Miles walked: 165.75 Miles left to go: 334.25
We have been away for a couple of weeks, during which time the weather was very warm and dry. Typically, the rain arrived back with us but has done a great job, freshening everything up and soaking the pots of plants, some of which were looking a bit toasted – although not this beautiful peacock orchid.
After several days spent cooped up travelling, it was good to get into the fresh air and garden again. Armed with ‘Casablanca’ garlic and ‘Senshyu Yellow’ onions to plant (plus broad beans and peas to follow), my first priority has been to find some planting space. This would normally be pretty straightforward: pop them in where the summer veg have finished and gone . . . only the problem is, here the summer stuff just keeps on going and going and going.
The only areas I can really clear are where the dwarf and climbing beans had been. We have had tremendous crops from both, as fresh and drying beans, and apart from a few withered pods I couldn’t reach at the top of the poles, I thought we’d had the lot. Not so – this lot yielded almost another kilo of dried beans!
Clearing the ground is hard work, it is so steep: each fork or spadeful has to be thrown up the slope to stop it rolling down to the bottom of the garden. I’m doing a big stone pick at the same time, as well as pulling out as many oxalis seeds as I possibly can. The ground is riddled with them, it may be a forlorn hope but I’m hoping to at least make some inroads – I have never seen a weed grow like it.
I’m also digging in plenty of muck, it’s lovely well-rotted stuff and should give the soil a good feed over winter; the young robins – there are masses serenading me with their songs as I work – certainly don’t mess about, they are straight in to search for worms.
Digging away, I’ve been reflecting on nature’s bounty and the benefits of gardening in such a mild climate. We have been cultivating this patch of ground roughly 30 metres square on the side of a mountain since the end of May. With so many other things to do, it has been a bit of a ‘throw it in and see’ approach so far. We have already harvested and eaten broad beans and potatoes, have several bags of peas in the freezer and squash, dried beans and onions in storage. Currently available from the garden are dwarf beans, komatsuna, golden mustard, kale (two varieties), broccoli, cabbage, leeks, parsnips, carrots, aubergine, green pepper, chillies, courgette, cucumber, rocket, mizuna, pak choi, beetroot, winter radish, welsh onion, coriander and flat-leaved parsley.
We are spoilt for choice and blessed with a colourful, tasty feast every day.
Many things seem to be having a ‘second summer,’ too. These nasturtiums were devastated by caterpillar damage earlier on; now they are going mad and heading out into the lane.
Others seem a bit confused by the season!
In the fields, the crocus are just coming into their best.
We are feasting on fruit, too. We have just eaten the last apricots, and are now enjoying pears and fresh figs daily.
The walnuts were literally bursting off the trees when we got back, and judging from all the rootling about under the trees, the local wild boar family has been cleaning up in our absence! No worries, there are plenty to go round. Chestnuts, too.
One of the first things we noticed when we got home was the huge marquee that had been put up in the village.
Why? Fiesta time! We had a bird’s eye view of all the preparations, most amazing of all were the container lorries that converted into stages: one on the first night, three on the second. The stage was enormous, dwarfing the largest house and more like something you might see at Glastonbury than a small village fiesta. The light show was stunning. No wolves in the valley this weekend!
What a lovely, lively event – two nights of live music that went on until 4 am, firework rockets, dancing, laughing, chatting and generally having fun. Our neighbours certainly know how to party. Isn’t that just how life should be? 🙂