Weasel
I seem to have divided opinion with my latest sighting on the allotment.

I like Weasels! There I have said it. I haven’t seen many in my life and nearly always just a fleeting glimpse as they run across a road. I was thrilled therefore when I saw one a matter of feet away whilst I was sat in the greenhouse, and was able to take a picture of it on my phone. When I mentioned this on Facebook the response was certainly divided.

Some shared my opinion that this was a rare sighting of an animal that is to be admired for its beauty and its fearlessness against animals far bigger than itself.

However many people seem to still associated them with death and destruction. “They will kill all your chickens in a night”, I have read on one site, another even accused them of killed geese and a lamb, but the picture shown was not of a weasel but a mink.

I am going to still get a thrill whenever I see one, and if I ever get the chickens I am going to make the run and coup like the bank of England vault.

I am no expert on this creature, but I am wondering if weasel is also used as a generic term any of the Mustela Genus, such as mink and stoat.

As a quick side note if your boys like reading animal based books, try and search out a book called Kine, I remember reading that book as a young boy and it got me interested in nature and wildlife.

Advertisements

As promised yesterday here is a picture on my plot as it stands, but from the other direction, and featuring my lovely greenhouse.  Which I might add is already paying its way with seedlings doing their thing in there. When I say paying for itself, it was free via friends on Facebook, and they say FB is just a waste of time.

In case anyone was wondering the two plants nearest the camera are two pieces of a Red hot poker (Kniphofia) the variety yet to be known, but which I am reliably informed is very large healthy specimen  which I have just divided and rescued from a tyre planter which was here before me.  If tyres are your thing that’s great but they are not mine and so that coupled with the fact it was in the way meant it had to go.

Spring came to Manchester last week, but it seems it was only passing through and there is a noticeable chill in the air now. Which is not what you want on your first year on a new allotment. Apple trees are still dormant, raspberry plants I would expect to be in leaf by now are also showing little signs of growth and seedlings are well behind already.

This weather is at least giving me more time to get the ground works done on site and to that end this weekend I intend transporting the 5 front doors I bought off eBay for £4.95 for the lot to the allotment and incorporating them along with 3 double glazed windows (free) into a nice little Shed. Every allotment needs a shed, it might even be the law!  I don’t intend storing much in mine simply because I have been told tales of break ins galore on the site a couple of years ago, but still it will make for a place to store netting etc, and to do some potting up of the young plants.  Not to mention there is no toilet on site and the bucket has to go somewhere.

Then I am hoping that the site gets a nice big delivery of wood chippings as I haven’t finished the paths yet as you can see.

I also need to work out a way of creating some shade, as proven by this weekend when I managed to burn the top of my head whilst pottering about.  I am thinking some kind of edible living pergola but haven’t got that much spare room left so if anyone has any suggestions all are welcome.

I also intend making a table and chairs from old scaffolding boards but that can be the subject of another post.

I best spend some time in the garden at home as well this weekend as that lawn is not going to cut itself.

That was Then

Back in October I posted a picture of the plot as I received it. I thought people might be interested to see how it is progressing, so here is a picture taken today.

There is still a lot of work to do but I hope you agree its looking better than it was. The covering is wood chippings which the site gets as and when they become available. As you can see I need a fair bit more but it will do for now.

I will later post another picture from the other end, and please ignore everything to the left of the path to the left of the picture as that bit isn’t mine.

The pile of wood in the middle of the picture at the back of the plot is the start of the shed I mentioned in my last post and beside that is a previous tenants junk heap.

Apart from tending the plants the next job is a good clean up, taking what needs to go to the tip to the tip, and storing what needs storing in the right place.

I have been very slack with the blog for a while, as most of the work on the plot has been weeding, as it has been just too cold for much else, but things are moving on now.

It’s been an lovely weekend with 4 hours yesterday and Saturday spent on the allotment, Nurturing seedlings, and getting a base ready for the home made shed to be build from old double glazing units. Very Heath Robinson but that’s what I like.

A couple of weeks ago, I was able to get a free 8 x 6 Greenhouse and with a little help that is now on site and up, it even has seedlings growing in it.

Rather than a fence I wanted to make a hedge to separate the site from the communal path. I thought of using something spikey to keep out the naughty boys but unless I continue that all the way round the site access would not be too hard and it would take up too much room. It is only a half plot after all.

June Berry Amelanchier lamarckii

June Berry

Instead I have chosen to go with a bush that is hardy in the UK has good blossom in the spring, the foliage turns bright red in the autumn and most importantly can provide Fruit. My solution was June Berry or Amelanchier lamarckii.

