Thursday 28 July 2016



Life, I just don't 'get' it, why is it so hard, so painful, so full of angst and disappointment? There's something in me that constantly wants it to change; the struggles are too great (and as my personal troubles are in my brain, no one can truly free me from that consistent fight), and the beauty, hard to find. I need a break, I think we all do.

The allotment called to me last Saturday and I answered; longing to find answers, peace, anywhere I may find it. Andrew and Maggie were happy to have me around and I took things slow, even stopping for tea and a snack along the way.
24a - left side and right :)
wild flowers from the hedgerow and time for a break
I couldn't help but tackle some of the worst areas. Yes, you know where....14b. I spent an hour clearing big weeds, some taller than me and many stronger too. It did feel good to make a difference and now the little squashes are going to get more light and room and nutrients. They best taste good!
before and after - squash patch 14b
Sad thing is I know that the next time I go back there is much more of this battle with nature to come. It just keeps coming, I just keep ultimately losing. Oh and of course there's the anxiety and depression to continue fighting whilst I'm there. It feels like I live life as though I'm walking on paper thin tissue paper; always the fear of the fall through and the fall out.

Good things did happen. Andrew pruned the gooseberry patch and the Echlinville apples were finally tided up; the espaliered nature of them is so pleasing to the eye. I know for certain that I felt good being useful for a while. And there was no one else there, just lots of birds, some sweetly singing, many squawking.
Consulting the Dr. and getting the espaliers done right!

I got to harvest the first of our blueberries, and red gooseberries, ha! - All for us and not one for those pesky pilfering, no good birds. Years, it's been years since we had any but the fruit cage has worked wonders and it's almost too much, haha.
Anxiety did take over, naturally. Strong feelings of paranoia and of just shear embarrassment at being me and outside of the house. That saw me going home but Andrew soldiered on :)

I don't know where I am in this world, a seed poorly nurtured, grown up deficient in what it needed and now, an imperfect plant with so many problems that if you had me in your garden or plot, you'd have no hesitation in ripping me out.
Thank goodness Andrew sees through that, maybe he loves the challenge of growing and helping me, maybe he sees beauty in the ugly. I'm just so thankful for him (and the delicious harvests). xx

Carrie x

Friday 22 July 2016

Playing Catch Up ~ 1

It's been a while dear friends, can you tell my heart just isn't in it these days?

The allotment is a foreign place to me now even though it is but a moments drive away. Andrew is soldiering on but even he is feeling downhearted about the place, for example last night he had things to do but instead spent an hour mowing paths that the council neglect to do; what a waste of his time.

We've had some serious talks about giving up; about only keeping 24a and stopping 14b; of whether we would care if it all burned down one day.... and the answers, well, we would care. We don't need to put so much mental and psychical effort in but we are keeping it and are going to start reigning back the time and efforts spent therein. - 24a overview
24a - looking good if you ask me ( I can't show you the disappointing bits, too upsetting)

So much time, energy (psychical and mental), money and love has been poured into those little slices of 'Eden' and so little has been received in turn. Plus now the plots are truly in their worst states in the A field at least, many friends have left, there is absolutely no community atmosphere and the barren ground, diseases and weeds are really taking their toll.
produce 24a -
Recent produce (plus potatoes) and the garlic lifted

'Be the change you wish to see in the world', has long been a motto of mine, but let me tell you, there is only so much an already mentally ill girl can take and I am saturated.

So - this blog shall continue to log our allotment efforts and gains but now I shall be talking about Ecotherapy as a whole in my life and not limiting it to Allotmentherapy alone. I/We have 'refound' camping and hiking and life is looking like one of adventure and exploration as only last week showed in glorious (almost blinding) technicolor.

We camped out in a tent for the first time in years last week and I journalled, talked to strangers and took photographs (ones to prove I was camping, hahaa, AND fine art ones), a part of me coming back to life! It was scary, it was noisy but Andrew and Maggie were there and all was well.

