Archive for March, 2009

Asleep on the job

Apologies to all of you who must be bored rigid with my witterings about digging the vegetable garden but it’s taken over my life so the fact that it’s also taken over the blog is inevitable.

I’ve finally developed a rhythm and a system and found today’s efforts to be extremely relaxing, not least because it feels like I’m finally making progress. I’m still not sure how many stones I should be removing from what’s proving to be damn good soil, but I’m picking up as many as I can.

On Monday, Snipe tried to help me by retrieving all the stones I was throwing out of the patch but as I don’t let her play with stones, it really didn’t take her long to connect the cross tone of my voice with her actions: she brought me the squeaky green ghost as an apology. She chewed it for a while and was obviously watching me tackle the turf, since, to make up for her earlier indiscretion, she helped out:

Snipe helps dig the veggie garden!

Snipe helps dig the veggie garden!

Yesterday, however, all my “helpers” spent the afternoon snoozing in the sun:



The weaners

The weaners



I doubt I’ll be digging much over the next few days, as the forecast looks rather soggy, so if you’re lucky, I might find something else to blog about! Maybe…!

Time stands still?

It strikes! one, two,
Three, four, five, six. Enough, enough, dear watch,
Thy pulse hath beat enough. Now sleep and rest;
Would thou could’st make the time to do so too;
I’ll wind thee up no more.
Ben Jonson

Last week, my watch strap snapped and so I borrowed one of B’s watches (yes, she has many) until I get round to fixing mine. However, that decided to stop working over the weekend!

I was lucky enough to have company in the form of Jennie and then B at the farm all weekend, both of whom wore working watches. But I was “home alone” yesterday and that meant no watch.

With one exception (I ended up having lunch at half past two!), it was wonderful. No pressure, no deadlines. Just me and whatever task needed doing.

I might not bother fixing my watch strap: just set the alarm on my phone so I don’t miss real deadlines.

As the sun shines, so I dig

Yesterday was my third day of digging the veggie garden and I’ve finally developed a routine and a system and have, I hoped, figured out what I’m doing!

It’s going well. Progress is still slow but much better than on the previous two days. The trouble is, it’s going to start raining this afternoon so I have a feeling that now that both I and my muscles have figured things out, I’ll have to stop. Meh!

And the weaners are still having fun on their patch, though progress was not as fast as on the previous day. Some were keen to keep working for their grub, but others were happy to take the chance that I’ll feed them and love them whether they sleep or dig!

B and the weaners - 22 March 2009

B and the weaners

B was finally able to spend a non-rainy day at the farm with me and it was so lovely to have her around. She often helped her father in his vegetable garden when she was a child so was able to offer lots of advice and helpful tips, but mainly I just enjoyed her company and conversation. We don’t see enough of each other and spending a day in the sunshine was a real treat. In fact, I’ve been spoilt rotten with company over the past few days so today will be very quiet. Too quiet, I think.

Dig it baby, dig it!

Yesterday was a tough day, as my aching muscles are only too willing to attest this morning. It was a lovely day: the sun was shining, the sky was blue and a cool breeze refreshed and regenerated: a perfect start to spring even if I was barely aware of the fact until I caught up on my blog reading last night!

I managed to talk Jennie into spending the day with me at the farm and had forgotten how much pleasure can be gained from doing one’s usual routine in the company of a wonderful friend.

We spent the morning getting the chores done and then planned to spend the afternoon in the orchard, where I would continue digging the vegetable garden and Jennie would sit back and enjoy the sunshine, get some fresh air into her lungs to beat her lurgy, groom Snipe, who is moulting by the bucket at the moment, and attempt to repair my trousers, which have decided to fall to pieces for no apparent reason: maybe an attempt to get out of digging?

But when we went to the orchard, the previous day’s efforts looked somewhat lacking:

The veg garden after Day 1 - 21 March 2009

The veg garden after Day 1

With the rest of that patch to dig, plus another of a similar size, we decided to call in the reinforcements:

The weaners on the vegetable garden - 21 March 2009

The weaners on the vegetable garden

With those four working on the second patch, I carried on with the first. Progress was, however, slow. My arms and back simply did not want to co-operate and it took me a long time to warm my muscles up and get them to do anything useful. And then, typically, just after Jennie joined me in the digging and we got into a routine, we came across a very large stone:

Jennie finds the boulder

Jennie finds the boulder

It took us a v.e.r.y l.o.n.g t.i.m.e to dig that wretched stone out of the ground, though we entertained ourselves with stories of buried treasure and Roman coins.

Jennie and the boulder - 21 March 2009

Jennie and the boulder

Being March, the hours of daylight available for digging were still limited and with the weaners to return to their enclosure, and all the pigs and chickens to feed, we were forced to call it a day.

It really didn’t seem like anything had changed!

The vegetable garden after Day 2 - 21 March 2009

The vegetable garden after Day 2

Still, at least the weaners had fun and I’m hoping that a second session today will, if nothing else, get rid of the grass, which will make things a lot easier!

The weaners on the vegetable garden - the results! 21 March 2009

The weaners on the vegetable garden - the results!

Things are looking up, however, as the weather forecast for the next couple of days has changed and it might not be raining on Monday after all, which means I get a bit more time to dig. Maybe!

Don’t suppose anyone fancies a day in the sunshine, working on their muscles and fitness?

Nah, didn’t think so!!!!

Busy, busy, busy!

