Just Keep Digging

Now J is back at work, I am trying to grab every hour, when the rain is not falling or the girl is not throwing a super strop, to dig the veg plot.  It is still remarkably slow going, so slow in fact you would barely notice I have been out there toiling away at all.  With each trench I dig I tell myself it’ll be the next one that really makes the big difference; that really shows how far we’re getting.  And as each trench progresses, I realise it still looks like we have an awfully long way to go and it doesn’t really look like we’re getting anywhere.  We finally have some seedlings starting to show their heads in the propagator (leeks, cauliflowers, lettuce and cabbage so far) and so the pressure to get it all done and the soil warmed, ready to be a lovely home for, what will of course be, our bumper crop of veg, increases some more.

Cauliflower seedlings

It was a rather glorious day in our corner of Cumbria today, the sun was shining, the birds were singing and the children seemed happy to entertain themselves and so I was hoping for a fairly productive day.  Alas, it was not to be.  The problem with the patch is, it is full of rocks, and when it isn’t rocks it’s; bits of old wire, baler twine, broken glass, rope, lids off paint pots, paint pots, metal fixings from the old cow sheds, insulation, as well as anything and everything else someone thought to chuck in 20 or so years ago.  This afternoon I have discovered a drain pipe.  I think it’s a cast iron one.  I’m not exactly sure how long it is, but it revealed itself as I dug down.  I have tried my trusty pickaxe (we’re vaguely falling out at the moment as my wrist is starting to get sore) and it moved very slightly, but this suggests to me there is a whole lot more of it, buried beneath the as yet undug section of the garden.  This is very annoying.  This now means I need to leave this section of the current trench unfilled and move onto the next area to attempt to uncover the pipe, if I can uncover enough hopefully I’ll be able to lever it out, if not I’ll just have to keep digging along until I can.  Of course, I could just leave it in there, it’s quite a long way down and I don’t imagine it’ll interfere that much with any plants.  But I’ll know it’s there, and it’ll annoy me.  So it must come out.  Anyway, I might be able to think of something to do with it, I’m sure there must be some good repurposing to do with old drainpipes.

This discovery though really slowed me down today, and so I only got half of what I’d hoped done, not helped by the fact it started raining later in the afternoon, I tried to ignore it for a while but then it got heavier and I’m not a great nurse so I didn’t want the kids to get ill, so I decided we should all probably head indoors.  As the final tool went into the shed the sky turned blue and the rained stopped.  Consequently the air around me also turned blue at the audacity of the weather.

In addition to my usual audience of sparrows, more neighbours have also started to notice that somethings going on in our garden and been joking with me about how much of a big job it is, that they thought we’d got Time Team in such is the extent of the trenchwork.  They also happily tell me that when the barn was converted all the rubbish was chucked on the patch (to be fair, we had been warned before we started), something which I am well aware of due to the hours of digging the rubbish out, and which the humongous rock pile (our second so far) and the bin bags of general detritus is testament to.

Three trenches worth of rocks

However, despite my moans and groans (which can probably be heard for miles around as I throw rocks and rubbish around the garden), I know we’ll get there and I am still very excited about seeing it all done and I’ll be even more excited when I get to pick the first fruits (or veg to be precise) of our labour.  It is, and will continue to be for some time, hard work but it does mean that I have a pretty good idea of the quality of the soil (assuming I don’t totally ruin it working in all weathers), I’ll know that (most of) the rubbish will be gone before we’re planting and I get that nice “we did that” feeling when I look at the garden.  It also gives me an excuse to gorge myself on all the leftover Christmas chocolate without, too much, guilt.


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