I didn’t get to mention that the bottom field had been harvested and there was a tractor out cultivating the soil already. I had to zoom in to get this shot, and the sun is glinting on the tractor’s window. This land is all part of the pig farm.
After talking about all the things I missed when away from the lottie, I was surprised when there was not a squeak out of the little piglets, not a sound from the school playground as there was not a breath of wind, I only saw the tractor pass once, and I was too far away to see if there was a wave back, and apart from the usual odd screech from a disturbed pheasant, there was not a sound. I think that maybe the high temperature had a lot to do with it, anyone with any sense would be relaxing in the 78-80f temperatures. But then I don’t have a lot of sense! Oh and when I went to take a photo of the purple elderberries and red hawthorn berries, they had all be eaten! Hence the photo of the field being cultivated.
After my site inspection I had to prioritise, and mow the lawns and paths. It was only last Wednesday that I gave them all a crew cut after being without a mower for a few weeks. I had to repeat the process of mowing it all once on a high cut and gradually going over it again and again until I got to a lower one. Most of the grass has been sown this summer so I don’t want to rip out any of the precious roots. I am still flabbergasted that in less than a month the last grass path I sowed has formed a thick thatch – you can see in the previous blog where it still has all the bird scarers. A week ago there were just a few little green whiskers here and there! I am glad now that I did not leave it until March as I was planning to do, and took a gamble on the weather conditions, but this has surpassed all my expectations. It took me well over two hours to complete the lawn mowing, but in the summer with regular mowing it would take half the time or maybe a bit more, but in comparison to the time it would take to weed the areas and keep them clean it was worth the investment, and looks so nice. And will look even better next year when I cut out proper border edges. Some of the cuttings I planted look like they have taken, in fact they all look healthy, but I have to be patient until spring when the new leaves grow. In between mowing, I got out my new best friend, my little Mantis and set the blades to weed mode. I thought that I would do half the mowing, have a ‘tea break’ with bottle of water and an apple, do a bit of weeding, then go back to mowing etc, to ensure that it would not get tedious.
I put the Mantis in my barrow and then attached the tines, went through the routine of shifting a huge long heavy plank of wood that holds the netting down in front of the Caterpillar Café. Removed the corner bricks and hooked up all the excess over the prop to get the Mantis in. I then spent the next 10 minutes trying to start it – filling up with petrol first of course, checking the oil, adding a bit more oil ‘just in case’, looking at the spark plug. I then gave up and went on mowing, thinking that I might have flooded it. It took three attempts before my pain –wracked brain worked out that I had to turn it on first!! Doh. Once I had flicked the on switch it started first time like a dream as always. A week away from the lottie definitely is not good for my brain cells – that and a dose of flu that I had. (Excuse accepted?)
So now I have beautifully mowed lawns – well up the allotment at least. Pat has to be gently coerced into mowing those at home for me. There is not a weed or dead leaf in the broccoli cage, and only a few around the third row of parsnips. This has to be a record.
Beans were picked for lunch yesterday (Wednesday) when Pat finally got his roast chicken with every one of the 7 vegetables fresh from the allotment – I still get a lovely feeling of achievement when I see and then taste them.
It is amazing how quickly the five hours flew by and I had to get home by three to get cooking.
Another fabulous day – albeit a hot one – I went home with the windows and sun roof open, the boot full of pumpkins (there are still 3 up there that I can not lift), and French and climbing beans, parsnips, carrots, lettuce, and other things, but I forgot the lonely cucumber under the frost hit leaves.
Yesterday was a wet day, so I spent the afternoon surfing websites about Stoats, Weasles, and Ferrets, and searching for information from other allotment sites.
I still have to look for a course on Website building and get my proper site up and running, but that is on hold until the weather prevents me from working up the lottie.
Today, Thurday, it has done just that, but I am busy researching something else to the sound of torrential rain battering the roof of the conservatory.
I did make time to visit our little village library for a book on my new hobby – creating a memories book for my grandson due early December – I went on my first workshop last night and it ran from 18.30 to 22.00 hours and in my poorly head I thought that we finished at 8pm - similar timings to adult education. My poor husband was going demented with worry and just about to go out to search for me - not easy down narrow and pitch black country lanes on a windy and rain lashing night not knowing where exactly I had gone. When I enquired of the time (9pm) and borrowed a phone to call him, having left my phone at home he was frantic. A bit like you get with children when they give you a scare, you don't know whether to tell them off or just be relieved they are safe! When I cheekily asked him when I got home, and he had finished the lecture, how did he intend to find me when he didn't know exactly where the village hall was that I was going to, he replied that he would just ask someone. (a) that would be an all time first to stop and ask for directions, and (b)if you have ever been to rural Norfolk to you will notice a lack of lighting, footpaths, pedestrians, and houses, added to that the time and the weather! But I am sure that he would have found and rescued me despite all obstacles. - and I mean that sincerely.
This morning we also made time to visit a village a couple of miles from here to a fisherman’s farm that is now a thriving fish business, with fresh fish, and their own Smokery to replenish our freezer. Not only did I buy large quantities of fresh tuna, salmon, sea bass, and red snapper, far cheaper and fresher than you can get from any supermarket (if there was one closer than the farm, which there isn’t), I also spotted some plain black plastic barrels with screw tops, that are the size of those barrels you get on water fountain machines in offices etc These ones had had cleaning agents in them, that they use for cleaning down all their stainless steel surfaces. The barrels were next to the waste skips. I asked if the barrels were destined for the tip and was told yes, so guess where they are now, and what they will be used for? Yes, filled with water they will make nice weights for the winter protection sheeting being used as a weed barrier – and if I go back to the farm in a month’s time, there will be some more for me, so the days of weighting everything down, with lumps of old wood, defunct wheel barrows, will be over. I can now wash the barrels out, fill them with water over the winter from the tank’s overflow, and can weigh down all the netting, fleece, etc simply, and they can be stored out of sight behind the fruit cage when not in use, the water being poured onto plants before moving of them course so that I can carry them!
A year ago I had some of those white polystyrene fish boxes, and I used them as mini cold frames – for my little plants; the white really reflecting the light, and the polystyrene keeping them warm. They were strong too and hold quite a lot of pots and are easily transportable being both light and stron. There were a few complaints from Pat about the car stinking of fish for a few days though, but it was worth it, and the boxes soon lost their fishy smell, which was not in any way detrimental to the plants I grew. I grew other things in them too instead of grow bags. It worked out cheaper buying the compost, and they were easier to work with and water, and I could place them in areas up the lottie that would not get used, for instance in front of the pig shed by the track and next to the water tank which worked really well. I might try other experiments with some more next year. Any one got any ideas please?