Tuesday, 27 September 2016

mending and breaking

I am going to have to resume watering the borders.  As I was weeding this morning I snapped the middle tine out of my hand weeding fork in the hard earth under the crown of a large cotoneaster. I think it failed along an existing line of weakness where I bent it previously catching it on a root and the Systems Administrator had to straighten it.  This time it's gone, broken as easily as snapping a multipack of yogurt cartons apart.  Welding stainless steel is not a skill either of us have mastered.

As part of her talk on Saturday Marina Christopher brought some Asian garden tools.  She cuts down her herbaceous stems with a very sharp, short bladed slasher rather than using secateurs, and says it's as quick as strimming by the time you've factored in the clearing up time.  She contracted carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists in the course of barrowing multiple loads of grit when she set up her nursery, and post surgery can no longer use secateurs all day.  It was another reminder of how easy it is to do oneself a permanent mischief gardening, not from any spectacular accident but simply from overworking joints and muscles and tendons in the push to get things done.  It was forecast to rain hard on Thursday but that's been downgraded to a light shower in the middle of the day, meanwhile soil so hard it snaps tools can't be doing my wrists any good either.  Time to reach for the hose again.  I don't fancy myself using a very sharp cutting blade in the open borders, though.  It feels too much like an accident waiting to happen, possibly involving a cat, or else my legs.

The Systems Administrator did buy me a new pruning saw for my birthday.  I was touched that the SA had registered my grumbling about the old saw.  The new one is marvellous in the way of new saws, much, much sharper, and today I chopped through a great lump of elder that was sticking up behind the veranda without a second thought.  I shall keep the old saw for dealing with roots and those old or dead stems at ground level that it's very difficult to cut through without jabbing the end of the blade into the soil.

Today we patched up the greenhouse as the sheet of replacement acrylic from a different plastics supplier arrived.  It turned out that the reason why one pane of glass fell half way out until it broke and two more were slipping was that some of the roof timbers had become detached from the sides.  The SA screwed the woodwork back together and seemed very bullish that the greenhouse could be kept limping along for a good few years yet.  The frame of one of windows in the roof had pulled itself apart as well in the wind, but the SA was able to repair it with a spare piece of teak that was lurking in the workshop.  I am afraid the truth is that the greenhouse is getting old.  I bought it not long after we moved here, and that's quite a long time ago.

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