Plants

Here are some pictures to illustrate how my world looks at the moment. The trees and flowers at Hebden Bridge show that Spring is well under way, at last. I’m very glad to have the stress of the planting season behind me and have moved on to tidying the barns before starting the serious work of designing buildings.

Plants haven’t left my mind, as you can see from the seed tray and plant pots. In the former, I finally sowed the Eucalyptus seeds that I bought before I met Treesponsibility. They put me off planting such exotics but I think I can forgive myself a small stand for the timber and the memories they will engender. That’s what the settlers in Van Diemens Land thought, though. In the plant pots: seventy Bocking 14 comfrey. A newcomer to the Incredible Edible fold, Adam, wants to grow tea flavourings at Warland Farm and these are a contribution to establishing his garden. He will be cultivating around the aqueduct and these will be above him, processing the runoff from a few neighbours’ septic tanks.

The soil stamper worked moderately well even though I was using a fibrous, peaty compost that argued with the machine. I need to get it’s bigger brother to create the soil blocks to drop the seedlings into. Oh, and a greenhouse! These seeds are up under the Shippen skylights, in the supplies store, where the heat pools, but that’s not ideal for daily inspection. Then again, I do pop up there for a bag of nails or somesuch quite regularly. Perhaps a new architectural pattern?

The last photo is the most significant, for me. I broke one of my cardinal rules of house-buying with this place: I could find nowhere to sling my hammock. Until yesterday. I promise it isn’t loafing but for the health of my spine and my mind. Monica seems to understand, anyway. You’ll observe that I’m still wearing my wedding beard and that my mop is similarly untrained since March.

Martin Crawford has my order for next season’s plants so I must fit marking out and mulching of the FG into my days. Monica is helping to clear some brash, snedding the branches into useable poles. I thought it too physical for her but it clears her mind of family concerns. Her father is undermining all the care and services that she has arranged to help him, driving her to almost hand him back to the other siblings. As a last effort, she’s spending a week, from today, in Manchester to coach him and, hopefully, he’ll see that his life and Mammy’s will be a lot better if he sets aside his pride, prejudices or whatever else motivates him.

Monica proudly refused a new bee swarm yesterday after discovering the queen was here on a Kiwi visa. A shame that many bee keepers seem not to care about the spread of disease. A shame my Eucalypts won’t be pollinated by experts, though.

We had guests here for a couple of nights: neighbours from Tennyson. They were jolly and kind but reminded us that we were not living there among kindred spirits. Robert and Juddy are retired, senior health professionals who know all the right people, have a huge country property and politely questioned all of our green values. The news from the beach continues to illustrate poor neighbour behaviour so we weren’t made very homesick by their visit.

We’re contemplating a tour of friends around London to give him a chance to meet for a chat. Might we stay at Tony’s for a night or two in, say, late June? I’d be happy to sleep on a couch. I’d love for Monica and Eileen to meet.

We used to have “Guilt-Free Saturdays” as a way to stop Monica from freaking out about house-work and such. This clumsy designation has now been changed and I’ve declared today a Snow Day even though the sun is promising to burn anyone it can reach. It’s rock-climbing for cousin Chris and myself, or some similarly dangerous pastime that stupidly endangers our future plans. Hey ho.

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