-winter|
That last bit may sound wrong, given the time of year, but these were the Autumn potatoes we planted in August - Charlotte and Maris Peer - to give us new potatoes for Christmas. We planted some in cut-down plastic dustbins we'd been given, to make them easier to harvest. The plants grew very quickly, but they didn't last too long, as they got blight, so we cut down the tops and removed them. Doing this, and then leaving the potatoes in the soil for some weeks protects the harvest from spoiling, as the blight spores don't get to them.
|Harvesting the spuds - the bin-tops mean it's less far to bend.|
|New volunteer Ellie helping with the harvest|
Given their very short growing season, we were not expecting much when we harvested the crop, but very quickly, we were digging up buried treasure! The dustbin tops could just be removed by pulling them off, leaving a nice loose pile of soil to sort through, so that worked well, and in fact, the potatoes in the dustbins seemed to do better than the others. Comparing the 2 varieties, the Charlottes didn't do much (having got blight really quickly), but the Maris Peer (which had resisted blight for much longer) did really well. We now have a lovely bucket-full of "new" potatoes for our Festive Fuddle. It's on Thursday, December 18th from 12 noon - bring some food to share - hope to see you!