Monday 28 November 2011

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars

....though not me.

Things have hit a new low, I'm in a bad way and at the moment I am laying here full of sleepy pills waiting for Andrew to get home and watch over me - the little voice in my head is telling me it's time to say 'goodbye cruel world!'. I may come across as glib but it isn't funny at all and is in fact very frightening.

I still haven't been to the lottie nor do I really give a damn, which when I see it written down like this is a wake up call in itself. I haven't even taken a photograph in almost 3 months. I'm just not right. Though it's not as if I get a hell of a lot of encouragement from my best pal Maggie - she doesn't do rain, hates, the cold and after 20 mins of lottie time without being tickled and fawned over she fakes shivers. Honestly - drama queen!
Oh I can talk the talk if that's what you want. I can tell you that the splendid Mamma G was here last night for dinner and we had a gorgeous meal - all non- lottie stuff though :( However she took one of our huge Jack O'lantern pumpkins home and we're getting pumpkin scones - never had those and I love a good scone, me.

I could tell you how at the market I was praising lotties and growing your own to everyone who looked at a print of mine that had something to do with our plots or produce (of which there are a good few) but it was all an act, frankly I sort of missed the fact that my voice wasn't gone anymore and I am all better from that flu.
I moved  the majority of our gardening books into another more easily accessible bookcase on Friday. I love to see all those spines and think of all the wonderful words and pictures, the effort and love that went into producing each book. I adore the older ones with detailed line drawings and some advice that all gardeners would choke over now, just as much as I love the new books, bright with computer aided design and amazing photography. But I haven't picked up a single one; I feel somehow I don't want to be here next spring anyway.

Of course I will be here next Spring, unless I get run over by a bus, struck by lightening or spontaneously combust - I'm just so bloody stubborn I don't know if I could will myself to death at all!
Andrew was at the lottie for a while yesterday and I had 3 hours on my own at the market, it was the first time I'd tried it alone and I coped :) He was really pleased to finally get the weather and some time to work on the Broad Bean bed; sowing some directly into the soil and others into modules. Maybe its that special joy of seeing seedlings poke their tiny vibrant green tips through the soil that I am in need of, a bit of hope.

Like this popular photo that makes some people cry
'Hope in his Hand' - taken at the allotment on the day of the first pea sowing last year.

I'll write again, Andrew has plans and you deserve another one of my (even though I say it myself) truly excellent plans of the plots detailing what needs to change.
Hugs xxx

Wednesday 16 November 2011

The Hubby Ventures to the Lottie pt2

So let us continue with Andrew's interview ;)

Usually at this time of year we would both be working our biceps into big powerful 'guns' by doing the soil preparation. When he was there last weekend the soil was absolutely soaking and utterly unworkable in the areas that needed improvement, plus he was too ill to be getting into the heavy work anyway. But you aren't, right? I hope not anyway! So I suggest you get out there and dig, dig, dig, adding in glorious compost and poo and maybe some seaweed if you can get your hands on it. That is what we would love to be doing right now.

He did however tend to the compost trinity ;) Here are photos to prove it! The most rotted one is great sounding and Andrew turned it and added he own special improver to it (secret recipe), so we have half a big bin full and ready to go once we can get ourselves down to work.

The middle bin is decomposting really well and is already half full too and the third bin was filled up to the brim. Composting makes me happy - who on Earth would ever think I would say that! It's true though, I love compost and manure and seaweed more than the average person walking down the street. It's free and it makes everything on the plots so much happier, plus I don't actually do the turning so I never have to smell it whilst it's rotting only after when it just smells good and earthy, hahaha. I do muck in with the manure and seaweed gathering though - much to my shame I have had to go to Tesco afterwards stinking to high heaven!

Even great compost can't guarantee great crops though. I had to ask the question, 'what didn't do so well this year?' And it hurts but you just can't fight everything. This year in particular we suffered under the Leather Jacket - oh how I HATE them. We lost all our asparagus plants to the blighters and they were our 'special treat' crop, you know, the one you grow because you love it so much but just don't want to pay the extortionate prices for it in the shops?? Really once you get Leather Jackets in your soil, say goodbye to all the little friendly worms and your crops. Grrrrr. That whole bed is going to be ripped apart and started afresh.

