Tag Archives: gardening


I have been having trouble with my balance lately. Not physical balance (though I am as clumsy as ever) but my life balance. At all times, there is a pretty fine balance in my life between work and play, which is not helped by the fact that many of the things I really ought to do present as play.

There are a number of hours a week dedicated to simple hard graft for dosh. These are non-negotiable, so we will leave them to one side. Of the remaining hours, there are a number of possible activities, all of which need doing. They are: prayer, writing, reading, learning Hebrew, riding, animal care, rest, home maintenance (tidying, cleaning, washing), gardening, restoring the house, and dress making. Oh, and blogging. All of these need to be done. Few of them can be combined by any other. And that is the problem.

Currently what I actually burn to do is dress-making, and I spent last weekend making a ‘dressing-up’ dress for one of my grand children. It was a beguiling but tiring job, and it brought great joy to both me and the child. I did rather therefore miss out on actual rest, and as I get older I do find I need down time doing nothing. Not even blogging.

Hebrew, gardening, and until yesterday, house restoration, and riding have been all but non existent, and this must not continue.

So this week sees a renewed effort to parcel out my time – oh and if any of you have solved the work/life balance thing – do let me know!


A good week

I have had my fair share of Jonah weeks – weeks when everything that could go wrong did. This week I got the opposite.

The sun shone. The new little keets were able to venture out and enjoy it. They are growing, although it does weigh on their minds that they are delicious. They are very cautious.

Bernadette too is putting on weight. When she arrived she condition scored one (out of five, where five is obese) and now she scored three (which is the ideal weight). It has taken good feeding to get her there. The least said about what it has done to Martha’s condition score the better. They too have been out in an electrified pen enjoying the sun.

I have also been able to see good progress with the plants. The tomato seed my son and son-in-law gave me has turned into nice little plants. So have the aubergines, who turned out to have enchanting purple flowers, and as you can see, the pepper my daughter gave me flowered and then set fruit.

Then the buddlia from last year and the lavender from this year, given by another daughter are both flowering.

And then an agent felt they would like to represent the big biography. A good week.

Low (and high) Sunday

I started the day wrapped in profound gloom – an unedifying combination of misery and fury. Church lifted it somewhat (a more than usually good sermon, I thought. The preacher looked mildly astonished at this comment. I used to notice in the happy preaching days that any sermon of mine that I thought more than ordinarily mediocre usually drew from somebody the comment that it was especially good.)

Then home in the sunshine. I was determined to be glum about the sun, but it defeated me. And I re-potted the asparagus (subject of word searches leading people to the blog, surprisingly). I had believed much of it dead, despite its over wintering in the house. But only one root seemed to have died, and I got a good number of little phallic seedlings moved into two troughs for more nurture. In fact, an afternoon of tidying and planting in the pots outside the house removed many of the sad casualties of the grim winter, and revived the survivors, and then introduced new joys.

Then a new builder arrived to offer his thoughts on the house. He struck me as man who knew how to balance the demands of craftsmanship and economy. Face by J S Sargent, I think. Do we trust Sargent? He went with the suggestions of my daughter Grace and my surveyor, both of whom I trust. It looks as if I shall end up with a hanging floor. Is that the right term? My Builder’s Bible is buried in a box somewhere. I would put the floor on to the joists myself, thus saving money – but entailing more work.

The long and the short of it is that I will need to find big reserves of courage and energy to see me successfully over all this, but I begin to think I can do it. ‘It is very do-able’ said Sargent.

If the little asparagus can make it through the winter, hopefully, I can make it through the restoration of the house. I ended with a high Sunday after all, or a Sunday high.

… if winter comes…

Each winter, early, some acts of faith take place. Today two. The broad beans were planted. Polly and Cassie went to the tup. That used to be difficult – catching sheep, loading them into a vehicle, and saying good bye, until summoned to catch them again, and re-load them. This latter usually took place on the least convenient day and in the most impossible weather. If there was a day when sleet was horizontal, and driven in a force eight wind, that would be the day for wandering a vast hillside rattling a bucket, and shouting :’Polly! Polleeee!’ Every sheep would run from me until at last two valiant little figures would come hurtling towards me and the bucket (especially the bucket.)

Here it was breathtakingly simple. Catch Polly, mark both sheep with the painless orange spray just behind the head, giving a general impression of fierce coloured highlights, and walk them out of my gate and straight through the shepherd’s field gate – all of five yards. Now they are just over the fence, where I can keep an eye on them while they wait for the sudden madness which will overtake them and turn the tup into an object of irresistible desire. And when I rattle a bucket, it will be in just two medium sized fields, for a short walk home.

Some feathered criminal….

asparagus2 blog
Last night with great pride I potted up my baby asparagus. Asparagus is a slow maturing plant which lives for years. It is fiendishly expensive to buy roots, so (as some will remember) I invested in asparagus seed. This is also fiendishly expensive, but only by the standards of seed. I was allocated ‘a minimum of’ twelve seeds, and when they came there were actually sixteen. I treated each one as if it the price of a year old root and to my astonishment in time all sixteen germinated. Potting them was a little like weaning a baby. I placed them tenderly outside, knowing that they were too wiry to attract slugs. Thinking the open air would produce stronger plants, which I would then over-winter inside. When I went to work this morning they were all there.

When I got home one was missing and its little pot all dishevelled. Some feathered criminal – perhaps a hen or a chick, but maybe a goose, has dragged it out and eaten it – to my disproportionate grief and rage.

Tonight I moved them back indoors to a sunny windowsill – there they join the purple sprouting broccoli which had been attacked by insects and are now in recovery. Asparagus are one of the few plants we don’t destroy to eat – that seeedling had a long and happy life before it!

Stunning garden plant

This stunning plant is now attracting many bees to my garden, and I have hopes that presently it will charm the goldfinches with its abundant seeds. Incredibly some regard it as a weed.

An extraordinary thing

An extraordinary thing has happened to me. I have reached a point in The Book where I know taking time off will be more productive than working flat out. Therefore I am cutting down to working weekdays, something like a 40 hour week.

This leaves me an amount of free time I have not had in years.
Two things are apparent –
(1) Unless I am employed doing something useful, like cleaning, cooking or vegetable gardening, I feel mildly guilty.
(2) What I actually do is spend too long surfing the net or playing computer games and feeling mildly guilty.