Sunday, 11 May 2014

Hugelkultur

After the super relaxing day yesterday I set myself a target today to achieve if at all possible; for weeks now my Hugelkultur has stalled and just been sat there and I really want it completed. Today my task was to do chop all the rest of the wood and get it in place and then, if I had time, to do another Silver Birch.

Gorgeous start to a gorgeous day
Gorgeous start to a gorgeous day
Anyway, that was my plan and the day started off with a lovely lay in and natural waking without telephone calls disturbing me. I pulled myself out of bed when the need for a brew overtook the pleasure of laying and not needing to get up, and found that today the sun was out and properly; barely a cloud in sight and warm even at 9am. This is what I'm here for! I was so desperate for a brew that I made one before doing anything else and then I went and did my rounds, filling the watering can first and doing the plants close to the tap, then letting Rambo out and going round the Silver Birches and Magnolia, and finally taking his bowl and giving him breakfast. I went inside for mine but took the camera into the Living Room and snapped the view across the valley, and Rambo having a nose about.

Mo having had a bathe
Mo having had a bathe
Breakfast for me was cereal today as I wasn't in the mood for frying up and it was hot so no need to warm myself. I noticed that Mo was up and about much more today, seeing as it was sunny unlike yesterday he had obviously woken up determined to have a good day, and he had made his way into the water thing. I caught some good pictures of him as he was starting to drag himself out; he doesn't seem to use his back legs still very much and I am still a little worried that he isn't that healthy. He's still alive though and eating and active so maybe if it does turn out that his back legs don't work well I can get him some wheels.

Clematis, and the gorgeous ground flowers
Clematis, and the gorgeous ground flowers
And so it was down to start working outside, pretty much straight after eating so about 10am I started. It was just gorgeous this morning with not a cloud in the sky apart from on the far horizons and the sun thrashing down making everything look beautiful and warm. All day while I was out there the most gorgeous perfume was all around and I think it was from these little white flowers. It was just a beautiful smell. The larger Clematis has also got a large flower on it which I'm looking forward to seeing open. I had actually done something else this morning which was to tape up the smaller Clematis which is looking a little battered from the winds. I hope it thrives like the first. Time will tell.

Taken at lunch
Taken at lunch
Most of the Hugelkultur was done already, to be honest. I was left with a large pile of wood and the realisation that I had not really built it very well as there were loads of voids in the pile which the soil would just disappear into and leave me with a soil infused pile of wood; not what I'm hoping to achieve. So today I was trimming and chopping wood into small enough sections to then shove into the gaps and fill up the mound. Slow work and not really very easy to see the progress apart from in the pile of wood to be chopped going down.

The presumption that I exist purely to play with him...
The presumption that I exist purely to play with him...
Rambo was still out and he was being quite funny. A lot of the time it was so hot he went to the shade of the porch and lay down and slept but then every now and then something would wake him and he would rush across with his Kong and drop it right in front of me, or between my feet, and wait expectantly for me to realise that the reason I was outside was not to chop wood, but to play with him. This was fine apart from more than once he appeared as I was swinging the axe and he was lucky a few times that he didn't lose his nose. Sillly doggy. I did relent a few times and throw or kick the Kong for him to chase but mostly I shoved him out the way to keep him safe.

The next anecdote I give to illustrate life over here, and not judge. Rambo should be glad I'm not my neighbour as the Special One was out shifting grass for hay around and the two dogs they have started fighting and he laid into them with the hay fork; not the tines, or I would have got involved, but he was whacking them very hard until they stopped. That is reality over here; these dogs are not pets and they are treated quite roughly.

Mountaineering Mo
Mountaineering Mo
Anyway it was really hot work and I had my sun hat on but was still getting a slight headache so I kept going in to get cups of tea to keep myself rehrdrated. One time when I went in while I was waiting for the kettle to boil I heard scratching and looked over and Mo was once again trying to mountaineer - he was pretty much vertical with one claw using the wall of the tray to lift himself. I left him to it as I don't really want to interfere too much with him and later, as I kept checking on him, he had stopped trying to go that way and so avoided tipping himself. Maybe he is learning.

Almost done
Almost done
Lunch was taken earlier than expected as the heat really got to me suddenly and I felt quite shaky so came in and had a choc ice to cool me down and get some energy in me and then, when I felt a bit better, the cheese and tomato butties I made were amazing. I ate slowly, and allowed myself to recover, before going out and it took a few periods of work interspersed with rest before about 5pm I gave up and called it a day. Progress had been really good and I had achieved a lot however I think I still have a few hours left before it is all done. It's just slow, having to push and 'place each bit of wood to fill a gap. This time tomorrow I'll have a completed Hugelkultur and will feel great though.

Red back
Red back
I sat down with a beer feeling very happy and satisfied with myself. There is something about grafting all day towards a target and knowing you have done a good job. I was covered in mud, scratched, blood and bits of wood chips and I felt good. The only issue was I had worked almost the whole day without a shirt on and my back had caught the sun a bit. It isn't too sore, and the shower I took really helped me feel good too, washing away the aches that were already starting in my legs. I'll probably be in agony tomorrow but never mind.

No photo editing, no filters. Just how it is
No photo editing, no filters. Just how it is
So I settled myself to start blogging and cooking. I had got one of the chicken chasseur dishes that my guest had made for me and froze out the freezer before and it was ready for heating. I chopped some tatties and put them in to boil, and also sliced the remains of the cabbage and put LOADS of butter in the pan with it. In the end I used one of the electric hobs for the first time and my goodness was my dinner tasty; the cabbage was amazing with the pepper and lashings of butter it had been cooked in. Stunning. While I was sat eating I was watching the moon rise through the window in front of me and getting multiple photographs through the time I've been writing this blog. What a cracking view. The one I've chosen is the best of all.

Sun set beginning
Sun set beginning
The other thing I have kept doing while writing the blog is going to the window on the landing and standing on my chair to get pictures of the sunset. After such a lovely day it was only fitting that the night should be brought in with such stunning displays of nature as these. The first time I went back there the sun was still up as a glowing ball of fire and I took the 300mm zoom lens and got a shot I am very proud of.

Sun below the horizon
Sun below the horizon
About two or three minutes ago I went back there again and the sun had disappeared already below the horizon (a shame I missed that happening) but the sky was a blaze of orange and red and I snapped a few more pictures. The breeze is picking up a little as the heat of the day gives way to the evening but I feel today is the first day of summer and I'm raising my glass (three pints today; thirsty work, chopping wood!) to it being a long and hot one.

Tomorrow I am collecting T and he is back in the saddle, tasked with putting concrete around the whole perimeter and securing the fence fully. The day after my next guest, the electrician, arrives and is here for two weeks so no rest for the wicked. I also really want to get over to S and S to see their place. Finally I think it is only two weeks before the work on the roof is started. All go.

2 comments:

  1. Beautiful sunset photo, very atmospheric.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you :) I am very proud of it :)

      Delete