Last year….at the beginning of November I took delivery of 50 bags of farmyard muck. Bags a novelty for me as previously in our old large garden with its heavy clay soil we only took delivery of huge trailer loads dumped straight from the farm.
We intended to do the same ‘no-dig’ top dressing activity as before only in this garden it would be for different reasons. On our old clay soil it was used to build up over many years a decent depth of workable topsoil leaving the worms to take it to the depths below. This garden is on thin stony soil and in parts underwater after prolonged winter rain from the runoff of the fields at the back. The added muck will do much to feed the soil and add some bulk to hold the water during times of low rainfall.
I am sad to say as I write in this first week of a new year the pile remains, although it has recently lowered sufficiently enough to enable me to hang out the last of our house guests bedding. Many things good and bad have come between me and the muck……..
An infection – one of many health and safety perks of my chosen career. A rose thorn decided to track its way up my arm, I had removed the offending invader with needle and tweezers I thought. Not so, as a few days later after an emergency visit to a doctor, my ‘sorry to bother you its probably nothing’ turned out to be serious needing strong antibiotics and a warning if things did not improve I could end up in hospital! A lesson here for the future then, ignore at your peril! I was out of action in mine and my clients gardens for over a week.
A harrowing and uplifting week in equal measure was spent going through my late mothers belongings. Treasured memories abounded from her most personal of things and many photos of a bygone age. Now in my own home as I sit at her newly installed writing desk – she did not write, by the way, her writing took the form of numbers in the many business ledgers she meticulously kept – I feel she is not so far away and maybe even looking over my shoulder as I write!
Work was busy -new clients, new designs, new challenges – gardens never stand still.
Decorating started in earnest after the muck pile arrived, the long-sufferings excuse not to muck spread in the cold and wet! I was also too busy choosing paint and blind fabric.
And then in the last week of November on a cold, wet night the first of the many house guests from the house of two halves arrived by courier in a crate. After a day of car, air and finally van travel on her own she was beside herself to see a friendly face prompting her usual stress wee all over my boot.
The long suffering and I had previously been out to make sure Lanna ‘mad dog’ had all the creature comforts she could desire. Food, chew bone, snack biscuits and lastly a comfy bed. On this last item there was much debate, It quickly became clear we had in mind a Great Dane and not a medium sized springer spaniel!
Just as I was enjoying having a dog to walk again on bright frosty mornings, the rains came and apart from a brief respite for snow, have not stopped much in subsequent weeks. The fields became a slippery quagmire sucking at my feet as I performed acrobatics just to stay upright although I did once have to submit to a downward dog saving myself from a full body splat at the last minute!
‘Mad Dog’ for her part was oblivious to my exertions so intent was she on running free reunited at last from the dried barren wastelands of Cyprus to the lush green fields and exciting woods of Dorset – flushing out the hiding pheasants along the way.
Two weeks later, a day late, due to heavy snow the rest of the family from the house of two halves arrived for an extended stay before taking up their new posting – thankfully in this country – in the New Year. Once again our house was transformed….
With them as well as the clutter came sickness bugs, sore throats, colds, nappy rash, teething, but through all of that there was Christmas, fun, food – when tummies allowed – laughter, reflection and eventually new chapters for all.
And the muck heap…….with all the increased – happy – demands on my time it continued to berate me every day I walked out the back door! Must try harder!
Happy Productive New Year to all my readers wherever you are!