Thursday, 18 April 2013


The wind blew all day, a battering, insistent force that was an obstacle to thought and practical work outside.  The wind and sunshine had stripped the moisture out of the pots outside the greenhouse again, and I decided it was time to uncoil the long hose that has hung up by the dustbins all winter and dig the spray attachment out of the garage.  In the cold months the greenhouse needs no more water than it is comfortable to carry in cans, while the spray head splits and rusts if left outside in the frost, but now the watering requirements have risen sharply.

I really don't like wind.  It is tedious enough not to be able to put down a bucket of prunings, or an empty pot, or finished compost bag, without it being sent tumbling across the garden, crushing new growth and breaking flower stems as it goes.  But my dislike of the wind goes deeper than that.  My nerves are permanently on edge and the solutions to everyday problems and questions don't come quickly.  Indeed, my fingers are stumbling over the keyboard now, as the words refuse to come into my mind.

I weeded the long bed, trying not to squash the emerging plants and sighing over how thin the soil was looking, despite last year's applications of compost, and planted out pots of daffodils, but I felt indecisive about where they should go, and by next week I may feel I have done it badly.  Once the bulbs are in the ground I can follow on with 6X, bone meal, and yet more Strulch.  I wanted to trim straggling stems emerging from the ivy hedge, and tidy up the last remaining fennel stalks, but knew that the big builders' bucket would never stay put for me to collect the debris, so left that for another day.  I also wanted to apply glyphosate to the tufts of grass I recognised as being attached to a running rootstock rather than clump formers I could dig out, but it was far too windy for that as well.  Wind really slows you down.

Suddenly I spotted one of the recently planted cherries thrashing about in the wind, its stake waving next to it.  Upon investigation I found the stake had rotted off at ground level.  Tree stakes are intended to rot eventually, so that if the original planter doesn't come back to remove the stake, it will give way of its own accord, but I don't think they are meant to go that quickly.  Of course, the auto-destruct stake does not solve the problem of the tree tie being left around the trunk and strangling it as it grows.  Fortunately I had a spare stake, and was able to find a lump hammer fairly quickly and re-stake it.  It is a nice, sturdy, little tree, but some of the gusts later on were so violent that I think they might have broken it otherwise.

By mid-afternoon it was spitting with rain, and the sky had gone ominously dark.  I ignored the first rumbles of thunder, but as they got louder I collected my tools and beat a retreat to the house. Minutes later came the most violent downpour, with squalls of lashing rain of almost tropical intensity, that I could hear beating against the windows from the other end of the house.  Do you expect thunderstorms in April?  I always associate them more with high and late summer.

The chickens are still intent on egg eating.  I have collected two eggs today, both still warm.  The second had already been turfed out of the nest box into the main part of the hen house, and it was the noise of hammering on wood that alerted me to go and see what they were up to.  Telltale smears of egg on the house floor make me thing they got at least one.  They would probably like to be let out for a run, now that the weather is nicer, and that might help absorb some of their surplus energies, but they can't come out tonight, since I need to go out to a bee committee meeting before they would have gone in again.  And anyway, I don't feel like spending the first part of the evening following chickens around the garden in half a gale.

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