18 March 2011


With the promise of sun today, D took the day off work to go and dig at the Allotment.

By 9.30 we were there, wrapped against the biting wind that buffets from all directions on that site, and he dug out and weeded two of the 2m x 2m beds and planted up one of them with 2nd earlies: Nicola and Charlotte.

While he did the hard graft, I took my little trolley/seat/storage-on-wheels (I won it years ago from the BBC Gardner's World website) and trundles gently around one perimeter weeding and sowed peas to train against the chicken-wire fence between us and our allotment-neighbours: John and Cath's.

I nipped to the garden centre shoo to pick up some string, gloves, dibber etc, and was encouraged by the assistant to put some of my purchases back, as the garden centre owner plans on gifting some freebies to the allotment holders: plant labels, string, dibbers, and seeds! So I'll hang fire and wait for a free gift!

As D had dug through the long bed, it was lovely and crumbly, so I sowed some carrots (Nantes and Yellowstone (bright yellow), some onion sets, and some spinach. D also put out the fleece mini-tunnel to start warming up the soil in preparation for planting cabbage.

The Allotments are in a field that belongs to a farmer, and he sells rotted horse manure (at £1/ bag - bargain) so we're getting 10 to start with. It's a lovely informal arrangement: in fact, when I called to arrange to buy, it was the Farmer's Wife who answered and said her husband would call back. He's just done that, and is going to put the bags in our allotment, and we will just square up when we see him :-)

As we worked, three buzzards soared overhead, one of them came low enough for us to see the creamy markings under its wings and the feathers missing, jarring an otherwise perfect outline. The three of them soared, gliding on the thermals, and calling shrilly to each other. I don't know about you, but I love buzzards - I love all birds of prey - but the buzzard population here is so healthy, it's not *that* uncommon to see 6 of them soaring together in Spring and Summer around here. I find the sight of them in a blue sky, listening to their call, immeasurably grounding and uplifting at the same time.

At lunchtime my HR Dept called to discuss the results of the Occ Health report. They're happy with it: just want to check that I was too, and that I am able to work from home as per the report. They seem very supportive, stressing that the phased return will only be applicable when I'm well enough to return, so there's no pressure :-). Phew!

I have to say, I'm pretty tired today, but as a pick-me-up, my order of Tender II (Nigel Slater) arrived. I've already bookmarked tons of pages. I love the melding of fruit with meat, I don't know if it's all the Mediaeval stuff I've read where that was common, or just that I love fruit and would love to use it more in day to day stuff. Whatever, it's something I'm keen on, so am just *loving* the book.

Talking of fruit, the pear tree now has these big fat buds on it, and the apple trees are starting to bud up too. Did I mention that one of my (many) favourite things, is when the apple trees blossom? That appley, slightly soapy scent, the pale pink deepening to dark rose, and above all, the promise that comes with it - I love to sit out at dusk with the blossom arching over me - heaven.

So - tomorrow - back again to the allotment (to square up with the farmer!), to dig in the manure, to plant beetroot seeds, maybe some calendula, and a raspberry (Glen Ample) that someone lovely sent me for Yule. And a wee bit more weeding - the never-ending task of the organic veg grower!

Should be a good day :-)

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