Bailey, Tia and the dogs - 19 March 2009

Bailey, Tia and the dogs - 19 March 2009

While these guys have been relaxing and chilling in the sunshine, I’ve been digging. And digging. And digging. And yet it doesn’t feel like I’ve achieved very much!

It looks as though it’s going to rain on Monday so I’ll be spending the weekend with a fork in hand so please forgive my likely online absence over the next couple of days. But, if you’re like me, you’ll be outside yourselves during this spell of good weather and won’t be reading this until it rains anyway…!

Enjoying the sun

Well, hasn’t this week been a contrast to last week’s deluge? The field is almost dry enough to abandon my wellies though I’m not risking it as my leather boots are departing from the sole and I like having dry feet… Hmm, really must dig out my new pair!

Photographic evidence of the bright blue skies! Very odd seeing that backdrop for the winter-esque trees!

Photographic evidence of the bright blue skies! Very odd seeing that backdrop for the winter-esque trees!

Anyway, I’ve been spending most of my time outside, enjoying the feeling of the sun on my back as I’ve been doing those jobs I either couldn’t do because of the weather – or didn’t feel like doing because of the weather! I’ve moved Scrumpy and Brini’s enclosure, giving them a large amount of untouched ground, though I left the ark where it was, and also gave the weaners some fresh ground, which they are doing a great job of clearing. Bye bye, reeds and brambles!

The chickens’ Eglu and Cube have been well and truly scrubbed out and I’m making an effort to stop being so lazy and have been cleaning out their poo every day, though I’ll stick to scrubbing it out on a weekly basis. I will, however, be realistic and admit here and now that it’s quite unlikely that the poo trays will be emptied on days when it’s tipping it down… I also moved the chickens off the veg patch and onto fresh ground, ahead of tomorrow’s digging efforts. Jennie and her boys are coming to break ground with me, which will be lots of fun. It’s one thing doing all this on your own, but it’s something different altogether when you have company.

I’ve cleaned out the shipping container where I keep the animals’ feed. Well, I’ve cleaned half of it, but I’m also in the middle of scrubbing out all the feed bins as well. Now that the temperature’s warmed up, it’s become quite evident that I need better storage for things like rubbish so I have fiddled and faddled and come up with different ways of storing everything. When it’s finished, I should have lots more room and will hopefully know where everything is!!

What else?

What have they heard? Evidently *not* me calling them so they'd look at the camera!!

What have they heard? Evidently *not* me calling them so they'd look at the camera!!

I’ve enjoyed the company of the dogs and have been walking them down to the river where Midge happily follows the scents of animal trails and Snipe leaps in and out of the water, fetching sticks and just generally having fun. I really must find out when the spring/summer dog ban on the beaches comes into force and if there’s still time, take them one more time. Maybe that would be a fun way to end tomorrow’s day with Jennie and boys? Work hard digging and then celebrate with the beach and maybe an ice cream?!

Finally, I must not forget the pigs and since they drop to the ground and snore like roaring dragons the second they get a hint of sunshine, I have spent many a happy hour sharing their sun-worship. This is what life is all about!

Me and my man!!! 15 March 2009

Me and my man!!! 15 March 2009

The to-do list is, however, ever-growing and I still have to plot out the veg patch (made complicated by the fact that it’s a large circle, quartered by wide paths: great for a 4-year crop rotation but not so great as only one quarter was used last year, but it was quartered again so I don’t know what I should and shouldn’t plant in it. Another quarter was used for the lasagne garden, but only a third of that has composted properly! Hmm.

One soggy doggy, waiting for permission to leap back into the river!

One soggy doggy, waiting for permission to leap back into the river!

I also need to finish cleaning the shipping container and feed bins etc and sort something out for rubbish, recycling and the fruit and veg I get for the pigs, otherwise I’ll be experiencing a very stinky summer!

Finally, I also need to rake up all the long grass that the chickens have helpfully scratched out of the ground (a) so it doesn’t kill the new grass trying to grow underneath it, and (b) so I can use it on the lasagne garden.

A busy couple of days ahead: can’t wait!



Desert Island MP3s

I like music but I’m not a an aficionado. Most of the time, I hear a tune or a song and think to myself about how much I like it, but I couldn’t tell you who sang it or what it was called, and I can generally only remember one or two lines – and I often mishear them or get them wrong in some other way.

So, when Jennie tagged me to take part in her version of Desert Island Discs (or MP3s, as she calls it, coz she’s young, hip and happening, unlike me, an old fogey), I panicked slightly as while there’s lots of music I love, how on earth would I describe it? That song by the singer with short hair that goes “dum dum dum” somewhere in the middle… Think she’s a red head. Could be brown, though…

Still, with only five songs (these modern versions are rubbish! Should be 8!!!) I couldn’t go too far wrong! And I even managed to resist the urge to pick albums, even though I got permission!

  1. Livin’ on a Prayer by Bon Jovi
  2. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
  3. Do you Hear the People Sing? from Les Mis
  4. Respect by Aretha Franklin
  5. I’m a bit rubbish when it comes to classical music but as a recent convert to Classic FM (I’ve given up on Radio 2 other than Sarah Kennedy, Terry Wogan, Chris Evans and Mo Dutta), I’m slowly becoming a big, if uneducated, fan. So, for my fifth and final choice, all I can say is this: A classical piece. Something with the full orchestra. The type of thing that makes you want to jump up on your feet and do something. The classical equivalent to a rock anthem!

My book would be the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and while I like the idea of a wireless laptop and a broadband connection, in truth, my luxury item would have to be my dogs.

Passing it on people, passing it on. Ye all be tagged!