I have never tasted them but the berries are supposed to taste like sweet apple, which sounds good to me.

I have recently read a great book, that has helped cement my thought process with regard to the way I live my life and how I can both improve my lifestyle and my surroundings   My allotment will play a part in this change but more than that, I have started changing the way I look at the relationships between our actions and their effects on the environment and our society.

This all sounds a bit heavy but it really is the opposite, its about chilling out a bit and for the people that know me that alone is a lesson well learned, but also asking myself if the item I am about to buy will  improve my life or could I do with out it.  Its about only buying what I need, and therefore eliminating the need to earn as much money, thus freeing up spare time to do other things like right this blog, and spread the word, spend time on my allotment or walking the dog.

Your choices of what to do in your spare time may be different to mine, but why not have that choice?

The fact is that we have already past the point where oil was easy to get at (aka Peak Oil), therefore from now on oil and oil based products are going to get dearer. This isn’t a comfortable truth if you consider how much of what we consume and the packaging that it comes in is oil based. Much as I would like to be able to do without these things I can not easily do so. My solution just buy less and make the choice to by natural low impact products where possible, else recycle and try to reduce my dependence on all things oil.  Its a step in the right direction rather than the goal but every little helps.

I am not talking about doing without, just not over endulging. I will still have a nice glass of wine, but just have enough rather than too much.

Its just a thought, but I think the right one.

Below is a link to the Amazon page, where you can get more reviews etc and if you want buy the book.
Enough: Breaking Free from the World of Excess

I have spent my entire working life as a business owner, always on a small scale but always with a healthy appetite for good hard work, and a lust for that buzz that comes from the new deal or just doing something really well.  However, since the recession started, I found I was working harder and harder for less and less money.  This along with some other negative things happening in my life,  has led me to the realisation that I may well be going about things all wrong.  I found that when I got upset I would distract myself by going out (or more likely going on the internet) and buying something else I probably didn’t need, not the best idea when money is tight.

I don’t think I am the only one who feels this way either, I know people in very well paid jobs, but who work 18 hours a day or more, as a result, don’t get to see there kids and so go and spend some money on the kids, to compensate.  Most kids, if you ask them, will likely tell you either verbally or in their actions that they would rather have you around and focused on them.

We are hard wired to some degree to seek more, but this pre dates our time of abundance,where frankly we seek and find… far too easily.  Perhaps its time for us to take a step back, decide; do we really need that new shiny car that’s got a new bell and a new whistle?

I realise most people including myself have commitments such as a mortgage and frankly I don’t want to loose my house and so will carry on working, but perhaps I will trade the new car for a little more time to do the things I want to do.  I admit that I am of an age where this change in outlook could well be a mid life crisis, but having put a fair bit of thought into the subject I very much doubt it.

This new outlook is exciting, because as humans we need to learn new things, and frankly at 40 something, and 20+ years in the same business, I was finding less and less opportunity to do this in my working life, and my job is varied and often interesting! I had hit a brick wall where I was no longer seeing opportunities for progression, I know they are there, I just couldn’t let myself see them.

I have now started reading about things like permaculture, polyculture, peak oil and rocket stoves, and loving every minute of it  (Nearly).   As already mentioned I have taken on an allotment.  So please keep an eye on this blog, and feel free to comment and perhaps we can go on a journey of discovery together.

couch grass

Is it wrong to dream about ro0tes, and see them when you close your eyes?

Well I do, I have spent the best part of my spare time over  the last couple of months digging out this little white root, it really is everywhere, and I guess when you spend that long looking at something it burns itself onto the back of your eye. Or perhaps into your psyche.

There have been other interlopers as well but couch grass has certainly found a home on my plot.

When not preoccupied with this dreaded weed, I have found time to put wood chip paths in around half of the plot, build 4 new raised beds that each measure 14 ft by 4 ft.  My reasoning being that the boards were 14 ft long and I am lazy, and 4 ft is a good size for easy reach.

There was a good strimmer session initially to take out the worst of the top growth and let me see what I was looking at, besides which I kept falling over bricks hidden by the top growth, not to mention the holes that my poor aching ankles kept finding.

SHED?

A friendly builder has given me some old house windows, that he took out of a house he was renovating, and I bought 5 exterior doors and these combined should be enough for the bulk of a potting shed. (Those doors cost 99p each off ebay, and therefore much cheaper than timber.)  I am now just waiting for some roofing material and some 2×4 to present themselves for either very little money or free.  Meanwhile I will take the time to clear a giant compost /soil heap and distribute it around the various raised beds, this will then give me space for the said Potting Shed.

%d bloggers like this: