Cold feet, and it ain't the snow

Having decided to go with a few dozen pecans to fill the gaps in the almond orchard, I'm getting cool (if not exactly cold) feet. It's the exchange rate that's making me wobble...pecan trees shipped from Canada, now costing the best part of £30 each rather than about half that when I planted the original 30 three years ago.



They don't exactly flatter the grower either, doing next to nothing visible for a couple of years while they busy themselves like the proverbial swan, doing their work unseen, sending an extensive root system down and out. If only our banks had invested as sensibly before getting on with the business of growing *does 1990 Ben Elton fist salute*

But they are the only thing that I've ever planted in any number that have all survived...apart from the one I mowed flat while singing 'How Soon Is Now' in the tractor at the top of my voice. I have previous form on this sort of thing.

This time last year I'd just had the bill for the vineyard framework, two years ago I was wondering about making myself more appealing for TV, three years ago I was having a great night in, and four years ago I was feeling rather too serious and (judging from the quote) reading Perch Hill as I tend to at this time of the year.

winter berries

I'm about to plant a polytunnel with many of the plants that have very kindly stayed alive over the last summer or two in pots that are too small for them, in a polytunnel where they get too little water and attention and that was recently flooded when the bizarre storm came. That way I should get a little fruit even if the summer replicates those of the last two years.

Being in the mood to think rather than do I scribbled a few short lists of what might work well from the plants that have been so patient - hat I wasn't expecting to see was a splash of colour amongst the leaves - a few goji berries looking pretty plump and vibrant, and belonging to a plant with no leaves and precious little water over the winter. Excuse the awful pic - I only had the mobile phone with me, it was teeming down and I was feeling too lazy to walk all the way back to the house for the camera - but you get the idea. Anyone know if this is strange?

3498, 3499, 3500....

At last...the final few hundred of the 3500 vines pruned this morning. Cold, snow everywhere - crusty with a second freezing overnight - and glorious sunshine. Tired hands and back, cold fingers and toes, but the flask and the odd nip of a single malt provided the antidote

Tracks

Walking back from the vines via the river I noticed a few footprints....checked the recently acquired book of tracks and footprints. Nice to see a little bid of spoddiness has paid off



Excuse the pic quality, from the mobile phone

elections closed

I didn't realise the people had already chosen.... who they'd like to create the edible view

eat the view

What a fabulous idea - edible public areas. It may not be new (a couple of years ago I blogged about a petition proposing something similar - but we certainly can't hear it enough. And it's not just this side of the Atlantic....

And here's a perfect candidate for their planting scheme...a rather delicious edible fuchsia...a bit strawberry and kiwi-ish

The almond orchard

And while I'm at it...many of those busy bloggers are frantically
posting pics of the snow or posting about people posting pics of the snow or even both ..so, my own snowy fave from Otter Farm...

There are others out there

For someone who's spent a few years blogging, I have to confess to being a little sluggish in investigating beyond the limits of my established favourites. Spending a little time revamping the look of this one has given me the nudge to nose around a little, and add to the list of bloggers to the right of this post. I'll be adding more as I go I'm sure. And in case you're wondering, it's a young apricot tree in the snow.



Growing, farming, smallholding, and allotmenting can all be fairly solitary occupations, which suits me just fine, but a little community (however virtual) is a rather pleasant reminder that cold hands, harvest worries and the struggle of trying to communicate it are not yours alone. I've turned the 'comments' facility on on this blog, and what do you know, people are commenting. It's rather nice if I'm honest.



They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery...so I hope James Alexander-Sinclair won't mind me pinching his rather fine idea of reflecting back about what he was posting at that time in previous years. It's got me thinking in a different way about the farm, if nothing else, so thank you.

This time last year, wondering if the plants weren't playing Russian roulette with the frosts, the year before, for once honoured at a primetime sunday mispronounciation of my surname, and wondering if Sigourney's career had slid enough to get her to sign up for a rather more rustic follow up to Gorillas in the Mist, in 2006 learning a rather interesting thing about pig procreation, and four years ago, worried at the late delivery of the almonds.

snowy bamboo

Crikey it's c-c-c-cold. Not the feet of snow that's bothering the south-east for us, but a decent blanket nonetheless, blown in on a dessicating wind. My hands are as dry as an ostrich's instep*, even with the benefit of what might inaccurately be described as a rather natty pair of work gloves.



(C)Ritchie Benaud

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