Quite early this morning, I am out continuing with some watering that I didn’t do last night. Whilst watering the front field rose bed, I felt it needed more filling out so I planted in my last 16 towering cosmos that were still in the polytunnel. I then got involved with a discussion with Aideen and Patrick on what to do with the basement. The basement needs a good ‘sort out’ and really, everything needs to come out so Patrick can at least put a proper surface on the floor, or should the space be properly ‘tanked’ (water proofed)? It is a daunting prospect and as we eye crates of tulip bulbs, sheets of insulation, numerous wooden organ pipes, a giant harp travel case, cement mixer and a dressing table (and that is just a sample of our basement contents!), we retreated to fight another day or in my case, to get dad up!
I have lots of plans for today which is probably unwise. Patrick, Diane and Aideen trek out to the orchard to move the scaffolding along the wall. This sounds simple but it is a major enterprise, unfortunately, you can’t just pick it up and move it. It is an 18m long and 3m high platform that has to be fully dismantled and rebuilt further along the wall. This takes hours and it will need doing at least four times to finish this section of wall. However, it is by doing all of this work ourselves that we can keep the cost of the job within manageable limits and this is why it is good to do the job now whilst we have people at home, there are some advantages to us all being unemployed! I start work outside by trying to tidy up the sweet peas on the fruit cage. These sweet peas are still flowering, but some of the plants look quite scruffy, so I climb over the ‘step-over’ apples and pears with my scissors and string and spend several hours on my clear up operation. After this, I sow some cucumbers and melons, this is probably too late but unfortunately, the outdoor melons I planted in the cold frames a few weeks ago are not looking OK, at least three of them have died so I thought it was worth trying again. I’ve also had several cucumbers succumb to ‘unexplained wilt’ so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to have plants in reserve.
After lunch I make a start on weeding the two long raised beds in the brassica quarter. These are the last two beds to be given their first proper weeding of the year and they are full of towering self-seeded Evening Primrose. This sounds as If the other 54 beds in the vegetable garden are all neat and weeded, unfortunately this is not the case. Some have been completely weeded two or three times but thy all need weeding again…some more than others! However, these are the last two beds to have a crop planted in them, all the other beds have something installed. Some beds are on their second crop, its just they have weeds as well! Whilst I struggle with giant weeds (I have been trying to persuade Meave to weed these beds for weeks but she wasn’t keen!). I hear a disjointed voice. All I can make out is ‘mum’ and ‘fallen over’. I rush down the path thinking grandad has fallen over again and realise the voice is Aideen calling from the mushroom house. Apparently, our giant mushrooms have toppled over…how strange! I go and have a look and decide they’ve become too heavy for themselves and have fallen over as a result. I gather them up in my arms and bring them in, we shall have some for dinner.
I manage to finish weeding the larger of the two beds to a rough standard. I leave it there and resolve to continue tomorrow, it isn’t very easy to dig the big weeds out with a broken toe and I now feel quite tired. I sit outside in the orchard to write my blog and admire the gathering cloud formations as the evening draws in. One of the most amazing things about living here is to be able to look at so much sky and even at 8:45pm I can hear a bee buzzing and the gentle repetitive call of a wood pigeon. There is also the faint whirr of a tractor and the soft sound of Aideen’s harp practice. It is a very nice peaceful moment until Bella rushes into the orchard barking at a plane!