The sun has come out, and the grass has started growing. We have eleven acres of grassland, and no grazing animals. Matters were starting to get out of hand, so last week I bought a scythe.
Gosh, it is such fun. We're both very taken with it, and have been lopping grass with enthusiasm.
We won't be scything all eleven acres (thank goodness) as our neighbours at the dairy farm have lent us a few cows, who arrived yesterday (this is extremely exciting, and will get a post of its own). What we have been doing though is clearing a space to lay out some beds for growing veg.
I'm trying to learn a bit about some of the grasses and wild flowers as I go along.
These, I believe, are cuckoo flower, or lady's smock, and we have them in abundance. There will be plenty left after I've finished, as I'm only clearing the growing space, not the whole field.
I dug out one small bed to plant my raspberry canes in - and decided instantly to use the no-dig method for the rest of the garden. There are plenty of ways of doing this, but we have an abundance of cardboard boxes, having just moved house, so that's what I'm starting with, followed by compost, and finally a mulch of grass cuttings, as we have an abundance of those too. I'm not sure I'll leave this on once I get plants in, as it's far too tempting for slugs, but for now it's rotting down in place and keeping the ground cosy (we did only get rid of the last of our snow three or four weeks ago, after all).
Some of the grass is going into to make compost, so I don't have to buy any in next year. I always made compost at our old house, in one of those dalek-style bins towards the end, but here we have far more space, and far more garden waste, so I've created three bins, and can already see I might need more.
The one in the middle is filled with dry hay, moved from the floor of one of the outbuildings. The one on the right is food waste from the kitchen, and each time I add some I throw in a handful of hay too. The one on the right I'm layering freshly cut grass and hay, and as it's now full, I'm covering it over and leaving it to rot down.
My auntie bought me this book for my birthday, and it's (obviously) very enthusiastic about compost, and has many good tips. I confess I'm not sure I'll be making the special activator powder advocated by Maye Bruce, but I've already come across some of the herbs she uses in the fields so I might leave them to rot down in a bucket and pour it on. Can't do any harm.
Since the arrival of the lighter evenings, I've found myself heading outside for two or three hours after work, and then wondering why I'm collapsing into bed exhausted. It's not surprising really, two or three hours of wheelbarrowing, scything, walling, digging, on top of a nine hour day at work and two hours of driving would wear anyone out. Fortunately, I get to work at home several days a week, and at the weekends I don't work at all, so there's plenty of sitting about too, especially now the sun has started shining....
Sit down and make yourself comfortable. I'm Jenni, and I write here about our new forray into country living, which includes growing food, knitting, baking, wandering around the fields, and seeing which local cafe serves the best cake.