Thursday, 5 June 2008

Wednesday: 14 hour shift

(A busy few days and the dates on the posts will reflect what I did, not when I wrote about it!)

A little bit tired today, not surprising because I was mad enough to do nearly 14 hours in the garden yesterday (but that includes a break for coffee, for lunch, for chatting to the milkman, for chatting to David from Birds' Bistro, talking to the dog!) Husband was away on business and not due back until bedtime, the Hairy One woke up much earlier than usual and was walked and fed before 8.00am, so after an hour socialising with friends (euphemism for messing around on the PC with email!) I got the tools out.

First job was to finish preparing a flat area for 2 new compost bins to stand on. If this is a sign of things to come then digging at Bag End is not going to be my favourite task. Ground is so very, very hard and impacted from years of neglect and it is full of stones and tree roots. But after four back-breaking hours I had this:-

I also made a start on digging away soil on the public side of our fence where, for years, it has been piling up (possibly used to be where grass clippings were thrown?) and now is the time to clear it from the bottom of our lovely larch fence. A couple of palings have a tiny, tiny bit of rot at the bottom and I want this fence to last another 18 years which it is quite capable of doing - if it is not buried in soil.

Then I spent a couple of silly hours making a Log Box. A construction of my own design I have no idea what is going to live in it but there will be a hedgehog house at the bottom. I am going to fill this "box" with shrubby stuff, small log bits, not exactly a compost heap, nor a leaf mould cage. I have the space to experiment, plenty of logs and I think it looks nice. It will be interesting to see if we get Robin nesting in it next year. Not finished yet.

Lunch break and a distraction whilst the village milkman came to set up a delivery schedule followed by David from the Birds' Bistro. He stayed for a chat and helped assemble one of the "anti jackdaw" bird feeder cages I had bought (details later).

A bit of chainsaw work to tidy up one of the smaller piles of brush and timber (observation had concluded did not contain any nests) but the digging had tired my arms and shoulders and it was not a day to be running the saw, not when Husband was 300 miles away and I was on my own - the dog is useless at first aid. Instead I dragged loads more brush and rubbish to piles near the bonfire area.

(not going to burn the large logs at the back but all those piles have to go, fire has just been lit)

A break for some food and a chat with a friend (hello Dawn!). I waited until 6.30 to light the fire so that anyone working would have returned home and could shut windows if the wind turned. And then I lit the fire and fed it, and fed it, and fed it. Everything was so dry it burnt fast and fierce - easy to see how devasting forest fires get out of control. At times I had flames 20 feet high (dry Leylandii goes go up a treat!) and 3½ hours later put the last branch on the fire just as the light was going.

Canine One and I then sat with a cold bottle of beer and firegazed for half an hour until Husband came home (I had the beer, not the dog!). By the time we had walked around the garden and I had shown off my endeavours by torchlight it was 11.00pm - a 14 hour shift at Bag End. The shower which followed felt wonderful!


  1. The bonfire's made a huge difference to that area of the garden, there's something very primal and satisfying about a good burn-up, isn't there? Particularly when it's the dreaded Leylandii!

  2. Oh you could have waited to have - Brian loves them and would willingly have tended it for you, he used to be a boy scout and hasn't lost the knwck of lighting and maintaining a good bonfire!

  3. It's a man-thing isn't it Granny? Himself loves a good 'burn-up' as he calls it, and prides himself on lighting a bonfire with a single match.

    It certainly cleared the ground there Bilbo, if not the air!


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