|It doesn't look much yet....|
When wondering what on earth it is I do all day I can only conclude that I am currently a full-time gardener. I'm clearing an area 12 feet by 20 feet plus three feet all round in which to put up our second polytunnel. The bits for that arrived on Thursday along with two lovely books on polytunnel gardening which I'm trying to avidly read but every time I pick them up something intervenes.
Clearing the area requires wielding my Chillington hoe and hoiking out barrow loads of nettle roots. The patch is where the hens have been for the last decade or two and the soil is deep and rich and fertile. Nettles are always a good sign as they love to grow on the best ground.
While I dig three of the hens chat happily to me and Mrs Broody chuckles to the ten fertile eggs she's sitting on. I peer into her broody pen and she looks like a big fluffy cushion with a beak.
One of the interruptions to my polytunnel reading has been regular visits by a flock of sheep - a mix of white and black Mountain sheep - which are hell bent on joining us on our small farm. They should be on our neighbour's land but since he only has cattle fencing the inevitable keeps happening. This morning they broke through our fence again (they always break things on the way in) so Brian is now an hour late for work and has spent a couple of hours chasing sheep and putting in new fence posts. Our own sheep are quietly eating the lovely grass in our other fields and growing (the lambs) or recovering from lambing (the ewes) and don't need much looking after at the moment.
Another daily thing is to bring in the ponies. Bullseye has to come in during the day so he doesn't eat too much spring grass and get laminitis so Itsy, who can get hugely fat just looking at spring grass (I know how she feels but in my case it's cake) stays in with him to keep him company. Pippin who is not inclined to either fat nor laminitis stays out in the field on her own (much neighing) or, because she's old and wise, she gets to wander around the farmyard and hayguard eating lots of lovely lush grass (and hopefully not escaping into the garden).
When I'm not doing all of the above I'm pulling bracken from the eight acres of hay meadow. We can't spray (organic), or mow (no mower) or do any of the other bracken treatments that are supposed to work, so we're weeding it by hand. Actually Mum's done most of it so far as I've been distracted by other important things (like a Tweetup with Lins, Chris and Kath) but there's plenty still to do. (If anyone feels like popping over to give us a hand I pay in cake, roast chicken dinners and chicken curry suppers!)
In other moments I'm planting seeds, pricking out seedlings and potting on the bigger plants. I have lots ready for the new polytunnel - including cucumbers, melons, squashes, tomatoes - the little polytunnel is bursting at the seams. Its new role is for propagation and the growing will be done in the new polytunnel. All I need to do is to finish digging it and then put the thing up... other things allowing of course!