Last year some time I thought I’d try and grow my own spuds in pots. I’ve grown them before in the garden but I liked the idea of being able to up-end the pot when it was time to harvest and get all of the potatoes at once, instead of grubbling around in the dirt searching for them.
So I planted sprouting potatoes in 2 big pots, using the cheapest potting mix at Bunnings, then promptly forgot about them.
The plants grew, then died back (which is when you’re meant to harvest the potatoes) and I left them in the pots. Oops. Then they grew again.
This time I wasn’t going to forget about them, though I wasn’t sure how many spuds there’d be the second season.
This is the produce from the smaller pot. Not too bad… mostly quite small, but there were some big ones as well.
I gathered them up and brought them inside. The kids were all still asleep at 11, which was beginning to irritate me. By 12.30 the last one got up. They had brunch. Then I discovered that ‘someone’ had eaten all of the packets of crumpets that I’d put in the freezer for bringing out as treats. I was ropable. (I fancied a nice crumpet for lunch….)
So I cut up enough potatoes for me to have lunch and oven fried them as chips. Just for me. For Lunch (because I get up at a proper hour and eat breakfast in the morning.) They were delectable.
I used the rest of them for dinner in a potato and sweet potato mash. We had oat cakes, using 10 of our OWN eggs. Very satisfying. But look at what I had for breakfast yesterday:
I was sitting at the computer at around 8.30, when I could hear one of the chickens making an almighty noise, clucking like she had a vuvuzola. Well, to be honest it didn’t sound like that at all. But it was loud and annoying, so I went out to have a look. Martha, one of the white hens, was pacing in and out of the coop, complaining at the top of her lungs about how Mother Nature didn’t make it effortless for hens to lay these inflexibly-shelled eggs every day and how she was over it. In and out of the coop, in and out, rummaging around in the nesting box, then out again. I grabbed a coffee and sat down outside the coop to wait. I wondered how long it would take.
As I was sitting there, the rest of the animals decided to be companionable. The dogs lay down at my feet after making themselves comfortable in the grass and the cats settled down on the tarp I’d tossed on the lawn. We all watched and waited.
While Martha was being a prima donna, I noticed that Buffy (a brown hen) was looking a little agitated too. She’d go into the coop, only to be chased out by Martha. She was hopping on one leg, then the other like little kids when they really ‘need to go’. Finally, Martha was silent, emarging about 5 minutes later with a relieved expression on her face. She headed straight for the feeder to fortify herself. Buffy dashed in. A few minutes later there was a gutteral clucking, then Buffy sauntered out, looking as though butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth. (Buffy laid the monster egg on the right. I’m surprised that her sides weren’t concave by the time she’d finished. That was one Big Egg.)
I went and lifted the eggs from the nesting boxes, brought them straight inside and popped them into a saucepan of water.
It’s interesting to think that it’s only in recent times that this vignette has become a novelty. For the vast majority of human history, this would have been an everyday occurrence. Most people kept chickens, from the rich down to the poor. It’s weird, but I feel a sneaking feeling of connection to that past when I take a bowlful of table scraps down to my hens. Though a word of warning… don’t feed your hens leftover chips from the fish and chip shop. The chooks don’t like them because they’re too salty, but your dogs will dig to China in an effort to get into the run and polish them off. (The chips, not the hens. Though who knows?)