Thursday 21 October 2010

Dirt under my fingernails

Folks may wonder what I have been up to recently? However, an ongoing medical problem is causing some difficulties which reflects on my lack of trips. Of late I find I am becoming more reclusive, to try and prevent myself going totally stir crazy I have been doing a few bits of wood carving, as illustrated in the photos and have a couple of other pieces I am working on. Back in the summer I was asked if I would help somebody out with their allotment; recently I have been mainly working there on my own. Some people have the idea that once the summer harvesting is over that there is little to do in the allotment. How wrong they are, recently  I have been pruning back fruit canes, there are vegetable beds to clear, grass to cut, compost bins to turn and new ones started, It is a busy time prior to the onset of winter and of course through the winter months there will be plots to add compost to and dig, tools to sort and thoughts will be turning to the spring planting. This morning I was expecting something in the post and decided to walk up to the allotment early and spend a couple of hours working before heading back for the postie. It was early when I left, earlier than I actually intended at around six o clock. There had been a heavy overnight frost and the morning felt quite chilly and I found myself walking along the early morning streets at a brisk pace to warm up, car roofs glistening in the light of the street lamps. The early morning light was just breaking when I arrived at the allotment, the ground was white with frost and everything was still, my breath steaming in the cold air. Soon the distant horizon was a fiery blaze of crimson  as the early morning sun heralded a new day. Birds gradually became more active, a woodpecker close by chattered loudly, pigeons where busy scavenging the plots for food, parakeets, birds which are becoming common in London, screeched harshly.Noisy beasts but colourful; a fox ambled by, looked at me, yawned and continued on his way.A robin hopped around following me as I worked, I forked over a bit of ground to allow him to search for his breakfast. This morning I was working in the fruit cage cutting grass with long handled shears. Much of the grass was heaped up to be added to the compost heap in stages; too much at once and it can compact and become slimy. Potato haulms,, some runner bean plants that had to cleared, a few handfuls of horse manure and and a barrowful of clippings where added to the compost heap and that was my time up.Normally I scrub my hands in the water but, however, seeing the layer of ice on the surface I decided I would wait until I got back to the flat before washing them.