Autumn surprise

I managed to get the time zone wrong last night and set the alarm to wake me up at 6am rather than 7am. Irksome, but actually it did mean that I could start my day that little bit earlier. Wood to collect, fire to light, emails to read, dawn to wait for. I was itching to see if the little grass seeds have germinated.

As soon as it was light I went out to check the lawn. No lawn. But I have put up the barriers just in case the seeds germinate and this should stop people walking across it.

It has been cold of the unseasonable variety today. Lynn was reminding me this morning that this time last year the children were swimming and the weather was gorgeous. Still, hauling soil keeps you warm; especially the heat around the nerves in the sciatica and spine. I have added more soil to the lilac bed to bulk it out. I will wait for it to settle and then add a bit more. I removed the last of the mulch from the top compost area, and then covered it with a layer of the proper soil.

The soil has been looted from just in front of the potting shed door. Juicy stuff, and plenty of worms. I can’t wait to landscape this area it’s a bit of a dead zone right now. And I must track down Michel the tree surgeon (he is phone-less at the moment) and get him to raise the canopy of the chestnut trees around this area for future flower happiness.

The chestnuts drop an awful lot of leaves, fruit and burrs. Yes, burrs. I couldn’t for the life of me remember what they were called. So I called home and spoke to my ever knowledgeable father. Another reason for calling was to ask how Ruth and Bill get rid of their chestnut burrs after they fall. Having close family friends with a chestnut farm is a very useful mine of information and I intend to quiz them and inspect carefully when I am next at Mt Irvine.

Here is a lovely picture of them serenely posing under their chestnut trees for a magazine article. It sits on my desk beside me as inspiration. Having our chestnut trees on steep slopes means that to have such a picnic here would involve climbing harnesses and sturdy shoes.

How does Bill get rid of the burrs? He mows them. A sit on mower and under the trees and off he goes. Gad I’m jealous.

No time for pouting, it was time to go back out into the increasingly cold weather to work on the weeds around the potting shed flower garden. Must come up with a better name for these areas. They are all so much potential now and not much more and their rather bland names reflects their status. Maybe one day they will be the sedum garden, or the Pheasant’s tail grass garden. We shall see.

There were plenty of weeds to remove and soil to pile up in this area. So on with the fork and spade and the heavy lifting. This soil is destined for the future little terraces we are going to have on the slope. So I need to keep it out of the way of the landscaping of the flat terrace. It’s going to be an autumn project.

But as I was digging I kept looking up at the sky and marvelling at nature’s other plans. This isn’t autumn. It’s winter. And it’s snowing. Rather heavily in fact. So I did about an hour of damp work and then scuttled inside for plan B.

Painting. This living room ceiling is about to get a makeover. Wish I could wave my wand and have it transformed. Instead there’s about ten days of work up there, all aching neck and straining and drips of paint on the glasses. Bliss.