Friday, 30 December 2016

Once upon a time..




In a land, far, far away...


Where it was very hard to tell if the road went uphill or down; and gravity didn't behave in the standard manner.

Nor neither; did the compass always point true. 







Progress was made, all the same.

Journeys to the ,unknown interior' , can be far scarier for some, than going 'out there'.


Monday, 26 December 2016

Looking forwards...

"Don't look back; you're not going that way"

A useful instruction to counter regret, or thoughts of 'what might have been.'

But perhaps we might more usefully look back, but with all the same kindnesses extended to oneself, as one would to others.

There's always learning from past experiences; and identifying patterns if you can look objectively enough.... Aha! Yes I see....Right back here again.

So; if you want to see things change; then don't keep doing the same old stuff.

And keep looking back with fondness and gratitude for all the luck, and all the good stuff, whenever you can summon the mental energy...

But, butt, and indeed thrice buttt.

If you are struggling, then someone advising you to count your blessings, or reminding you that you're not as badly off as so and so, really doesn't help.

This presupposes some 'hierachy of suffering' which if taken to its (il)logical conclusion means that only one person on the planet can be worthy of our compassion at any one time. As they are the worst off, of all...

So have compassion for others, for sure, but also allow some for ourselves. Whatever the source of our angst be it physical, or mental in origin.


The other benefit of looking back, is of course, remembering all the happy memories, experiences and encounters along the way.

Random acts of kindness, from which we can derive as much pleasure from receiving, as giving....

If only we will allow ourselves to accept them.....

Oh but no! I couldn't possibly, let you do that for me...

Oh really?

Why is that?

What's so special about you then? That you wont allow yourself to be helped by the likes of me?

Are you afraid of becoming 'indebted' in some way?

Well that's not really how it works is it?

Kindness begets kindness, its not something to be chalked up on a score sheet.

Helpfulness cannot be traded on the commodities markets.

And that is something for which we can all be thankful...


Full 2 week October trip report coming soon, so long as new tech' plays nicely.  



 Moreover, there are moments of utter loveliness such as this, to bear in mind...

An an open road, balmy climes, combined with the heady joy of being at liberty in 'camp where'ere you please' Western Scotshire.
 On a trusty steed, packing a friendly tent...

Meanwhile, at the same time, having no particular place to go, which interestingly, it turns out, would daunt some.

 But for me, particularly given the ridiculous fair weather, it was an intoxicating treat.


Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.... For much; and to many.

But why not accept the sheer luck of it too?

This season, can remind us that, not everything has to be bought, and paid for...

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Vernacular language...

Separate groups in society have always had their own private codes, and definitions, only fully understood, and agreed within that group. ..

Whether that be amongst the professions. 

Or marked by those regional dialects and differences within languages. 

And then there's the verbal and idiomatic distinctions,  drawn along such delinations as age,  social grouping, or hobbies, enthusiasms, and what have you... .

But it only really occurred to me today,  how these terms, and descriptions can become so very localised to people working together, in one place.

To within a 12 acre, rural neighbourhood in fact.

Girl Monday, has, for various reasons, been temporarily repurposed as 'Girl Wednesday'
.
It was most noticeable today, how her presence speeded up the pre Christmas veg harvest..

When we'd finished picking sprouts, I was pleased to discover that she would still have an half an hour free,  in which to continue working,  so I suggested she help us 'fettle' the sprouts...

Which spurred her to enquire,  whether 'fettling' is the term we use when preparing all the other vegetables for delivery ?

I'd not fully considered before, the logic behind the particular terms, applied to each operation...

(Spoiler alert!.... As with most of these 'job specific' etymologies .... There is no real logic, or at least, not one explicable to others)

But here is the 'correct' parlance; for these operations, peculiar to this place, just in case; you should ever be called upon to help out in this very local, locale...

And wouldn't wish to feel like a hopeless ingenue.....
Few of us enjoy not feeling 'in the know' vis a vis specific terminology...

So...

Sprouts,  and leeks are fettled

Cut leaves, eg spinach,  kale,  or salad
are graded.

Roots such as carrots,  parsnips, beetroot,  are prepped

- but seldom washed, unless it's felt that not to do so, would seriously imperil the conservation of soil, within the valley ..

And cabbages are groomed.

Most other produce,  is bagged up,  and sent out in much the same state as it was picked...
Thankfully that task, should all be done and finished by the end of tomorrow.

And then; after Friday; when the man of that moniker will be putting in a welcome appearance, to get completed a few urgent tasks on the jobs list.

There'll be a chance of a sit down, for at least a day or two.

And perhaps even, the necessaries will be put in place, to enable the resumption of pictures here,  alongside the words...

For some reason that does feel important.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Slightly wistful...

Having been around livestock for most of my working life,  I'm pretty good at regarding them with a fairly detached attitude.
Particularly animals such as pigs,  given the only reason for their existence,  from an economic point of view, is that they be eaten.
They don't do so well in the milking parlour, and even the hairiest ones here would provide very skimpy cover as a winter wooly.
The final two, of the batch of nine,  that have spent the Summer busily digging up roots,  have just trundled past the window in the stock trailer, piloted by their nemesis Robin,  who has crafty designs upon all their succulent,  flavoursome,  slow grown parts.
However, one chap of the brigade had become a bit of a local character...
When he and his brethren were let into the last of the sweetcorn aftermath,  they quite naturally chowed down on all the edibles available.
Until someone had a light bulb moment.
Lady pigs when they are about to farrow will often exhibit very strong nesting instincts,  gathering up materials to make a comfy bed. In the woods, or outdoors with plenty of straw they have a surfeit of materials to play with...
But can you imagine their frustration when confined to a concrete floored crate?
Turns out it's not just humans, that can choose to cross the boundaries of traditional gender roles.
The last of the guys to go today had spent a lot of time making a bed in the communal arc,  trotting back and forth with mouthfuls of corn stalks to cosy up the accommodation.
It was hard not to identify with his comfort seeking endeavours,  as winter sets in,  even in relatively balmy Devon.
And when, the following day,  we broke off from our weeding,  and furnished the pigs with apple boughs,  this particular pig Co opted his mates to carry them all in.
I couldn't resist filming it. A large pig trying to get an overly wide branch into his bedroom to complement the soft furnishings..
Too funny..
They will be missed.
But enough of the sentimentality.
There is just time,  if the tractor will deign to start,  to get that ground worked down,  and sown to a soil preserving green manure of ryecorn...

