Playing in the dirt

There is the Sunday morning gardener, clasping a large cup of coffee, well rugged up against the cold, ambling about one’s garden calmly noting all the lovely effects of a year of toil.

There is that placid calm of knowing that the year is drawing to a close…

And then there is me. Running late. About a month late. My chore list is so long it runs to three pages. There is underlining and asterisks and exclamation marks all over the pages.

And on Tuesday the mini digger comes.

See those white marking lines in the dirt? Walls are going up. And that gorgeous almond tree is coming down.

That concentrates the mind. This morning I bounded out of the door with a mad gleam; utterly thrilled to be out in the sunshine and in the garden. At last. (Slight diversion in Prague for three days throwing out my schedule.)

And the only rambling about the garden was the one where I was trying to work out where I am going to try and transplant the poor almond which had done nothing wrong. Except for being a right plant in the wrong place.

I think I’ll transplant it here across the road and hope it doesn’t cark it over the winter.

Naturally it wasn’t the dawn start I had hoped. In my mind I was out at 7. In actuality it was more like 930am before the sticks went in the soil to mark the spot.

There was the necessary Power Hour of fast walking first thing. And that was an event slowed by the fact I ran into not one but three gentlemen with their dogs on my usually very quiet road.

One was a hunter taking out a very young and very untrained puppy. (Ears bigger than his body, all floppy and flappy.) Another who was looking for one dog he misplaced last night by leading a yelping one to attract attention. And finally my neighbour from way down the mountain, taking his titchy little terrier for a long lope round the forest trails and marvelling at that thing called sun.

Tardy, tardy. I didn’t begrudge the chatter. But I had a garden just crying out for attention. So as soon as was polite – the dearth of girolles mushrooms being the subject du jour – I was into the dirt.

I’m not going to waste a bucket of this stuff. This is permaculture work. Dismantling precious soil and seeing it taken away in the bucket of a bulldozer. This farm has seen nothing but this sort of wrenching and shoving this year.

And it is a painful business. I have come up with plans where I want the gorgeous stuff moved to. Not far away so I can rebuild when all this destructive stuff is done.

What a shame it’s in the place where I have stockpiled the gravel. So that took half the day. Unlike the workmen, I’m a small bucket of gravel at a time. And speed is the word when you hire a mini digger for a day. They have a lot to excavate and I don’t want to slow them down with those whiny voiced pleadings asking to shovel gravel out of the way first.

I’m trained. They are trained. Destruction starts Tuesday.