Spring is trying to surprise us. It’s the last day of February and the daffodils have all pushed up their flower buds ready to burst into colour. Of course a few have already been up for a week or two – the odd little bunch here and there as if the daffodil community send out some scouts to check out the conditions and report back before they collectively decide the time is right.
It’s not just the daffs though, oh no, the cherry tree outside my front door has a grand total of three tiny pink flowers. There are more birds around and the sunlight is beginning to creep further and further down the back wall of our north facing little garden.
The veggie patch has a few die-hard parsnips, beetroot and carrots but really we’re in the realms of leeks, kale and a bit of spinach. A very sorry selection. The empty beds have been cleared and dug over and those that are destined for hungry vegetables have been fed with a bumper load of rotted chicken muck and covered over to keep the weeds out and give the worms time to do their thing.
Tomato and pepper seeds have germinated on the window-sill propagator and a few seeds sown in the greenhouse awaiting enough heat and light to spring into action.
This year, I’m trying out some early broad beans peas and carrots in the greenhouse to see if I can get a quick crop before temperatures rise to high for them. We’ll see what happens.
It's that time of year when the last of the flowers are in bloom while the leaves are falling from the trees. The vegetable garden is looking well past its prime with only the winter stock of roots and brassicas looking green and pretty. The corn, beans and pumpkins are pretty much done now, though a few courgettes are still hanging in there.
I'll have to start looking at making chutney with those last few bits and bobs but in the meantime, I'm going to see what's feasible for growing in an unheated greenhouse over winter.
After nine long months since our last proper break from work, we're finally on our annual holiday. It's good to take a really good, long break from everything and choose a system shut-down and reboot rather than a melt-down induced one.
Running your own business is rewarding, yes, but nothing ever really prepares you for the longevity of the bloody-hard-work stage, some ten years now. Surely things are supposed to settle down and run themselves? Apparently not. If you're in the same boat, you know how hard it can be to shut off. You need good staff who you can trust to keep things going while you're gone and a will of steel to enable you to put down your phone and switch off your email notifications. Even if you can manage that much, you can easily find yourself using those lazy hours to mentally plan your next business strategy rather than gazing distractedly at the view and deciding whether to have the carrot cake or shortbread slice with that luvly cuppa. Discipline in work and play!
Late summer is a fabulous time to be off. Kids are back at school and most people have already had their holiday and so the hoards are safely back at work. Tourist destinations are coming to the end of their season so it's quieter but not yet late enough to be disappointed by things closing down for the winter. This year, the temperatures are still pretty warm and the skies a clear blue. It reminds me of the summers of my youth, always warm and lasted forever. I don't think its the voice of nostalgia speaking, I genuinely think the seasons have been pretty messed up over the last fifteen to twenty years and we had very mild, very damp weather for so long, we've forgotten what it should be like.
With three weeks of relaxation ahead filled with pasties, scones and tea, I'm sure we'll find ourselves to be happier, calmer people heading into October.