Something a bit like this.... How the seasons fly by...

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Time share....

A recurring theme; the ongoing tussle between all the competing demands upon that most precious of resources.
It's not hard to see,  why so many religions and philosophies come up with the idea of an afterlife,  or indeed multiple lives.
Elsewise; how will we ever get to fit it all in?
So build an agroecological farmlet;  because feeding people well seems like a reasonable undertaking....
But just as it takes a village to raise a child,  so it takes a community to build a farm.  To do the physical work,  of course,  but also to support with money, and goodwill.
Then there's that all the essential 'joined up'  yoga to practice and share....
There is only one way to do it, and that's to put the time in.
And then joining up with others to make more of the good stuff happen.
Collective minds,  and sharing of knowledge, bouncing ideas about. Evolution through revolution...
And of course, the wanderlusty itchful feet that need to be attended to on occasion... There are wonderful places, and people beyond the valley edges,  that can inspire and instruct.
Not forgetting all the friends, and family who need reminding from time to time how important they are....
So finding a balance, time shared between the roles of settler,  nomad,  warrior, and creator.
Whilst making space for recreation...
Literally the 'remaking'....
Which can take the form of 'proper' meditation,  or a few moments staring into space; if the body can't always go 'a wandering'  Then the mind,  through memory,  or its own storytelling; can go wherever it chooses..

Stories,  those that we tell each other, or the ones we narrate to ourselves will always be an important way of explaining,  or understanding how we fit in,  to the grander scheme of things...

Not so much what are we here for?
More; how do we invest our precious time to best effect whilst we are here?
So much, and so many,  to see and do.
Whilst making sure that none of it is taken too seriously.... Life is far too important to take all the fun out of it...

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Thursday, 17 November 2016

There's never enough time...

How on earth; I sometimes wonder; do folks find time to get bored?

When there's so much to see and do.

Frustrated yes, exhausted and confused, on occasion for sure...

But how so bored?

Plenty of farm work continues through these cooler, but still bright weeks.
Mainly maintenance, harvesting, and the ever ongoing weeding.

That's the downside of applying generous amounts of compost, to a warm growing site, where in the absence of hard frosts, everything continues to flourish.


Great for year round veg production.
But just now and then, I envy those growers in colder climes where work can cease for a few weeks over the Winter...

Perhaps a case of the grass being mercifully less green, on the other side.

But looking forward, all the same, to another farmerish excursion.

Going here....

http://landworkersalliance.org.uk/2016/10/landworkers-alliance-agm-2016/


Which has excitement as a venue, in addition to the event itself.

I have fond childish memories of visiting this open air museum, dedicated to the agricultural vernacular.

Excursions there, were often the high point of otherwise somewhat 'beige' sojurns with grandparents in Worthing....

A particularly quiet town on the South Coast of England. And deemed an outpost of the 'Arid Cake Belt' a moniker bestowed by my father upon those respectable suburbs to be found circulating post war London.

I have a sneaking suspicion, that 'The Weald and Downland' will still hold a few thrills...
Maybe this is where my fondness for diminutive; hand built sheds; and barns was born?


And the phone to blog photo posting, is still not resolved.
Tech support, are being very quiet on the communications front.

So a picture of last years squash will have to do to brighten up this page.
The colours, and flavours, being no less vivid this year.

Overall harvest weight slightly down on last year, due, one surmises to a drier Summer . But the quality and variety are undiminished.



Golden nuggets of sunshine.




Hoes down for the ho - down




Saturday, 22 October 2016

Realisation....

That just as some people might suggest that the label 'feminist'  should no longer be required...
i. e. That believing all genders, should have equal rights and responsibilities,  might just be a normal way of thinking. 

And that believing the obverse,  should attract an 'oddball explanatory label'


In the same way,  I'm getting fed up with the 'Environ mentalist'  label...

Which implies that attempting to live as if it really matters that we quite obviously inhabit a resource finite,  ecologically fragile, and infinitely precious planet... 
Is a rather niche, or 'crackpot' position to have..

When in reality,  to suggest otherwise. Or to operate as if this inalienable fact were not  true ; is to my way of thinking, really quite the difficult position to grasp..

Especially when so many of us would claim to appreciate the beauty,  diversity,  and landscape, of this globe,   and life that it supports. 

But; it it is of course, a desperately inconvenient truth.


That requires that we might actually have to consider our behaviours and even face up to the consequences of our own 'freely made'  decisions,  and actions. 

Particularly when it seems nearly always,  to cost more,  and be more complicated,  to 'do the right thing'... However we might judge that  ' right thing' to be.. . 

Even more so especially when it might mean that we might even have to forgo,  that next ''instant gratification'. 

I want it now, I have the money to pay, I am therefore entitled. 

Oh OK, go ahead, why not,  everyone else is. 
 

  So, never mind,  look the other way,  distract, dissemble, even put up some straw men.

And whilst about it, we can have a jolly good time lampooning the woolly hatted,  woolly thinking, tree hugging,  yoghurt weaving fruit loops.  

Who might, however ineptly, inconsistently, and hilariously,  be trying to make some tiny difference...

And who will persist in grinding on about all those tedious ecological realities, that might require us to stop and consider where we're headed. 

The broad path, is after all,  the far easier route to walk, for sure. 

And you can be assured of plenty of company.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Back to the land....

The end of a classic autumnal day on this small farm.  All the squash are safely gathered in, tucked up in their winter quarters in the barn.
Hidden from the frosts, that would otherwise turn them quickly to a mush...
Many golden nuggets, of stored sunshine to keep lots of folk,  well fed with their Sweetness.
Then an amble up the hill to stretch the legs in a more linear fashion.
No shortage of bending and lifting in the days labour. Man Friday resuming 'normal service'
Now Devon starts to don her multicoloured finery,  the weather we've had up to now,  would presage some classic colours, in the weeks forthcoming.
Received a thorough telling off, up here on top, from a cross squirrel who wasn't expecting company...
She executed some fine acrobatics within the white stemmed copse of birches, whilst chirruping away like an angry jay.
Followed by a retreat, with almost a harrumph to the higher sanctuary of the mature oak.
Could almost imagine her chucking acorns at me if I entered any closer...
Quite right too,  my girl, stand your ground,  establish your boundaries.
The landscape,  of hedgerows and heath,  is in vivid 3d, as the uniformity of summer green gives way to the supersaturated hues of autumn.
It's not too beautiful, but it's certainly glorious enough.
Will have to address the tedious tech issues that are preventing me posting pictures this way... Because there is,  as ever,  much to share,  with those who care.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Mulling, on Mull.



