Scraping and scrimping

What is that condition called? Vibration white finger. The beloved affliction of jack hammer operators and compensation injury lawyers alike. And I know just how they feel. My fingers zing. But it’s not as painful a sensation as ripping out stinging nettles, so hey. Not a bad day. I have been strimming and mowing. And I will show you pictures as soon as I go back out after lunch and look for my camera. I must have dropped it in the long grass on one of my long peregrinations.

I spent the day skirting the sun; up early to do the pool. Then set to in the vegetable bed. With the system of cloches you can always raise the height of the structure by reeling in the string that holds the sides together. So first off I tightened the cloche on aubergine plants. They are growing up too well and I don’t want to strangle the leaves. I have one aubergine flower already which is fun.

Then moved on to the other cloche nearby and pruned the land cress and the salad. Pretty weed free which is great, and the lettuce are fine.

Next I watered all the grasses before the sun reached too high; and then as I was watering down behind the piano area behind the pool I decided to remove all the accumulated small stones from gap between piano and the rough track. Gravity tends to send all these small bits of granite to the edges of the lawns. Sorry I can’t give it a better description of the precise area – never really landscaped there before; it’s just the access track for pool construction but it’s looking like I can link up the lawns and make the mowing easier in future.

Then out came the strimmer. And it roared to life. So off I went with a trot. I strimmed bits all around the terrace bank- you can’t see the flowers for the weeds and then hacked back the entrance to the top potager. It’s hard to open the gate to get in right now.

Then it was time to whizz down the walnut path to make walking up there easier. Meadow equals thicket right now. We have sown grass seeds between the steps behind the pool. And now the grass is growing so well that you can barely see the chestnut tree steps. So with a bit of tricky manoeuvring I managed to reduce the height of grass. The last person to use the strimmer was JB who is much longer in the arm than me. So I had to do some makeshift adjustments as I strimmed.

By now the sun was blazing and life under the noise reducing headphones and helmet was getting decidedly toasty. So I swapped for the mower. Besides, my fingers were vibrating intensely – a neat reminder that I really ought to multi task.

So off I went: mowed the east garden, up the path up to the beech tree and then mowed for the very first time the piano – and my goodness what lush lawn there is there.

I finished with a few laps of the orchard. Not the whole thing, just a swathe through the lawn to the shed. There is a mighty problem with peach leaf curl there on the apricot tree. It needs sorting. Luckily the peach tree that was specifically bred to combat peach leaf curl (the Avalon Pride) is doing well. So that’s a lesson there.

In for a boiled egg and a brief lie down. And then after lunch I had a leisurely hunt for the camera. I found it up at the top terrace – after a needle in the haystack search of all mown areas. So relieved to find it, it is a great companion.

Now that the sun was blazing elsewhere it was time to retreat to the east garden and lay the weedproof fabric and put down the gravel in the parking area under the wisteria.

I had JB set aside a whole heap of gravel from his mighty job earlier this month. So I didn’t have too far to go to do my usual cover up. But it always so satisfying to get the weeds up, rake, cut and shape the fabric. And then collect buckets and buckets of gravel and cover the black material and create a clean slate.

Hours in and it’s almost done. But can you believe it, I’m short of gravel. After three cubic metres and I need a wheel barrow more to finish that small gap. Hope the unexpected visitors (Madame Reinhart and a friend) didn’t hear me swear as I ran out. But luckily with a bit of deft scraping and scrimping about the courtyard (finding small nests of gravel more than a few inches deep here and there) it is done.

I finished this very long day watering, playing with Artur the cat who likes to supervise me in the vegetable garden and planning chores for the morrow.