Hay, baby

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We made hay. Oh yes we did.
In a manic rush, we moved 500 small bales in one day. It was a day that lasted until 3am the following day, but it was, nevertheless, a day.
We do have pictures but I also have a bad back (no? you do? who'd a thought it?) so the pictures will be delayed.

In other news, I was confined to the horizontal today but gladly, it was cross country day at the Olympic 3DE so I was forced to watch the lot. Nicola, Mary, Zara, Tina and William, YOU ROCK. So proud to be British, so proud of those amazing people, and those glorious horses, all of them superstars but especially especially the gorgeously wonderful Opposition Buzz. (High Kingdom's pretty lovely too though.)

Opposition Buzz - Photo : Katherine Begley

Tomorrow, the world!

Sun, actually


Finally, the sun shines.
Work feels like a special blessing. Both daughters work in the sun til freckles dance across their noses - Boo's slightly bruised from a tumble from a bucking horse! - and for the first time in literally months, we get chance to work under a blue sky, slug tepid water against the heat and feel like we are actually getting somewhere.
This is our house garden, and as you can see, we have islands of cultivation in a sea of waterlogged weeds! This is a permanent bed with butternut squash and runner beans. To the left, pallets and black plastic still protect a bed which would normally, by now, be packed full. To the right, weeds choke the onion bed - I did actually have a go at that later!
Everything is SO behind. There are spaces where there shouldn't be, and I scratch my head and wonder what to put in where - to make the best use of the late summer and maybe autumn to stock the shelves - what can I get to grow in the time that's left?
While I cooked supper - a home made pizza with a medley of garden veg and lots of cheese, with a hot potato salad with yet more garden veg, and a few olives I truly did not grow - and a green salad from the garden, followed by raspberry and white chocolate muffins, (the raspberry crop is so poor, last year's 3l bags going into the freezer are a distant dream! Enough for a  batch of muffins is a good day!) Neil and Boo went down to the market garden, and planted, in hopes of an Indian summer, seven rows of dwarf French beans. That's a lot of beans. If they grow before frost comes!
I am so thankful for my lovely daughters, their health and strength and the skills they have gained over the years - a twelve year old who milks her two goats, cartons up the milk, washes up the dairy, and then rolls up her sleeves and clears new garden beds is not run of the mill! A girl who then goes down to the field and plants up 500 odd beans is truly outstanding in her field. With a bag of bean seed :)

I had plans to write an informative and educational permaculture post, but obviously, that was not to be. Trivia it is then. I am now aching in bone and weary of spirit, so as the house quiets around me, sleeping girls turn in their beds, and we all look forward to the sabbath rest - I'll say goodnight. Sleep well.

Weird Week

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A week of little hurts, and strange days.
Mostly all my days are strange at the moment!
We rushed and dashed, and tried to do too much. I tried to help and found I hadn't.
We planted more seeds in the rain, and I tried as I planted to bury in the wet clay the slight stinging of careless distance.
It rained some more.
We went to see an abandoned farm, we dreamed, and came away, and realised the dream was not for us.

For my extraordinary daughter, H - because she loves it :)

Downland Rain


Long, lashing gusts of rain slew across our fields, day after day after day.
The promise of the rainbow becomes greatly significant.
The field is thigh high in thistles and needs topping. The tractor does about half a length and then the filters clog up. With wet thistles. In permaculture we say, the problem is the solution. In this case, it would appear to be quite the reverse.
So we wade through the thistle to move the sheep, legs wet and scratched through denim. Head into the wind, my glasses awash, the seams of my good boots beginning to leak.
The sheep go onto the trailer quite well. They would, it's dry in there.
Nearly blind sheepdog works by command only.
In the picture, Neil strategically places electric netting, to channel the sheep into the trailer. With the wind and the rain eternally in his face.
This is the longest winter we ever had in summer.
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