There is something about Islands,  that appeals to certain deep parts of the human psyche. 

Remote,  yet knowable. 
Self contained, with clearly defined boundaries.


'This is this,  and that is that'

Graspable sizewise by the human brain that would prefer to see the 'whole picture'.


Mull is one of the larger Isles. And would, most likely, take many weeks to get to know in any great detail.

In such fine October weather as this, the temptation might be, to invest more time in such investigations.


But time is the scarcest human commodity,  when there is so much to see and do.
So getting the pace right, is the thing.


Slow down enough to 'be here now'.


But not so much dawdling, and prevarication, that time is wasted.
So with that in mind,  tent down,  panniers packed,  and head out further west.
To see whats over the next horizon...


The friendliest Robin to share my breakfast,  and an understanding landlady at the local hostelry, having furnished me with some 'spare greenery'  from her kitchen, for the next couple of days meals...
So far,  so very good.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

New Tech,

Old tech... There really is nothing new under the sun..  But with an open mind,  some collaboration,  and a 'can do' approach. Workable solutions, to age old problems, will emerge.

Farm hack,  Tombreck, on the banks of Loch Tay, Scotland.

What is a farm hack?

Well really hard to sum up.  But could be described as a gathering of interested, practically minded, parties. 

Who are looking at taking forward, sustainable food production. Growing, and farming, as if people and ecology mattered.

How can we combine the best of the old...? Sometimes it is quicker (and quieter) to reach for a well honed scythe rather than a noisy petrol strimmer.

With the best, of more, up to date tech, recognising that a diesel powered tractor,  well maintained, can do a huge amount of work in a very short space of time.

Such a diversity of people,  cross fertilising ideas...

No small number of high tech, science workers. Plus a couple of escapees from the oil and gas industries,  who have concluded,  that there must be a better way of powering ourselves into the future.

Crafts people,  forgers,  farmers, film makers,  activists,  all sorts,  many in emerging fields.

This post really would go on for ever; if I attempted to detail all the fascinating angles and approaches I've encountered via this friendly,  open minded bunch of people.

But a couple of sessions particularly stood out for me.

Initially from some folks from Edinburgh.  Using high tech solutions such as 3d printing, and unfathomabley accurate laser cutting,  to craft bespoke one offs.
Could be to repair a broken widget.

Perhaps to make something new,  to fit a customer's very personal spec.  But they are about more than just cutting edge technology..

They also recognise that the old ways can be just as, if not more, relevant for certain applications...

Sometimes tying things up with a length of hairy string, really is, the most utile resolution.

More investigation needed into what could be achieved. But it feels as if imagination; might be the most limiting factor...

And then, returning to more familiar ground. Making, and using, the soil amendment of 'bio char'.

This method of building soil humus,  providing 'niches'  for the all important soil microfauna, and hopefully sequestering carbon, is not a novel one.

Not new at least to anyone who has hung out on the fringes of organic growing for a number of years.

And it is posited that the Amazonians were using something like this method centuries ago.... Not 'slash and burn' - far more sophisticated than that.

But again,  the science,  the methodology, and practical application, do seem to have been refined..

The (left in more than capable hands) 'steading,  now has fine stands of Italian Alder wind breaks.

The intention always was to coppice them in rotation.
Bio char is, simply put, a method of making charcoal from this biomass.

Done in pits, using a 'top lit' fire, carefully tended,  then quenched with water at just the right moment.

A little like the traditional charcoal making method,  but not looking to exclude oxygen in the same way.

The fire quenching,  also makes a lot of steam (and drama! ).

This blasts apart the charred wood,  maximising surface area. Then inoculate or feed your char with nutrient...

There is just the thing, in the form of lots of  'home made cider'  sitting in many barrels behind the urine separating compost toilet at home..

The char is then added to the soil, to work its wonders. It doesn't get depleted in the same way that conventional 'organic matter'  composts do.

Still,  again, much more investigation needed before this becomes a done reality at the farm.

Though I'm fairly certain "Once you've got a fire going, it isn't really work any more" Man Friday, wouldn't need a lot of encouragement to get involved..

And of course these events are social too.

Beer, kindly bought in at my behest by the lovely Mags... Didn't fancy cycling over here with that much incriminating clinking going on.

And the 'Willow' ,  was well and truly 'stripped'.

As oft seems to be the case at these, hairy (and not so hairy) farmer moots.

It has been a pleasure, to meet, and be welcomed by the Fair Scottish contingent.

Not to have to explain,  what, or why you do what you do.

To have it valued,  and understood. After all,  most of us do realise we look like idiots to much of the outside world. 
With our crazy utopian ideas about decent tasty food, being produced in as benign a way as possible,  whilst still making something approaching a living.

Weather right now, almost suspiciously friendly ... Really cannot expect it to hold forever,  so aiming for an early start to head out west by bike.

To see,  up to a point, which way the wind blows me..


Wednesday, 28 September 2016

New Departures

Terrifying prospect of writing blog posts without pictures; has to be faced square on .

For tech reasons unfathomable (at least to me) I am unable to upload pictures from my phone camera to this blog.

What a feeble excuse for not posting...

But you haven't really missed much visuals wise.

The last few weeks have mostly been filled with not so photogenic vegetable growing tasks,. Autumn tidying, weeding, and so on.

With luck all will be re established by my return. Hopefully in time for the golden globes, the just reward of the squash harvest.

But in the meantime.

Another excursion looms.

By bike (well train first)
Scotland again.

What larks! Initially a fact finding business trip. to discuss , show and tell, with fellow 'Hairy Farmers' the triumphs and trevails of medium scale farm tech, adapted and even fabricated to suit the needs of an individual operation.

I am keen to procure, or at least commission, a couple of "Foot-wide Ho's"

And yes, for sure there's a song in there somewhere...

Just the thing for taming the earthen paths between the vegetable beds..

http://www.commongoodfood.org/whats-on/farm-hack-scotland-sold-out


You might find some pictures there..

Then afterwards, well the open road beckons.

At liberty for over ten days with a tent, a vague plan, and some vital local knowledge procured from those many and various kind souls willing to share it.

Going West; if the wind and weather allow. Some new places, and perhaps revisiting some familiar.

So the challenge is to relay all this without the use of pictures.

I will of course take a phone camera, and will find it hard to resist posting up on instagram, with damn fool #hashtags to amuse my progeny..

