|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....|
Sunday, 31 July 2016
Friday, 29 July 2016
Thursday, 28 July 2016
Wednesday, 27 July 2016
The very last few; of many a thousand leeks are skillfully inserted by this 'filly (not) so fickle; planter extraordinaire...
And only three of us on the job.
Moreover; more than happy for those lowering clouds in the background, to actually fulfil, some of their soggy promise..
For sure; a taut string is an underappreciated tool in itself; gardenwise...
Get the veg planted alongside straight; hoeing for weed control becomes a pleasure...
A lot of my most useful kit here originates either in design, or actuality from there.
It's almost too 'shootin fish in a barrel' easy to lampoon some of the goings on in the good ol' US of A.
As if we; over here; don't get up to almost equal levels of tomfoolery?
But I have to say I've got a soft spot for their attitude of "Go on; have a go; lets see what we can make best to fit the situation".
Its lazily easy to carp, and criticise, from the lofty heights of 'why bother'.
It's never that difficult to find some fault or other..
But the harder thing; is to get off ones fallen onto backside; and have another go.
Lets see if this works instead?
Mistakes; or having to cope somehow, with the unexpected; are often the breeding ground of innovations and adaptations in my experience...
But; enough; of all that motivational nonsense...
Back to the important business of booking train tickets; and organising other 'educational excursions' ..
*A furlong; most usually employed nowadays on the horse racing track; was originally used to denote the length of a furrow that could be ploughed by a horse before needing a rest.... 220 yds.. These leeks are planted 4 rows to a 50 yd bed. so by that measure we award ourselves at least one cup of tea per bed planted... That's one of the upsides of self employment... You can create your own rules around standard tea break directives..
If a method works on hard ground in Scotshire; it should make things a breeze on the Southern Softie lowlands...
For example, the tridents pictured here, crafted by a metal working friend, might present a fairly primitive looking method of forming planting holes...
But they do the job, need no maintenance, cost very little to make, and will, most likely, outlast the operatives.
Apparently 'The Team' can just about cope without me then.
Especially if I promise to return with some crafty ideas for improving efficiency.
After all; I hear that's what 'business trips' are all about.
Monday, 25 July 2016
Preparing for the last hoogemungous planting job of the season.
Keeping the firming roller moving is the trick... Don't lose forward going momentum..
The roller is really 'normal' person size... It's the teensy 'rain train' shaped like a tractor in the foreground that upsets the scale.
That's been steadily consolidating the tilth, with water; so as to facilitate dibbling...
Hole making tripods with be deployed at dawn...
Now that we have well made, smooth beds for leek transplanting tomorrow..
And further 'good news' to cheer up the three woman planting team tomorrow?
'Man Friday' is back earlier than expected from his onerous boat delivering duties...
And he can't imagine any more fun; that could be had; than transplanting alliums...
On a Tuesday...!
I'm considering that we should all have a celebratory 'flypast' first thing... Arms outstretched..
To limber up for the days labours.
Excellent for the shoulders; after all that 'draught work' with the roller...
Mayhap a hoss; to help with motive power isn't such a bad idea??
Saturday, 23 July 2016
Well bred hens such as these; will only accept their grit and oyster; if proffered in the finest French cookware..
Here; the ladies are daintily filling their gizzards; from the leCruset; with grit to help grind up their corn ration...
Plus oyster shell flakes to make eggceptionally sturdy; moreish offerings.
They know quality when they see it...
Thought for the day..
"If you don't realise your own worth;
you will always be short changed..."
Friday, 22 July 2016
Apart from obvious restrictions like time; and money; I find the greatest limiter to soothing the itchy feet; is food.
Not only food as in calorific fuel; that's easily enough ported; but vitalising stuff; that actually nourishes...
It just doesn't feel OK; to me; have more than few days away from 'proper' greenery such as this.
I guess it's a type of 'feels good' bodily addiction, similar to yoga.
It's not some kind of virtuous, self denying, pure and wholesome 'holier than thou' way of life.
It's more about feeling fully alive. 'Full of it' even.
After years of those helpful inputs; the body would, quite reasonably like them to continue..
So that it has the energy to keep doing the doing.
And it's also no secret that mental health is affected, in a very significant way by what we eat..
So somewhat uncharacteristically for me, I'm doing a bit of planning ahead...
Working out a few ways of taking, still live foods, on trips away; to places where they are less readily available...
A little garden on a bike trailer perhaps...?
