3 November 2019
Today looks quite fine , thanks God and I am outside with Patrick before 9.00am. Whilst I am opening up the Polytunnel and uncovering the plants I notice a flower pot spilled out onto the ground but there is no sign of a plant which is puzzling. When I come inside, I notice that Bells has a big dark lump of stuff attached to her tail…. It was a small Rose bush and soil ball - missing plant mystery quickly solved.
I then removed all of the decomposing fruit / veg / plant matter off the top of the domestic kitchen compost bin because we know there is lots of well rotted compost underneath that we want to use in the vine beds. This is a pretty disgusting job as with all of the recent rains, it is slimy and smelly and full of worms. However, the worms are a very good sign and the compost underneath is very good indeed. I then barrowed all of the partly decomposed stuff to the big compost heap, threw it on top and covered it with some old grass cuttings that had been lying in front of the heap for some time, adding in some shredded paper to the mix. Making a good compost heap is like making a giant Lasagne, with all of the various layers needed.
Went back out to the Vine mount and removed all of the mortar spills that had been left by the bricklayers along the edge of the top terrace. By this time, James, Aideen & Meave have come out to help fill the raised beds and the barrowing begins. We brought barrows of soil in for ages whist Patrick brought in the compost. Our first job was to fill the middle terrace and then we would put boards down on this so that we could barrow in the soil to fill the top terrace. Then we topped up the middle terrace with a good layer of compost, using up all of the stuff in the old bins in the compost yard and also some from the big heap. I am very pleased that we have produced enough compost to do this job and hopefully it will make a real difference to the success of the vines.
We don’t have a proper lunch break because we are conscious of the fact that there is so much to do and the evenings are getting darker so much earlier now. As a bit of light relief during our tea break, we decide to cut off all of the remaining Dahlia blooms and float them all in the fountain pool. This looks beautiful and seems like a fitting farewell tribute to the Dahlias, which have been so beautiful but are about to get dug up for winter storing.
During the afternoon, we are visited by Jon the bee man to carry out his last inspection of the bee Hives before Winter. He removes the Queen excluders so she can join the other bees for the winter. He restricts the openings into the Hives to keep out mice and reports that three of the four hives are thriving but the fourth, which has always had a much smaller colony, might peter out.
With lots more barrowing we finally filled the middle terrace. We then move all of the remaining bricks that have been stacked around the perimeter of the raised beds, to expose the bottom terrace, which also needs to be dug out and compost added in before planting. This terrace is only half a metre wide so should be much lees work to do. There were about 1,000 bricks left over which we stacked high on two pallets out of the way for now -these will be used for the last pathway and the floor to the Mushroom House.
By this time it is dark and we are exhausted and starving so we order a Chinese Takeaway which we eat at a normal meal time (much earlier than usual). Then incredibly, we have an early night – we are in bed by 9.30pm – I cant remember the last time we went to bed that early.