So if you want a random selection, and have the necessary channels.. *

I can be found.... @vegetable_dalliance

if you're lucky you'll get some snaps of other peoples vegetables

*If in doubt ask a patient younger person... It's really not difficult; believe me; if I can do it... Anyone can :)

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Coming home...

Almost a week has passed.  Barely time to draw breath, between alighting from the past midnight train and getting back to farm work, and yoga teaching.

Alongside dealing with all the somewhat odiferous hiking kit. 
Washing stuff,  and oneself,  in rivers, and cattle troughs doesn't have quite the same squeaky clean effect as hot baths and domestic appliances. 
Makes one appreciate them all the more when they are there..

But a few days taken for family visit too,  and to walk a while in Wales with my two now all - grown up boys.
I had a lovely green leafy picture to post here; but it would appear the tech won't play nicely right now.

Unlike first and second born who seem to enjoy each other 's company most fulsome out and about.

They used to moan sometimes when ' 'made' to go for walks.  But now they return to it voluntarily,  and can see the point....  Especially as they like taking pretty pictures too.

Hoping that the picture posting glitch is but a temporary annoyance.
There's a small mountain of hot Pyrenean
images to sift and sort..
And an account of sorts, to write. Might have to wait for shorter days.. Winter fireside being the traditional time for storytelling.

And what news from the farm?

  I hear you cry.

Well,  all was well, and lovingly cared for.

Some things have grown hugely in the time spent away...

The sweetcorn is ready! ... What a homecoming treat.

Should keep me close to the valley; for a couple of weeks at any rate.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Trains of thought...

Leaving the farm can be hard to do... Not just the prep for being away (hasty packing as per, but at least the leggings were found)
But more pertinent perhaps; leaving the 'stead in reasonable shape...
But so long as fabulous farmsitter; isn't fretting: then all is well..
But the nomad; has to be balanced against the settler. (and the warrior; and all the other roles)...
And most of us need some new views from time to time..
Eurostar; and SNCF are a very civilised way to get to the Pyrenees... From UK  Lourdes first ( probably best us heathens don't linger too long) Then up and up; and down and down; and repeat for a couple of weeks...
Hoping for long views; a broader perspective; longish luncheons; a modicum lakeside yoga; high camps; and a smattering of inversions; along the GRs 10: 11 and a goodly portion of the HRP.
No fixed route in mind; save roughly (perhaps literally) eastwards from last years endpoint ... *

Will try (and probs fail spectacularly) not to indulge in too much tomfoolery...

Our Hero; can only be expected to take so much nonsense... Quite right too; this is serious stuff   ;)

*see  Nov 2015 for last year's fun (!?) in the sun, trip report...


Wednesday, 24 August 2016

It's a kind of magic...

These innocuous looking clusters of yellow eggs can transform themselves into very hungry caterpillars.
And they in turn can transmogrify a verdant grove of kale, into a fluttering cloud of white butterflies.

Back in the late spring, there was a dearth of cabbage whites. As a brassica grower this was a relief, but as someone who enjoys seeing the swallows swooping to catch this usually generous bounty of foodstuff; I was a tad concerned.

The butterflies usually turn up just before the swallows. Just in time for; (or to be) dinner...

Turns out I needn't have worried. The caterpillars and their parents, have been abundant for the past few weeks.
Leaving just enough toothsome greenery, for those humans keen on it too.

The swallows are particularly busy right now. Fattening themselves up for their own remarkable journeys, back down South; mainly to subsaharan Africa for the winter.

Doubtless I'll find some other wildlife related problem to fret about afore long...


Such as fencing the badgers off the fattening cobs of corn...

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Outstanding in their fields...

Until someone comes to visit.
There is something about the smell of horses, and they way they will rest their heavy heads on your shoulder..
Irresistible.
The equines at this farm on Dartmoor hang out together in herds. It's the most natural; stress free way for horses to live. 

It almost seems tortuous to see one hoss alone in a paddock.
They are social animals, who look out for each other.
There may be a touch of hierarchical 'argy bargy' that goes on when establishing a pecking order. But once that's sorted,  then everyone is far more relaxed in their lives.

On visiting the home of these fragrant ladies, I heard some gladdening accounts.

For it was here that we held the first 'yoga and the horse rider' session back in the spring.

Apparently, the attendees were still practicing a lot of the ideas, and techniques they'd picked up on the day.

And they were finding much of it helped them feel more comfortable about themselves generally; both on and off their mounts..

A thought occurred today..
In conflab with another friend; after todays mid holiday all day yoga session closer to home... (Lovely new studio, almost on the doorstep)

Yoga ; done properly with heart; for body and mind

Is a bit like the butter; of the 'body work' world....

It goes with; and enhances deliciously,  just about anything you might choose to partner it with.

So long as you don't over do it, and turn it into a sacred cow.

All the big stuff...

Is made up of little things.

And simple satisfying pleasures; are often to be found in small matters.

I love the ancient occupation of hand broadcasting seed.

Here a mix of ryegrass; red clover; and crimson clover. To keep the goodness sealed in a half acre patch over winter.

Make one pass; casting back and forth with half the alloted seed from North to South.
Then repeat with the second batch in the other orientation.

Having first stormed through with the duckfoot cultivator to lift and crumble the clods.

Then fire up the modern tech again...
Yes; a 46 year old tractor is still very young, by some standards... And at any rate she's a willing workhorse; who is reasonably low maintenance.

So hitch up the Springtines and tickle in the seed before the birds find em.
Would have been ideal to roll it all in with a ring (or Cambridge) roller, to firm and consolidate.

Further excuses for implement shopping..... 

Although you can still find the odd one lurking unloved in hedgerows..

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Proposal...

On the basis of her homemade pesto alone.
Imogen would marry Beatrix; like a shot.

If; of course; she was 'on the market'...

Her words... My picture.

The pesto is extraordinarily good...

Just As well I'm not 'the marrying type'...

Or there could fisticuffs.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Words and moving pictures



Smaller farms; run with ecology; as well as profitabilty in mind. 
They seem to be a flavour of the moment...

Further investigative researchers ; only coming here now; seeking words and  pictures.

A piece of film I hope I never have to witness; or at least not without a few years intervening first, at any rate.

In accord with the far distance custard creator pictured here; I'm no big fan of having my photo taken; so the prospect of being filmed is even worse. 
A tad too late now methinks; to become part of the unselfconcious 'selfie ' generation.

