Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Oh my goodness what have I done......

Well the idea was to put up a chicken run to contain the little witches....but when the man came he said he could level up the ground a bit and no I shouldn't get a rotovator...I should let him scrape the soil and all of the nasty bramble roots away with his digger..and no it wouldn't cost much.....

The digger arrived and he went at it like there was no tomorrow....will tomorrow ever dawn one wonders...I have resolved never to use a lawn mower ever again..so that decision had already been taken...it stood idle all last year and the grass grew long and shaggy and the little beasties that live in the grass all had lots of parties and probably went forth and multiplied..a lot.

It rained most of today and he toiled on...now...everything is totally scalped..did I mean it to go quite this far...hmmm..I suppose so. Now I have an awful lot of mud where there used to be log and shaggy grass..and not even a scrapper by the door..I also have an awful lot of mud down the hallway and into the kitchen.

Yikes and rats..just found he demolished two of my precious apple trees..a birthday gift from my father last year..kept watered and fed all through last years warm spell....buckets lugged to no avail. I am going to buy sacks of wild flower seeds to make up for the carnage...to make a fragrant patch like at Butterfly World last summer....covered in butterflies. At least that is the intention....a sweet dream...to spur me through the mud and mire.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Chooks taking gardening seriously

Spring is in the air..Helen is no longer broody and they are up and at 'em. They see me coming across the garden with my spade and their little legs fare go like the clappers to get to me. Not worshipful love of the mothership...no..the chance to catch wild game..fresh flesh.
The girls are now red hot at hoicking out the militant worms and bugs.

Not so keen on them gobbling all of my lovely juicy wormies..they are my friends after all as they improve my thin and precious soil. Up here on the top of the South Downs the rock chalk is just below the surface and I have to compost and add manure to get anything to grow.
You can just see the remnants of last years radicchio crop.
I don't like the bitter tang they leave on the tongue but the old man loves them.
I am trying to break into the heavy grass..formerly a field for grazing..to form a new wedge shaped veggie bed to complete the pattern of beds surrounding the clump of lime trees..the idea is to make a circular shape with each of the segments holding a different crop. It worked really well last year but it is so hard to dig the beds in the first place.
I just love it when the plants grow tall...graceful aliums. I let some of them go to seed just so I can enjoy their huge balloon shaped heads like stars on sticks. Brilliant.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Funereal weeds

Today I went to an old and sadly, long lost, friend's funeral. Maureen aka Poddy. Not yet 60 and while certainly not in the bloom of youth, still far too soon to stop playing this crazy game of life. There were still lots of moves to make and dice to throw.
She was one of life's eccentrics..right from day one probably. I must have been around eleven or so when I first met her, maybe slightly older...she sat me on a pony..pointed me towards the horizon and let it gallop off into the distance bridle jangling. The little devil finally slowed down for a moment when it came upon a barbed wire fence...then it cannily dropped a shoulder as it continued at full pelt to run parallel with the wire...I didn't make the turn.... I flew straight ahead and with no grace, to land in a pile on the hard, hard earth. I still recall the feel of the steel stirrups banging relentlessly against my bare and bony ankles. And as I recall just next to the place where the bone is most prominent there was also sticking a huge, bloated horse fly.
I remember her laughing like a drain at my sprawled discomfort and being told to catch the wretched pony and get back on again..what did I think I was doing down there anyway. Quick before he hurt himself on the trailing reins!! Nothing like learning the hard way.
Her life seems to have been centered around her love of animals both great and small and her mother, who died last year after ten years of ill health. She and Maureen shared the same home for 50 or more years in Shillinglee. Daughter became mother and carer. It must have been very hard for her when her mum finally died and left her, for the first time really, on her own.
Maureen pretty much only did things her way. But then why not! If it worked for her. For all of her wry humour and whimsical ways she never put on a front..there was never any side to her..what you saw was what you got
The other pea in the pod, Christine, bravely read her memories and recollections and as if the reality had only just sunk in that she would never see her lifelong friend again a hint of panic as she turned to talk to her friend inside the coffin. Maureen was far too much of a free spirit to be cooped up inside a box. No, she was not in there...she was off riding Gelert and romping with her lurchers. At one with herself and no longer tied into that painful hand she had been dealt.