Monday, November 17, 2014


3 flies buzzing around the light bulb in our bathroom and clearly haven't lost their energy yet. A distant hum of a mosquito somewhere nearby. I'm lying in the bath thinking that it is some time in the second week of November and I shouldn't be hearing these sounds. This was another warm day from last week, but now finally we hear of some colder weather is on the horizon. 
This time of year also warrants an invading army of ladybirds, mostly hybrid varieties which take over our window panes in the cottage. Where they converge from we don't know. But these are docile at this stage (unlike the flies) and their hibernation destinations are only interrupted by Henry the hoover. 
It was my distinct pleasure to find the source of our water blockage problem we have been suffering with. You see here one has to clear one's own drain... Initially armed with a plunger, the gurgles from deep beneath the bath made no affect to the increasingly slower 'drain off' of water. It was left to see what was happening on the other, greyer and murkier end to find what was blocking. A dirty job, but with the ground still warm it was fortunately very easy to dig below and find the cause, some white slurge obstructing our outlaying pipe. 
Smelly jobs have continued into this week, a huge container of water and weeds had been left in the garden for some future liquid manure project. Funnily enough not even flies were now bothering to go near it. So now it was left for us to disperse over the vegetable plotted land. A single drip on the skin leaves a smell which will outlast any perfume. Careful now, otherwise it's back to the bath tub for an impromptu wash.  

Monday, November 10, 2014

Visiting neighbours

Emptying toilets on a windless and quiet day. Spreading the contents into a shallow grave in a far off corner of the garden. Last year's remnants all but disappeared except for a few scrunched up bits of paper not quite eroded away but will be soon. Compost is a crucial ingredient to how we take care of our place here. 
The only stink or odour is from myself as I plod through another vegetable plot armed only with a garden fork. 
As each season passes our plots keep evolving with new content added, whether from mushed up leaf mulch or broken down veg and anything matter. The bonus this year is a pile of weeds, covered over and hidden from when we first dug out the garden two years ago, now reduced to a pile of top soil. Sieved meticulously in the hope nothing too weedy is left, and spread where needed across a dozen or so plots of 20m2. But it is an endless battle with what we want and don't want to grow here. Our neighbours scoff and prefer the less laborious and time-consuming method of ploughing every year. Maybe to give more time to make nice cakes. 
A recent visit to a neighbour and the standatory plate of homemade and freshly made squares of chocolate and quark slices are brought through from a bedroom left without heat next door to the kitchen to where we are sitting. We hadn't arranged to see our neighbours but had just turned up. A plate of cakes is always on standby for any passing guests, a very normal procedure when visiting people in this country. But it is in-polite to take a piece of cake from the beginning. This proves more and more difficult as I try to listen but without understanding enough to our 'grandma neighbour' gossiping to Jana. And after poured a glass of stiff homemade plum brandy the temptation is too much to wait any longer. The result is a delicious flavour to the palette. Worth waiting for, a bit like compost.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

If you go down to the woods today...

A walk into the peaceful woodland with the Autumn sun filtering through the last leaves on the trees. On days like these I only want to be in one place, and that is here. Peaceful that is until the annual start up of the Stihl motor on the chainsaw. Although we have enough wood for the next couple of Winters (hopefully), a ticket for another supply within walking distance of home should not be scoffed at. This may sound greedy but In future years there may not be any in such locality and for the same price. But this year I am cutting alone. Our trigger-happy chainsaw slicing neighbour could not wait for our return from a fortnight break away and had worked in the forest without us for his own supply. Selfish b**tard! Nevermind, I can pace my day without his taunts and complaints this year. Whilst the chains on his tractor may have been handy, my trusty rust bucket wheelbarrow can handle most terrain for the transportation of the cut wood to the stacked up inspection point. Tough, but I have a week to do all this in and the fallen wood that I am allowed to take is mostly very carriable by hand. 
In this part of the woodland I am ever watchful. Straying eyes round these parts have been known to walk off with your hard work before you trailer it away. 
After three days and a slightly sore back I have reached our limit with what we allowed to take. Another year of fuel supply sorted and now time to close down the hatches for the colder months to come.