But you soon forget the camera; and who can resist the probing of an interested interviewer?

And imagine being paid; to go on about stuff; that most people; would give generously for me to shut up about?

In truth, it was a bribe that got me into this situation in the first place.

"If you fill in this "Productivity on small farms*" Survey; and get it in by the deadline; I'll send you a fabulous new knife."

Well; I think we all; if we're honest; have our price. 
And it would appear I'm really quite easily persuaded; with promises of shiny new things.

So several months after having filled; and filed the document; (literally at the eleventh hour)  and subsequently forgotten all about it; a missive arrives.

Turns out this operation is actually doing rather well; in the numbers game; both in terms of productivity and profitibilty... The two don't always correlate; interestingly...

 "Can we come and find out how?"

"Other people may find it useful; and it will help promote the cause of smaller farms in general."

First reaction?

 "Arrgghh no thanks; way too self concious..."

But then; "Oh get over yourself; why not"


 It is nice if is someone is interested in what you do; and how you do it. 

And having to answer inquiries as to how it is all achieved; does concentrate the mind; on those issues.

I won't attempt anything like the full depth and range of topics covered and explored that resulted from over four hours of interrogation... 

Sounds formidable; but it was actually quite a lot of fun....

 Some of the key points arising; that contribute massively to prosperous productivity:  (prosperous that is for small farming, it is all relative, being a primary producer is unlikely to overburden one with riches at this scale)

The land itself makes an enormous difference; being early warming south facing sandy loam in one of the balmiest valleys (weatherwise) in the country.

 And this plot being owned; not rented, so that long term investment in windbreak planting, irrigation, and other such beneficial strategies make sense.
If you were renting on a short lease; how could you invest for the long term in infrastructure that might take years to repay?
It's not so much ownership in terms of property that's important; it's more about being able to think; and plan ahead; reasonably securely.

And that perennial favourite of the estate agents...

The location; within a community that has enough people interested in buying the produce of the land.
 Folks who see for themselves the value of nutritious and delicious food; and perhaps who even care enough about the environment in it's widest sense; to seek out a product that makes some tiny difference?

And that same community that values good food; but is also willing to lend support over such protracted; and energy sapping shenanigans; like obtaining planning permissions for barns; polytunnels; and onsite accommodation. All very necessary for the effective running of a mixed enterprise.

It's not some random chance that the majority of farmers and growers live on their land.

And even more vitally perhaps having enough good folks of the valley who will come and help produce the stuff too...

Mechanisation is a vital part of the production system here. It's not only that i enjoy charging back and forth on the tractor in the late afternoon sun. 
But machinery will never replace the human skill and effort required to bring forth the greatest bounty of each individual crop... For instance going back for multiple harvests from each plant, which wouldn't be possible with greater mechanisation, or a 'time is everything' approach.

Those industrious people should (in my book) be paid twice as much for what they do; but that's not quite how 'real food' in our culture is valued; yet.

Certainly not whilst 'property' in the form of bricks; enclosing not very fresh air; is so costly for most householders; whether they rent or buy. It sucks up most folks income before their thoughts even turn to the food on their plates.

Maybe; one day; things will change.... 
But whilst I'm dreaming of some faierietale land; where landworkers are valued properly........

 The fair maiden pictured here; is actually getting on with the job of settling module raised plantlets into the Serengeti like conditions...

And she might opine; if she wasn't just so very patient and accommodating.....

"All very well taking pretty pictures.... But spinach doesn't plant itself you know?"



In fact I think I may have slightly overdone the planting and weeding work myself over the last couple of months; as both elbows are grumbling to the point of tetchiness....


But no sooner that mentioned; than help is at hand again... It really is a case of knowing the right people...

A magical salve marked 'Soothe' (Yes it does) arrives. 
Containing wintergreen, and other wondrous unguents; it smells good and powerful.

And; from another source; some medicinal powderd Turmeric; used as an anti inflammatory tonic in ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. 

One of those 'it can't do any harm' and may well do some good type remedies. Just stir a spoonful of it into your dinner. 

Or; (and I haven't tried this yet; but 'Girl any day I can get her' assures me it's most palatable) mix it with coconut oil; and black pepper; and spread it on toast...

Mmmmm Toast...



I did get back to it eventually. And the lower bed is now filled with the same amount of rainbow chard. Then all was given a good soaking via hosepipe; fed by borehole installed nearly ten years ago now.
The elbows really would have rebelled at carrying that many watering cans.

The patch above the spinach beet; meanwhile; awaits one final cultivation with the tractor; and spring tines..

Then it'll be hand broadcasting (sideways peasant style) a mixture of ryegrass, red, and scarlet clover, to hold fertility, and the soil itself over the Autumn and winter months.
When we might, one hopes, get some  much needed rain...
Light sandy soil will dash off down a slope at an alarming rate if its left uncovered in a downpour. And soil is ultimately where all proper food production; starts and ends.



Can I lay my hand on that knife? 
Well; things do get put in pockets; then taken off site by accident.
 But it's very similar to this one; minus the lion..

And this reminds me too of needing to dehydrating further greens; to take away. That is one downside of your body getting used to lots of good food.

 Working out how to port two weeks worth of it; if you're lucky enough to have fabulous farmsitter; who will look after things whilst one escapes from 'living the dream' 

'First world problems' indeed...

Three of my favourite things; a decent notebook, a pencil (they never let you down) and a well honed knife.... Lion optional; but a nice touch... Grrrrr!


* Some might question this relatively small patch being referred to as a Farm, rather than a 'smallholding'... Why does it matter...? Well much like the term 'peasant' used in this country; more often than not; as a term of diminishment..
instead of as a reference to someone; who knows how to produce useful stuff from landwork.

Small holding is often used as if to denote 'playing at it' ... 'hobby farming'.... Not to be taken with any degree of seriousness.   A "three wilted chickens, a lame sheep; and four gone to seed cabbages" type of operation.

Yes it's only words; but words can be powerful tools; and we might take note of how they are used... 

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

It's only words...

Small holding.
Large holding.

Small farm
Large farm

Peasant...

Self reliant, capable, productive, landworking person...

Friday, 12 August 2016

Genius is seldom recognised...

In its own lunchtime...

Camping is what you do on your holidays..

When you go on your holidays; you camp.

 Or leastways that's how it's nearly always been for me.

Growing up in the UK in the seventies; that was what you did; especially if you were lucky enough to be taken to remoter spots for a 'lark about'.

