Foraging, planting and other parsimony

20Sep08

We are enjoying some lovely late September sunshine here – would you believe glorious sun and 21 C today? I wouldn’t have thought it a week ago . . . but it’s fantastic and I hope it lasts a bit longer!

We had an early-ish start (just for a change – early starts seem to be a feature of having pre-teen children. I’m looking forward to the days when I can kick THEM out of bed), but we needed to be up and about today anyway, because today was the day of the NCT Nearly-New sale. Hooray! I’ve been waiting on this for a while now, because Minni is fast outgrowing all her clothes and urgently needs a winter wardrobe. Someone I know used to volunteer for them and she told me that they call it ‘Nearly-New’ rather than ‘Second-Hand’ because no-one used to come to buy secondhand clothes. Hmm. The human psyche is a funny old thing, is all I have to say about THAT. Anyway, I love the Nearly-New, because I can literally get an armful of clothes for next-to-nothing, like, less than the cost of a complete outfit from a standard generic baby-clothes retailer, and being as we live in Surrey, dah-ling, it’s usually all great quality and often designer. I do *try* not to be a label snob, but we are living in a material world and some of it’s bound to rub off although I try to decontaminate myself as much as possible! AND I just can’t afford the crippling prices of the eco-friendly organic baby clothes . . . pure extortion.  So there you have it. So, I return triumphant with the loot . . . and of course this now means I need to sort all the old stuff out and get it shifted. This is a big job, because I have to sort it into stuff that was given to me by two different people so I can give it back to them. Stuff I got that’s in good condition that can go on ebay. Stuff that’s not so good that can go to the charity shop. Stuff that’s trashed and needs recycling. And finally, the gorgeous, much-worn clothes that I can’t bear to part with that will go into Minni’s patchwork once she’s accumulated enough to make one up. Too much like hard work when the sun’s shining!

And the sun is *lovely*. I managed to de-weed the brassica beds and get another sowing of spring cabbage in. (My husband slightly spoiled the effect by making some fence repairs and dropping a fence panel on the cauliflowers. To say I was not impressed is a massive understatement.)

He and Rumpus made a sharp exit into the woods to forage some firewood. I’m impressed – a year ago he would have been horrified by the idea of doing something like that. But they were both pleased as punch with the half-tree they dragged back into the garden and it’s now neatly rendered into a log-pile. Yeay! With the cold nights setting in, I’m looking forward to firing up our wood-burning stove again. It is such bliss . . . especially with a glass of wine in hand.

AND, even though Missie had a riding lesson this afternoon, I still got almost all of the root/onion beds weeded – it all rather got away from me the last couple of weeks of the holidays – and I’ve got a row of spring onions in, and a row of early (very early) carrots. The fleece is on already, but I’m annoyed with myself because I recycled the polythene I used to make my polytunnel/cloche thing last year. Sometimes, my need to de-clutter gets ahead of me. I’m kicking myself over it. Now I have to see if I can track down someone getting a big delivery of something so I can snaffle their packaging . . .

I’ve had a cosy evening in front of the fire with the seed catalogues, dreaming of next year – which will, of course, be bigger and better than this year – and getting my vegetable lust under control. They all look so tantalising . . . but I must be strict and not indulge myself – we don’t have that much space so it all needs to be worked out – what will we actually eat, and what makes the best use of the space. I’ll give myself the old five-day rule on it. AND, of course, my Rodale’s companion planting guide won’t be here for another week or so, so I *must* hold off for that.

Tomorrow? Gah. I really can’t put off dealing with the compost heap any longer. I hate, hate, HATE that job.

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