Hmmn; that might be taking the oxymoronic idea of the 'working holiday' a step too far.
A little more refinement required; methinks..
These salad leaves pictured were cut first thing yesterday morning. They stay fresher longer if picked first thing before the sun has warmed them. Mizuna, mustards, and rocket will regrow for a second and third cut if supplied with enough water.
Being grown in the polytunnel means they are less susceptible to the teensy flea beetle; who will cheekily nibble myriad holes; if it's hot and dry...
Technology installed allows a godlike facility to make it rain indoors... Quite refreshing for humans on a hot day too.
Tuesday, 19 July 2016
I believe it's a common theme; among compulsive writers; or journaliers.
But it would appear that bunnets, on summits figure significantly; somewhere in the mix.
Meaning that smaller scale producers, or tenant farmers were tidied away to make room for large tracts of parkland..
And even up until fairly recently it was where new entrants might get a first foothold on the farming ladder.
And County Council Farms, are sold off for the apparent benefit of the Council Tax payer... Even though most folks don't even realise that there ever was such a thing as a council owned farm.... And who knows? If asked; those interested citizens might wish such a scheme to be continued.
|Only slightly wonky water level...Snapped whilst balancing (or obv not) on a rock...|
Theme of 'falling over' arose in yoga class tonight; as is so often the case... 'Over-balancing'??? Strange phrase... As really it's a dearth, rather than a surfeit of that ability...
Other people's mishaps can provide far more heartening entertainment; than workaday; boring old; "Everything went according to plan".... So drear...
With the proviso that nothing other than pride was hurt; save for a few nettle stings; and superficial wire scratches..
So a glorious day for mowing... Getting into those long neglected patches of nettles... Of course one should always go diving in there bare legged first, to check if any traps lurk....
A smallish piece of fencing netting, abandoned some months earlier.
Can wrap itself most snugly; and effectively about the spindle and bearings of the flail mower...
Necesitating an hour of colourful language, and wrangling with bolt croppers on my part. Oh pish! and botheration ...!
After having first turned the whole shebang turtlewards; for access..
Fore end loader and strop (tool - not mood) come in particularly handy for this porpoise...
Now please feel free to select from the following options; of 'helpful hints' to proffer..
Always tidy up after yourself.
Don't leave things lying around in the long grass.
Look where you are going (mowing)
Or you could if you prefer; invent your own variation; on any of the above themed......
I'll put them into 'My big book of very sensible; after the event farming tips'..
Catchy title eh?
Monday, 18 July 2016
Sunday, 17 July 2016
Sunday Sowing duties; rendered most palatable when accompanied by warm from the vine; red and yellow cherry tomatoes. Just coming into crop.
Here sowing Chicory Pallo Rossa; a seed in each cell. My 'special' compost firming block; still preserved by the insistent label.
These bitter but crunchy leaves should be ready by November.
Quite delicious in a mixed salad with sweet tender, red or golden beetroot; and only just hard boiled duck eggs.
Need to source a new flock of Indian Runner ducks, and build them a very lightweight duck house on wheels, so they can be penned briefly in various patches around the veg patch.
In this way, they serve as a SWAT team hoovering up slugs and snails; as well as clearing the eggs of same molluscs.
Thereby breaking the life cycle, and reducing population numbers of those horribly hungry slimey pests.
Duck eggs are one of those comestibles that sharply divide opinion.
Personally I love them, but for some inexplicable reason they give others; the shudders.
There's really no accounting for tastes; and secretly I'm glad that I don't have to fight anyone for em...
That could get awfully messy.
Friday, 15 July 2016
|Taking a fairly long view....|
Wednesday, 13 July 2016
To avoid unsightly injuries; to a farm maidens hand...
Thus lightening the load infinitesimally with each move...
But....The smallest amount x 1600 adds up to quite a lot...
Deep and firm..."
And the soil needs pressing down with some conviction.
Not patting it round; as if you're putting a kitten in its basket..
But perhaps next year I'll run a course here entitled... 'Getting your brassicae done right'
Low tech but effective tools for the job; string to get them in straight (that really helps with accurate hoeing later) ; stainless steel bladed planting trowel; and padding for inside your glove...
Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Sunday, 10 July 2016
|Dont fall in.... Or at least warn me first.....So I can get the best angle..|
|But in the spirit of 'Just because I like this stuff'....... A rather fine compact and characterful specimen collected; on behalf of the Wiggly Tin Appreciation Society|
Wednesday, 6 July 2016
|Help yourself.... Oh! Fantastic; you already did....|
Plus helped a few others too... With the addition of a postal contribution; we raised over £160 for http://practicalaction.org/
|Kale: varieties Moss Green Curled. Cavello Nero, Hungry Gap. Red Russian, and Jagalleo Nero; for winter cutting|
Here awaiting transplanting to their final home in the next couple of weeks.
And then further delights in paper form arrive with the post . This is one publication; whose arrival will always find me scuttling away to some quiet corner for a peruse. Even if there are more pressing tasks to hand.
For many a year now; 'The Land' has been a supportive, informative, and entertaining read, for those engaged in what could loosely be termed 'ecological land based occupations'. Or for those interested in such matters.
This is its twentieth issue...
Most of its contributors are; or at least have been; associated with landworking in some way.
It is the 'go to journal' if you want to keep abreast of whats going on on the more outlying fringes of agriculture, horticulture, and forestry, especially where those subjects overlap with ecology, organic production, land rights, both national and international. and social justice in the widest sense...
But who knows what; of the activities considered 'a bit weird' now; will be seen as 'mainstream' in ten or so years?
Very difficult to forecast...
This magazine also has some beautiful illustrations; many of them original wood engravings; a further reason for it being the one periodical that gets hoarded here..... Not in a precious way; there's plenty of dog ears; and mug rings. But they will always bear a reread.
In depth journalism; with all facts; properly referenced. No pandering to the rather patronising; supposed; goldfish like attention span; of your usual magazine reader...
Moreover there is plenty of dissection; nuanced argument; and counter argument.
So this is no preaching to the converted 'we're all on the same page' anti- establishment for its own sake; collection of writings. As many questions are raised; as are answered.
One of the topics this issue is the various cultural; and even legal aspects and approaches to the age old peasant tradition of 'foraging' for wild food.
Not the usual "Gosh! Did you know you could eat this?" Kind of gush; that is so often presented by 'greenish' tinged publications.
The retort to that; often being; a rather dry....
'Yes I know you can; but to be honest I've tried it once; and that was enough'
I'm not suggesting that gathering properly identified leafage from by the wayside doesn't have it's place (particularly if you're on foot; and chlorophyll is in short supply :)
But it on the whole; for most people gathering wild food is a harmless hobby rather than a source of great sustenance. More than likely you'd use as many calories gathering your pot herbs as you're going to get from eating them.
Maybe that's no bad thing; and perhaps there are vital micronutrients available in some edible wild plants scarce found elsewhere?
After all, most herbivores will; given the chance; graze the hedges; in addition to any lush sward; made available to them
However if you're not averse to the odd rabbit or pigeon for your repast, you are, perhaps in a lazier (and bloodier), but more efficient way; making the most of that animal having done the foraging for you. There's certainly no shortage of those tender morsels in these parts... If anyone fancies doing a bit of pest control..
Whatever the subjects covered; and this issue also offers amongst many other topics: The Church of Englands' pattern of land ownership and management; alternative pig foods; Local planning authorities varying attitude to travellers; the proposed privatisation of the land registry; and the growing movement of veg producers within the London Boroughs.
Definitely worth a look if you have a thoughtful interest in land; and how it is used; and oft abused. Or are concerned about decent food, clean water, and air, a respected; but not sanitised; rural landscape. And whether the people; and other creatures; living and working in that landscape; are being given a fair deal.
So with any luck; that pretty much includes any half sensible human being.
Certainly; one would hope; that there are no insensible people who read this blog
|"The Land is written by and for people who believe that the roots of justice, freedom, social security and democracy lie not so much in access to money, or to the ballot box, as in access to land and its resources..."|
Saturday, 2 July 2016
|Amina; cheerfully supervising the brassica weeding; and taking a few soil samples.... Looks like she's consumed a reasonable portion of healthy bacteria; to boost her intestinal flora... All the better for her digestion today..|
|Pea tendrils ... Looking good; and tasty too..|
|Onion flowers...can be broken up, and used as a flavoursome salad garnish|
|Young red onions; on a bed of Agretti. A crunchily textured green vegetable originating from Italy. Its closest comparison texture and flavourwise; might be samphire.|
|First pickings of shiny courgettes; yellow patty pan; plus more conventional green variety.|
|There is something about getting a parcel in the post.... Thrills..|