Monday, June 22, 2009


"Longest day: a cold hard solstice! The rats have carried away six out of seven of my biggest Bantam chickens; some from the stable, & some from the brewhouse." Gilbert White 1792
We finished up the longest day of the year with a picnic at the allotment, the weather mild. The corn there - Inca Rainbow - is very cheering. Most of my crops seem to be progressing much slower than last year. Lots of green tomatoes but still no ripe ones. Perhaps it's all the cloud cover we've had lately - today is dark again. Oca that I got from Patrick (on the left) has just put shoots above ground and Yacon plants (right, also sourced by Patrick) are about 15 inches tall. Having never before grown these tubers, I'm not sure how well this measures up. Still, five eggs today, and the chickens are all present and accounted for.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Things I don't have to do this week:
1. Water the garden

Monday, June 08, 2009

A Noble Thistle

"But when the artichoke flowers, and the chirping grasshopper sits in a tree and pours down his shrill song continually from under his wings in the season of wearisome heat, then the goats are plumpest and the wine sweetest; women are most wanton, but men are feeblest, because Sirius parches head and knees and the skin is dry through heat. But at that time let me have a shady rock and wine of Biblis, a clot of curds and milk of drained goats with the flesh of a heifer fed in the woods, that has never calved, and of firstling kids; then also let me drink bright wine, sitting in the shade, when my heart is satisfied with food, and so, turning my head to face the fresh Zephyr, from the ever-flowing spring which pours down unfouled, thrice pour an offering of water, but make the fourth libation of wine." Hesiod, around 700BC

I've just harvested 15 artichokes (well in advance of their flowering) and spent a pleasant half hour preparing them whilst listening to Hooting Yard on Reasonance. But as with broad beans, at the end of it all there is a lot more for the compost pile than for the pot. I wish we had a pig.