Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A dead body in the raspberry patch - Death by natural causes or murder?

We had to make a quick trip to London today, and drove through drizzle, heavy rain, and finally sunshine. When we returned home, rather tired, I thought that I would be sat in an armchair for the rest of the day, but I soon recovered, put the Mantis in the boot and headed off to the lottie.

Overnight there had been a death, which saddened me, I found a little mole deceased. It was in perfect condition and looked like it was lying on the grass mulch in the middle of a row of raspberries sunbathing, poor thing. I don't know how large they grow, but this one was as long as the palm of my hand so it might have been a baby. It was a total mystery how it came to be there as there was no mole hill next to it. Was it murder or did it expire due to natural causes? There is not so much as a slug pellet on my allotment, let alone any toxins of any nature. Maybe it was death by gluttony, at least I hope so, then at least it would have been a happy passing.

I couldn't dwell on it for long as I had work to do. The idea was to edge the grass paths I made, then I changed my mind and put the tillers on the Mantis to prepare another path next to the gooseberries, rhubarb, and big compost bin - to stop people from walking all over the area that I have rotovated. Friends and visitors just walk across bare patches of land to get to where they want to go (whilst I inwardly cringe as I had spent hours weeding or rotovating the land and did not want the soil compacted!) If you are not a gardener you are not expected to know these things, so more grass paths across the plot to join up with those along the length seemed the logical solution.

The little Mantis is so easy to start after starting mowers and big rotovators. My shoulder hardly noticed it. It took me a bit of getting used to walking backwards and the light weight of it, but once I had mastered that it was pure joy. The fine tilth it produced after I had used it to to weed, just needed raking to remove the stones. Then the silly walk several times up and down in my walking boots, a light rake, sow the grass seeds, and job done. It took a fraction of the time it takes me usually.

Feeling more confident I decided to weed between the plants in the remaining bed that needed doing, the largest 10ft wide by 30ft. This proved a bit more of a challenge as some of the plants were close together, and I had to get to grips with the speed control. Not a bad effort though.
Despite only half filling the petrol tank there was still some left, and as the instructions say to empty the tank, I did not want to pollute my soil, so kept going, and going, and going, until I had virtually finished the potato plot. In the end I left it ticking over to run out as I needed to pick the Autumn fruiting raspberries for tea and time was running out - and at last the petrol did.

It was great to just fold down the handles, put the rotovator in the wheel barrow along with everything else, and put it in the car boot and come home.

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