I’ve crammed in all sorts of fun things today. All in a celebratory mood as I finished all the indoor chores last night and went up to the town tip first thing this morning.
Twice in three days is quite a record. And boy does it feel great to have divested myself of two car loads of junk. The recycling bins were clanging merrily as I unloaded unwanted jars, bottles, magazines, bags and bags of paperwork, and almost a dozen flimsy fruit boxes which had been mouldering in the cellar, holding random bits of wood and sticks.
So I struck out into the garden with my planting tools (sturdy fork and trowel, plus pathetic bulb planter which hurts your hands) and sacks of daffs and curious bulbs. I put in 50 Narcissus White Marvel, 100 fat Rijnveldt’s Early Sensation and a few of the 200 Allium Purple Sensation bulbs in new parts of the garden.
And for the first time in six years I’ve actually managed to put the nets up around the best of our chestnut trees to catch the nuts. Once they hit the ground they fall prey to small grubs which make annoying little inroads and lay eggs.
If I can keep them off the ground over the next week I might even have a grub free crop. That’s the curse of having to go away for even six days during chestnut season. One big storm and all the burrs seem to drop.
A few were actually dropping as I planted daffodils under the white mulberry tree in the duck pond garden area. Artur was valiantly supervising but one sharp spiky grenade landed too close to his head and he scuttled away. I (smart and prepared) was wearing a hat.
But any chestnut farmer will tell you that the pain of a burr landing a direct hit on the head or back is not soon forgotten.
Wait one minute. Chestnut farmer? Are you calling yourself a chestnut farmer now? How pretentious. Even if you do live on a chestnut farm.
How about a trainee chestnut farmer then? It’s the same way I call myself a trainee peasant. I’ll never muster the proper harvest of all these hundreds of trees. I can picture the Scrivs chortling when they see the pictures of my one pathetic net under a tree. They have the most magnificent ‘orchard’ of perfectly tamed and prepared chestnuts and walnuts. All in orderly rows, grafted and nurtured and cropped.
Ours meanwhile are over tall, gangly, growing in bad spots, and liable to drop their precious nuts in hard to reach areas that involves not just brambles, tall granite terraced walls but self sown seedlings as well. I’m just relieved Uncle Bill has never cast his expert eye over my work.
Still, I’m having lots of fun. And I even managed to pick a small bucket of walnuts too. I’ve beaten the stone martens and the door mice to the crop for once. There will be plenty more for them. But it is pleasing to be one step ahead of the mountain’s creatures for once.