And rocky areas were often chosen to visit; because my pa was a passionate geologist; both professionally, and by amateur (in the proper sense, of the word) inclination. So if some study could be undertaken whilst en famille....

As was; the norm in those days. Most of the practical provisioning for these expeditions would have been undertaken by my mother.

And I'm sure some designs such as this wouldn't have looked out of place in our sturdy ; much patched "mustn't touch the sides when its wet" canvas 'A' frame.


Was it a nostalgia trip? I don't know...
But I got a little carried away with the internet shopping the other day...
It was one of those "dare I?" moments.

"What if its awful?"

Some might judge it is a touch outre; but then taste (or lack of) is merely a matter of opinion.

Despite strongly held views to the contrary in some quarters.

Anyhow; tis done now.

A glorious; in my view; purple paisley to make a lightweight camping quilt.
No more being forced to lie 'tidily' to be comfortable..
Yoga all night long if I choose.

The pattern; puts me in mind of some of the wallpaper that the youngsters from last century;  might have perused at length, to work out the repetitions. We certainly knew how to make our own fun; back in those days...

Although I don't think I'm the only person who believes that allowing children; to find their own ways to entertain themselves; or even; whisper it; 
to be allowed to be bored...

Does wonders for their imaginations.

Even the hens were somewhat startled....... 1.6 oz polyester ripstop... Larks aplenty.
Unlikely that anyone; will want to borrow it either.


I have my mother to thank; very much indeed; for generously sharing her sewing skills with me. Being a dress-making teacher by profession; didn't stop her  pursuing needlecraft for her own pleasure; and practicality also.

  Plus; she possessed the patience, to pass on the knowledge. Combining just that right balance of 'here's how; give it a go; it's not the end of the world if you make some mistakes; there's plenty more fabric where that came from'  with the technical know-how.

Like her; I have a stash of irresistible multi-coloured yards; that will be made into something one day; when inspiration; or necessity strikes. 
Sometimes years later; exactly the job comes up... The hoarde doesn't take up so much room really. 
It's keeping the moths out that's the harder part. They seem particularly prevalent and hungry in dampish Devon. Putting infested stuff in the freezer to kill the eggs, works a treat.

Ma'  knew how to step back and let you get on with it. Knowing from her own experience, I guess, just how unhelpful it can be, having someone hovering over your every move, or wincing as you make some fumbling attempts. And never was overly quick to point out the so called 'flaws'. She would probably; more generously; have called them 'character'. 

However this particular piece of 'technical' fabric (very slippery Ma you wouldn't like it) cost enough; to make me think carefully before launching in with the scissors. 

And the bespoke design is going to be very specific to my own particular needs. 
Which is surely the whole point of making something for oneself? 
The cost of ready made items; so rarely reflects the actual work that's gone into them; if costed at a proper hourly rate... Familiar themes?

 There was a time when I made nearly all of my own garments. But I haven't attempted anything beyond the most basic 'run ups' for many a year.
This might, if time allows, be ready for the Autumn cycling and camping touring trip*. 

It particularly being aimed; with it's synthetic insulation; at wetter climes; where carefully tending to feathery down, with it's hatred of damp, isn't so possible.

yet another job to add to the list of projects. But one to look forward to as a challenge, rather than a chore. There might be a few calls made to the 'exclusive advice line' too...... Taking full advantage of a lifetimes worth of experience...





* Those clever 'Merry Cans' I think it was, coined the slightly pithier 'bikepacking' to describe this activity. Although I'm not sure if I am in truth, quite gnarly enough; to fully qualify as one of their number...

Especially as I have been known; to resort; rather wimpishly; to more luxurious accommodation if available at the right price...

Particularly if conditions prevailing are very moist.








And a bit of 'awkward' silliness with mother in mind... She usually being of the opinion that life is far too important to be taken seriously.....           "Oh hello; sunshine!" 
Who could resist an aubergine with a ready made nose?  Not this yellow patty pan squash obviously. 



Gratitude....

Girl Monday; most recently landed from her Stateside tour; whence she dispensed her wisdom to the breath baited acolytes re The Way of 'Fancy String'
That's her description of what she does... I think there may be a little more to it than that...


She does admit however; that she wasn't entirely sure why she went in the first place.  Apart from that 'they' asked her to visit; and were paying rather well; for the pleasure of her company..

Two perfectly solid  reasonable reasons for tripping off; in any ones book, . And I'm guessing it shifted a few more books too.
Anyway; apparently it was very lovely to be feted in Milwauke, and lauded in Colorado, and garlanded in....
Where else was it....?
I really am very bad; at cataloguing brainwise; all these details...
And ego has been thoroughly massaged thank you; by ardent followers of the craft; such pithy nuggets of 'string theory' were bestowed.
Whom amongst, doesn't?
If we're honest; mind a drop of positive regard; and acknowledgement of ones' abilities; from time to time..

But MG very grateful to be home now. Recognition given.
To get herself properly grubby in the veg patch again.
And the feathery fiends were equally receptive; to her liberating them onto their  pastures new.
I'd just moved their house that morning.

And naturally I'm more than happy to have her back upon this patch of terra firma.
It's a big world in some ways, but it's also a small one too.
We can only ever be; on this particular plot; upon which we perch.
Even if our dreams; schemes; or screens;  might transport us elsewhere occasionally.

And so much more done, and to do, but back to it now... Quick break from hoe ho hoeing whilst the sun shines...
Making the most of it;  while it lasts...
Seedling weeds  don't stand a chance in this glorious heat.
Perhaps a sunhat though; rather than the more glamorous shades as sported by GM...
It definitely helps to be able to see the crop one is tending...

Monday, 8 August 2016

Taken for granted ?



An interesting question, among many, arose at last weeks Agroecology; investigatory project.

The researchers wanted us to consider how nutrition, human or otherwise, affected our crop choices; and production methods.

And to be honest; most of us were initially flumoxed by the inquiry. 
We couldn't think of a cogent answer.
Did in fact nutrition; play any part in our management decision making?

Was it a relevant question?

What were these academic types driving at?

Had they got the wrong end of the stick; about what we do?

And then it gradually dawned on us. 

Nutrition; or optomising nutrition; through producing food in ways that would seem beneficial to 'health' in its widest sense was, and is our main driver.

But most of us have been doing it for so long that it had become a wordless motive.

That 'reason for doing' was so deeply embedded in what we all do; a taken for granted given that we had forgotten.

As someone put it...

