I know, I know, it’s been ages since I wrote anything, in honesty I feel as if I have done nothing for the last 3 months except go to work, clear up horse crap, pull up weeds and drink sherry, hardly going to set the blog world alight with that…..
It’s not entirely true, I have done a few bits and pieces (most of them start with and end with horse crap though)…
For once, neither of the hairy idiots have injured themselves in any unusual or expensive ways, the winter has been miserable with the weather, it’s been incredibly wet, they’re covered in mud and pretty grumpy at not having any grass. January is when they get their teeth done, I am lucky that I have one of the best horse dentists in the country to take care of them. As we were in lockdown, I left him to sort them out while I stayed in the house. Little Louis, good as gold, in and out of the stable in 15 minutes, then I looked out of the window to see the unedifying spectacle of my big fat hairy idiot giving Mike the slowest speed chase ever round the paddock, she couldn’t be arsed to actually break into a trot, so she just sort of trudged slowly away with a grumpy face with Mike following behind waving a headcollar. Thankfully, she’s incredibly lazy and gave up the farce of a chase after about 60 seconds, mostly due to utter apathy. God, I want to pressure wash the pair of them so very very much…
A few weeks ago, I came in from sorting out the ponies, wet to the bone, freezing cold, covered in mud finished off with a light patina of hay, pony snot and poo. The hubby takes a sniggering look at me and comes out with “so how’s the childhood dream of having horses working out for you?”. I would like to say, that I am now definitely and officially an adult, because I didn’t stab him in the neck with a fork.
I did picture it though….
It is hard, horses in winter, but I love them with all my heart and they’re worth every bruise, back strain and mud splattered incident and summer will be here soon enough and then they are a joy (a wheelbarrow full of horse crap everyday kinda joy, but hey…).
Before then, we had Covid Christmas…. Hubby treated himself to Twinkly lights that were programmable to each individual bulb, and got to use a chainsaw in the living room, which I think he enjoyed and we had a new light display everyday, from the sedate to the migraine inducing, only MrC could geek up a Christmas tree… For the last 20+ years we’ve spent Christmas day with Mr and MrsC snr and various family and friends, they fill me up with equal measures of turkey and sherry and I gossip with Pippa and I try not to snore as I nap. This year was a Zoom Christmas, and although I terribly missed spending the day with them, in a weird way, I actually got to spend more time with my Dad and sisters and their partners and children, usually, it’s just a quick phone call with Dad, this Christmas we spent an hour talking on screen and seeing each other which, without Covid, we wouldn’t have done. Silver linings and suchlike…
In the garden I’ve done a bit of a project, the mound that runs around one side of our gardens is a bit dull, nothing really grows there apart from the odd weed as it gets very little sun in the summer because of the trees. I generally don’t like yellow flowers but I’ve made a few exceptions here… I planted 100 daffodil bulbs, which only filled a few feet of the mound, so then I bought 500 bulbs and put them in, again this didn’t even slightly cut the mustard, so with gritted teeth and muttered oaths I went to the on sale at £1 spring bulbs with a “this is it, this time I will fill the rest if it kills me” and I bought another 800 bulbs, so I’ve put in 1400 daffodils in here. Have you ever dug 1400 holes??? It took me 4 days, even with my trusty hole digging tool, if I don’t get a bloody Wordsworth worthy display here in a month or so, there will be an epic sulk and even more sherry drinking than normal going on….
In the engine room of the gardens, my beloved greenhouse, I have set up a “hot bed”, I read about the Victorians doing this, and thought I’d give it a go. You dig a big hole, line it with rotting straw and then top up with some nice fresh horse crap (something in ready supply round here). Really, you’re supposed to dig down about 3 foot, but as my greenhouse is basically derelict and I was a bit worried it might collapse if I dug that far down, mine is somewhat shallower, but it seems to have worked, it’s only raised the temperature in there by a couple of degrees, but that’s enough to get started on seeds early and for my resident plants in waiting to thrive when they might have died or been stunted in growth over the winter. They knew stuff the Victorians…
I have made a start on my seeds for the year, soon the greenhouse will be full to bursting with seed trays and then they’ll start to encroach in the conservatory, the porch, the boot room, the windowsills and finally everywhere that’s flat and gets some sun, which my incredibly tolerant husband will studiously ignore…
I can’t really put any seed trays in the conservatory yet, because it’s already full of chitting seed potatoes…. The first earlies will be ready to be planted in about 3 weeks, that’ll free up a bit of space.
Every year I try to grow something edible that I’ve not eaten or not grown before, last year was a write off as you couldn’t get seeds for love nor money, this year, my new crop is going to be Hamburg parsley, a worthy plant, you can eat the leaves and the roots, and I can’t wait to try it.
I have a big project planned for March this year, I’m going to create a reading garden, a little space that will be deer proof where I can grow anything I like and it won’t be eaten, and to that end I’ve been hoarding plants, and trees to plant out, it’s getting a little out of hand….. These are plants given to me my neighbours and friends, the 50p bargains from work and some I dug out of a skip (I have no shame when it comes to plants, thinking about it, I just have no shame in general), I’m excited to start work on it and I dearly hope Mr and MrsC snr will be allowed to come around and be part of creating it.
I’ve also finally planted out my onion, shallots and garlic for the coming year, it was bloody hard work digging over the plot in the muddy conditions, but it’s a big tick for the gardening year to get them in, grow strongly my little friends, for I shall turn you into stews and soups and you will be delicious.
For the first time since we’ve been here in this wonderful property, I am content with the gardens, don’t get me wrong, there are a plethora of jobs to be done and weeds to be routed, but as I look around, it’s mostly beauty I see rather than work to be done, and that’s a happy place to be.
My happy place, seeds, compost and a glass of sherry. I may have dirt under my fingernails, I smell a bit odd and am covered be in things that mean I really shouldn’t leave the property lockdown or not, it’s not a bad life.
Oh yeah, I also turned 50, it was a bit dull, but at least I go up to a more urgent vaccination group….