Don’t fence me in

Whose a clever clogs? I have been power walking past this field of clover for about a week and each morning the thought has popped into my head: ‘must take a snap of that, bet it won’t last.’

And yesterday I did. And today the farmer has ploughed it in.

So I’m delighted to have captured it on film rather than just in my mind.

Which rattles these days. So hurrah for taking one’s iPhone on a power walk. And actually keeping up the walking despite all the pressing demands on my time.

I started this lark in February in the depths of despair over the residence permit request, the political debates, and the need to distract if not my mind, then my body from it all. Nothing much has been resolved over my residence, our residence, or Brexit. But at least I have something concrete to show from three months. Which is more than one can say about the British politicians.

And it is marvellous. I’m aerobically fitter, happier, and a daily sweat fest really does take your mind off weightier matters. At first I thought: well, I’m active all day. Very healthy. But there is something special about a dedicated moment of the day. And dare I say a pointless one. No goal in mind but one’s health.

It turns out that I can do a great 5km walk from the farm, up to the Chateau, down to the stone bridge, turn around and haul myself back up the same way and be home in under an hour. Traffic – two cars at most. Four on a bad day. And now that I have trained the very elderly Alsation hound who lives at the Chateau not to bark as I zip past, it’s very peaceful. I have three other walking routes from the house, but all involve baying hounds who are THRILLED to have a human on foot going past. We are a rare breed round here indeed.

But it’s late spring and I march on and so does time and the caterpillar breeding season.

So for your Tuesday delectation I present the new look cabbage cage at the top potager.

I can’t tell you how many hours I spent drooling over Fruit Cages and other such expensive fripperies in brochures over the years. Instead this is my DIY version and so far, so good. And so inexpensive.

Very cheap 2m lengths of reinforced concrete rods pushed into the ground. Hose pipe (stiff variety) fed into the tops. Netting secured over the lot. I scavenged the hose from the farm. And the rods came from the builders’ merchants. Less than 30 euros for 18 metres of sturdy 10mm rods which they cut down from the 6m lengths into actually-fit-into-the-car 2m ones.

And for the first time in 13 years I won’t have to stoop inside the cage. Yay.

I’ve even started the mass spring planting out of the cavolo Nero kale. I haven’t pulled up last year’s ones, as the are still producing juicy leaves. But as they fade, I’ll add more of the new.

Yes, yes crop rotation and all that. I must attend. And mulch. But fancy being able to stand upright and smile at the white cabbage moth butterflies as they hover outside trying to find the way in.