Have you missed me?
I can't believe that it has been a week since I last updated my allotment diary and I have really missed doing so.
Having an allotment is more than just about growing a few vegetables - it becomes a way of life, and far more rewarding than you can possibly imagine unless you have 'got the bug' yourself.
Having been 'absent' for a number of days due to a touch of flu, and a weekend away, I found that I had a serious case of withdrawal symptons.
I missed being out in the open air in the middle of a field with all that space. I missed the walking of all 330 feet looking at the daily changes - and there really are changes every day, albeit it little ones at times. Just taking the time to stop and look and observe, you get to know every inch of your plot intimately, and gradually view things in a different way. You notice when the berries ripen on the Elder tree in the hedge, and turn a deep purple, and the contrast of them against the wild dark green ivy leaves topped with a ball of lime green berries, that I know will turn almost black and will look brilliant in my Christmas flower arrangements - if the birds don't get to them first. With the abundance of hawthorn berries in the hedge the ivy should have a fair chance of lasting.
I have missed seeing a new flower head opened, seeing if there are enough ripened autumn raspberries for tea, if more grass seed has germinated, how many onions have the birds pulled out, are there any more sticks of rhubarb I can pull, has Adrian delivered any more horse manure into any of the manure compost bins, and that lovely warm smell that reaches me as I walk past them. I have missed checking how 'cooked' are the mixtures in my three plastic lidded compost bins, are there any beans still to pick, are the caterpillars all gone, are any new romanesco tops to pick, how much have the late row of parsnips grown, did the pigeons get the at the January King cabbages, where is there a new mole hill, any tunnels under fence?
I have missed looking for signs of the rabbits. I adore seeing them, but am rising to the challenge of keeping them out of my plot. The top end next to the pig farm and where my old pig hut is, is not fenced in, and the rabbits consider it open season on finding a way into my netted off raised beds. I smile at all their different attempts and strategies, and they leave little piles of 'currants' around as 'calling cards' and to let me know that they are still up to the challenge!
Last year they managed to push up a heavy plank of wood to which the netting had been stapled, got into the raised bed, and nibbled all the tops off the leeks! My treasured leeks that I was so proud of and was saving for Christmas. My very first crop of leeks that I had been back breakingly watered and nurtered all through the summer! Defiantly I pulled up what was left of them, and salvaged the stumpy white bits that had escaped their teeth for soup. I chuckled at their audacity and tenacity of getting in and out, and I eagerly await to see if I can outwit them this year.
I have also missed looking to see if there has been any change on the other allotments as I pass by, and hearing the pigs and tractor too, and if the wind is in the right direction, the shouts, squeals and laughter of the school children in the playground at break and lunch time.
It is funny when you sit down to think about it, just how many sights, sounds, and smells, that are a familiar structure of every day, and although not necessarily taken for granted, you become acutely aware of how much they make up your daily pattern of life and miss them when you are away.
I have missed the exercise too, and I have ached more from not working on the plot than when I did. Which sounds like a contradiction of terms, but it is well documented that exercise such as gardening can be a distraction from aches and pains and is very theraputic - of which I am now convinced.
So whatever the weather, I will back up the lottie in the morning, out in the fresh air, camera in hand, tools in wheelbarrow, with a few butterflies of excited anticipation at what I might discover, and hopefully sunshine too.
Thanks for checking on me............pop back in the next couple of days to see what has been ocurring in my absence.