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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What it means to have a small Holding

Here's the theory for July: It's cold or at least cool, it could be misty in the morning and even drizzly rain, the fireplace is ticking over with hot coals or a fresh piece of wood flaring, a bit of a wind gusting outside and the sky is grey. Time to spreadeagle on the lounge with a one of the many books backlogged in the pile and relax.

Now here is the reality: The sun is shining, the wind has gone for the moment, the grapes need pruning and weeding, tomato varieties need selection and potting under heat to be ready for a September planting, there is a pile of other fresh pruning's that need a run through the mulcher and there will be a need for lots of compost in spring so make use of all the green material you have.
The book goes back on the pile and work begins. All the grapes get pruned, a little layering or transplanting of last year's cuttings to fill a spare spot. Tying up any rogue shoots, a quick weed around the trunk and on goes a huge pile of cow rejected silage which stinks but the wind is blowing that scent across to the neighbours and away from us. Oh well, the smell will only last a few weeks. It is just part of nature in the country. Probably means moving a bottle or two of last vintage from our side of the cellar to the neighbours side of the cellar.

Table grapes pruned

Ready for chipping and mulching

A lot of work and tons of silage but will pay dividends

Using the freshly made compost to start seedlings
July can really be one of the busiest months of the year. At least in August it will only be the last week when the Tomato bed needs building that life will become a little hectic. Then of course with September becomes the planting out of the warm month vegetables. Always too many for two but there are always many happy recipients elsewhere in the village. There is the anticipation of the first fresh tomato and first young cucumber. Yes it is possible to use a hothouse and grow the most delicious produce all year round but then the mouth watering wait and abstinence is missing and life lacks those peaks and troughs that provide contrast and highs of long awaited pleasure.

As the weather warms up and if the rains come the following 6 months become a blur of weeding, watering, planting and harvesting until the blessed cool arrives with a sigh of relief tools go down and relation comes in the form of wine and cheese in the mildly warm garden.

The steady rhythm of seasonal demands and rewards. With each bringing the expectation and desire of the next stage. Maybe some find this repetitiveness boring. But there is a pleasure which can't be felt from any other form of activity. Contact with the soil, plants and animals seems to be a desire that comes from deep inside.

For some it's the travel, the sport, the toys for us it's being at home on our own plot, digging and weeding, having successes and having failures, plopping down in the evening with fresh home made produce and resting for tomorrow.

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