Friday, 23 March 2018

still chopping back

I still feel as though somebody had poured glue into the right side of my head, while the Systems Administrator woke up this morning with a sore throat and a headache.  Really, we are a fine pair.  I thought I'd better volunteer to go to the supermarket, since I seemed to be marginally less ailing, but the whole situation is turning into a monumental bore.

Then, since it was not too cold outside and my ear was going to hurt whether I did anything or not, I finished cutting the hornbeam hedge.  I have allowed the hedge to get out of hand so that it is now wider than double my maximum reach, which is a fairly fundamental error.  I had to resort to a variety of tactics to cut the middle of the top, manoeuvring the step ladder carefully inside the hedge and wriggling my shoulders up through it, or leaning heavily in from the outside.  A couple of times I resorted to climbing the main trunks to get at particularly hard to reach shoots, if they offered suitable footholds, although I couldn't help thinking of the Mitch Benn song about Keith Richards falling out of a tree.  Oi, Keith, get out of that tree.  You silly old bugger, you're sixty-three.  Oh no, he's hurt his head nee-naw nee-naw nee-naw.  One of these years I must take the front face back hard, but not now.

After that I turned my attentions to the brambles along the side of the wood.  It has been so cold, I don't think the birds have started nest building yet, but it can't be long now.  Another week or two and I reckon any dense patches of unwanted undergrowth will just have to stay untouched until autumn, by which time the brambles will have sent out yards more shoots in all directions.

In the field next to us they seem to have been planting onions.  I thought they might be doing onions somewhere on the farm when I went out a couple of days ago and saw a patch of little brown bulbs spilled on the side of the farm lane, that looked like miniature onions.  The fields were ploughed before the snow, then there was a hiatus because the soil was so wet, or at least I assume that was the reason for the delay.  Somebody tried to break the clods down into a fine tilth in one field but gave up, and the tractor sat there for days while water lay in the tyre tracks.  Eventually the fields were prepared for sowing, and they were not shaped into the beds used for lettuces or the heaped mounds used for potatoes.  Yesterday a tractor with a box and a man on the back trundled round and round the field.  I wondered what it was doing, and it seemed the operators might not have been too confident either since it stopped rather often while the man on the back and the driver conferred.  From my vantage point at the top of the stepladder I could see little brown round things scattered over the ground that looked like small onions, then a tractor with rollers on the back drove round pressing them into the soil.  We wondered, if it was onions, why it didn't matter which way up they went, and decided that it must be that they could right themselves when they were small.

Onions should be nice quiet neighbours.  There will be rather a pong for a couple of days when it comes to harvest, but luckily we both like the smell of onions.

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