Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Nature and Nuture

Our solar tunnel (a slightly more sophisticated polytunnel) is finally up – accompanied by lots more swearing - and should be put into production within the next week or two. It’s stonkingly hot in there on a sunny day (of which today it isn’t – raining but gallingly hot in Dover apparently – sigh) so we’ll maybe try melons this year. We have tomato plants galore as the boys wanted to help plant the seeds and got carried away – it’s amazing how big a ‘pinch’ of seeds is from a 5 and 3 year olds hands!!!! Just as well actually as Rowan ate an entire punnet of tomatoes for his breakfast yesterday. He has big plans to make his own tomato sauce this year, Jamie Oliver style. They are both keen vegetable growers and eaters - thank goodness on the eating side, oh goodness on the growing side. Gardening jobs seem to take twice as long when you have ‘helpers’. They want to set up observation tanks (read ‘water bottles’) for worms and caterpillars – obviously not burying the caterpillars in with the worms, nor indeed burying them atall. Last weekend they had a soil pest (the long white one with the orange head – yuk) under the microscope linked to the computer and scared themselves when it moved on the screen. Then they decided to just do a soil sample so now there’s mud all over the computer desk – sigh.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

A Sad Day

We’re in mourning – a fox got into our hen house last night and killed all three of them L Well, I say ‘last night’ but it was actually at 8.30am this morning. The gall of it. He took one and left the other two. We went indoors, gutted. And when we went out again, he’d come back and taken another!!!! Ben is out adding major reinforcements as you live and learn. Hopefully we’ll be able to get some more quite soon as I actually quite miss them even though we’d only had them for a few days.

Heavy heart.

Friday, 1 May 2009


I am getting heartily sick of our lawn-cutting devices breaking down. We have a tractor with a cutting and collecting attachment, 2 ride-on lawn mowers, 2 petrol powered push mowers, a petrol powered strimmer and an electric strimmer plus 4 pairs of shears. Of this list what currently works is.... the electric strimmer. Even the shears are blunt. And we have 2.5 acres of 'living area' to keep under control over and above the other 15 acres that we're leaving as meadow. Not so great. And what do you notice about most of the list? They rely on oil derivatives and that's not really where we want to be (or at least *I* don't, Ben is more of the mind to get the job done in the least possible time even if it means using some fuel other than human sweat). So I'm on a quest to find out about scythes. I know they take quite a lot of practise to become proficient but the thought is that hopefully by the time we reach post-peak-oil we'll be skilled in the art. Maybe one day I'll be like this woman http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugSO54WKm8I