Monday, December 31, 2007

On The South Downs

The location of a very productive sloe tree.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Saturday, December 29, 2007

IYP Countdown - 2 Days

Hitchcock rummages through a sack of potatoes at the scene of another horrible murder, Covent Garden Market, where you can buy the "fruits of evil and the horrors of vegetables".

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


" If the pellet's of goat's dung, the size of a bean, are hollowed out, and the seed of leeks, rocket, lettuces, parsley, endive and cress is inserted in them, and then sown, the plants will thrive in a marvellous degree."
Pliny found this advice.

Oh joy. This morning I posted my order to the Heritage Seed Library for some beans and peas and got home to find a bubble envelope on the doorstep that made a 'shishing' sound when I shook it - the Kokopelli consignment! Aubergine 'Slim Jim' & 'Apple Green', Tomatoes 'Omar's Lebanese', 'Pineapple', 'Golden Queen' & 'Yellow Ruffles'. Cucumber 'Armenian Snake'. Hot pepper 'Chimayo' and 'Zia Pueblo'.'Hubbard Anna Schwarz' Squash and 'Solaize Blue' Leeks.
Now I just need a goat.

Illustration: Wolf Erlbruch

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Look at the brute what I wrassled out of the mud this morn.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


The Inuit (or Australian aboriginals?) measure nocturnal temperature by the number of dogs they must bring under the covers with them to stay warm. A three dog night is a very cold one. The increments on my loaf-meter are pots of tea. This morning was a 3 pot morning - bone idle.
" December 13, 1916. Walked down the bottom of the road and hung over some wooden railings. A little village baby-girl aged not more than 3 was hovering about near me while I gazed abstractedly across the Park at the trees. Presently, she crawled through the railings into the field and picked up a few dead leaves - a baby picking up dead leaves! Then she threw them down, and kicked them. Then moved on again - rustling about intermittently like a winter Thrush in the shrubbery. At last, she had stumbled around to where I was leaning over the railings. She stood immediately in front of me and silently looked up with a steady reproachful gaze: 'Ain't you 'shamed, you lazybones?' till I could bear her inquisitorial gaze no longer, and so went and hung over some more railings further on. "
At some point while trawling through cyberspace I happened on The Journal of a Disappointed Man by W.P.N. Barbellion, 1919, serialized on Barbellionblog. And it's a good place to head to on wet grey days such as this.
" March 12, 1917. 'I used to get very muddy,' I remarked lamentably, 'in the old days when stalking birds on the mudflats.' And they rather jeered at such an occupation in such a place, just as those beautiful sights and sounds of zostera-covered mud-banks, twinkling runnels, swiftly running thin-legged waders, their whistles and cries began to steal over my memory like a delicate pain. "
Dip into 'this entry' and this rural idyll.
There. I hope I've set you off for several hours of delinquent flânerie.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Planning Ahead

" I only want to live in peace, plant potatoes and dream."
I finally got around to testing my soil this fall, and found the pH to be hovering down around 5.5 to 6. Not too healthy for vegetables other than potatoes. So, I ordered two blueberry bushes which seem to appreciate acidity (for the back hedge) and then set about dusting the beds with lime. With that done it's time to settle down to my favourite task in the grower's calendar which is reading seed catalogues and planning next season's produce. Just 26 shopping days left until 2008 - International Year of the POTATO !!!