Friday, 4 August 2017

Taking stock, and an unexpected visitor

In his corporate days, one of Management's greatest strengths was to go into companies who had difficulties and help troubleshoot them into a better place.

Ever since he retired, we have both noticed a common theme is my belly-aching about the amount of work to do in the garden, but making very little progress.  With an unerring ability to notice what is not being said, Management asked recently "when you're outside, are you doing the jobs which really need doing, or are you doing the tasks which are relatively easy to complete?"  Did I mention he also has a tendency to go straight for the questions that everyone else (me?) ignores?  No chance of an elephant hiding in the room when he's about :)

And so it was, that at the beginning of the week, outside we went:  me pointing out everything I wanted to do and Himself writing it all down.  There was then a fairly long interlude whilst a frighteningly large spreadsheet came into being.   It is actually less daunting having it all written down than the constant figurative 'spinning of plates' as I try to keep track of it all in my mind.  

This is just the tasks which (for "kicks and grins") we labelled as ideally being accomplished in the next two weeks.

Oh, stop laughing at the back there ..... a combination of Cumbrian weather, an overall lousy summer and an absolute doozy of a cold means we've got nearly to the end of the first of those weeks with only one teeny line item ticked off.

We will ignore how ticked off I am 😡   This was the scene a couple of nights ago which says something about how chilly it has been and how knocked out I have been.  Tonight's weather forecst on Channel 4 warns of 'dangerously high temperatures' for those venturing to southern Europe, but parts of the UK are likely to fall to single figures - sheesh - but I should not be surprised, mid-July there was a FROST WARNING in Scotland one night.

An unexpected visitor on Friday afternoon left us with "a little present" on the drive that means should I ever get to the point where all the garden is weeded I certainly have more than enough bark chip to mulch the living daylights out of the soil!

With the school holidays in full swing we've made the decision not to attempt any caravan trips until the end of the month, which - theoretically - leaves me with a lovely big window of opportunity to crack on in the garden. 

Wish me luck  😛

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Good riddence July, you've been a thorough disappointment

July started by being a snarky disappointment and maintained that attitude for the next four weeks.  My little walking trip in the Pennines was washed out at the last minute when the weather disobeyed the forecast which had been issued, and the rest of the month took notice and followed suit.

I don't think I can remember a mid-summer month that has been so wet and unsettled.  Apart from occasional days it has also been bloomin' cold for the time of year with the woodburner on one night, and even when it's dry there is no residual heat in the ground to make sitting outside after supper something we can contemplate.  Even the Met Office admits it's been crappy 😕

The slugs however, are having a bonanza of a season.  Despite a thorough application of Nematodes the slimy little sods have decimated my runner beans and destroyed both the Japanese spinach and Purslane I was so looking forward to adding to salad bowls.  Emerging carrots haven't stood a chance, and sluds have also demolished my cosmos, marigolds and dahlia sowings, and the echinacea plants I was so keen to grow from seed haven't stood a chance.  I've realised this is one of the reasons I have blogged so little in the last couple of months - I am thoroughly demoralised, disheartened and discouraged this season and it's a feeling I am struggling to shake.

The only thing the slithery little sods are not eating is the weeds and oh baby, do we have weeds.  Loads of rain and a disspirited gardener who is not outside enough to keep on top of them and we are very, very close to an afternoon spraying "magic water".  I try my best to use no pesticides and be as completely organic as I can, but there are occasions (and outbreaks of ground elder) where those principles just cannot be maintained.

Yeah, I'm unnecessarily grumpy but now I've said it outloud I can move on and get a grip on sorting out some of the problems - when I'm recovered from the raging sore throat and jelly legs that a brief summer cold has shared with me 😡😡