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Category Archives: Gardening

Reflections 2018 w26

The problem with an allotment, especially where the soil is of the clay variety, is holidays.

And this holiday turned out to be perfectly timed with a heat wave.

One had the next plot over to water for me whilst we were away,  but my dads method of gardening is 1970’s style, a style I for one will not be doing when I get my own plot. The method is to dig in compost to “improve the soil”, this particular plot has had this done for 25 years+ by dad, and it is no better now than it was 15 years ago, and is a battle to stop it from baking hard and cracking. There are other ways, and it will be several on trial on mine to work out which works in the area one lives.

This baking of soil was what the neighbour had to deal with while I was away.

Because of the heat and dryness I was expecting a lot of items to have bolted, but only a few things have. The sweetcorn has decided, at 2ft tall to call it a day on ground clearance and grow tassels. The baby corn looks stronger thought much taller. My purple peas are ready to pick, they are that tasty even I can eat them raw, the plant however looks in poor health.

Strawberry plants are sending out runners, raspberry’s have ripened, gone past it, dried  up and yellowing. The rhubarb has stalled, so none to go down the food-bank in the morning. One did however pick my first yellow baby courgettes for lunch tomorrow.

Everything else seems ok, the greenhouses are in so much shade from the trees next door that they have been protected, luckily. But the weeds have gone berserk, there is more growth on them than anything else.

So this week will be spent trying to tidy up the plot whilst avoiding one individual and the sun/heat.

I will also be looking over a short story written for a Stoke on Trent last year, but was finished too late, adjusting it if need be, there is a 100 more words that could be used this time round, and sending it off.

If it reads the same as last year it’s a competition winner.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2018

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Reflections 2018 w21

There be mice up the allotment.

It may come as no surprise to have mice on an allotment plot, it is after all common, but this is a little bit more special than that. If you like mice that is.

I was moving some items around when a mouse darted from the corner of the greenhouse, I said hello, but it darted out of the small gap in the wood it rests upon. Not such an uncommon thing disturbing small creatures, however I have never unintentionally destroyed a home before.

How did I know I had now?

Well the babies, still blind, where flopping around trying to get away. They were in a place that was unsafe for them, due to the work I was doing, so I had to do the one thing you are not supposed to do; move them.

There was just the two of them so I placed paper towel in a plant pot and scooped them up, placed them near where I found them and covered it back over with the plastic bag that was originally covering. I then left therein house so the mother could return back to them.

The next day they were gone, as expected,  but today I saw three mice around the back of the greenhouse. I have not had that much damage done by mice so it is bygones for now.

However here are the two little ones.

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www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2018

Time with Dad

DSCF0960I don’t have many happy childhood memories of my Dad, at least ones that don’t involve work. Many a memory is linked to the allotment, repairing cars, coupon rounds and even working together for too many years. Try as I may, I cannot recall ‘playing’ memories, just Dad and me.

He taught me how to fish at Talybont – that memory is gone.

He taught me how to use my first woodworking set, a set I can still recall today — also gone is building things with him.

My first go-cart was built by him — but not played on with him.

Bike riding — gone.

Sledging — gone.

Some memories have remained from holidays, teaching how-to and catching shrimps, cooking them along with other collected shellfish, but after a while it was more of sending me to get them. Getting nearly stuck in a cave trying to free some crystals is a good memory. But I don’t have the same type of memories at home.

This has led to some strange looks in therapy, so It must not be the norm. Often leading my thinking toward  ‘I missed out on something.’

Now he is old and hard work, some of the time; no, most of the time if truth be told. Heads are butted often, especially over the computer; it has now become the laptop so he can’t break it as easy. My stubborn streak is defiantly from him. And still I work on the bloody allotment.

And this is where we have just come back from. Dad has been for a number of years, ill, but he managed to keep his hobbies going. The allotment and beekeeping, sadly last year he had to give up the beekeeping as he has become allergic to bee venom, so the allotment is the only thing left, and that is now under threat. I have made some, not too radical, changes to his plot; three raised beds so he can sit and garden and one bed raised not as high as a trial. This has upset the bloke running the site, it’s not 1950s enough.

Trepidation of the change is to be expected and I have talked him trough the whole process, but he has been told no to helping himself to wood on the site, twice, and he has taken offence and is trying to start a smear campaign against Dad. But stuff him ,back to me and Dad.

Today was the third time Dad has been able to get up to the plot this year due to time spent in hospital, and the first time he has been able to plant. The long hard slog of  removing the rotten old beds and placing the raised ones on there new home, then filling each with a trailer of  horse manure and compost, eight trailers worth, is over and now there has been a reward for me. Dad managed to plant without getting on his knees and without pain, And he looked happy doing it. We came back laughing and smiling.

I may not want my son to have the same type of memories as I have of my Dad about me, and I defiantly tell him I love him,  but at the end of the day, we know we both love each other no matter the faults. It’s just done a different way is all.