Then we also hiked for 8 miles on Friday with amazing friends. Up in the Mourne Mountains, I still can't believe I did it but we have photos to prove it! With my double vision, it was more of challenge than one would imagine, plus I fainted about a quarter of the way in, but my stubbornness pushed me forward and, what?, I walked from the Trassey Trail to Bloody Bridge (Walk 16 in the book The Mournes Walks).

Mournes lunch -
Lunch time :)
I've been asleep ever since and only today am I starting to feel human again but I think I may have caught the bug. This ecotherapy is passive and yes you give A LOT but boy do you receive A LOT in return.

Anyway, my love to you all as always,
We shall still 'Grow Our Own' but now we shall also be just generally 'Growing'

Wednesday 6 July 2016

The allotment without me

This is a super huge catch up post and boy does it make me feel all the feels. I'm embarrassed and ashamed as Andrew has done everything himself, I'm proud of him, I'm sad that it doesn't interest me and actually being there causes panic, and I'm amazed that the plots around us are in such a wild state that it feels so pointless to even try - is this all a waste of time?! ~ an allotment blog
plot just before ours - ggrrrr
So Andrew and I were coming home from a trip to Belfast on Sunday and he needed to go in to the plots to get some food for us. Ahh, sneaky - that got me there off guard for the first time in months. I could have stayed in the car but I walked down, just with my phone and had a wee look. Here, this is proof that I was in fact, literally there - ~ an allotment blog

OK so this is the first born plot, the original and the best. The one that once won 'Best Allotment Garden' and which this blog was all about for a long time. It still feels like the important one; there sits the shed, the benches, the compost bins, the soil there has my blood, sweat, tears and adrenaline in it from those first exciting months of allotmenteering.

what you can see here: (with thanks to Andrew typing these lists!)
* left side - courgettes, sweetcorn, broad beans, french beans, mangetout
* right side - kale, kohlrabi, purple sprouting broccoli, garlic, beetroot, parsnips, carrots, spring onions, turnips. ~ an allotment blog
standing at the entrance to 24a

Okay, so it's ours too; in fact is was gotten under my name. However, the blackberry, rhubarb, poppies and roses are the only things I ever feel a connection with. Andrew has worked so damn hard over there but the asparagus has failed (I saw one frond) and I have been too ill to use the rhubarb this year or look after any flowers.

Good new is the woodland area trees are looking good and there is a nice wee under planting of herbs. I forgot to take a photo but hey, these are all terrible phone photos anyway :) ~ an allotment blog
back half of 14b ~ an allotment blog
a tidy up and this would show some nice flowers and many to come
We have thought often about giving this half plot up but when you think of the money pit it has been and the hours of work to get it to this stage were food is growing it breaks your heart. Plus 3 sides of it are coming down with weeds up to my thigh height with mostly grasses, nettles, dandelions and other unwanted seeds constantly floating over - arrghhhh. ~ an allotment blog

I only managed about 5 mins there this first time and then I had a panic attack and had to run to the safety of the car. Thank goodness I have been taking my hayfever medication though, it could have been deadly!

So far this year we have been eating *

broad beans
spring onions
potatoes (grown in big pots)
mini carrots

With much love and hopes for more blog posts (and much better photography) to come,
Your Carrie xx

Friday 1 July 2016

A thank you

 'The world will give you that once in a while, a brief term out; the boxing bell rings and you go to your corner, where someone dabs mercy on your beat-up life' 
From the book 'The Secret Life of Bees' by Sue Monk Kidd

Those dabs have come from a few lovely people who have taken the time to not only think of me but let me know they are. There is more magic elixir in that kind act than I could hope for.

The fight is still ongoing and the mental illnesses are still certainly winning more times than not, however seeing little notes of love today gave me strength. Strength to rest all day even though I hate being unproductive and 'lazy', but then, strength to do 2 hours of healing yoga.

I truly thank you.
Carrie xx

By the way, Andrew and Maggie remain awesome and keep me alive everyday - I LOVE YOU so much, my wee family x