"A fish is not aware of the water that it swims in"

It was good to be reminded.
Of why we do what we do; and why it might be valuable.

And; if the properly grown food tastes good, you want to eat more of it.
Which in turn builds health.

It isn't some 'sack cloth and ashes' self denying chore to eat tasy veg' or other food. It becomes an anticipated pleasure...

Maybe that "It's like Christmas every week" hyperbole from some customers isn't all flannel?

The surprise, and the variety, and the taste do all add up to fresh delights each time.

But of course that isn't how most food is produced. 

Not to criticise anyone else trying to make a living from farming however they do it.. It isn't easy, even taking the 'conventional' route.

One thing we also agreed on was not to 'bash' other farmers; and their methods. 
It's no help to anyone; to fall into the 'divide and rule' trap. 

  If the 'general' food 'merely-as-commodity' market will only bear, a very small price, hardly covering the costs of production, then who could be blamed for taking the most cost effective route? 

Especially if no one wants to undertake the 'lowly' task of harvesting it....






Here optimising nutrition for the Autumn Savoys...

Hoeing  a scattering of 'supadug'  into the top inch or so of tilth.
Killing off any seedling weeds germinating at the same time.
This might appear a lowly task to some.
But with slanting evening sunshine; enthusiastic birdsong; and the far distant thrum of a neighbour turrning their hay; this doesn't fall far short of that oft quite rightly lampooned 'bucolic blissfulness' vision of country life..


And doing a spot of thinking ahead also; in terms of personal nutrition to take on a bit of a wander through some more southerly hills. 
Will be drying approx half a hundred weight of kale, and same of flat parsley too...


They comprise very much welcome additions to the somewhat 'lifeless' but not wholly unappreciated; packeted rations.

But intend taking some of this too...


By chance (via connections really) a very hardworking young man; came to do a few days properly remunerated labour for me some weeks back. Mostly weeding if memory serves; it so often is....

His other Summer job is undertaking harvesting work for the Cornish Seaweed people on the Lizard Peninsula... Lovely.

Given that he is also a very keen surfer it puts him in exactly the right position.
Lucky fellow... Working at the beach.

This mix of wild harvested seaweeds is an ideal 'adds vitality to anything' tracklement to ensure all those micro nutrients get topped up whilst away from the fresh stuff for some days...

And equally vitally ; leastways in these parts; it weighs virtually nothing...   



Sunday, 7 August 2016

Life's a.....

Gift..

Make of it; what you will...

Busy Kitty?

One of the great things about trailer trash living....

You don't have to work too hard to exceed folk's expectations....

I've deadheaded the pelargoniums..

So time for a nap on the porch now pusser?

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Celeriac Envy...

I have it...

I love visiting other people's veg growing enterprises..

To see what works for them; and look at other ways of doing things. I don't believe for one moment; that there is just one right; or wrong way; of making the magic happen in this business.

There are so many variables in terms of micro climate; soil types; pressure from pests or other limiting factors.

Then mix in the needs and demands of ones beloved customers; and which produce sells well in a particular area.

And not leastwise; the inclinations of the grower.
Being self employed in a less than lavishly renumerated occupation; has a few drawbacks.

So surely some leeway can be given; to operating in a way that 'feels right' and utilising methods that give personal satisfaction...?

Allowing for a sense of 'flow' even... 

I imagine a systems analyst: I think I know what they do now; after having interviewed one on a train trip ; might say. 


"Well this isnt such a profitable crop" 

or 


"Why are you wasting time growing that particular oddity ?"...

Well; as I've opined many times before; personally I believe that in a business such as this 'variety' is, in itself a valuable crop.


Giving the ability to surprise people occasionally -

 "What on earth is this; what do I do with it?"

But now of course; thanks to the wonders of Internetland; there are a diminishing number of veg that baffle.

All the same; variety keeps things interesting; albeit challenging, on occasion for the grower.

These celeriac (grown by Cornelia... Lovely name; and person)  are twice the size of the ones to be found growing on the much Sandler drier soil here.

Celeriac; as it's flavour and name would imply; is related to celery. And that vegetables' native cousin prefers a damp 'mucky' almost marshy soil to thrive..

However the intense flavour of a 'little one' more than makes up for any lack of size..

But at the same time; I can't claim, to be unenvious of this luxuriant stand of toothsome nuggets; steadily gathering goodness; for wintertime delectation..

And I call "Liar" to any herbicide avoiding grower; who claims no tiny reassurance gained from viewing others 'weedy' areas...

Pot marigolds growing in the foreground to attract beneficial insects... I rarely get round to deliberately implementing this kind of companion planting myself...

One day I might do it again... If I ever manage to eliminate the 'simple flowered' residents such as mayweed; that pretty much perform the same job here; and most likely have years worth of seeds in 'the bank' already......

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Whooaaa!... Was someone listening in?

Perhaps this goes to show the power of the 'hive mind'?

Only yesterday at the 'hairy farmers' moot; many of us opined that it was a tad unrealistic to hope for much, in the way of legislative change at least, that would go in favour of the ecologically minded farmer or producer..

That maybe educated 'consumer led' change; was the best that we could work towards...
Great;  another ongoing job for us to do... Spreading a positive message.

But could there be a few other options for leverage? Pressure points? 'Hairline' cracks even?

 Could these be a route in higher up; to effect change..?

Most of us espousing 'another way' have been around long enough; to see a few false dawns; but who knows.... 

Maybe the drive to be  'Biggering and biggering' profits at the expense of all else; disregarding other creatures great and small; isn't going to be the norm for ever. 

Quite frankly how could it be?

Rational realists; see that we live on a fragile planet with finite resources. That we have to share 'nicely'...

How we chose to use; and distribute those resourses has to be a rational; real world decision. Consciously made... With everyone in mind.
 It's the hardest thing to do...

 But.

 If you do give up hope... 

Then all hope of real change is lost...

And tasty food; might fall off the menu for good.

In my opinion; that would be a disaster of the highest order..


Even if the flavour isn't everyones favourite. The astonishing hues of rainbow chard are an undeniable glory... I plan to make a frock of green satin; and embroider it with this particular silken pink; plus all the other colours available...

The time has come to get out the needle and thread again.. I'd forgotten, just how much satisfaction there is to be had from hand stitching... An eminently portable craft; especially on lightweight materials.. No power source needed, even achievable by torchlight, if necessary....






Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Onward; it's the only way....

A very general, preliminary overview....

