Sunday, 15 August 2010

Antidote to anxiety

Everyone has a different way of dealing with being overwhelmed. Some will drink (which is fine but I can't stand the hangover) and some will down tools and go on holiday (great, but unless you have the previously mentioned secretary, gardener or dogsbody, all you come back to is the same problems you left behind plus a suitcase full of dirty clothes). Others will comfort eat (which will eventually make you fat) or go on a long shopping spree (fine until the credit card bill comes in).

I find it easier to grumble for no more than a day and then just bloody well get on with it! Management was - thankfully - working at home on Friday and decided by lunchtime that he could take his Blackberry into the garden just as easily as leaving it in his office.

A wheelbarrow full of carefully chosen timber became kindling. Normally takes ages but with us working together on the Swedish Splitter it was very gratifying to see how quickly we went. Last year we ran out of kindling around January, trouble is, we can't remember exactly how much we started with and it's a bit of a guess trying to decide what quantity we need for a whole winter. Yes, we can buy bags from the petrol station but that is not the point . . .

Whilst he had an important phone call I split logs and continuing the division of labour, he stacked them all (and I agree, he does a much neater job of it than I do)! A very satisfying Friday afternoon and we reckoned we'd probably spent as many hours working as we would normally manage on a weekend day.

How many times has Management spent all weekend helping me in the garden when he would (probably) have much preferred to be in a garage with motorbike bits? Today I returned the favour and helped him move the contents of one garage (workshop to be) into the newly painted one (long-term store) so that he could do more painting on Sunday.

Still found time to split some more log sections for kindling and cut all the grass at the front.

He painted, I split more kindling, tidied up the greenhouse by cutting back lots of surplus tomato foliage and took down some of the shading. We have lots of fruit formed on the large plants but it is not ripening, today is the first really hot day we have had for ages, perhaps that will help.

Worked out a way of bundling kindling up for ease of storing and bringing inside when it is cold, wet and we're in a hurry. Not too fiddly, quite satisfying and will make things much easier during the winter.

Moved larch slab, cleared up loads of ground elder and bramble from the front corner, attacked the two huge stumps with the chainsaw and together we rolled them both to what will, one day, be an evergreen hedge and herbaceous border. Whilst he finished painting I hacked back the long grass and we now have a semblance of order (by Bag End standards) in this area.

Looks very different to yesterday morning, (second photo).

Wrestling with my conscience over the ground elder- there is way, way more than shown in this picture of the big cherry stump. Try and dig it all out or glyphosate? I really don't want to use chemicals but trying to be realistic, I need to focus attention on the bed above the long curved wall. That must be dug over so I can get some hedging started without which we will never have any wind-protection on the other side of the garden.

In the process of moving one of the stumps I went flying. Yes, it is as painful as it looks but at least I didn't have a chainsaw in my hand at the time and is good for a sympathy vote!

What this delightful image does not show is is the nasty yellow tinge on one side and the fact that the bruise is nearly 5" across ...

Moussaka supper with home-grown aubergine taken al fresco with a fabulous view. Tired but happy and considerably less overwhelmed.


  1. It seems to have been a time for feeling overwhelmed, and you are not alone. I like your strategy for dealing with it!

  2. What are those 'orrible looking tomatoes - a beefsteak variety, I guess?

    Neat kindling station you have there! Mum used to put a handful of kindling in a newspaper wrap - she was so good at setting the fire, she just lit the paper & the fire lit itself.

    Impressive bruise you have there - is it in a show-off-able place??

    PS - last time I looked, 'working from home' did NOT mean 'playing in the garden with the log-splitter' {gg}

  3. Oh my goodness, you poor thing. That is some bruise. Hope hubby is treating you with a little tlc.

    I filled our log store with logs last week. Tiring isn't it? We ran out last winter, but it was an exceptionally cold one.

    Your garden looks really tidy, a job well done.
    Glyphosate, is something that I personally would not use but it is the best of the bunch.
    It is easy for me to say I would not use it, I have not had to deal with ground elder.....
    At the end of day you must choose what is best for you......I am sure used carefully it will be ok.

    Your garden got me quite exicited today, the thought of all that ground ready to be turned into a garden. Perhaps I should move and do it all

  4. That's pretty amazing progress for a weekend, I'm exhausted just reading about it all and you haven't even shown what management has been up to. Lovely toms, lovely shiner, I shalln't ask where it is ;o). If the ground elder's in an area you can mow regularly, it might be worth mowing for a season, but if you're keen to plant there next year, you're going to have to hit it hard with the chemicals. I'm impressed with your kindling store - typical hobbit organisation there :o). Is this a store you've purpose built? I'd be interested in seeing a picture from further out, we're trying to decide what to do with our kindling, it's currently in a blue jumbo bag that had building sand in it, and it's not very pretty.

  5. What lovely comments, thank you all, I think I'll reply individually.

    Scarlett - thank you for saying "hello". My "strategy" as you call it is not always this successful but experience has shown that eating, drinking, spending money or running away from a problem seldom works!

  6. Hazel, tomatoes are Costoluto Fiorentino (I think) but they are definitely a beefsteak.

    The bruise - not showing you in public! Right on the hip that I damaged last year ... thank Crunchy for Arnica.

  7. Thank you Cheryl, still not decided about the glyphosate.

    Your comment did make me smile because the garden quite excited ME tonight - have cut some more grass (will blog tomorrow) and all of a sudden it looks slightly less out of control than usual (but only very slightly).

    It was one of those lovely (albeit rare) occasions when I got a brief glimpse of how it might look in a few years time.

  8. SewAli, you feeling better today?

    Kindling store is a cheapo 6' x 2' shed we bought online last year. Picture of it on blog post for 26th June ("Pottering"). We put the internal shelf in. Am in all day tomorrow, call me if you want more pictures.

    I have a bit of perspex across the front/bottom but realised that just chucking kindling in there was getting messy and it was M's idea to make bundles. How much kindling did you use last winter? We're trying to make each bundle approx. one week's worth ...

  9. Pheww, I'm off to have a lie down, I'm exhausted just reading about what you achieved.

  10. Quiltsue, pfnar, pfnar, pfnar, when I think what you have done this year .... looking forward to the "reveal" {giggle}

  11. ouch Bilbo, and on your achy hip too.
    re. ground elder - I treated myself to the new River Cottage Handbook: Hedgerow last week (you know me and my foraging addiction!).
    Ground Elder leaves are edible apparently (up until it flowers when the leaves toughen up). The flavour of young leaves is said to be like Parsley and good in soups or quiche!

  12. That's a nice idea Nic, but trust me, there is no way anyone could use as much Parsley-a-like as we have here ...

  13. Catching up after my hols. That bruise is going to look like a Monet in a few days when it goes yellow/green.
    The garden is looking great.

  14. Thank you Mrs Flummery, yes - we are defnitely at the Monet stage.

    This morning the physio told me ""that's as bad a bruise as I have *ever* seen on someone who is still ambulatory" ..... in other words, bruise much worse than that and you'll be lucky to be walking! At least I haven't put the hip joint out again :}


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