The blackberries and sloes are early this year. You can almost hear them chanting: ‘Here we are. That’s it. No more summer, any more.’ How did it go so fast? What even happened? Tip. If you can’t remember how you spent your time, look at your phone, and piece it together with whatever photos are there.
The lawn is crispy dry and the watering can has has cracked up in the heat. We tried to make a swimming pool out of a plastic bath, but sitting in a warm slimy water is not as refreshing as you might think.
Sunny days, sweet peas, borage, and nothing to complain about. Except, this week one of us lost a bike. Stolen from a city centre bike rack in broad daylight. It was only a bike, nobody died, and maybe the thief really needed it, but it is unsettling when a stranger takes a much loved thing. It makes you review security.
Twas the night before Glastonbury, and all through the house… people are gone. The cat lies mournfully with an entire bedroom to herself and my phone is alive with stressed messages from family, friends and colleagues. They are all preparing to dance in the fields of excess, with crowds, heatstroke, mud fever, cocktails, and far too much fun. It’s quiet and sensible here. What to do with all that ‘not going to Glastonbury’ free time? Step out and admire the flowers? No, better than that. Let’s clean the cupboard under the sink.
Sitting out in the sun and ‘Doing Nothing’ is a bit like yoga, filing a tax return, or defrosting a freezer, because you have to commit time, and stick at it. Don’t bring your list of things to do, because you might forget you are forcing yourself to do nothing and start doing the things. Slow down, maybe read a bit, watch clouds and notice whatever is around. Here it might be swallows skimming the sky for flies, the cat stalking a moth, or the chickens chasing a butterfly. Those chickens. What do they actually do all day?
If anybody would like to buy a camper van, here’s the spec. It is perfect for somebody, especially if they are a mechanic.
We have Covid at the farm now. You can admire the pretty flowers outside the barn but don’t go near the door. The person who lives there is locked in his flat until he gets better. This is bad news because we can’t use the communal washing machine downstairs.
The hedges are full of cow parsley, and the ditches are full of rain. Midsummer is the time to party and we were allowed up to 30 people. So we did. There were a couple of glitches and we learnt some lessons. Here are the tips.
Most people would say no. But Dawlish Warren is the one for me because it’s the nearest. I can finish work at 5 and be in the sea by 5.43. If you are passing, it is worth a visit.
The Laburnum is out, summer is here, and it is getting busy. This week I did three things that are good for the soul. Swimming, metal detecting and rodent trapping. Which was best?
All of a sudden those early summer elder flowers are berries, groaning with antioxidants. I should make syrup, but flocks of greedy starlings get there first. What is an antioxidant anyway? Google says it is an invisible thing that cures everything and comes free in red wine and berries. Berries are free if you get them off hedges or quite pricey if you prefer blue ones imported from America.
August arrives and the sunflowers come marching in. Seedlings become giants overnight, apparently having a competition to see who can grow fastest before bursting into flower. Thousands of sunflower seeds will come next. Maybe I could dry them for chicken food?
Sweet Peas are easy to grow and fill the air with scent. We have a new flower to distribute around the house, in case visitors come and don’t like our smell. Except we don’t have visitors any more. I picked them anyway, filled the house with heavy stinking bunches and immediately triggered an asthma attack. I do this every year. It generally takes 45 minutes to remember they cause potentially deadly wheezing.
Rain at last. A whole day of fat, noisy rain. Bouncing off hard soil and soaking dusty leaves until they sparkle. Almost as exciting as snow. I took photos of raindrops on grateful plants and and felt poetic. ‘Diamond drops on leaves’, and maybe ‘no longer will I sneeze’ sounded good.
This Mallow weed is usually pulled up for the offence of ‘covering the path’. This year I let it stay and now it’s a flowering bush. The chickens love lurking in it, sniffing out ants or something.
Here come the bottlebrush flowers. This Australian bush is a symbol of laughter and joy. There is not much of that from the Australians I know. They should be here by now. Laughter and joy it was, when the garden was full of friends and family from far flung places.
Suddenly there are ripe raspberries in random places. A chance to stock the freezer and feel smug about ‘Living off the Land’. In other departments self-sufficiency is not on track.
Weeds are easy to grow. All you need is a square inch of earth, or a crack in a stone. Look away and the weed will turn up, especially Dandelions. The problem is whether you see them or not.
Light research has revealed that all plants have medicinal properties. Google says that honeysuckle is good for everything from dysentery to brain swelling. But the berries are poisonous, so don’t try to cure your brain swelling by eating them. It won’t end well.
Elderflower bushes grow fast and take a lot of chopping down. Now the flowers have arrived and it is time to think about making elderflower cordial.