Of what 'small farms' need to take things forward:

More than just a few...
Enthusiastic cheerleaders...

At the same time; several pressing issues might be addressed with a  modicim of;

'Targeted moaning'...

And more specifically;

Let's look at employing some well thought out mechanisation.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Promise fulfilled....?

Ensconced in the trusty little grey Scarp 'home from home.
'Somewhere' in Somerset....
    ... Those them clouds look familiar though...
Apparently us solo lady campers mustn't give up our precise whereabouts; on social media for fear of....
What exactly...?
The 'Peg Police' turning up with their protractors to check the proper angles...?
Shudders..
Yes I see their point..
On account of the usual 'things and stuff' delaying me. it was properly dark by the time I got to this secret spot ; so doubly glad to have 'the one' (failsafe pitcher) to hand..
This particular tent, pretty much puts itself up ; you only have to glance at it sideways; and there it is all done; taut, perky, and merrily shedding the precipitation.....

Or even a forceful gale... But not tonight.
Cosiness abounds, in a weatherproof shelter; as the rain pounds down..
I'm sure I can hear the thirsty ground, and  greens about, giving thanks; as they absorb such welcome moisture..
And as far as I'm concerned  it can carry on raining merrily for the next two days;  even though I am residing under nylon...
The veg needs it desperately, irrigation just doesnt  have the same effect.
And I get to 'work' indoors for a change, but sitting down rather than my usual stand up (yogic) gigs..
Over the next two days 'We'
 (that's me and other persons loquacious, and variously learned, but as yet unspecified)
Are going to identify practical ways to facilitate more sustainable / agroecological food systems...
Okaay...
A marvellous idea in principal; and hopefully at some point taken up in practice.
 I am thoroughly in favour ; of such an undertaking...
To the point where I'm prepared to sacrifice two whole days of soil toil, to put towards such a good cause...
There had better be cake tho' and lots of tea. But, stout heart, it's a panel of farmers, so how could it be otherwise....?
Drinks all round... 

I'll bet the thirsty celeriac is lapping it up.
Then sleep creeps upon,  snug in my dry haven..
And hopeful for 'enlightenment' the morrow.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

"Hairy Farmers".... Revealed


It's interesting how themes can emerge; almost like 'topic of the week' something along the lines of the hive mind ;getting a bee in its bonnet.

One way or another; there's been a lot of discussion around ' womenly issues' of many hues this week.

 I've been having some very hard choices to make re toenail paint; matching or contrasting...?
 Ooo the angst. Happy with this so far.. Maybe I should take advice?

Somewhat of a late comer to the world of cosmetics. And toes are as far as I've got...

 My somewhat selfish (?) rationale being; that I don't have to look at my face; so why bother painting that?

 I like to imagine that I've gained a few extra months of life just through time saved. buying, and applying makeup.

 Not to mention (much) all that business with careful considered and maintained hairdo's...
 "The Salon of Hedgebackwards" having mostly served me fairly up until now...

 On occasion it will take me three days to get my hair looking 'just so'...  'This unreconstuctable ' style...

Three days of hill walking, cycling, or working in a windswept field that is...

However that wasn't the main thrust of the topic....
Whilst very much enjoying the convivial camping company of some women friends. Temporarily residing in someone elses' very pretty field,  but located in bucolic blissfulness at the bottom of a hill.. 

The, more than servicable, composting loos were at the top of the hill.
 Not so far but a bit of a bind, an arduous excursion, compared with the hedge that's just there...
 Fine for the chaps to go and add some nitrogen to, day or night, no problem.

Far more in jest; than out of a serious modesty we fashioned a blanket cubicle; supported by our outstretched arms..

Facing outwards to preserve the good ladies modesty; in order that she answer that most urgent of all of mother nature's calls... 

Someone's suggestion; that we could have; on the count of three; made like lady eagles and flown outwards; in the manner of a dramatic tableau; wasn't put into practice... As if; we would....?

But generally it's deathly dull; those extra inconveniences; brought about by lack of conveniences... 

On their own none of them amount to anything too onerous.... 
But given a pause for thought; together they all add up to an extra bit of bother in total. Perhaps not something always considered if you are not of the female persuasion..

For women out and about, whether in the relative luxe of a campsite with toilets, or in wilder country, or even just working outdoors. There are undoubtably added complications.

Most of us aren't brazen enough just to squat down by the hedge.... Better cover needs to be found. in some circumstances wearing a skirt can help. Also useful for 'downstaris ablutions..

Then if we need to wash our upper half; in most places its not culturally acceptable, to disrobe from the waist up like the chaps can. A vest is useful in those circumstances but its still not quite the same. 

There are other matters too; that need taking into account. 
None that I am too coy to mention here; they might be covered in another post; another time. 
 But by by now; you might be almost as sleepy as me..

Having just returned from two days of intensive discussion; and 'post it note' wrangling around Agroecolocical Farming.

 "What is it?
 Is it a good thing?
 And if it is agreed to be such; what prevents more of it happening?

 Moreover following on from that; what do we need to do to overcome some of those obstacles?


Way too much; contained in Ten collective brainiums of diverse experience in the field; and opinions formed as a result; to condense here.

I did apologise for collectively referring to us as a group as "Hairy Farmers"
But general consensus was that it didn't offend; and was reasonably apt..

I mused over this; alongside many other matters as I drove into the West... 

Hairy does on the whole describe our general level of hirsuteness. And maybe; (no offence intended here whatsoever) our tendency towards 'otherwise engaged' concern for appearance.

Plus the overall look of our farms, or holdings..... Long grass; and patches of friendly bug harbouring nettles... And the odd bit of homespun fencing or what have you.

And no mere trifle here, for most small scale producers who are 'trying to do the right thing' The 'hairiness (or precariousness) of securing something like a living in return for labour expended....





Might need to work on the 'farmer tan' ... But scarlet nails seem to go with the overall reversal of 'feet on the ground; head in the clouds' reclining....








Oh bother! I scribed trifle!
Soo suggestable.

But there is no way I could expect a Thursday custard tomorrow; not after leaving it's creator in charge of all the harvesting today. What with me swanning  off merely to talk about it....

Even if she was ably assisted by 'second mate' Man Friday. 
Here on a Wednesday (?) before returning back to the briney afore long..... 

Other peoples schedules eh? 
Rarely; a dull moment.

However; I'm more than happy to do some silent communing with a few kilos of freshly plucked basil the morn' ... 

Words alone; are inadequate, to describe that olfactory delight