Still staying home!
Good afternoon to you! We’re entering another week of lockdown (seriously, I’ve lost count of the weeks, I don’t even know what day it is half the time!) and it’s getting hard to remember what life was like before this surreal time when it feels like you’re on holiday but you know that you’re not.
If we were in a science fiction story, we would be questioning whether we ever really went outside before at all or whether it was all an illusion, and some days it really does feel as if going to work, going on holiday or even talking to people face to face was something that I imagined. Anyway, we can only keep on keeping on, can’t we, and remembering that all of this is about more than ourselves. It still seem strange to see Winwick so quiet. I’ve been indulging my rebellious side in all of this by walking down the middle of the road with the dog in places, rather than on the pavement. Not often, though – there are still cars around and I have no desire to get squashed!
Whilst I’m thinking about being home, it’s a good opportunity for me to say thank you to all of you. To those of you looking after the sick people, or the old people, or those who need extra help; to those of you who are growing our food, making deliveries, working in those stores that are still open and being able to work from home so that my life isn’t inconvenienced any more than it has to be. To those of you who are still dealing with the day-to-day stuff like house fires, or dustbins, or traffic accidents. Life hasn’t stopped, it has merely slowed and the “inconvenience” of having to stay home and sit about in my pyjamas all day if I want to, in order to help keep others safe, is made possible by people like you. And of course, thank you to everybody that I haven’t mentioned but who is still out there doing what you need to do – and those like me who are staying at home making their jobs easier. Thank you all!
It’s not easy, though, is it, this staying home malarkey? I think we are all “fixers” to a greater or lesser extent, and we all want to do what we can to help to fix this problem. When you’re staying safe at home, it’s hard to think that we are actually doing what is needed to help fix this – I expect I am not alone in thinking that I should be “doing more” when in reality, I am not being lazy or dodging responsibility by being in the garden, or helping small daughter with her history schoolwork (1880s immigration into London this week – “helping” is code for making sure that she actually does it!), or even just sitting in the sunshine with my knitting. I am doing what needs to be done. And more than ever, I am so very glad that as a frustrated sock knitter back in 2015, I announced that I was going to write some tutorials to help people see that socks don’t have to be difficult to knit. I wrote the Sockalong tutorials to be useful, not for accolades (although that has been lovely!), but to know that they have helped whilst people have staying at home, and those returning home from a hard day’s work, is brilliant and has given me that “fixer” fix – thank you! It makes it just a bit easier to know that it’s OK to be here at home and I wish you all safe journeys through your days as well as warm toes 😀
My journeys have taken me as far as the supermarket and on walks to the nearby woods where, if I time it right, the dog can have a run. The bluebells are definitely out now and the sun has been shining; it’s been quite hot some days and I actually managed to burn myself whilst sitting out in it the other day (I really do think my brain is turning to mush!).
I spent pretty much all of Saturday in the vegetable garden and it was so good for me to be outside. Not so good is the perennial bindweed which has started making an appearance already. It’s a vigorous climber that grows from even the tiniest bit of root left when you pull it out so it’s really difficult to get rid of unless you blast it with weedkiller – something that I try to avoid in my veg patch. You can see it coming through here at the edge of this raised bed – what a nuisance this stuff is! It’s popping up everywhere and once I’ve planted seeds or young plants, it’s much harder to dig down to try to get all of the root out. I’m just working on the theory that the more I can get out in one go, the harder it has to work to grow back and if I’m lucky, it won’t take over before the veg grows.
When I was at the farm shop, I spotted that they had some young plants in so I decided to get some – the seeds that I planted haven’t done anything so far which either means they are too old to germinate, or it’s too early, or it’s too cold – and I wanted to get something started to try to fill up the bare soil. At the moment, it’s a battle of wits between me and certain other beasties who think that I have provided a new luxury toilet area for them, so the sooner I can get something growing to discourage them, the better! So here is curly kale (my husband’s very favourite vegetable – me, I can’t see the appeal but it’s fine, I can eat it) …
Lettuce – this variety is “Little Gem” which grows tall rather than wide and has long leaves which are perfect for pouring salad cream down the central rib. I don’t know if this is a personal peculiarity, but lettuce with salad cream always holds memories of summer days for me, eating outside in the sunshine in the garden and thinking that the school summer holidays would stretch forever. Ah, those rose-tinted memories! I expect that more often than not it was raining and my parents discovered that bribing me with salad cream on my lettuce was the only way to get me to eat it, but I prefer the other memories instead 😀
Broad beans …
and peas. At the moment, the plants look very similar and well they might, as beans and peas are from the same family, but hopefully before too long the peas will start to grow much taller and then will need staking. I wasn’t going to grow peas at all this year because they take up a lot of space for not a massive return, but then I saw the pots of them at the farm shop and I couldn’t resist. Pod peas are my absolute favourite vegetable …
along with tomatoes warm from the greenhouse. I did think I was going to get these plants in this weekend, but they’re still not quite big enough and I’m still a bit worried that it might go cold again. I was always taught that the frost risk for this part of the country isn’t over until the end of May – maybe that’s different now the world is warming up, but I can’t believe that there would be a whole month difference.
And then there was the state of my greenhouse border.
There’s a path under that too. Shocking.
I did think at first that I might just be able to put new compost over what was already in there, but although it was home made compost and was very good at the time, I didn’t grow anything in the greenhouse last year and the border has dried out beyond hope. The compost has dried into brittle clumps that I would not want to put my precious tomato seedlings anywhere near, and so drastic action was called for. I started digging.
This is the border now, waiting for new compost. That hole is quite deep (the compost was a mess for further down than I expected!) so I’ll need to check my compost bins to see what I can find to bulk it up as I’ve only got one bag of bought compost to use and that won’t be nearly enough for here.
This won’t be of any immediate use to me, but I’ve moved my worm bin (lightbulb moment – I’ve put it next to the other dustbins instead of having it away down the other end of the garden) and hopefully it won’t be long before the worms are doing their composty thing with our food waste. Yes, you can see coffee filter papers there, and in case you’re worried, they’re unbleached recycled paper ones so they won’t be harmful to the worms or the ground later. The blue mouldy bread, however … I’ll fish that out later if they won’t touch it, but I’ve left it in for now.
I’ve no new knitting to show you today – I’ve done a little bit on my husband’s new purple sock but not significantly more. I’ve been swatching for more commissions which is very exciting for me but not for you as I can’t show you, although there will be more to show you soon, I promise!
I took some photos for my Instagram stories yesterday whilst the sun was out. Our flower garden is very definitely a Spring garden and it’s looking lovely at the moment with a mix of wildflowers and other Spring-flowering varieties. I was going to take myself off to the garden centre just before the lockdown so instead I have ordered lots of bare roots and plug plants online to fill some of the gaps once these plants have finished flowering – apparently they’re on their way which is good news.
And that’s me done for today. I hope you’re keeping safe and well, thank you for your comments on my posts (even though I’m rubbish at replying to them at the moment), it’s good to know that you’re all still around and just doing your own thing. It’s doing our own thing at home that’s going to get us through this, isn’t it?
Until next time xx