The kids have finally gone back to school and the weather has naturally turned to being the ideal summer weather. It happens every year. Iffy weather prevents the kids getting into really enjoying the summer holidays and then they go back to school and it is perfect! But to be fair we did have some nice days in January. And so far in February we have had three nice days.
So after the busy craziness of January, getting the manuscript ready for the publishers for my second book, I was finally able to focus all my attentions onto the garden without being interrupted by kids wanting or needing something. I think my cucumbers may have succumbed to powdery mildew while I wasn’t looking. They don’t look pretty. So I set about improving the air flow by taking off the older leaves from the zucchinis and anything else that could become inflicted by the dreaded mildew. The problem is zucchinis have quite sharp prickles on their leaves and so while I was delving deep into my plants looking for the start of the old, tired leaves – I got a little scratched up. While it is kind of expected to scratch my hands and arms – I certainly didn’t expect to scratch my head! I have scratches on my face!
Then – as it is summer and all, I was wandering about my garden bare foot, as I normally do, when I stood down quite firmly on a prickle. A juvenile one of those scotch thistles – the ones with the purple flowers. Despite being a baby, it’s thorns are made of the toughest, pointiest, nastiest, hurtiest stuff in the plant world. It really hurt and I ended up limping all day. I’m not sure if there is any prickle remaining in my foot, or if it is just the severity of the puncture wounds that caused the pain. So I slipped on my gumboots, grabbed my loppers and set out on a mission to find and eradicate all trace of thistle from my patch, the lawn, the driveway, under the hedge, in the lambs paddock – apparently it is not something they eat, and in the goats paddock – they don’t eat it either and I thought they eat everything.
I think I got it all, but I was tempted to jump the fence and clear the neighbour’s fields too, but they have electric fences and cows so I just have to hope the winds have been strong enough to blow the fairies right over our place and into the fields beyond. When I was I kid I used to call the fluffy seeds ‘fairies’ and the boy ones still had the seeds attached and the girl ones didn’t – because the boy ones were wearing hats!
I think I will need to be extra vigilant for the next wee while as there are been more than normal amounts of these dreadful plants this year. Which will mean a thousand fold increase in seeds swanning about on the breeze deciding where to land and grow that will cause the greatest pain result for unwary, barefooted gardeners like myself!
So with the bush crashing through the zucchinis and hunting down offensive thistles, my day was hijacked. I had intended to do a quick check of the garden and then get on with processing a mountain of tomatoes and make relish – which I still haven’t done, and there are more tomatoes ripe on the plants that need picking again. I have onions to pickle and some beetroot that I allowed to get a little too big for any jars I possess. I don’t even want to talk about the beans. Maybe if I ignore them they will go away – especially as we don’t like them all that much.
There is always tomorrow, the boffins at the weather office have promised another gorgeous day and the kids will be back at school again … all day… and so hopefully there will be nothing to distract me from my pickling – it is a job I relish! (I am sooo sorry but I couldn’t resist that and my fingers typed it without my permission!)
Come again soon – one day very soon there will be a photo of jars and jars of preserved delights.
Sarah the Gardener : o )