We also had carrot failure this year for the first time. That has really made me sad as I love carrots and it has become a fun little ritual to go to the lottie on Christmas Eve and get lots of them and some parsnips etc for the Christmas dinners. I think it was simply the horrible weather this year, we have just had rain dumped on us all summer and autumn and the ground never really has a chance to dry out so they all rotted.

Lastly, we failed our fruit bushes and trees, they fell foul to pests and disease yes but we also didn't do enough to help them. We only tried the nematodes once or twice and didn't even cover them up with netting etc.  A lot of out fruit went straight into the mouths of the birds because we simply didn't have the time to get to the plot and collect things. Shame on us, really. I have been punished enough though, not a single blueberry was eaten by me this year and the bushes were so heavy with unripe fruit every time I saw year!

Monday 14 November 2011

The hubby ventures forth to the lottie

I am still ill, this is week 4 we're into now and the phlegm just keeps on coming, the cough is really irrating and I am blooming exhausted! Saturday was a glorious Autumn day, the sort that really makes you want to be outside skipping; crisp with deep blue skies and sunshine galore. But of course I had to stay inside and fill a bin with used hankies :(

Andrew though ventured forth to the lottie alone for the first time in weeks as he too has been ill. I decided to badger him into taking photos of everything and then interogated him afterwards so I could feel I was involved. Thus the next few wee updates will come from Andrew but through me :)

Andrew went with the purpose of getting the Garlic planted and harvesting some delicious crops for dinner, we were in desperate need for a homegrown, homemade lottie soup to soothe our souls.

Here is the view of 24a when he arrived. I personally don't think it's too bad after so much neglect just a little weedy and that grass - ggrrrr. Look at those lovley leeks and the chard in the background!

Well I saw a photo of Andrew planting the garlic but I have to put my hands up - like an great big idiot I have deleted it. It was a good photo too, but here is one from after the event where Andrew got some prickily branches and placed them over the bed to try and keep the birds away. I guess it's not a huge stretch to the imagination to think there are garlic cloves under there *shy smile*

Here, this will cheer us all up - a glorious harvest (and my belly is full of these ingredients right now as we have just had our second day of amazing allomtent soup!)

1st Parsnips and Jerusalem Artichokes

 Borlotti Beans

 A beautiful Leek and a Crown Prince Squash :)

And just to make your mouth water even more there was also butter beans, garlic and beef shin - yum!

I shall return with more of the story, more photos, a wee chat about the compost and Andrew's plans and dreams for the lottie :)


Thursday 3 November 2011

Do you believe in plants?

I desperately need someone to tell me that the ionic Phoenix and the idea behind one rising from the ashes of complete annihilation is true. I am in the pits of Hades my dear reader and have been there for a few weeks now.  I can't even see a sliver of light at the end of this, the longest darkest tunnel imaginable. I'm just taking each breath as it comes.

My depression has spiralled down, almost out of control. I am sure I need not spell it out to you; I have been in the darkest of places and thinking the worst of thoughts about life and the end of it. I tell you this not because I want to shock or gain your attention and love; I tell you this because I received a beautiful email today from someone I don't know, thanking me for writing honestly about my problems. It may sound odd to you, but that email has made me feel real and something of some small value. I thank that person, wholeheartedly x

I have to be honest, it is my way. No amount of Ecotherapy can help me at present and the world outside is been just a dark, grey place, barren of life's wonder and miracles, barren of love, of hope, of purpose. Today I watch the birds with mild interest but it's only to stop me looking at the state of the house and I have taken up my (imaginary) pen to write, to communicate with the world. I hope there is someone out there. I haven't felt this scared to publish a post before.

I am just like that little cherry tree in the garden, buffeted by the wind and swaying dangerously. If it wasn't for that stake in the ground, that support it would never have lasted this long. There is one blossom on it, one little tiny dirty pink dot of hope. I missed the bigger show, my eyes blinded by my emotional disorder.

I don't know where I am going with this, my mind is very confused these days. I think I just wanted to talk, I think I just needed to write this down, write about how I could see the allotment in hell recently and damn all seeds and soil improvement and even blogs. It all sounds like nonsense, this whole Ecotherapy thing. Maybe that is what you think too, I hope, in time, we both rise from the ashes and see the bigger picture.

Until then...namaste.