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Showing posts from June, 2010

End of month view

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It is fascinating to see, now that I have been doing this for a few months, how parts of the garden grow over the year.
Here is the side garden today.
 Here it is at the end of May.
And here at the end of April.
And empty and cold at the end of March.  Even the daffodils hadn't shown their faces.
And here are the other views at the end of a dry and sunny June. This bank is the hottest and sunniest place in the garden with penstemons and pinks and sedums flourishing and various other things that I have tried rapidly frizzling away. And here is the kitchen garden.  We have lifted the garlic today and eaten most of the broad beans.  I sowed what has proved to be ludicrous numbers of lettuces.  There is a whole bed full of lettuce and we can't keep up despite compulsory lettuce every day.
Everything is looking a bit hot and bothered but we are promised rain tomorrow.  I came away from my daughter's feeling I should stay longer and wandering around at home has made me aware all over a…

Away from home

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I can't tell you how much I wish that my children lived nearer to me, or I nearer to my children.  This would be difficult as we have one in Manchester, one in Derby, and two near Oxford.  When my children were young I used to look at my friends who had local family and wish that my parents were not so far away and now that older son and older daughter have children of their own I am once again very aware of how different life would be if we were nearer.  The ease with which you could slip in and out of daily life looks very different from long distance keeping in touch, travelling, staying, being wholeheartedly in or entirely out of the picture.

This week I am with my older daughter in Oxford, helping her and the baby as they readjust to life back at home after three weeks in Japan.  It is odd to be in a rural place so different from mine.  The fields are big here, not flat like those in East Anglia but still open and mainly level, stretching away under crops.  There are no hills…

Motorways here I come

If there are any really long term readers of my blog out there who are still awake you will know that I agonised long and hard about giving up my previous job.  I worked in London for a couple of days a week and from home for a day or so at a job that I had loved.  But living here and being ill for a few months had made me acutely aware of how finite my time was and of how much I wanted to be here and not to go away every week.  I wanted time to garden and to write.  I wanted time to give to my family, both up and down the generations, up to my parents and down to my children and now my grandchildren.  I hardly feel old enough to be a grandmother but amazingly I am one and it is very wonderful.  I wanted time to sit on the grass with a two year old and let him dictate the pace of the day, just for a little while.

I agonised about giving up both the money and my financial independence.  I agonised about losing my identity and "dwindling into a wife" (how silly that seems now)…

Not enough hours in the day

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At this time of year I always think I should feel to have extra time.  Yesterday was the longest day and, after a day in Manchester, we still managed to spend an hour or two in the garden, watering, tying things up, putting things back in the cold frames after resiting them in order to extend the hen run.  The moon gleamed like a small pale sun.   The sky was still light at 10 o' clock.

Across the valley the clouds held the last of the sun.
I love summer and last night I had a profound attack of how lucky I am to live here.
When I woke this morning to another green and gold day I thought I might manage to do some work, go to the hairdressers, and  paint in the kitchen, now beautifully plastered and revealing its smooth curves.

Not yet what you could call a working kitchen though is it?
  Am I the only one who always hopelessly misjudges what I can do in a certain amount of time?  I look at the bits of my day that are committed and assume that the rest of the time will be available to g…

What is in my garden in June?

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I have had a day in the garden today, a day full of sunshine and nettle stings and planting out.  Somehow the brassicas in the greenhouse went in so late in a cold spring that I had almost forgotten about them and achieved that state where you look at something without seeing it.  I had been watering them but I had been closing my mind to their increasing legginess.  Today I suddenly saw them again and realised that if I didn't get them out there pretty quickly I may as well say goodbye to brassicas for the season.  Now that wouldn't be a bad thing if these were cabbages which I am not too keen on, or sprouts which I actively dislike, perhaps the only vegetable I can think of which makes me turn up my nose.  But these were purple sprouting broccoli and chard and kale, all of which I love, so it was time to relocate the protective mesh, anti cabbage whites and anti peacock, and get them into the ground.

But there is just so much to see in June to make me go back inside for my c…

The Caerwys Show

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One of the things I love about living here is the local agricultural show.  Caerwys is not a big place and the show is not a big show like the Royal Welsh, but it is a busy and thriving one.  The sun has shone on every one of the five I have been to and people turn out from all over North Wales and the borders to ride, show their animals, display their vintage tractors and their prize winning sponge cakes.  Next year I might even contemplate entering.  I think my jam might make the grade, or if not, perhaps a cake or some vegetables.

We arrive to judging going on in the main ring. We wander around.  There is so much that catches my eye.  Alpacas, all shaved and brushed and in their Sunday best.
I make a beeline for the poultry tent.  Last year I left it too late and all the birds were being packed away by the time I got there.  I've never been a shoes and handbags kind of a girl, more a books and plants person, but I have now added to my personal wishlist this beautiful little hen.  …

Writing stuff

A blog is a funny thing.  I am feeling a bit lost with mine at the  moment.  What is it for?  I wonder if I should just decide once and for all what I want to do with it and stop fannying around.

Some of my favourite blogs are gardening blogs, written by passionate and knowledgeable and fascinating people.  I love gardening.  It is one of my great passions too.  Often I will blog about my garden and will use the blog to inspire me to get out there with  my camera and to really see what is happening rather than rushing through, weeds in hand, on the way to the compost heap.
But I am not a great gardener.  I am not an artist with plants.  I am not a plantswoman.  I am just someone who likes to grow things, most of the time.  I don't garden in winter or in the rain and cold.  Sometimes I just get bored with the relentless tide of creeping buttercup and bindweed and the way things die.  I love Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day on other people's blogs but I am never organised enough t…

Evening walk

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Sometimes the urge to sit down at the end of the day is strong.  I sit and read blogs and watch "Location, Location, Location" and potter about on the internet trying to find the name of a rose I planted up by the swing where I have yet again unaccountably lost the label.  But every now and then we have an evening so beautiful that it is a crime not to go out into it and walk into the view, a still, warm evening where the sky is so blue it might never go dark.
Up the drive we go and over the fence the cows lift their heads as we walk by.  They were indoors all winter.  When they were let out a few weeks ago I was working in the field planting out sweetpeas.  I suddenly heard a distant bellowing and then the ground seemed to vibrate.  I walked up to see what was going on and the cows were thundering down the field in a huge galloping arc.  I have often seen horses run for the sheer pleasure of the movement but never cows before.  They are used to the grass and the outside now…