Sunday, 16 November 2008

Plans and Forecasts

Looking ahead to the weekend I could not believe that the forecast for the weather meant that I would be able to go to the allotment on Sunday. Even better that on Saturday while at a collograph printing workshop I would not have any regrets about using precious time to learn to print as it would be raining outside. I should have known that things were not going as predicted, when out of the window were loads of rowing crews competing on the Cam in good winter conditions. Hmm.

When I was woken at 5:30 am today (baby decides its a early breakfast day) the BBC weather still gave me hope of tending to the patch today, but by 9:30 there was definitely cloud in our area of East Anglia on the latest forecast. Shortly after this forecast it rained. It only seemed to rain over us. When we drove just 10 miles down the road there was no rain, as we came back closer to home a little later in the day the cloud was still sitting over our little town. Grrrr!!

This is my (sadly ornamental) cherry tree, photographed today in the wet with its last few leaves clinging to the branches. It needs to be cut back and reshaped. Does anyone know the best time to do this? I sort of know what I want to do but any advice would be helpful.

Still despite my missing the best bits of the weekend weather it's not all bad - I may have a print that I can use with a bit of scanning and adjusting for making Christmas cards this year.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Got rid of the guilt

Yep I made it down to the patch this afternoon. As you can see from the picture the light was failing by 3:30pm which is so demoralising as it feels very wintery. Things generally look OK my leeks are still there and won't be long until I pull them up. The ground was soft and sludgy which means it is easy to dig but my shoes became a pair of rather uncool mud platforms. Well I didn't get a lot of digging done (after a good deal of time spent distracted with other bits and pieces) but at least some digging is better than none.

I'm taking a leaf out of the Alys Fowler book who begins with discussing gardening on the slow track - now that's more like it - "dig a bit".

Alys does offer this up as the philosophy for life - to be part of the slow movement. I could definitely buy into it. What I can't do is "Once I stopped separating my work from my identity it all fell into place." Hmm. It's cool if your job is similar to your hobbies and you can slow it down or even mix the two. But I'm a wage slave and it is best that work does not leak into my home life as it could push out the fun things I like to do, and stress me out to boot. In fact work has affected my blog life recently, as you can see the drop in posts coincides with returning to work after maternity leave .Some times I have dreamt of improving work home balance with ideas of working for myself, working when I want to. However I've avoided the ideas of starting a business from say my photography hobby as I could end up hating photography - but Alys's approach where I just do some some slow photography could be tempting!

I was amazed today with how tidy some peoples patches are. Clear brown freshly dug earth, neatly stacked canes and planks, pruned plants, compost bins filled and covered - there is a high standard to aspire to on our site. Also security seems to have been stepped up with notices about locking up - pinned absolutely everywhere. Apparently we have had vandals as well as thieves it seems.

As for my plans:
  • I must collect leaves before they have all gone as I would like to make leave mould (perhaps an after school activity for next week)
  • Some more digging
  • Prune the gooseberry bush its untidy and out of control (I better find out if I should do that now)
  • Cover and mulch the area for the potatoes
  • Oh and get those onions and broad beans in ASAP

Monday, 3 November 2008

Baking, birthday and guilt

What have I been doing? Can I really have been too busy to post? Or has so little of a horticultural nature happened that I couldn't post - ah now we reach the truth. I've not been to the patch and I feel so, so guilty. I miss the patch lots. I haven't got my onions in, or my broad bean seeds they just haunt and taunt me from the kitchen window.

The evenings are dark now so no chance of visiting the plot after the school run, a plan which I concocted in my head as a way of getting on with things when I returned to work after the freedom of maternity leave. I am concerned for my mental well being that I should contemplate such grand plans. That I consider the logistics of them feasible with the other things that I intend to get done in about an hour and a half of the day - still a girl can dream of super powers eh?

After the strain of all the half term excitement I hit a bit of a birthday lull, which did not encourage productivity. However I did treat myself to Alys Fowler's 'the thrifty gardener' as a little pressie. My sofa habit was not all bad as well as a little reading I also did a pen and ink drawing my first bit of art work in years.

I had stepped forward to join Mrs Be's Bakeathon (on her other blog) but my attempts were more of flash in the pan than a week's worth of yummy eating. I managed one lot of slighty burnt chocolate brownies they were disguised with a dusting of icing sugar. Is burnt chocolate better than no chocolate?

Today a letter from a friend arcoss the globe kicked my bottom into posting, I had written the rather short apple day post but not added a photo and had not bothered to publish it until today. I hadn't expected to recieve written complaints just because I had not posted in ages - you must be the reader that got me to over a 1000 hits checking for an update. I hope that fills the gap Carol ann - as you can see not a lot is going on and I feel a little bit of allotment guilt. Now I just need to get my special time juggling gloves on and all will be back to normal.