What the hell is going on? Seriously – have you lost your mind? Snow in May? Frost in June? Monsoon rains in Lithuania?
You are playing HAVOC with my vegetable growing endeavours and I am not pleased.
Allow me to explain … Read more
The first signs of autumn – the browning of the leaves and a slight chill in the air – used to herald the end of fun and relaxation and a return to the grindstone of school or college. Mind and body were refreshed from summer adventures and pockets were heavier from summer jobs. It was time again to knuckle down to some serious work. Read more
I can’t believe it took until my early 40s to realise that we sleep for about one third of our lives. When this first dawned on me I was horrified – what a waste of time! I’ve been asleep for over 13 years – think of all I could have done with that time! But then I thought about how much I love my sleep. I love where my head takes me (most of the time) when I’m asleep. And I love the rejuvenation and reenergising that happens while we sleep. I awake refreshed and restored, ready to go again. Really not time wasted. Read more
It never rains but it pours. It’s a phrase that has both literal and proverbial meanings, both of which apply to my life at the moment. After a total drought in May and just 10 days rain at start of June, the countryside was beginning to look a little parched and my vegetable beds were rock hard. Buckets of water were no longer enough – it was time to unravel my hose and do some deep watering, biceps bedamned. Read more
Boy, have I been busy. Since May 1st I have been in the garden every day prepping, planting, watering, weeding and protecting this year’s selection of vegetables. I have developed shapely upper arms from carrying countless 10 litre (10 kg) buckets of water from the house to my vegetable patch. I have acquired in-depth knowledge on the burrowing habits of moles. I am tired, I am tanned and I am happy. Read more
I was born for this life. I can’t explain the joy it gives me, watching seeds grow into plants, then watching them flowering and fruiting. I have spent many happy hours watering and transplanting and already I am getting dividends. My herbs are on fire – I can barely keep up with them. My tomatoes are growing taller by the day and my cucumbers have begun to flower, giving me my first tiny cucumber of the season. Read more
I quite enjoy being alone. I don’t think I’m a loner – I love good company. But I am also perfectly content to be on my own. I love to get lost in thoughts and dreams – places I might visit someday, famous people I’d like to meet, foods I’d like to try, books I might write. Silence doesn’t bother me. In fact, I quite like it. Silence is not empty to me, but rather it is peaceful. Read more
In our house certain things happen so often that they have been given their own name. One of our most frequent occurrences is “where-is-age”, a phenomenon whereby Arūnas can’t find something he needs, despite the fact that the item is exactly where it’s supposed to be. “Where’s my wallet?” “It’s in the drawer, darling.” (Where it always is.) “Where are my keys?” “They’re in the drawer, darling.” (Where they always are.) You get the gist. Read more
What a joy it is, a vegetable grower’s delight. Take some seeds, put them in the earth, tend to them, nurture them; watch empty spaces become dots of green, watch tiny leaves unfurl and grow, watch flowers, heads, roots and fruits emerge. It’s August and my bones are tired from weeding and watering, but the beauty of the ground beneath my feet makes it all worthwhile. Read more
Digging new garden beds is hard work, especially when you’re turning over a field that hasn’t been used in years. On the one hand, the weeds were deep, making breaking down the sods a back-breaking chore. On the plus side, the soil is in wonderful condition and, as it has been rested for several years, I suspect it is rich and fertile. Read more
I tend to divide vegetables into three broad categories – those I love, those I can’t abide and functional vegetables that I’m nonplussed about in their own right but which are essential flavour builders, such as carrots and celery. I guess I’m quite lucky in that there aren’t too many vegetables I don’t like. Swede (rutabaga), or turnip as we always called it when we were kids, is one of them. Boiled onions (especially if swimming in a white béchamel sauce) and puréed carrots will both send me running. But for the most part I love vegetables and I try to eat as wide a variety as possible. Read more
In our village almost every house has a small greenhouse. Sometimes they are sturdy constructions made with metal frames and glass or hard plastic windows, but mostly they are hand-built with frames made from either off-cuts of wood or PE piping, covered with a sheet of thick, clear plastic. Read more
I am exhausted. Totally and utterly exhausted. But in a good way. My legs are wobbling like jelly and my arms feel like they’re about to fall off. My forehead is covered with little streaks of clay from where I brushed my hair back from my face. Freckles are beginning to appear on my nose, reaffirming my Celtic heritage. Read more
Sometimes dreams really do come true. This time last year I was sitting in an office feeling exhausted and dejected, despite having just completed a major project. There was little or no thanks, no recognition of the tremendous effort required by all involved to complete the project on time. Instead, there was criticism and blame. The focus was on the 5% that was not complete rather than on the 95% that was fully complete and performing well above all expectations. Something was clear to me – I was in the wrong place. Read more
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